Are You Searching for the Perfect Riding Horse?

 By: Sonia Dixon
To save you the time and money finding that perfect horse, I shall tell you the truth; the 'perfect horse' does not exist. Even the greatest looking 'well bred' horses fall short of the mark. Before you go to great expense of buying a horse, you need to consider how much commitment and time you will be investing in your riding career. You can even evaluate how good a rider you are, and how much you really know about horses and horse care. All the above are more important than the amount of money and time spent 'upfront'. At the start you have to be honest with yourself; do you need the training to become a better rider? Do you need books and videos to look at the theory of horse riding to begin with? You need to really consider this huge commitment.

Your Horse

Some people search for a black horse, some look for a white horse, others a grey horse. For the perfect riding horse there are 3 main ingredients: conformation, temperament and time. Generally you do not have to search for too long; as long as the horse has a reasonable conformation and a nice temperament, which is all that matters at this stage. With training and time spent with your new companion, it is possible to create a wonderful riding horse from almost any horse you choose. What size and age of horse would work best for your riding?

Now that you have fallen in love with a flashy looking equine - his conformation is great and so is his balance. You notice that your horse has the potential to progress quickly and easily, to get the results you want. What will you do next? Is your horse a happy horse? His conformation may be great but if he is an unhappy horse, he will not be much fun riding. Check the horse's temperament: is he quiet, feisty, pushy, amenable, or grumpy? If this is your first time with horses and you are not very comfortable with them, my advice is not to get a pushy horse, as you will find it ruling you, and not the other way around. When you have found your dream horse what do you want to achieve and is THIS the horse for you? Are you going to be horse racing, horse riding, hunting, driving, barrel racing, or jumping? Are you going to ride at all? Are you learning to ride or improving your riding skills? You can also get horses just to drive.

If you are not comfortable with horses, do not get a pushy horse, as you will find it ruling you and not the other way around. Temperament is important. When your horse is willing to work with you and is open to learning and trying out new things, it then becomes so much easier to further his training and progress. You both have to share the journey and experiences; you both have to enjoy the riding experience. Your horse's character and spirit must shine through, and you must feel in control of him.

A word of advice: if you do not have horse experience, then do not buy a young horse and try to train it. One reason is that you will be more comfortable with an experienced horse and also for safety reasons to yourself and your horse. Wait until you have more experience or you will have to pay the price for your mistakes - such as injuries to you and your horse because you did not know what you were doing. Take an experienced friend with you to check out horses. They can help you assess the horse so you do not end up buying a horse that is way too much for you to handle. Your experienced friend can also ride the horse for you to assess if it would work for you. If the current owner is riding the horse, and they insist you do not need to try the horse - do not walk away from them - run away from them as quickly as possible!

When you have your horse what matters most is what you actually do with your horse, and how much time you put in. If you do not train him or do very much with him, he will not become a very good riding horse. You have searched for your perfect riding horse; don't you want to ride him too? If you are learning to ride take a look at your videos and books. Now you have the theory you are ready to go. Finally, you may not have thought about this, but in reality, every time you sit on your horse, you are training it, either in a good way or in a bad one.
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