I've put together a list of questions to ask when looking for a horse. The list is not all inclusive, there are other pertinent things to consider, but the following questions kind of put me into the mental picture of where I think a horse is in their training. I'm not opposed to working on certain areas, but I don't want take the hard knocks that a reactive horse can hand you. Been there, done that. So here is my list of prepurchase questions, and my reasoning behind some of them.
• Is horse registered? For the most part this does not matter to me if I knew I had a crystal ball and that the horse would spend its entire life with me. But since I don't...I figure a well-trained and papered horse might have a miniscule advantage to a grade horse in the rehoming dept. Especially if it is arabian/half-arabian so that it could not only compete in distance sports but perhaps be shown through the breed clubs with a new owner in a worst case scenerio. I know it is not a guarantee, but if I could choose between two horses of equal attributes, the papered horse would get my purchase dollar$ for that reason.
• Shots up to date? Can I get a copy of the record if I need it? This way the horse doesn't end up unprotected, or getting a double dose of immunizations that it does not need.
• Coggins up to date? I may have to haul the horse across state lines.
• Teeth last floated? $$$ if it is already done I see it as one less thing to pour money into that first year.
• Horse ever had an eye infection or other illness? Having dealt with REU and having my mare euthanized due to it and the fact that a horse on steroids can't compete, I want to eliminate this if at all possible.
• Has horse been ridden on trail alone? Today was a classic example of a horse with out any solo confidence. Yes, it can be trained in....maybe...and I can get pounced on the ground half a dozen or more times trying to teach it. NO THANKS.
• Safe at walk, trot, canter? Really people, isn't this standard under saddle training? I'm up to what? Horse # 6 or something? and none of them were solid at the canter?
• What upsets her/him? What bothers a horse kind of tells me a lot about his reactivity. How quickly he becomes non-reactive tells me something too.
• Does she load and travel calmly? This is Phebes biggest weakness. She totally stresses in her travels and leaks out a lot of sweat and electrolytes in the process. A ho-hum traveler would be nice.
• Clip? It just makes life easier....
• How is she with wormer? Again....I'm short, fat, and on the wrong side of fifty, just make my life easier.
• Longest trail ride she’s been on. So far the answer has been two hours. I want to hear about a horse that can GO ALL DAY.
• When she gets upset what upsets her and how do you resolve it? I can deal with some of this stuff, have had a lot of practice! But it is good to know how she blows, and how to diffuse it quickly. Does the horse spin back to the left? Or to the right? Phebes always spins to the left, like clockwork. So if things get sticky I need to support with a little left leg and right rein. Good thing to know.
• Does she stop, spook, bolt, or spinback, at fearful things? Same as above. If you know what is going to happen, you can plan for it.
• On trail does she drink readily or is she watching her surroundings? Does the horse take care of itself or is it busy googling around. I want the horse that dives into every water source with gusto.
• Does she react to motorized vehicles? If your's doesn't go give them a kiss on the nose. They are worth their weight in horse cookies.
• How is her trailer loading? Please, not antics. Just walk in, and back out. No drama.
• She ever dumped you off? It is good to know. If so what was the trigger that caused it? Maybe I can avoid getting hammered today.
Then I check the horse over nose to tail.
• Pick up feet / noting hoof condition.
*CHECK MUSCLE TONE. I've checked each and every one. Don't suppose I need to explain that but since it has been my nemesis for two years I want some soft muscles!
• Check condition of legs, and anomalies? Swellings? Heat? Pain response?
• Touch horse all over including EARS, Mouth, around eyes, under belly, under tail. Does the horse get cranky about touching?
• Saddle & bridle, short test ride. Preferably a trail ride, which I did not get today. ~E.G.
Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance
Favorite Links for training, gear, and memberships!
- National Association of Competitive Mounted Orienteering
- HOW TO CMO
- What is CMO?
- Old Dominion Endurance Rides
- Renegade Hoof Boots
- Riding vs. Racing a discussion with the Duck.
- Trumbull Mountain's INTRO TO ENDURANCE RIDING
- Principles of Conditioning
- Conditioning the endurance horse by SERA
- Short Article: Feeding & Training the Endurance Horse
- Feeding the Endurance Horse, Swedish Author
- Preventing Dehydration In the Endurance Horse, Ontario Competitive Trail Riding Association
- Jim Holland's fantastic training links here!
- South Eastern Distance Rider's Association