Top tips to help you find the perfect first horse

Thursday 5th February, 2015

Buying your first horse is an incredibly exciting prospect for riders of all ages, however choosing a horse is a lot more than just picking a colour that you like. Horses vary massively in size and temperament, and each breed has been specifically bred to suit a particular style of riding.

Each discipline in the equestrian world has different needs, for instance if you think you would like to go into showing or dressage, then a bay or black fine breed such as an Arab or Thoroughbred will likely improve your chances of success in the ring thanks to their elegant paces highlighted by the beautiful sheen on their coat. However if cross country or hunting is more your thing, then you will require a heavier breed such as a Warmblood cross or Irish draught cross that will be more stable and have greater power on challenging terrain.

As a new rider, the most important aspect to consider when buying your horse is your safety. Yes, that young chestnut thoroughbred mare may look amazing in the ring when ridden by an experienced rider, but her hot-headedness, excitability and sensitive nature may prove dangerous in the hands of a rider with far less experience. That said, if you are considering competing at riding club level in the not too distant future, then a quiet, aged schoolmaster cob may not have the get up and go to help get you there, so you first need to seriously consider what you wish to do as a rider and go from there.

When searching for your first horse, you will not only need to consider the breed and age of your horse, but also the size. If you are a petite rider, then no matter how much experience you have you do not want to be ‘out-horsed’ with a large heavier breed that is far beyond your physical capabilities. Equally so, a heavier, larger framed rider needs to ensure that their mount can sufficiently bear their weight to benefit both horse and rider long term.

When visiting and trialling prospective new horses it is advisable that you take an experienced rider with you as they can cast their expert eye over both you and the horse to help you assess the horse’s suitability for your personal requirements. Finally, it is worth mentioning that the bigger the horse the bigger the care costs that come with it, so don’t fall in love with the first set of big brown eyes that you come across, do your homework and pick the right breed, size and temperament for your individual riding ability.

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