Horse Shopping

If you are looking for a horse for yourself or your children, many factors must be considered. Consider these thoughts before you go shopping.

Purchasing a horse is a big decision that shouldn't be taken lightly. Many things need to be considered before turning to the classifieds or considering any livestock auctions.

First, consider who is going to be riding the horse. A young, inexperienced child is going to need an experienced horse. Even an inexperienced (green) adult may be best suited for an experienced horse. It can make for some difficulties when everyone is trying to learn at the same time. Best to have one student at a time. An experienced horse will know the ropes and what commands mean, making it less likely for a green rider to get in trouble.

A horse well past the age of five with plenty of riding experience under his saddle is the best choice. And for some breeds, like Arabians, past the age of seven can be better for slower maturing horses. What type of riding the horse is experienced in is important, too. An experienced barrel racing horse is not the kind of experience you are looking for. Ideally, a trail or pleasure horse will fit the bill best.

Sex of the horse doesn't matter so much unless you are considering a stallion, which is not advisable. Though some studs do handsomely with green riders, staying away from the raging hormones they have is a good idea. And the same can be said for a mare. They do have cycles every month and will often adopt more of an attitude during a week's time period in any given month. A gelding, a castrated male, is often a tad calmer and easier to work with.

Cost and breeding are other considerations. A decent riding horse can usually be purchased for $1000 or less, depending on whether or not you want a purebred animal. Breeding isn't necessarily high priority though it can be a good indicator of temperament. A horse with proven bloodlines which exhibit a docile nature can be a real advantage. A crossbred horse can be an unknown, but they are frequently less high-strung than a purebred can be.

Two popular breeds are the American Quarter Horse and the Arabian. Either one can make good choices for a first horse. Some people say Arabians are high-strung but at the same time they are usually very people oriented. Other people say Quarter Horses have bad attitudes while they are also more versatile and easily cross-trained to different types of riding.

Consider where your horse will be housed as well. A pasture is sufficient in most places in the summer, but winter often poses additional housing needs. Think of initial costs and maintenance costs of a horse before you decide how much you will invest in a first horse. Then grab the paper and start making phone calls.

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