Friday, October 8, 2010

Pre-Ride Check on New Horse

I received this e-mail from Judy in Phoenix, AZ: "I am in my mid 30's and will shortly be buying my first horse. Several people at the barn, I will stable my horse at, have offered to go with me. I am a fairly novice rider. Should I do a test ride first? And what should I do when trying out a horse? I know me and I think I'll just fall in love with the first horse that I know could be mine, but I know what a responsibility this will be and want to make a good choice., and not look like an idiot."

Judy, good questions! Like your attitude about horses. As you can probably tell from my videos, I never worry about looking like an idiot. Horses ain't the right business to get into if you have a big ego anyway.

Test riding a horse is mandatory. I suggest a few things when you get into the saddle. Does the horse move off when you mount? Does the horse willing give to lateral flexion when you ask for it in a direct rein? Does the horse back upon cue? Does the horse move his front end or back end over with leg pressure? This will give you an idea on how broke the horse is for riding and what to expect from him when you ride him off. You could ask the owner to ride the horse first, fact this would be a good idea, and ask the owner to demonstrate what the horse knows. Watch how the horse reacts to the rider.

Many times I'll ride with somebody and am asked to ride their horse to see what I think a problem may be. I always or nearly always go through a little pre-ride check before taking the horse forward. The below video shows you what I basically do.

A vet check on any prospective horse may be a good idea also as it may you some problems. Take along anybody who has more experience than you; listen to them; but make your own non-emotional decision would be my advice. I suggest you ask the owner why he/she is selling the horse as well. Good luck to you and safe journey.

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