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Horse Articles :: How to Find Your Dream Horse
How to Find Your Dream Horse
You have been dreaming of buying a horse of your own for
ever, and now that you finally have some money, you can simply
go out and buy one, right? Not exactly. A well-trained, sound
horse isn't as simple to get hold of as a cute little puppy
or a kitten, especially not a good horse. Before you buy a
horse, you will need to find a place to keep it. In addition,
you should be aware of how much money you will need to spend
to keep your horse.
Budget very carefully before you fall madly in love and buy
a horse you cannot afford to keep. Having said that, most
horseback riders are willing to give up a lot of life's little
luxuries to be able to keep our horses and we never regret
a single one of them.
Most horses need to be shoed every 6 weeks (even unshod horses
need to see the vet every 2 months), they need to receive
vaccinations and they need to be fed. You will need to spend
a substantial amount on bedding, grooming supplies and equipment
as well as tack. However, the most important thing you will
need to do is to be sure you will recognise a good horse when
you see one (and a bad one too!).
Green Horse, Green Rider
Depending on your own experience, there are lots of horses
that you shouldn't buy out there. Some have bad habits like
biting, kicking or cribbing (chewing on the edge of a stall
door). Others are not well trained yet. Although they may
know some of the basics, they are still very green, meaning
they may be willing to wear a saddle, but do not know all
of the signals that a thoroughly trained horse knows. A green
horse and a green rider are the worst possible combination.
Further, some horses may be unsound or unhealthy. A serious
problem with hooves or legs can render a horse worthless for
riders. Owning a horse that can only handle a slow walk around
the ring with a child on its back when you were hoping for
an animal that could compete in shows is heartbreaking for
a new horse owner.
Check his background, not just his pedigree
Now that you are aware all of the things that could be wrong
with a horse, how do you find the perfect horse for you? You
should be careful about buying horses at an auction or through
the newspaper. A better idea is to ask around at horse shows,
competitions or other events. Serious competitors often move
up to more challenging or flashier horses as they gain experience.
Their old, dependable beginner horses are perfect for people
who want a first horse.
Should you find a horse that you are interested in, ask around
before you hand over your cash, especially if the horse has
competed in horse shows and competitions. Other horse owners
will have heard if that horse has a nasty disposition or always
balks at the flagpoles. They may even know about health problems
the horse had experienced.
Once you have investigated the horse's background, call in
your veterinarian. Your vet will test your prospective horse's
eyesight, hearing, heart and teeth. If you aren't sure how
old the horse is, the vet can even estimate the animal's age
by inspecting his teeth. Most importantly, however, your vet
will take a look at the horse's legs and feet. He will be
looking for swollen hocks, leg splints or thrush, which is
a dangerous hoof infection that often is caused when a horse
is left standing in dirty, wet bedding for long periods of
Finally, it is time to see if the horse is YOUR dream horse.
Tack him up yourself to be sure he doesn't have any unsavoury
habits, like refusing to take the bit or kicking and biting.
Mount the horse and put him through his paces. Be on the lookout
for flaws such as the inability to change leads or the refusal
to back up on command. Some of these behaviours can be corrected
with the help of a good trainer, but you will want your first
horse to be well trained and well behaved. In fact, if possible
take your instructor with you to view the horse.
And remember, keeping a horse can cost anything from $4000-10
000 a year!
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