Let’s Discuss: Your ideal horse

Do you have a type? I know I do. When I was horse hunting, I struggled finding a horse that fit my requirements. Foster is legitimately the only horse I was really interested in. Here was my list of requirements:

  • A good brain. Hands down, the most important aspect to me was a willing and quiet participant that I could get along with even after the ride is over. Plus, IMO a quiet brain is a trainable brain.
  • Have a kind eye No piggy expressions or jerk faces need apply. See above.
  • 15.3 hh – 16.3 hh. I’m only 5’4″- I wanted something that wouldn’t make me terrified to ride up to a 3’3″ fence but also wasn’t too far from the ground.
  • Built uphill Not only would an uphill conformation make dressage + jumping easier, but also provide some security to a girl with 10+ years experience riding draft crosses!

Foster neck

  • Decent movement Need not be the next Totilas, but a little bit of suspension would be great.
  • 4-9 years old This was on my list, as I wanted to be able to jump sooner rather than later. I ended up compromising on this one as Foster was advertised as a 3 yr old, which I believed until I had the dentist out (he was actually 4)
  • Clean history History repeats itself, as they say- so I wanted to start out with a blank slate if at all possible
  • Good jumper Another compromise when I bought Foster since (I thought) he was 3- no jumping yet, I judged his jumping ability by the way he moved
  • Preferably a gelding Not the *most* important aspect, but I knew I got along better with geldings in general
  • Be in my budget Champagne on a beer budget, anyone? I’ll take a glass of Andre, please.

Foster trotting

It took me a solid 3 months of hourly scouring every horse sales site known to man before I found Foster’s ad on dreamhorse.com. Even though I ended up compromising the jumping and the age, he was the closest fit to my requirements. So I jumped in my car that weekend and ran up to Maryland, hopped aboard for a test ride, and the rest is history!

Foster as seen in his sales ad

Foster as seen in his sales ad

What aspects of your horse led you to him/her? If you were to go horse-shopping tomorrow, what would your list look like?

24 thoughts on “Let’s Discuss: Your ideal horse

  1. I think this is pretty accurate for me, too! When looking for Estella I knew I wanted something young (2 ideally), athletic, nice movement, good conformation, preferably a mare, and a clean slate. I think I hit the jackpot with Estella, and you did too with Foster :)!!!

    • I forgot to mention forward! My last horse was very introverted and it was hard to be in harmony with him when I am a go, go, go kind of person. So definitely finding a horse that had lots of go, too, was at the top of my list!! 🙂

      • Actually that’s a very good point- some people like a very forward kind of horse, and some people like a kick-on kind of ride.. that makes a very big difference in whether or not a horse will be a good fit!

  2. Hmm my list is really similar to yours. A good brain is definitely top of the list- I’m happy to handle any training problems that pop up, but I want to feel safe and trust my horse to take care of me. I like big horses and I’m 5’9″, so 16.2 is my lower limit 🙂 Other than that, just a willing jumper! I’m on one of those downhill draft-crosses and it’s been a big adjustment, but totally worth it!

  3. Great list! I agree with you on the good brain – I don’t do this for a living, I don’t HAVE to ride something that’s stupid-spooky or not sensible if I don’t want to! I really appreciate horses that are ‘thinkers’ rather than ‘run first – think later!’ But I prefer something in the size range of 14 – 15.2. Ponies and small horses are just easier and more fun to ride in my opinion!

    • Exactly- if it’s for fun, it’s all about the partnership 🙂

      And I do *love* ponies and small horses (cobs in my mind)! So many people don’t appreciate that cob size but there is a lot they can do!

  4. I wish I spent as much time making a list like this as I do binge window-shopping for horses…

    Though, I suppose I would put some good effort into this exercise if I started to seriously look for a horse to buy. Someday!

  5. Moves good, Jumps good and ratio of head to ear making the ears tiny! Being Bay doesn’t hurt, 12′ stride. I now have a new idea that I would like something between 15.3 and 16.2 (because mine is 17hh and that’s too big for me!)

    • Haha see, I love big ears as my mother always used to tell me- Big ears, big jumper. I think Roman noses are adorable too though so don’t mind me! 🙂

  6. Simon just fell into my lap, and I got very lucky. When I’m actually shopping, I prefer 16hh+, gelding, good brain, uphill movement/conformation and a workmanlike attitude.

  7. I’m not quite sure how I ended up with a gray mare. I’ve typically ridden geldings and the upkeep on the gray….well… you know :). Budget wise I had to either go for something on the older side or a project. With the project it was very important to me that I was on a horse that I felt safe riding and was brave to fences! I think I won the lottery!

    • I struggled with the same thing regarding my budget. So I went the same route and man, so glad I did!

      Plus, there needs to be a hashtag… #whitehorseproblems Haha!

  8. good brain!!! that is a must!!! In my advanced search I would click 16+h, age 4-12, usually of an irish breed hehe, and my budget. Used to spend hours drooling over my “next” horse, which sadly at the time wasn’t in the budget. One day when I am able to actually buy my next horse (vs. collecting the free ones) I would LOVE to have another Irish Sport Horse- Johnny started that love affair with irish ponies 16 years ago and my love of Irish ponies has only gotten stronger over the years 🙂

    On a funny side note…I have a friend who’s husband use to jokingly call dreamhorse.com (and other similar websites) horse porn because horse people would spend HOURS looking at pretty ponies on the website!

    • Horse porn!! Bahahaha that is SO true!!!

      I have always dreamed of a Connemara/TB cross- I just think it’s the perfect match of sturdiness, jumping ability and stamina.. My friend Ali just got one and he is adorable! Living the dream 🙂

  9. Love this! When I bought Pig, my list was way different from what it is today. Then I was looking for Ammy friendly, made lower level horse but not boring (certainly did not get boring!), TB if possible, moderately athletic, a face I’d like to look at.

    Now my list would be: trainable brain, slightly to moderately hot, not boring, nice enough movement to place (especially at the canter), built to hold up (NO FLUFFY ANKLE JEWELRY), between 15.3 and 17 hands, a face I wouldn’t mind looking at.

    • I didn’t put my level of ‘hotness’ in my description- but you’re right, that is wicked important. I always liked a horse with a bit of go, but not one you had to sit like a feather on.. it can be a tough horse to find!

  10. is it terrible that i try not to thing too specifically about what my eventual horse will be like?? i feel like if i had a well-defined plan i wouldn’t be able to resist browsing, ya know, casually haha…

  11. I look for a horse that jumps well. I like to see them free jump to make sure they have good instincts. I am not super picky about how one moves as long as they are sound, balanced, and have a long stride. I prefer 16 hands or taller, but I don’t mind a smaller horse if it can jump! As for my “type,” I always seem to end up with hot geldings that have weird quirks and act more like mares haha!

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