Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Going to Try Some Horses

I've been very busy looking at ads, talking to trainers and owners, looking at videos, talking to my trainer -- and, most importantly, talking to Brett about what we can realistically afford.

My trainer gave me good advice.  Of course.  She suggested that I make a list of the qualities I am looking for and evaluate each horse against that list.  That way, I can keep my feet on the ground and reality in sight instead of falling madly head over heels in love with a mismatched prospect.  Secondly, she said that when I try the horses I should only consider a horse that I don't want to get off.  A horse that I dream about that night and am obsessed with thoughts of when I can ride him again.

This morning I made up my list of qualities:
Age: 4-10
Must have dressage quality gaits but not so huge that I can't ride them
Must have trail exposure or experience and must like the trail
Light off my leg, yet sensible
Confident, brave, smart, kind
A pleaser with lots of "try"

I don't want much, right?  Amazingly, I have found four prospects in Northern California.  Brett and I will be doing a road trip at the end of the week to try them.

The first one is that amazing four year old Oldenburg I posted a picture of a few days ago.  The seller has said his price is negotiable -- down to what I could do, although it would be a stretch.  My trainer likes how he moves.  I think he is drop dead gorgeous.  He's sensible and has trail experience.  When I try him, I want to see how light he is off my leg.  His owner said he doesn't require spurs or whip, and although he isn't the most forward horse in the barn, he isn't a clunker either.  For those of you who missed the earlier picture, here he is again:

The second horse is this one's half brother.  He is further along in his training and priced way out of my range.  However, the owner said a good home is important and if I like him, she'll drop his price to the price I told her I can afford.  He's much bigger than his brother -- 16.3 hands v. 16h.  I've really enjoyed Jackson's size (15.2) so while my long legs can handle a tall horse, it isn't necessarily what I am looking for.  I think this one has a very pretty head.

The third horse is a five year old Oldenburg.  He has trail experience, is kind and affectionate and smart.  He is not particularly brave or confident and while he goes on the trail, he needs reassurance through contact.  He worries on a loose rein.  Hmmmmm.  I'm kinda concerned about that part.  I don't have a good picture of him but he's greying in a cool way.

The last horse is young.  He's a three year old Rheinland Pfalz Saar (yeah, I can't pronounce it either).  I was concerned about his age but my trainer said that if he is sensible, it won't be a problem.  He's also very tall -- 16.2 and growing.  With my long legs, a tall horse isn't a problem for me other than the issue of low tree branches on trail rides.  I don't know as much about him (his owner/trainer is not chatty), but his ad says he is good on trail and very sweet.  He's also uncomplicated.  I love how his ears flip back and forth on the video: listening, listening.  For those of you who are curious, here is a video.  Oh, and he's affordable.  BIG plus.

I've seen ads for other horses that interest me in Washington State and Oregon.  I'm going to look at the ones that don't require airfare first...

Which do you like best?


  1. ooh, I love them all, of course, but to be honest, the first one seems a winner to me, the greyish ones doesn't seem quite right, instinct, silly but..

    yes, the chestnut,in my limited experience chestnuts can be a little crazy which lots of fun

    yeah, a pony-mad kid at heart and no expert at all!

  2. I am in love with those chestnuts, but I've got a thing for redheads. :)

    I would say that Bachelor #3 is probably a no go. However, my Spider was neither brave nor confident on his own, but he was kind, eager and willing to please. Through those attributes he has learned to be brave and confident as long as he has a brave and confident rider. It's something to think about.

    There is just something about Bachelor #1 that I find very interesting. He's definitely my favorite. But, I'm not looking for a horse for me.

    As far as prices go, I used to ride sale horses and I can tell you that no price is ever firm. Just make an offer. The worst that happens is that they say "No". But I've learned that most times, you'll get a hell of a deal!

  3. Hey Annette, those all look like could be. I have to say I'm partial to that first one, I would sure like to see a video of that one.The last one looks nice going too except....something about his hind end sent up a red flag for me...I'm not an expert and maybe it's because he's young and still growingbut there's a little something there that made me think about it. However have fun horse shopping hope you find the one!!!!.

  4. I like nos. 1 and 2 the best. There's something about no. 3's movement that I don't like - hmm, something about the shoulder. Can't see no. 4 well enough to tell, but my concern is that age 3 (or even 4) is mightly young to be asking a warmblood to do serious work, particularly if the horse is big - many warmbloods keep growing until age 7 at least and working them too hard before they're mature can damage joints and bones - light work's OK, depending on the horse, at 4 or 5 - at least that's my opinion. I think the reason a lot of horses don't stay sound - all breeds and disciplines - is that they're used too hard at a young age. Although if price is an issue, you may be forced to the younger end of your range.

  5. The first two would be my choice...I love a chestnut and both my horses are over 16h, I wouldn't want anything smaller,I'm only 5'7" but it seems they fit me right.
    I agree with your trainer,go look and when you find the right one you will know, you will think about that one horse non stop...It took me over a year to settle on my redhead,I'm so glad I did.
    I know you mentioned a Quarter horse so I thought I would mention that my mare was bred to Oxford, http://www.quovadisstable.ca/ a dutch warm blood and the cross was absolutely stunning...might be worth looking at a QH cross...he does very well in dressage as well as trail.

  6. I, too, like the reds the best. I am leaning towards the half brother with more training. If you can get a deal on a horse who is already trained in the direction that you want to go, you will hopefully have some idea of his suitability for dressage and not have to deal with as much baby stuff. If you your idea of fun includes a relaxing trail ride, then maybe steer away from the greenies.

  7. I know nothing about dressage or warmbloods, but I trail ride a great deal. I absolutely love the look of the first horse and the description. For my money, better a touch lazy than a touch too much go. And I, too, must duck under solid low hanging limbs, and I give thanks every day for my 14.3 hand QH. My taller friend manages on a 15.2 QH. A taller horse would be almost prohibitive on our rides.

    Also, the horse you don't ever want to get off--that is key. The feel of the horse (to you, when you're on him) is more important than anything else. I have totally found this to be true. I somewhat ignored logic buying my last horse because I REALLY liked the feel of him going down the trail (which was what I bought him for). And it has so payed off. No, he isn't fancy and he's a clunky mover in the arena--but boy is he a solid, fun horse to ride outside. I know your needs are different--just saying, go with the feel.

    Good luck. I hope you find the right one without too much search.

  8. Kate is right about working a horse too hard at that age. I'm amazed at what he is doing at 3. You are going to know a lot more after you and Brett check them out. What an adventure. I hope you will take us along.

  9. Is no 4 really 16.2hh?
    3 yrs old is young, at least over here it is, except for racehorses who retire early....

    Wasn't very impressed by the rider in the video, is that the owner?

  10. I still really like that first one. The second guy sounds nice, too. I think his head is lovely and he has the softest, gentle eyes.
    The oldenburg has gorgeous coloring. I wonder if he will grey out and become white like Jackson.

    But that last guy in the video just doesn't look right. He bobs his head like he's sore at the walk, and to me his gait looks off in that right front. If you decide to purchase him I'd do a thorough PPE of his legs, feet and shoulders.

    Thanks for letting us go horse shopping with you :)


  11. This is exciting. Good luck. Looking forward to hearing more about your choices.

  12. How exciting! Who can tell from a photo? That said, I absolutely love #1, and I think #2 is very pretty. #3 would be a no for me, but everybody's different.

  13. I can pronounce it, :) Lived for 3 years in Germany. Area we lived in was in the Rhineland-Palatinate...
    They are all lovely horses to me, number 2 would be WAY to tall for me... I am a shortie...I have a 15.3 hh that makes me feel like I am putting my ankle in my ear to get on.... I think 16.3hh would be intimadating, lol..

  14. Going from looks I would say the gray lol. I'm not a fan of chestnut although I do think the first one is cute (and what a mover!). However on the gray I can't stand sissy horses. I love confident horses a lot. It's high on my list of priorities. However this is your horse, so it depends on how high that is on your list. Since you made a list of what you want you might also want to make a list of what you don't like and what you absolutely refuse to end up with. I think shorter horses seem to last longer too, so maybe not the 16.2hh and growing. That's purely speculation on my part though. I do like the first one if he's light enough for you. I was worried about the spurs too. Also I don't like number three at all and wasn't sure why until I read the comments. Agree one hundred percent with Kate's comment!


Thanks so much for commenting! I love the conversation.