Is it really this hard to find a plain, quiet horse? (updated last page)
I need to vent about my horse shopping frustration. I live in VA, horses everywhere. I sent my horse to a trainer to be sold recently. He's quiet most of the time but has a huge random spook in him and I'm too timid/crippled to deal with that now (had a bad riding accident several years ago and broke my back badly.) All I want is something really quiet to do low level dressage on at home, I don't jump anymore and I don't show. I don't trail ride so don't care about that either. My budget is not huge but not tiny (mid four figures.) I don't care about age as long as it's not ancient. I don't even care if it's 100% sound as long as it's sound enough to work a few days a week.
I've been driving all over the place (VA and NC) looking at horses on the weekends lately. The last three have been decent, but not what I wanted (one was mainly a trail horse and not quite broke enough for me in the ring, one was really short strided, funky feet and not quite as quiet as I want, and one was a big moving forward horse that while lovely and quiet, was intimidating.)
I'm getting really frustrated as it seems the horse I want may not exist. Starting to think I may just need to hang it up and find a new hobby. Of course I have a retired horse and a companion pony so it seems stupid not to get something to ride if I'm taking care of horses anyway (I have my own farm). I've told everyone I can think of thinking maybe I'd find something by word of mouth.
I really just wanted to vent to someone who might understand, but am open to suggestions if anyone has any. This is bumming me out... it's nice out and I want to ride!
Last edited by KPF; Jun. 11, 2013 at 11:15 AM.
I feel your pain. All I want is a dead quiet trail horse, with smooth WTC. DH's horse is dead but really dumb.
I got my fifth horse since I lost my heart horse in 2005. This one was a child's lesson pony, the one they put the scared kids on. She's ok, no attachment to me, but doesn't like to be on the trail when the horses go fast. Nerves, separation, I don't know. She's for sale now too. I am about to give up, sell the farm, travel full time, and just lease from time to time.
There is no snooze button on a cat that wants breakfast.
Guess a good number of them must be down here in Texas!
Maybe look at Camelot but that may be a bit far? Honestly not sure distance-wise up there. When you have a big state such as Texas, distance perspective is a bit warped!
Clancy 17hh chestnut Dutch WB, '99. Owned and loved since '04 and still goin'!
I'm getting really frustrated as it seems the horse I want may not exist.
The horse you want is out there, but I haven't seen it in your price range any time recently -- at least not in VA, and not something that wasn't a trail horse. Quiet, decent gaits, and good training? That's the horse that everyone wants and it is worth its weight in gold.
That having been said, are there any good lesson barns near you? You may try calling up to see whether someone has a horse that's in decent shape and nearing retirement from the school string but not from being a riding horse -- they may be willing to part with one. It could be a win-win for everyone.
According to the Mayan calendar, the world will not end this week. Please plan your life accordingly.
I would not suggest looking at Camelot since you don't have any guarantee that what you see is what you get in that...they don't really have the time or ability to fully evaluate a horse.
The lesson barn idea is a good one, and I certainly wouldn't discount rescues (good ones, etcetc).
Like loshad says, the horse you want is out there...they're just in high demand. What you might consider is every couple of weeks setting aside some money as you search so you can slowly grow the amount of money you could feasibly use to buy the horse and open up your search pool some.
KPF, you would have loved the horse I've been part-leasing, except he is quite boingy/springy. But he literally has NO spook whatsoever and he has impeccable breaks. So there ARE horses like that out there. He definitely restored my faith (now too bad I cannot keep him. )
I definitely, 100% feel your frustrations. I am in fact so over the process in general I am ready to just hang it up!
I don't know if you have any "higher end" camps down there... but they often lease horses out at the end of the summer, sometimes retire a handful... the camp I was involved with up here has lovely horses and most are pretty spook proof, safe to hack out (even W/T/C in big groups on the trail) and have basic dressage training and they jump, too. In fact maybe I will give them a call and see if they have something for each of us!!!!
We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.
Everyone and their dog is getting older and many newbies are not as intense about learning to really become proficient for the more challenging horse, so yes, you are competing with what most buyers out there are looking for.
There is whatever we want out there, but it will be at a higher price, less pretty, green or not quite the kind of training we are looking for, different breed, sex, color or height that we may want.
The more we want in the horse we are looking for, the harder to impossible it will be to find.
If we ask less, there are more out there that may fit.
I say, just enjoy the search, because it will have to take as long as it takes.
Maybe try carrying your rabbit's leg with you when you go horse shopping.
[QUOTE=Bank of Dad;6991054]I feel your pain. All I want is a dead quiet trail horse, with smooth WTC. DH's horse is dead but really dumb.[QUOTE]
I suggest a nice mule, even a gaited mule (I have one of these). Can't accuse mules of being dumb, and most have a pretty good work ethic. I bought mine as a trail mount...he's great, gaited but has a nice comfortable WTC and he jumps like a horse vs. coon-mule jump
I would suggest looking at QH's. Lots out there and at bargain prices. Most all are quiet quiet horses. All shapes and sizes and colors. Just rode with one this weekend, he was perfectly behaved. I used to have one and sold him due to him being so dull (to me). I like a little spice every now and then. For a solid quiet horse, a QH is a great breed to have.
I have what you are looking for as well, but I made him myself. Bought him at 16 months old and now at 13, he is very quiet, very broke, and just easy. Are you in a position to buy something greener and then have some training put on it? That is probably what I would do.
One idea, which worked for me by pure luck, is to take lessons at a good lesson barn. It gets you back into the horse network, gives you a place to "try" a prospective new horse and trained eyes to help you decide. And, if you're really lucky like I was, you may find yourself riding one particular horse for six months and then campaign to buy him. That is how I fell into finding King. And, I really had to campaign hard to get him ... but I persevered and finally won out. Might work for you, just an idea.
KR, I'd love to do that but "good lesson barn" has become an oxymoron around here! I actually had an ex-schoolie a few years ago, he was really old and had lots of physical issues but he was a doll to ride. I took him in when the lesson program shut down and nobody wanted him. Kept him till he had to go to the big pasture in the sky about a year and a half later. He was such a nice horse and enjoyed having his own person at the end.
rmhrider, funny, the one I have now is a QH. He is really quiet most of the time but is catty with an occasional big spook. My retired guy is an Appendix QH and was quiet as could be. I'm not looking for any breed in particular and am even willing to do a smaller horse provided it has a big enough body to take up my leg. I'm not interested in gaited horses but there aren't a lot of those around here anyway.
I'm also open to either geldings or mares, as I have one of each already. I don't mind something on the greener side but it has to have the fundamentals down, I have a good pro who can help me. The horse I have now has come a long way since I got him 2 years ago.
Loshad, what do you think is a reasonable price for this elusive critter? I'm open to spending a little more but unless I'm missing something, I shouldn't need to pay 10k for a non- fancy horse that doesn't jump or trail ride and may not be 100% sound, especially one that might be 15.1 or 15.2H. Honestly though I'm open to looking at stuff a few thousand over my budget because if I found the perfect one I could make it work. I'm STILL not finding anything.
If you don't want a horse for upper levels and want a nice, quiet, laid back and dependable ride then look at camp horses, lesson barn horses, trail riding place horses and ranch horses. They're out there, but they sell *fast.*
You jump in the saddle,
Hold onto the bridle!
Jump in the line!
I board at a big boarding/lesson/eventing/foxhunting barn and have seen a lot of horses go through here.
Many of the solid citizen types and best lesson horses have been thoroughbreds. They might be looky, might be on the forward side or try a lttle too much (although some are dead lazy). However, they tend to broadcast a spook way before it happens. They generally have great brains and a great work ethic. If they come off the track, they have seen everything.
I'm a timid older rider and all three of mine have been TBs. I started with an ex-eventer in her twenties and now have two eight year olds, both of which I got green.