View Full Version : finding quiet trail horse?
Jul. 17, 2011, 03:49 PM
Any suggestions for sites or places to find a quiet, bombproof (or as bombproof as a horse can be) trail horse?
Jul. 17, 2011, 06:12 PM
Most areas have trail riding clubs, search the internet for something like this in your area and join.
Some of the members will have horses for sale, or know of horses for sale.
Here in Dallas when the mounted police retire a horse they sell them, I bought one of these horses and it was the BEST trail horse! You could check w/ your local Mounted police unit.
At the end of the summer dude ranches and camps often sell their horses off so they don't have to care for them over the winter, you might check w/ local riding schools that offer summer camps.
You could also check with the horse rescues in your area. Many of the horses are in foster homes and have been trained. The foster 'parents' know the horses well and can give you an honest evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses.
Racetrack pony horses can be real finds, they are pretty much 'bombproof' and believe it or not, older, retired race horses can make GREAT trail mounts. I adopted a 12 yr. old race horse from the OTTB rescue and because he'd lived his entire life on the road and at race tracks, he'd seen it all and NEVER spooked. He was truly beginner safe.
These are just a few ideas.
Jul. 17, 2011, 10:25 PM
My one came from a rescue program ( Equihab (http://equihab.com/)) a few years ago. She was a former Amish farm horse, so she had already seen machinery, traffic, loud noises, bicycles, etc. I can put anyone on her and feel like she will take good care of them. As a draft, she may not be the fastest horse on the planet, but she is reliable, quiet, and safe.
Recently I was looking around for a 2nd quiet trail horse. In June, I found her: on Facebook as a shared link of photos from a friend with "for sale" as the title of the album. I don't know how I lucked into finding that one little photo album in all of facebook. Maybe she found me? :) I just took her ring-jousting yesterday, and she did fantastic!
A few thoughts:
I am a big advocate of the older horses. Don't get hung up on age -- it's only a number.
I've had good luck with the drafty types being quieter temperament. Certainly each horse is an individual, but generally speaking I find the drafts look & think before freaking out over a sudden noise.
I've also had really good luck training-wise with ex-Amish horses, especially the older ones who have seen *everything*. A horse that can't keep up with the team pulling the plow all day in the hot sun is often just fine as a pleasure-trail type riding horse.
Jul. 18, 2011, 08:28 AM
great suggestions. thanks!
Right on Target
Jul. 18, 2011, 08:37 AM
Another option although it may be poo-pooed by some would be horse rental stables. The horses at the ones I know of are usually dead quiet and bomb proof.
Some places don't keep on their hooves, but some do, so a discriminating shopper could find a great deal at the right hack stable. The horses are also going to be priced pretty cheaply, so it can be a great deal.
Jul. 18, 2011, 10:56 AM
The best trail horse I've owned was a failed lesson horse. He simply couldnt stand packing green riders around in circles anymore. Bought him for his canner price (500 bucks at the time) threw him out in a field with my other horse, trail rode only for the rest of the time that I owned him. He would do anything, anywhere, anytime, for anybody.
I think a lot of individuals of the various gaited breeds have exceptionally stoic temperaments and seem to be hardwired to not be spooky. My grade walker is like this. Although he can be extremely worried by a potentially horse-eating booger like a parked road grader or a suspiscious clump of kudzu, he doent react with a spin or a bolt or a mental meltdown. He embraces every new trail and most new situations with a very workmanlike, "I've been here before" approach. He is very forward but not hot at all.
One other thought is that the health (mental and physical) status of the horse can be crucial to the spookiness issue. My mare is exponentially quieter now that she is getting wormed regularly and has a living situation she likes and lots of attention. She isnt nearly so worried about boogers as she was when I got her. She had many trail miles on her but was a nervous wreck. She's still the safety horse but much more dependable. And I agree, an older horse can be a better bet than a young one. My old lesson horse was in his mid to late teens when I bought him. He'd had lots of life experience as well as being well trained to do many things and just didnt invest much energy or effort into being scared.