Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What Kind of Horse is Right For You

What kind of horse you buy really depends on what you want to do with it, how much you can spend, and what you prefer.

The Beginning Rider

If you are a beginner, you will need an experienced horse that will teach you, and not fight with you. What breed, color, age, height, and sex you choose isn't that important. It is the horse's attitude, training level, and experience that counts.
Age doesn't make too much of a difference, but a young horse is not a good choice, because young horses don't have the ability to care for beginners that old, experienced horses do. Anywhere between 10-18 years old is probably what you will want.
Mares and geldings are both good choices, but just because you buy a one doesn't guarantee that it
will be gentle. Mares and geldings can be meaner or wilder than stallions, it just depends on the horse.
The height of the horse won't affect its attitude (well, maybe it does.......ponies make up their height in attitude!), but it might effect the way you feel. If you are short, or if children will be riding the horse, you might want it to be a small one. I don't think that most beginners will want to go out and buy a 17 hand horse!
Color, of course, won't affect your horse in any way.
The horse's background is very important. You want a horse that has been ridden alot by alot of different people, and one that behaves well no matter what gets on its back. Old riding lesson horses, children's horses, 4-h horses, etc. are good choices. The horse you buy should be able to do what you want it to do, which is, in the beginner's case, be a calm dependable mount.

The horse's attitude is everything. If it acts sluggish, mean, or wild, you won't want it. You want a horse with a pleasing, happy attitude. One that is gentle and patient, but not stubborn or lazy. Sluggishness or anger may be signs that the horse is sick or lame. The horse shouldn't be overly jumpy or hyper, and it should like you. Sometimes, rarely, there will be a horse and a rider that just don't get along. They may both seem to fit each other, but they have 'personality clashes'. They just don't 'click'. If you feel the horse is unsure of you or unwilling to go for you, don't buy it.

The Children's Horse

If you are buying a horse for your child, it should follow the same guidelines as the beginner's horse, but it needs to be even safer. You should get a horse that has been ridden by children before, and has lots of patience. You will probably need to get a small horse or pony. I don't know why, but ponies have some sort of attitude. Not all do, but alot of ponies sort of act really tough and nasty. Most aren't well trained, because no one ever trained them, they just threw some kids on their backs. Why? There aren't alot of people small enough to ride ponies, except children. Some ponies are wonderful, they will care for kids and give them years of fun. Other ponies will take advantage of a kids, and most know every trick there is for unseating their rider.

Horse can be the same way- one horse will be extra careful with the little child on its back, the next will take advantage of it and run for the barn.

Make sure to get a horse that is very well trained, and that will take very good care of your child. And, make sure you teach your child to be safe around horses, and to always wear a helmet.

The Trail/Recreation Rider

If you buy a horse just for riding around and having fun on, it
should be well trained and road safe. Get a horse that is used to trails, hills, traffic, and wilderness. You don't want a young horse that will always be shying and spoiling your rides. You will need a horse that is used to trail riding, and one that is used to the outdoors. A stall kept horse will not make a good trail horse, since it would be afraid of any ground that isn't perfectly flat, and shadows, wind, wild animals, etc. Make sure your horse rides well with other horses if you are going to go trail riding with friends. A horse that is always trying to kill the other horses isn't that fun to ride, as you spend all your time keeping your horse from misbehaving, and not enjoying the ride.

The Show Horse

If you are really into showing and competing, you probably don't need to read this, as you are probably well knowledgeable in this area of horsemanship. If you are looking for your first horse, and you would like to do a little showing, then you need to find a horse that can show. If you haven't ever showed before, a 4-h horse or open horse might be good. You will probably need a horse that is well experienced with showing, and that is well trained. You need a horse that can teach you, and one that is so used to its job, that even if you don't do everything perfect, the horse will. If you are focused on a particular event, then find a horse that is well trained for that event. Before you buy the horse, it is a good idea to see it compete, and maybe even show it yourself a little, to see if you like it.

The horse you buy should be well used to doing what you are going to have it do. If you are a beginner, don't go out looking for a show horse, and vice versa. Buy a horse that can, and will, do what you want it to do. Get one that has a good, willing attitude, and good training.

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