The Perfect Horse

The Perfect Horse
I have several friends who are horse shopping right now. It’s not easy to find that perfect horse. Maybe it’s because everyone has their own vision of perfect; maybe it’s because sellers either lie, or don’t see the problems; maybe it’s because buyers have unrealistic expectations about what a horse can do; or they fall in love with it because it has a great personality or their friend likes it.

I have to admit that I didn’t shop for my last horse. I took in Freedom as a foster for CANTER NE and discovered that I couldn’t bear to put him up for adoption. It sure beat the previous times I had shopped for a horse. I can’t tell you how many I looked at that were either:

  • Not as big as advertised;
  • Not as sound as advertised; or
  • Not as trained as advertised.

Height should be a non-negotiable, universal number but I’ve seen 16.1 hand horses that were anywhere from 15.2 to 17 hands.

I’ll admit that soundness issues can be subtle, but if you know your horse is off, I think it’s poor form to pretend you don’t notice.

And if you say that your horse has gone prelim, hopefully it wasn’t only in your dreams!

How did you find the perfect horse for you? What advice do you give to people who are looking?

4 thoughts on “The Perfect Horse

  1. I was a bit anal about shopping for a horse. I didn’t want to buy a horse that I was infatuated with and then later regret so I made a spreadsheet listing all the traits I wanted (breed, color and size weren’t on the list). I listed temperament, training level, trail experience, if they were forward, etc. Then I rated each thing on a 10 point scale and added it up — I looked at a lot of horses and bought the one that scored the highest for what I wanted (affordability was on there too). He also was the one I loved riding the most so my guy was born out by the score.

  2. May I comment on a perfect horse that I had for 27 years? First a show horse, then a lesson horse, then a well-loved retiree who passed fifteen years ago and is still thought of with affection every day, to this day. “Lindy” was a show horse (flat – not jumping) who would do everything right – as long as you asked properly, and stood for no nonsense, especially the “hurry up and wait” problems typical to horse shows – get ready, stand around, warm up, stand around, wait for other goes, stand around….eventually he learned to “stand around” when I would teach lessons to students on their horses, while riding him. But the very most “perfect” part was Lindy’s role in evaluating new-to-me students, not necessarily beginners but generally arriving with a self-proclaimed over-estimate of their own knowledge and ability to apply knowledge appropriately. In short, in the space of about 20 minutes, Lindy-as-schoolmaster could reveal the gaps in a rider’s education like no other method of assessment! Morever, he had quite a wicked sense of humor during those “revelations.” Best, most PERFECT horse ever. RIP Lindy, may you gallop soundly across green fields until we meet again in horse heaven!

    1. I was just darn lucky. I had bought a horse that wasn’t a match for me, and the seller allowed me to bring him back and trade for another horse. He told me that he had a lovey bay mare, but she was bred. I told him that I didn’t even want to see her, but of course, she was the best match for our needs. This was to be our “extra” horse for the kids and friends to ride, but within a month, she was my chosen mount. Almost eight years later, we have been everywhere together. She is the horse that will move to stay under you when you lose your balance (okay, maybe picking flowers from horseback isn’t the smartest move); when we got into a nest of bees this summer, she did no more than toss her head, even with at least a dozen stings. And that baby she was carrying? She is my 13-year-old son’s heart horse, another perfect match.

  3. My “perfect horse” wasn’t my first horse. When some serious health challenges hit our home, our small herd had to be reduced to one that I could live with. Without a doubt, the mare was the one. She is steady, trustworthy, in excellent health and has a lot of good years on her yet. Paso Fino at 14’2; her legs, feet and back are strong as any larger Quarter horse and my disabled spouse can trim her sitting in a chair. There isn’t anyone that hasn’t gotten on her that she won’t carry, from a scared first time adult to my grandchild. She has taken top place in an all-round fun show and has flown across a sounding board in a largo. No bit needed for her, just a lick and a promise in her bosal and off we go. She’s a real beauty, I am grateful she is my equine partner.

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