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Buying a Horse-What to Look For or Look out For

Updated on July 6, 2016

see how they decided

boy or girl--mare or gelding

When adopting a house pet, one of the things to consider is whether you want a male or female dog or cat. With your horse, it does make a difference. A female horse, or mare, tend to be maybe a little more headstrong, than a gelding. You will run into mares, who if they were in the wild, would be a lead mare, therefore will appear to be a bully to other horses she is around. This might also be a horse who wants to always be in the lead, even if only by a nose, when riding in groups. A gelding, on the other hand will usually be a calmer, more easy going animal. Never consider an uncut male, or a stallion for a riding horse, or trail horse, for their mind is almost always on a female, and will be difficult riding animal. I once had a horse though, who the vet had "spring cut ". and the means that the animal was only half nuetered. This animal will be slightly more spirited than a full gelded horse, still cannot be bred, but is left with enough of his male parts to allow the male hormones to continue, thus giving the horse the full, shaped neck of the stallion, which is very handsome.

thoroughbred--race horse

What breed should I consider?

A Thoroughbred was bred for their long legs, making them perfect for racing or jumping events. They tend to be very hot blooded, high strung animals, and should not be considered for an inexperienced rider, and does not make a very good trail horse, in my opinion. A Quarter Horse was bred for their large hindquarters, which is good is you will be working cattle, entering into various rodeo activities, or can also make very good trail horses too.

Also other breeds to consider for trail riding are Appaloosa, Morgan, Arabian, paints, El Pasos and saddlebreds. Any horse that you buy and is purebred (not to be confused with thoroughbreds), is going to be more of a nervous, high strung animal. Sometimes these are not the best trail animals, for when riding out on the trails, especially with others, a calmer animal is more enjoyable to ride, and easier to deal with all the way around.. I have found that a mixed breed, or half breed makes a much better and more practical trail horse. Besides being calmer and easier to ride and handle, you have the advantage of being able to take advantage of the qualities of two different breeds. For example, the Arabian is well known for his ability to travel long distances on little food and water. They also are a smaller horse, standing around 14 to 16 hands, as compared to a thoroughbred who stands closer to 17 hands. So if you were to buy a quarterhorse/arabian mix horse, you would have a horse that was maybe a little smaller, who didn't eat as much as other breeds, and also have a horse with the physical attributes of the quarter, still having the power and speed to use in barrel racing for example. A good all around, do most anything you want kind of animal, is the benefits of the mixed bred horse.

learn about stallions

What about the color?

Dogs, for example can be bred for color. In other words, certain breeds are certain colors. This is not the case with horses, for the only breeds that keep colors or markings distinctly are appaloosa, with the spotted hindquarters, and the pinto, which is multicolored. Other than those two instances, you can breed for example any color of any breed, like two brown horses, and the offspring can easily be white, dabble grey or a large variety of other colors.

The only thing not mentioned yet is age. A horse who is five years or younger is still a juvenile. Regardless of training, you still stand a good chance of the animal spooking, panicking, or several other things that an older more experienced animal would not even look at. These can be things like rolling on your saddle, rolling while you are riding, being barn sour, jumping over the stripes on the pavement, or anything else the younger animal hasn't had experience with yet.

My advice is this -- take your time, look at many horses, don't buy the first one you see. If you can, try out some of the different breeds. You might find that you take to one more than the others, just a personal preference. Consider a mixed breed horse, for they make better trail horses. Have a vet check him over to make sure it is a sound animal...and do not get a horse that is too young. Some of my best horses were between the ages of ten to fifteen yrs. Your trail horse must be practical, calm and enjoyable to ride, or your trail experience may not be a good one. Last, spend time, lots of time with your trail horse, for he or she will be your best friend out there. Get to know their habits, and their personalities before you go out for any long trips...and have fun.


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