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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Part 3 - Bonus Footage

Apparently I already had a draft of Part 3.......that I forgot about.

When I started part 3, I had a slightly different focus in mind. Because this might be useful for someone else, or myself in the future, I'm going to post it. Don't have time to edit it right now, so please excuse the roughness of the prose!

Starting version 1 of Part 3!
Below are some questions I try to answer for myself when I see a horse. After getting to know the horse, I'll deliberately put the horse into a situation to see if I can get a reaction to try and get to know the personality a bit better. I might also ask the seller some of these questions, but I find it better if I can answer these for myself.

Conformation - I focus on the feet and work my way up. Generally speaking the lower structures carry more "weight" with me. Thus with Farley I started at her feet (absolutely amazing, big, strong, WONDERFUL feet), moved up to the legs (suprisingly straight, with good bone for such a little horse), so the middle of the body (weak hindquarters, stands underneath her self, HUGE wither, slightly dippy back, pointy bump on hindquarters, but exceptional heart girth), and then the head and neck (great neck with a pretty head). I don't need a perfect looking horse, so I focus on functional confo, including movement. If it's acceptable, I move on to the next step.

I try to find out what kind of "spook" they have - is it an in place freezing, or a bolt, or a drop the shoulder and spin? (Farley is an in place spooker)

Are they more likely to freeze or move their feet in an uncertain situation? (I prefer a horse that moves it's feet, Farley is a freezer)

Do they thrive on new experiences? Can they not wait to see what's around the next bend of the trail? Do they argue with me when I change my mind and do something out of routine?

Do they generally have a quiet demeanor or do they have a "high energy" aura that surrounds them?

Are the comfortable just hanging out with you or are they always on the move trying to check something out?

What kind of upbringing have they had? Have they been mostly stalled? by themselves? in a herd? Were they raced or at least brought to fairs as a racing potential? (I prefer race trained horses who were lightly or never raced) When were they broke to ride (I prefer a later broke horse)?

Do they like arena work and trail work equally or do they have a strong opinion about one or ther other?


  1. Can you get a race horse that is started late?

    I don't like a frozen horse spook either.

    I also prefer a more forward horse. Compared to a horse that wants to stop or turn around. Some horses definately like the trail more than others. And some enjoy hard work more than others.

    I have 4 riding horses right now and have rode countless others. They are all so different in ways and all so the same. There are qualities I like and dislike in all of them. Although my newest gelding is just about as perfect (for me) as I can get.


  2. I agree with so much of what you've said here Mel...and I always swore that when I was shopping for the "next horse" (after Story, before Fiddle), I would pay attention to all that kind of stuff.

    I reckoned without the Universe.

    The Universe (apparently) decided that, while I *wanted* a short, sweet, amenable standardbred mare, what I *needed* was a tall, green, opinionated standardbred mare.

    (Fortunately, the Universe agreed with me that big, strong, well-formed feet were necessary.)

  3. Michelle - obviously I won't get everything on my wish list! Minx and Farley were both broke for the racetrack. Farley never raced (determined she was too immature) but still traveled to the races etc., was used as a broodmare (another clue she wasn't ridden hard early). Thus I got my wish for a horse with a lot of "life" expereience and not allowed to be a "pet", but also not over ridden. Minx was also raced - more than Farley - but not young and hard for whatever reason. Minx had a harder time staying sound, but I think that was mostly due to my ignorance and her conformation.


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