Wednesday, September 8, 2010

My Next Horse

Now that Maisie's retired and soon to be living in Tennessee, it's time for me to evaluate my horse situation. Dawn's a wonderful horse, and I very much enjoy working with her, but she'll always be my younger daughter's horse (as my younger daughter's always reminding me), even though I'm getting to ride her during the school year while my daughter's away at college. And I don't ever think Dawn will be my reliable trail horse, although I think she'll get better at staying calm and being able to do some trail riding without big spooks and bolting. She's always going to be somewhat reactive and high-strung, although we're making some progress on toning this down, and also on her ability to accept direction and self-calm. My daughter loves riding her on the trails for miles and miles (bareback no less!) and they do very well doing that together, but I doubt that's in my future.

I want another horse. I'm getting older now - I'll soon be 60 - and I want a horse that I can enjoy going down the trail with, at the walk, trot, canter/lope, for as many hours and miles as we want, and that will hop on the trailer and go with me on excursions, with or without other horses and riders. I have no interest in competition of any sort, although I find the ranch horse/versatility/trail type of competitions more interesting, although I'm not sure I'll ever be competing - I like the idea that horses can deal with whatever's presented and who have a variety of skills. I love learning new things and working with my horses on new things. I don't have any interest any more in jumping, although I enjoy basic dressage and think all horses, in whatever tack they're ridden, can benefit from this work.

So what do I want? Color and gender (no stallions) are unimportant (although I do have a slight bias towards bay horses, particularly bay mares, but that can be overcome). Breed? I've always been partial to big, hot horses, or small ones for that matter, but I think it's time for a change. I'm thinking a QH, Appaloosa, Paint or cross with those. (I realize I'm leaving out lots of good breeds here, but those are my current preferences.) Size? Between 15.0 and 15.2 hands - although I'm tall, I want to be able to easily mount from the ground. Key criteria: a good mind and temperament (intelligent, calm but responsive) come first, as well as complete soundness and the confirmation to stay sound - including really good legs and nice, big, well-shaped feet. I don't mind doing some training to develop a horse that's been well-started at an appropriate age (that is, not too young) by someone who trains horses without using coercive methods and who knows what they're doing. If the horse has already done some miles on the trails, that would be a positive. I don't want a "project" - no horses who've had mental or physical problems "trained in". I also don't want a horse that's been competed heavily in any discipline, or asked to do work that's too mentally or physically challenging at too young an age, or that's spent most of its time in a show barn, stalled environment with limited turnout. Ideally, I'd be buying a horse directly from its breeder or someone who's had/known the horse since it was young - I'd prefer to know the horse's history and the temperament/soundness/history of the horse's immediate relatives. If the horse has color, I want to be sure the breeding was for quality and temperament and not just for color. I'm thinking a horse between 4 to 10 years of age.

I'd prefer to know the horse's breeding - I'm a fan of the old-time classic QH lineages including those that my Noble carried (King, Leo and Peppy for example) and I've got a positive bias towards Three Bars (Noble had a good bit of him in the pedigree). Those of you who know QH lines much better than I do, give me some other names to look for. I'm somewhat leary of horses with Impressive in their lineage, even if they're HYPP N/N - my apologies to those who like these horses, and I prefer more of a working than a halter body type. Those who know Appaloosa and Paint lines, give me your opinions of what I should be looking for or avoiding.

Geographic location isn't key - I'll travel a fair ways to find the right horse and bring it home, although obviously a horse that's close by will be easier for me to look at. I'm willing to bend or break some of these preferences for the right horse, except for the mind, temperament, soundness and confirmation ones - those I'm sticking to, and I'm willing to take the time to find the right horse. Since fall is upon us, it may be spring before I really get going on my search, but who knows? Something good may turn up this fall.

I want a good working horse who can be my companion and pleasure mount for the next stage of my riding life. Any horse that comes to me will be a "forever horse" - I will take care of it myself or arrange for its care with people whose standards of care are equal to mine for the rest of its life, notwithstanding accident, injury or soundness. If you know of such a horse, or know a good person or breeder to get in touch with about such a horse, please let me know privately by e-mail. I'll be searching the internet too - if you have favorite sites, let me know that too. As I evaluate various horses, I may ask for the advice and opinions (public or private) from those of you out there who have so much knowledge to share. This could be fun!

36 comments:

  1. Oh, this is exciting! A horse hunt! I will be living vicariously through you on your horse finding adventures.

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  2. Exciting!

    I know the QH lines best and those you know of are my favorites too, the foundation lines seem to have the "hardiest" of horses and temperment. Keep us posted!

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  3. What fun indeed. This should be an interesting search! Can't wait to be there with you.

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  4. Don't forget about a haflinger! :)

    I all seriousness though it sounds like your priorities are in order. I think QH's are a great breed. I think it would be fun to maybe start with finding trainers (who also breed) that you really agree with and start your horse search there? I think if I ever buy a trained horse again I am going to be extremely picky about who that trainer actually is.

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  5. I'm definitely a stock breed lover. QHs and Paints are my favorite, but Paints are my most favorite because they're essentially just Quarter Horses with extra chrome. :) They're super smart, calm, willing, and versatile. Well, most of them.

    I'm so far out of the bloodline debate I can't even begin to tell you what to look for or stay away from, but I have seen some extremely athletic Impressive bred horses. Personally, I don't think you should exclude a horse that you like because it carries a specific bloodline... unless the bloodline can pose a physical problem.

    Good luck with your search! I wish I was in a position to go horse shopping... I think you'll be able to find a great horse at a great price.

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  6. How Exciting, Kate! New horses are FUN! I myself am partial to Paints, but that's mostly because I like a sturdy, stock type horse, and Paints are that, plus they have the chrome! But hey, that's just me, and I am a little biased:) What ever horse you decide on, I hope you find just what you're looking for...I know I did:)

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  7. So exciting!! I'm glad you have strict guidelines for your new horse. Very smart shopping. I hope you find your perfect horse soon. :)

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  8. in2paints - I agree that there are some good Impressive breds - but some of the ones I've seen, even those that are HYPP N/N have poor confirmation - very tiny upright feet and huge massive bodies even when they're not in work - that's a confirmation combination that's a recipe for disaster. So I don't rule out Impressive breds, but I'll be extra careful about soundness/structural issues and body type.

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  9. well you know I would vote Appy, but it needs to be the right one.Good luck on this exciting new venture. If only we had known , and you were closer .Classy would have fit right in with you .Oh well therte are a world of good horses out there to be tried!

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  10. Kate, What fun to begin thinking about a new horse! I agree with your priorities. I put disposition above most other requirements because I think it is most important. The only horse I've ever purchased (Buckshot) is an older, semi-retired school horse Appaloosa gelding, who had worked at the track as a track pony, and whose calm disposition trumped his age, for my needs. I have found him to be very tractable, reliable, and with plenty of energy for our riding. Quarter horses can also be very good horses, if their disposition is a good one. Best of luck to you - I know you'll find a wonderful partner!

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  11. Kate, how exciting that you are looking for a new horse! I have no input on breeds at all. I do know that I am very lucky with how Gilly turned out for where he came from. A rescue colt, said to be Tennessee Walker(mother) Quarter Horse(father) know nothing of their background. But Gilly is big, strong, has wonderful legs and feet; a very healthy boy, has a wonderful personality and temperament.
    When I got him I was only looking to rescue a horse that needed a good home and some good food. Little did I know that I had a diamond in the rough. He is turning out to be a great horse.

    Hope you can find a horse that is all you are looking for and more!!!
    I can't wait to see your new horse when you find it!
    Jane

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  12. I think this is very exciting. And I also think you're making the right decision in looking for a QH or paint QH. I've had many different breeds and of all the breeds the QH and paints have been the most sensible, easily trained, unspookable, great trail horses etc. They are just so versatile you can't say enough good things about them.

    Good luck in your search.

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  13. How exciting, Kate! I had a very similar list when I started my search for my first (and only) horse. I did a lot of searching of different breeds and after 4 months, I found Gem. The Canadian breed had everything I was looking for, including being easy keepers. I would strongly recommend a Canadian. Here's one site you can check out: http://ucdcanadianhorse.ca/history.shtml. If you have any questions, you know where to find me! :-)

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  14. Well how fun!!! I too second the "Don't forget the Halflinger". I'd add Halflinger to the QH (Your lines are my favs too), Paint and Appy list.

    If I come across anything that I'd buy myself I'll be sure to push it on to you.

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  15. Horse shopping! I will live through you vicariously. :) I agree with your list and also staying in the smaller height range. Of course that means the perfect horse will be 17 hands! Anyway, I've found I like being closer to the ground these days and when I bought Sky one of the things I liked about her was that she wasn't big at all (15.3) but had a huge stride.

    You should have a lot of good shopping options once you get your search going. This has to be an excellent buyer's market for horses. And can I say if you end up with a cute, blingy paint I will be so jealous! :)

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  16. fernvalley - your Classy would have been very nice - sorry my timing was off!

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  17. If you're looking at Quarter Horses, one of the good minded lines is Mr. San Peppy - not Peppy San who was his full brother. Look for the foundation bloodlines, and if you can get your hands on the series of books Legends Volunme 1 to 7, they will give you a wealth of information about Quarter Horses.

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  18. A nice easy going GELDING (hint, hint) should do the trick!
    Scout's gonna need a pasture playmate...;-)

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  19. Don't forget about the draft crosses - they aren't all monsters, there's lots of 15.2ish ones, and they tend to have really good brains.

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  20. Lily is out of Doc Bar and Lena, but we've just exhausted my QH knowledge.

    The gaited four year old at our barn that's for sale is a remarkable trail horse and very good minded - but you didn't mention gaited, so I presume that's not an option.

    I'm glad you're looking for a trail horse, I think you'll have a great time finding the right match. You know i hear morgans are pretty nice... :)

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  21. Oh, good luck with your search. You have a good list of characteristics you are looking for.

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  22. Oh my goodness, Kate, you are describing the PERECT horse!! I LOVE it. Quincy Dan is a horse I like a lot. I've had two Quincy horses--my first colt and Cia (my filly--They were both the sweetest, non-spook horses. But I've got a lot of good ones out there--Quarter Horse and Paint. I've gotten recommendations from farriers (who see it all) and trainers. A few of my horses I had inspected first by a friend who trains. I figured if they believed in them, they'd let me have a "trial" with a good trainer. It was a win/win for them. So, I'd take them for a week and hand them over--she'd ride them hard--push their buttons and give me the assessment. In reality, of course, there is no perfect horse, but she'd tell me what I was dealing with and then I could decide whether that was something I wanted to take on. She found hoof/health, temperament,training/etc. issues. It was money well spent. Before I ever took them to her I evaluated them myself. Of course, I have to throw out Mustang here, too, but you said you don't want a project. Still, one that's already trained, good feet, etc.--....wow, I've written a lot. Apparently, I like this subject! Good luck!! And since I'm not buying horses anymore--I'll live vicariously through you. ;)

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  23. I've lucked out with two adoptees and my Chance is probably just the kind of horse you are looking for. He's about 15.3, and an American Warmblood out of a paint mare and sired by a big,(I think) Holsteiner.

    Wonderful disposition, good feet, big bodied and he LOVES to go out exploring on the trails. I call him my "perfect retirement horse."

    There must be another one like him out there. Adopting may not be for you, but it's worth a look to see what's out there in the rescues. Sometimes they know all the horse's history and background, too.

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  24. I do know what you mean about having a horse you can get on!..No point in trying to climb on some back breaker.

    I like Appys, the ones over here can be too big! So bred one myself, she is my project! Be a couple of years yet! But she`ll take over from Gracie.
    Why Appy`s? Well, the one I have got has a temperament to die for, calm, intelligent, great feet, well muscled, and gonna be around 15.2 ish! So what can I say, had irish Drafts for years, tried all sorts, but prefer Mares, and something that will be kind to me as I get older! No bone breakers!

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  25. Cool - how exciting to be searching for a new horse! I think QH/APHA is a good place to start. Appys too, of course! :-)

    I think your criteria are very sound. I know nothing of bloodlines, so I can't be of much help there.

    Keep us posted on your progress!

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  26. What an exciting time! Don't discount looking at pony horses on the track. If/when it's time to go hubby horse shopping I'm going to look there for a horse. A lot of those guys tend to be stock bred, super sound, seen and done everything, on the shorter side, and can take a joke. I love "horse shopping" online, I often look online even though I am in no place to buy a horse and if I could Rex would be at the top of my list... still fun to look! I bet your vet and farrier can point you towards some good horses, word of mouth is a great way to find those gems.

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  27. Everyone loves vicarious horse shopping! Sounds like you know what you're looking for, and you've narrowed down you "must haves" which is always a good place to start. Good luck with the search! If I come across anything that might fit the bill, I'll be sure to let you know!

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  28. Both of my quarters are related to Impressive, one of my horses is affected, one is not. You can probably guess which one by looking at them.

    I think a build like my mare's would suit you. Her grandsire is Zippo Pine Bar, well known for producing great pleasure horses.

    You might also want to look at Doc Bar grandbabies. They're bred for cutting and reining but really are much more multipurpose than that.

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  29. Just to throw this out there--Impressive went back to Three Bars three times in his immediate 4-generation pedigree :)

    All of my horses have Impressive blood in them, even my gray mare Paula, who could never win a halter class LOL. Much like Three Bars, Impressive has proliferated so many pedigrees, that excluding him might really limit your searches. Sometimes it's so far back you don't even know, so maybe just specifying you'd like performance-bred rather than halter bred would be a better indication? For example, you wouldn't want a Kids Classic Style horse. You'd probably be more interested in an Artful Move horse. :)

    For example, here is one Impressive-bred mare who is one of the top performing quarter horses in the industry right now: http://www.allbreedpedigree.com/vital+signs+are+good

    Not trying to talk you into anything, though. One older, non-Impressive but Three Bars line is Sonny Dee Bar. Very good minded horses there :)

    Goldseeker Bars is another Three Bars line. He was a Supreme Champion, meaning he did halter, performance (even cutting) and racing. He was the ultimate all-round quarter horse.

    Check out my friend's website at paintedprairiefarm.com She has some really nice, registered horses for sale. :)

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  30. Yay horse shopping! That is very exciting and you seem to really have it narrowed down. I will make a plug for a good QH. I grew up around them and still own a 1/2 QH and they are nothing if not solid, steady partners. They have some of the most amazing minds and capabilities! That is IF you find them from good breeders :) I am also a big fan of the traditional lines. Good luck!

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  31. Ahhhh - you have an excuse to look at "horse porn" :) Enjoy the search - and don't forget about ottbs!

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  32. Jessie - I knew you'd be able to help me learn more about Impressives! Thanks for the info - most of my biases can be overcome with better information!

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  33. Oh what fun!! I can't wait to see/read what you keep thinking about as you make your choice. Whatever it is..what a lucky horse it will be :)

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  34. Don't forget to look at some of the gaited breeds too. Especially the Mountain Horse breeds. I am 58 and when I was looking for a horse, I decided to glide instead of bounce and love riding my Kentucky Mountain horse.

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  35. Lots of luck in your search for a new partner Kate. Always exciting to enjoy new horses vicariously!

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  36. Oh, what fun!! My horse Harley is a reg. Appaloosa, but in reality is 1/2 QH and is a great-grandson of Impressive. He's 15.3 and not hugely built and has big old feet. He's sane and quiet. I too, love stock horses for their quiet attitudes and prefer the old lines. My only advice is to pick the horse based on individuality and don't get too hung up on bloodlines. There's a lot of good horses out there who can't help who their relatives are/were!! :)

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