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!
- 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.
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!
What aspects of your horse led you to him/her? If you were to go horse-shopping tomorrow, what would your list look like?
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!
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!
Love me some draft crosses! And when I bought him, Foster was just under 16hh, now he’s 16.2! Hopefully no more growing but who knows!
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!
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!
I’m a relentless window shopper. I just send along the ones I like to friends to tempt them!
Gelding was also on my list. I ended up compromising on this for Nilla, but it’s still on my list for the next horse.
The perfect horse is so hard, even impossible, to find- I feel like some compromise somewhere is really inevitable!
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! 🙂
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.
It’s funny how the good horses can just fall into your lap! Simon definitely is a keeper 🙂
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!
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 🙂
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!
Really tough! I’m willing to err more on the side of too much hotness, but most people wouldn’t be!
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…
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!