If you’re a beginner horse rider, I need your help!!
The popularity of my blog series on the Top Ten Horse Breeds for Beginner Riders suggests that many beginner riders would like to own a horse. But it needs to be the right horse.
I'm writing a book for first time horse buyers who are also beginner riders, looking for that special equine buddy who’ll take care of them while they’re in the early stages of learning to ride. The horse must also be able to take them further.
Horse Buying for the Beginner Rider: A Stress-Free Strategy for Finding Your Ideal Horse
will be available as an ebook in many different formats, not just Kindle, and also in hard copy.
The success of my book for first-time dressage competitors gives me confidence - in fact I'm almost sure - that I’m up to the task. :)
But, as I mentioned earlier, I need your help, please!
First, see what you think about the following details I'm including in the book. While you're going through, would you jot down anything you feel is missing?
Thanks! I'll catch up with you after you're done reading.
Part One: The Easy Section
No one wants to open a book and immediately be told about how much money this whole enterprise is going to cost.
That's why we're gonna start with the Fun Stuff.
This talks about you, and how certain breeds could be a good fit for you.
It goes into stuff like:
The Fun Stuff helps narrow down the type and breed of horse which will work the best for you.
As you read the next section, you'll be carrying a more definite image of your ideal horse in your head and your dream of owning a suitable equine partner will now become more real to you. :)
Part Two: The Slightly Harder Section
Now comes the Serious Stuff.
This includes budgeting for your horse - how to determine the amount of money you’ll need to spend on him. It also covers the nuts and bolts of finding and buying your ideal horse.
After reading the Serious Stuff you’ll be able to refine your short list of horse breeds to look which you first wrote based on the Fun Stuff.
The Serious Stuff will talk about:
Finally, so as not to leave you hanging once you’ve made up your mind which horse you’re going to buy, the last chapter will discuss bringing your new equine buddy home and how to acclimatize him to his new surroundings while you both get to know each other.
This Is Where You Come In aka This Author Needs You!
Now that you’ve perused the intended contents of
Horse Buying for the Beginner Rider: A Stress-Free Strategy for Finding Your Ideal Horse
- do you have a topic which I haven’t addressed? If so, I'd love to hear from you!
If you're a beginner rider and looking to buy a new horse, what else do you want to know about?
What do you need or what kind of equine buddy would you love to have?
Have you had good experiences with a breed which you want me to be sure and include?
Do you have certain horse or riding details that you’d like to see addressed in my book? Things like what is the quietest breed of horse? Or what horse should you get if you have a disability?
Send me an email via the Contact Page and ask me anything: I’ll do my best to accommodate you by putting it in my book.
What’s in it for You? :)
If you email the details of what you’d like included in the book, I will do two things for you.
1. I'll send you the publish date of the book which means that you’ll be able to get the ebook version FREE FOR THE FIRST FIVE DAYS.
2. If you like, I’ll include your name and a link to your website in the acknowledgements. Just give me the information :)
If that sounds like a good deal (and I hope it does!) please go to the Contact Page and email me your requests.
This is the last part in our series of articles looking at the best horse breeds for beginner riders. So far we’ve checked out great horses for the larger/taller and the medium weight and height beginner rider.
Now let’s discover the best breeds for smaller adults and children. Like those we’ve already seen, these have been chosen for their quiet temperament and ability to excel in many different disciplines.
8. Highland Pony
This beautiful pony usually ranges in height between 13 and 14.2 hh, but can be a little taller or shorter. He comes from the highlands and islands of Scotland, and is a hardy animal with a quiet, sensible disposition.
This, plus his excellence in dressage, jumping, eventing and driving, makes him an ideal family pony. The Highland is very athletic and famous for his calm level-headedness. He is capable of carrying a child or a small adult.
Crossed with Thoroughbreds, he produces a great warmblood type.
Highland Pony manes and tails are long and thick, and their lower legs carry some feather. The usual colors are grey and various shades of dun, although black, bay, and chestnut can also be found. A white star is acceptable in purebreds, but white markings are not considered correct.
Resources for Highland Ponies:
Highland Pony Society in Scotland
Scottish Highland Pony Association of North America
Images of the Highland Pony
Highland Ponies for Sale (U.S.)
Highland Ponies for Sale (U.K.)
9. Dales Pony
This pony is described by the Dales Pony Society of America as ‘the great all-rounder’ and ‘a strong, active pony, full of quality and spirit, yet gentle and kind.’ He is very calm and courageous, with great intelligence.
Able to easily carry heavy adults, Dales Ponies are sweet enough to carry children. They have a quiet temperament and are usually great in traffic, since they do not panic in awkward situations, and are extremely sure-footed.
The versatile Dales Pony makes a good jumper, dressage performer, eventer and endurance partner. He has tremendous stamina and staying power.
Originally from the Dales area of England, near the Scottish border, this hardy breed has silky feathers on his legs, and a long mane and tail. Dales Ponies stand between 14 – 14.2hh and their normal colors are black or brown, with some greys and bays and the occasional roan. A star or snip on the face is acceptable, and white markings only on the hind legs, reaching up to the fetlocks.
Resources for the Dales Pony:
The Dales Pony Society (U.K.)
The Dales Pony Society of America
Dales Ponies for Sale
Images of Dales Ponies:
10. Dartmoor Pony
This little guy stands at 12.2 hh and his excellent temperament makes him an ideal children’s first pony. He is calm and friendly, and perfect for jumping, driving and showing. He lives a long time and can also be ridden by adults.
Although still considered a rare breed, Dartmoors are becoming more popular in America now due to their wonderful disposition and quiet dependability.
True Dartmoors are only bay, brown, black, grey, chestnut or roan, with no piebalds and skewbalds (paints), and no excessive white markings. He has a full, flowing mane and tail and is a very attractive riding pony of sturdy build, yet shows quality.
Resources for the Dartmoor Pony:
Dartmoor Pony Society (U.K.)
Dartmoor Pony Registry of America
Dartmoor Ponies for Sale (U.S.)
Dartmoor Ponies for Sale (U.K.)
Videos of Dartmoor Ponies for Sale U.S. and U.K.
Don’t touch Welsh Mountain Ponies (Section A) or Shetland Ponies if you’re a beginner who wants to ride off the lead rein!
I hope this list has been useful to you in helping you find that perfect first horse or pony to give you confidence as you begin your fun journey into the world of horse-riding.
Callow Double Clover is an Irish Draft x Thoroughbred and loves the cold weather!
Part One of this post asked you some hard-hitting questions to help you find your ideal horse.
Here are more points to consider.
4. What Is Your Budget?
It is normal to expect that the price of your horse is the only large amount you’ll ever have to spend on him. But you need to budget for his monthly outgoings, plus the unexpected costs that crop up with horse ownership.
Be prepared for the following expenditure:
(a) Purchase price of the horse.
(b) Monthly boarding bill.
(c) Shoeing every four to six weeks.
If you can’t be there to hold your horse for the farrier, you will need to pay someone to do this for you.
Some barns require this to be done twice a year, and some insist on extra shots, such as strangles.
(e) Worming at regular intervals. This can vary between daily and every six weeks, depending on the system you or your boarding barn adopts.
(f) Supplements. For example, electrolytes in hot weather and joint supplements for an arthritic horse.
(g) Extra vets’ bills.
No owner expects their horse to get sick, but if he does you’ll need you to pay for his care.
I hope it doesn’t happen to you, but just be aware that these unforeseen problems can arise. You may want to check the cost of horse health insurance?
The purpose of this list is not to frighten you, but to help you make an informed decision when buying a new horse.
Investigate the costs of boarding barns, shoeing and regular vaccinations ahead of time. If you budget properly, there is no reason why you can’t make horse ownership work for you.
5. What Living Situation Can You Offer Your Horse?
Depending on where you live and the breed and type of your horse, he may be happier either stabled overnight (during the day, in hot summers) or being left out 24/7.
If your budget restricts you to grass board (living at pasture 24/7, with a field shelter) you need to look for a horse which will be happy with this arrangement.
This is unlikely to work for most full Thoroughbreds or other hot-blooded types. Good candidates are the hardy native British breeds such as Highland, Exmoor, Dartmoor, Dales, Irish Draft and Welsh Cobs/Mountain ponies and crosses with those breeds, and with cold bloods such as the Percheron or Clydesdale.
I own an Irish Draft x Thoroughbred (pictured above) and Cruz is a ¾ Thoroughbred/Welsh Cob Cross (pictured left). They always have the option of coming into their stalls, yet they both adore the cold weather. I let them grow their winter coats out fully, and when it’s below freezing, they still prefer to stay outside. In the summer they have fans in their stalls to keep the flies away.
You should consider putting fans in the field shelter if your horse will be out in hot weather.
6. The Boarding Barn
I will be writing a post later about how to choose the right boarding barn. But here is a quick check-list.
(a) Is the barn in good repair and does it look tidy?
(b) Are the stalls clean and airy, without being draughty?
(c) If required, does the barn offer field board with good pasture and a run-in shed in good repair? Will your horse be with other buddies? He shouldn’t be left alone.
(d) Is there enough bedding in the stalls?
(e) Do the horses look content and well-cared for?
(f) Are the aisles clear of potential hazards such as wheel barrows, pitch forks, etc.?
(g) Is clean water available at all times in the stalls and paddocks?
(h) Do the horses get sufficient turn-out? (At least 6 hours a day.)
(i) Are the paddocks large enough for the number of horses in them, and is there enough grass? If not, is hay supplied to make up for the lack of grazing?
(j) Is the fencing in good repair? No barbed wire, loose trailing wires or debris in the paddock?
(k) Are the riding arenas regularly graded, with good footing, no stones, and not cluttered with equipment?
(l) Do the boarders have the same riding interests as yourself?
There are many other considerations, but these are the main ones to help you choose a good barn.
7. How Often Will You Be Able to Ride?
The answer to this question will heavily impact the type of horse you should be looking for.
If you are only able to ride on the weekend, your new equine buddy will need to be extremely laid back. You will also have to be realistic about your long term goals. A horse which is only ridden twice a week will not be able to do heavy work, as he is likely to pull a tendon or suspensory.
You may want to consider having a capable rider exercise your horse during the week (at least three days) if you want a fit, trained horse which you can take to shows. Perhaps you could lease him out?
8. What Size Horse Do You Need?
Be sure to find a horse which is neither too large nor too small for you.
You will read about a lot of rider to horse weight ratios, some of which are completely off base. As a rule of thumb, your weight should be between 10% and 15% of your horse’s weight when he is fit. (Not when he is fat!)
Buy a measuring tape from a saddlery store and use it to gauge the weight of any horse you are considering buying. The instructions for weighing are printed on the measuring tape and it is very easy to use.
You also need to take into account the overall picture you and your horse present. As an example, long legs dangling below the horse’s stomach line look rather silly.
9. How Fit Does Your New Horse Have to Be?
A big consideration when buying a new horse is how much work you’re prepared to put into getting him fit.
You may need a horse that is immediately ready for full work. In this case, make sure that he has been ridden regularly and will not break down under a regular riding routine.
If you have the time and patience to bring him back into full work, you may get a bargain on a horse whose owner is no longer able to ride him and is desperate to sell.
Be careful not to override him when you try him out, so he doesn’t strain anything. But get the owner to pop on him first! Take into account the fact that he may be a little more ‘up’ once he gets his stamina back.
It took me many years and a lot of buying dissasters befored I worked out this sensible approach to horse purchasing! Now I have three lovely horses who’ve been with me for over fifteen years.
Save yourself a lot of heartache: take the time to think through exactly what you want from your horse, and what you have to offer him. Then you’ll find your perfect equine partner.
Horses are my big obsession, and I'm constantly striving to get better, smarter and more in harmony with my equine buddy, Cruz Bay.
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