We have come to the hard realization around the barn that we need another horse or pony preferable both if we can find them in the budget. Our lesson program and summer camp program has grown substantially. Most of our current horses are older and beginning to have trouble holding up to the workload we are asking of them lately.
So Many Places To Look
It used to be you had to look at the livestock section in the newspaper to find horse sale ads. Now online there are tons of different websites that cater to helping people find horses for sale.
I used these to come up with a list of a whole bunch of horses that sound like they have good potential to fit into our program.
Any horse that we buy must be able to live up to these non-negotiables.
- 14.2-16 hands tall would be ideal
- Good ground Manners
- Knows how to cross tie
- Loads onto a trailer easily
- Has a quiet and gentle nature
- Not Spooky
- Well trained in the walk, trot, and canter
- Sound enough to work at all three gaits
- No history of bucking, rearing or bolting
- Tolerant- Tolerant enough to handle riders who give mixed signals as they are learning to ride.
It takes a special kind of horse to be a lesson horse. Finding all of these attributes in one horse may be harder than it sounds.
First Horse: “Gracie”
I have a bunch of conversations going on with people getting information about their horses. As well as trying to set up times to go try them out. I found this mare on a craigslist ad.
When we arrived she looked obviously well cared for and well fed. She was nice and round. Her winter coat was starting to shed out and you could see how pretty her paint marking was going to be.
She was out in the yard when we got there, other horses in the field were screaming to her. I was very impressed that she didn’t seem concerned in the least about being separated from the herd back in her field.
There was no place to cross tie, so Aleta held her while the woman tacked her up. She seemed a little pushy on the ground at first. Though when Aleta corrected her with a little tug on the leadline she stood like a rock from then on.
Riding In The Cornfield
There was no riding ring at this place. She had to try her out in a cornfield. It was a field that had been plowed over for the winter, so there were corn cobs and sticks everywhere.
Gracie negotiated them well and continued to not care about the horses that were calling to her. This really impressed me because a lot of mares would have been tense and trying to get back to the herd.
Gracie was quiet and stood well for mounting. She is out of shape, so maybe was acting a little lazier than she typically would. She had a nice, walk and Aleta said her trot was very comfortable to ride. Aleta had to work hard to get her to canter. I think most had to do with the ground conditions being sketchy. When she did canter, she picked up the correct lead and wasn’t super quick or anything.
She seemed to steer well and had good brakes, which are two very important factors of course!
The Verdict On Gracie
I did not love her, but I did not hate her either. She seems very well broke, but just like she hasn’t had much formal training besides that. That being said she seemed super willing. I was definitely impressed by her independence and confidence in leaving the other horses behind. She was quiet under saddle for Aleta and didn’t show any inclination of wanting to buck or bolt or anything dirty like that.
Gracie can stay on the prospect list for now. I think she has a good brain and good potential to be a nice lesson horse. Since she has not done a ton of riding and only ever ridden on a trail ride she definitely would need a little work in the ring. Though she seems the type that would catch on quickly. Her size was great, a nice large pony that is solidly built like Gracie can carry both adults and children.
Priced at $1,800. I feel like if we keep looking we can probably get a more seasoned horse for that money. If she was a super cheap horse, like say $500, I would be super interested. Since I feel she has the potential to be a nice lesson horse. Keyword being “potential” meaning it would take some time and training to get her to that point.
I really need something that I feel is ready to go straight into the program. This mare would not be that.
Gracie Get’s To Stay On The Prospect List For Now
She gets to stay on the prospect list for now. Gracie definitely was worth checking out and had a lot of good qualities. We will just be looking at a bunch of others and comparing them all. So time will tell if she stays on the prospect list or not!
For now, though, she holds the first place on the list!
Horse Shopping Is Always An Adventure
It is always an adventure looking at horses for sale. I will keep you in the loop as we meet and try some other prospects!