How do I find the perfect horse for me to loan or own?

How do I find the perfect horse for me to loan or own?

Buying or loaning your first horse is an exciting, but a very daunting experience, there are many things to consider and the perfect horse will differ for every single rider.

Top tips:

  1. The first thing you need to consider is your experience, you may have a picture of the perfect horse in your head but if you are just moving on from riding school ponies you may want to avoid “hot horses” such as Arabs and Thoroughbreds. As a first-time buyer you may want to consider a hardy breed that is less demanding and a quieter ride. You also need to consider the activities you want to do; a heavier type may not be suitable for eventing or endurance, but a competition horse might not be suitable for a nervous rider.
  2. After you have made a list of suitable breeds and types you should start considering the temperament and how the horse will fit in to its new surroundings. If you are moving the horse to a very busy yard you would ideally like a horse that has been in a similar environment before. Likewise, if your yard has lots of farm machinery or traffic and the horse hasn’t been used to this you may want to reconsider your options, unless you have the experience and time to help the horse overcome any fears. If the yard has any restrictions such as individual turnout or restricted grazing, you will need to make sure you and your horse can work around these conditions and it will not cause stress to the horse. Equally if you buy a very good doer you do not want to move it to an environment with lots of rich grass.
  3. Age is also a very important factor to consider, an older horse that has been there and done it all, is a good choice for a first-time owner. However, you don’t want to get a horse that’s too old and could potentially suffer from health problems or will not be able to keep up with the activities you would like to do. The ideal age would be between 9-16, a horse doesn’t reach maturity until around about 8 and above 16 is considered as a veteran. Having said that, each horse is different and if you are looking for a happy hacker don’t be put off if it is older than 16 as with the proper care, they can live into their 30’s!
  4. Adverts can be misleading so it is important to learn the horsey lingo, if you are a beginner or want a confidence giver look out for adverts that describe a horse as “bomb proof”, “perfect first horse” or “confidence giver” and stay away from “green” horses, “ideal second pony” or if an advert says “can be excitable” these words usually mean you will have a lot of work to put in and probably won’t be good for a first time owner.
  5. When it comes to viewing the potential horse, it is important to handle the horse yourself, make sure you tack up and lead the horse so you can spot any undesirable behavioural issues. By doing this you will also be able to make sure you feel confident and safe when around him/her. It is always good to take someone else with you to view the horse to get a second pair of eyes, ideally your riding instructor or someone with experience of buying horses.
  6. Do not buy the horse after the first viewing, ask if you can go back and see him/her again, if you see a horse on a hot sunny day, they can act like a completely different horse to one with the wind up its tail! It is also important to see the horse ridden by the seller, if they are not willing to ride the horse be wary and be ready to walk away and continue your search for your perfect partner elsewhere. It is also important to check for any lumps and bumps and ideally getting a vetting done to make sure the horse is sound and in good health.

So, to summarise we believe that the perfect horse is unique to every owner, however a hardy, well-tempered horse who has experience would be perfect for the first-time owner. And don’t forget to check out insurance options when you are horse hunting as vet bills can be very expensive, we recommend speaking to Julie Andrews Horse Insurance, as a broker they can get quotes for you and help you sort out any claims with the insurer.

British Pet Insurance Services offers a range of horse and pony cover levels, with up to £5,000 vet fees and a range of optional extras. Select the level of cover to suit your needs.

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