also - i've had 2 relatively inexpensive horses (that i didn't know) have the (basic) vet check miss some pretty serious issues. one a torn ligament in the stifle and the other had an old broken hip (possibly a foal injury?). both had to be retired young.
i had one more expensive (esp. to me) horse x-rayed w/in an inch of his life, and when he changed environments (cross country - different hay, etc.) he turned into a nut job!
knowing what you have might be a major plus!
these days if i'm on dream horse i only look at 1's and 2's and the occasional 3 for temperament. if they didn't bother to fill that out i don't bother looking.
Listen to your trainer!! I will fill in details of a few of my own experience...but first I have to say...ARE YOU NUTS?? I mean that in a good way, but, you have a six year old, healthy, sane, reliable horse that you did well with in a show, that you know, that you can ride, and you are are going to pass her over for....what, exactly? Some unknown horse in an ad you know zero about?
A lot of horses look good in ads and indeed, some of them will turn out to be nice with nothing major wrong. But so many have things wrong, or are very different than presented. Take that Arab WB cross that someone pasted the ad , you saw it being very hot in the warmup ring. That was not disclosed in the ad. So many sellers don't disclose important information.
I personally knew two people who did that when selling, fellow boarders...I knew the horses well, both women got injured with the horses, one multiple times. Think they disclosed any of the horse's issues in the ads, or to the buyers? Nope. One of them a mare, had a nasty intermittent spook and bolt problem, guess what the ad said? No vices, lovely horse . A nice looking well bred WB mare, if she didn't; spook that day a person was trying her , the buyer would have no idea..
I'll tell you about a few people I know who encountered miserable problems after buying expensive, well bred and trained horses. One spent a fair amount of $ on a horse in another state, the horse vetted sound, after three months in Florida it developed head shaking syndrome. The sellers swore it never had it before, and the vet could not tell if he had it prior, or the climate change triggered it. The horse is not rideable part of the year due to flare-ups of the condition, she loves him, but what a heartache and drain of $.
Another young woman, a very accomplished rider, bought an expensive WB in Europe, she even spent a few weeks there and rode him during the shopping trip, had ridden him several times. A very talented, beautiful horse. after arrival, they go into training, show a few times, then for unknown reasons, horse develops a nasty bucking problem and the rider got thrown and broke her shoulder, lost all her confidence in the horse and last I heard (she moved him) she is not showing him now.
And my own experience buying horses I knew nothing about...one turned out fairly well, the other a disaster that I got injured and broke my pelvis and had to sell him. Even the horse that turned out fairly well (current horse, ) has a lot of training issues...not his fault he was an impulse buy, but I had to learn over 2 years how to ride and handle him.
Best of luck , I don't usually post this much on one topic but this hurts to see someone passing up a known, really nice horse that they can enjoy tomorrow if they wanted to.
It's true that knowing a horse can be good but I'll tell you my story. Use to board at a barn, was there for years and years. My husband use to ride a horse there that i started riding after a few months. He was my first barrel horse. He was somewhat hot and had threw people but never even attempted with me. Me and him clicked and that was it. I rode him a year and the horse decided he wanted no one else on him. I decided to buy him. Being stupid I didn't vet check him. I had known him for 4 years and he never had an issue. Great shape, looked amazing, never a lame step. After 3 months of me owning him he started limping just a little. Ended up he had a bone spur in his knee and major djd. He was done. I did do knee surgery on him and stem cell injections and other injections ao he could retire comfortably. I loved the horse. This issue was a very old injury, nothing née but the horse was so stoic the university vets said he should have been dead lame by now not a 2 on the scale. He also turned out to be 28 about not 12 like I was told and I believed because of his temperament and energy as well as his looks. The only way we knew were by teeth and because I trusted the barn owners I never looked or questioned it. So in other words anything can happen. Doesn't matter if you've known the horse. I bought my first horse that I didn't know before about 2 years ago and he is the best purchase I've ever made. Yes, people lie. I found this out horse shopping but if you have a good horse sense you can read a horse fairly easy unless it's drugged. I saw many up to 20k that were crazy and showed me that and I saw some that just the look in their eye and the demeanor told me this horse probably has some issue. That's the risk you take when buying a horse.
Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole
I guess I am somewhere in the middle. I like going to shows and not making a fool of myself, but it is also just as important to me to have a strong relationship with the horse and to be able to feel safe. I want to be able to go on trail rides and not have a death grip on the reins the entire time. This fall I would like to try fox hunting at the local hunt club, but I will likely just hill top (or whatever they call the group that just follows behind). I use to say that I wanted to event, but once I started regularly taking jumping lessons I am not sure I have the nerves to canter at a solid fence.
while it is all good to say we are in this for fun - think a minute: how fun will it be to struggle to get a horse forward? how fun will it be to struggle to get the horse in horizontal balance? how fun will it be when all your friends pass you by while you are still struggling with x?
sure the mare *might* be able to be trained up the levels - but only by a very good trainer -
so my suggestion is: find a more appropriate mount that you will HAVE FUN training..... one where it is easy for them to do the work so you dont have to force yourself into forcing them to do something they would rather not.
Even if neither horse appeals, why not get in touch with this group & just talk horses with them.
Have you looked at this horse? likely over your budget but you may be able to sort something - I'd request video
A budget of 3K should buy you a decent dressage prospect but focus on conformation & movement, request conformation photos & suitable movement video from every horse before you drive anywhere - sit down with your trainer, she will be able to tell you what you want to see on video, it's likely you'll need to request additional video from sellers ... then plan a road trip day & visit several horses.
As for "knowing" a horse, if horse is not currently doing what you want to do with the horse, if horse has not been challenged physically & mentally (as 1st Level dressage would either video mare), then horse is still very much an unknown.
If you like draft crosses, then also familiarize yourself with PSSM in horses.
I ran into some people I know who planned on buying their daughter a horse.
1. Didn't know what kind of horse.
2. Daughter hadn't ridden in about 5 years so she had no ideas of Western versus English or anything like that.
3. The idea of a vet check or a trainer's expertise was new to them.
So I'm not surprised that someone wouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth. Also, Galvayne's groove starts fade after about age 20.
And of course people trust.
He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).
I feel like a lot of people are giving very good advice -- that unfortunately doesn't really apply to the situation at hand. OP, I checked out your blog and realized that I have heard of your situation before. You freely admit you are a timid rider -- good for you. I am not looking down on you or mocking you for this, but on the scale of timid to brave it appears from what you say in your own words that you are really VERY timid. You have had fear issues with mounting. You have had fear issues at the canter. You seem to worry a lot about spooks, bolts etc., but you do not appear to be riding what most of us would consider to be hot or unpredictable horses. You seem to have a lot of trouble with saddles, horses, etc. and you seem think that this is why you are stuck at Intro, but as an outsider I would guess that fear is the biggest thing that is stalling you. Honestly, I am NOT trying to run you down -- in fact, I truly have a lot of admiration for someone who is naturally timid but loves riding and horses so much that they persevere and fight to overcome their natural instincts. That takes a lot of grit. BUT, if this is who you are, SAFE and SOUND is not just the most important thing for you right now -- it is the ONLY thing you should be considering.
If you come on here and ask "will this horse go to second level" the advice you will get will be based on the horse alone -- assuming that there will be no issues with the rider. I'm not talking about your equitation, I'm talking about the riding issues that come up when you try to push a horse to work harder than it's used to working. For second level, you will need to develop forward -- to do lateral movements, to have energy to collect, and so on. To develop forward you will need to (initially, at least) be a bit insistent on a horse that is naturally lazy. Are you willing to gallop in an open field to get them moving - and fit? Are you willing to ride it through if a horse gets a bit nappy and tosses a buck when you say, "no, I need MORE trot!"? If a horse really surges forward when you do apply your leg aid, will you be able to support and reward that response, or will you instinctively clamp down with your hand and leg and freeze up?
A related issue is "lying" in sale ads -- yes, there is outright lying (a 28 yo sold as as 12 yo?) but one man's "2/10" temperament is another man's "6/10". I have a friend who will ride out the craziest rodeo-style bucks and say "Oooh, a bit spicy today!". I have a friend who would dismount in tears if her horse side-stepped at an open gate (she ended up selling the horse).
IMHO, a horse you truly known for years who "is what she is" -- and you KNOW what she is -- who makes you feel safe and doesn't appear to have any physical problems sounds just about perfect. (That is, if you really, really need to own right now -- if you really want to move up the dressage levels, I think lessons on a progressive series of school horses from babysitter to schoolmaster would be your best bet, but you didn't ask for advice on this ). If you conquer your fears, who knows how far you can go, but you need a confidence builder now.
(If I have misrepresented you, I apologize -- I am only going by your blog and your posts here.)
Countrywood has given you some excellent advice -- I think you should take it.
My advice to you right now is not to buy anything yet. I think you would really, really benefit from riding a horse that is a confidence builder and when you are more confident, you will likely want a different horse than you want/need today.
If you like the draft cross mare (despite her trying to pull your arms out at the show and being rushy and spooky at home at times), you should look into free leasing her with an option to buy in six to twelve months.
I know you feel like you know her, but having a history isn't the same thing as testing her comfort zone. For example, if she's strong at a show, she may well be very strong out on the trails and one of your criteria is to be able to hack without having a death grip on the reins. You need to take her out and trail ride her both by herself and in a group. How does she behave? Do you feel confident and comfortable on her? If you don't, then you need a horse that will allow you to expand your comfort zone. The first time I took out the draft x mare that I've got right now with a small group all she'd do is squeal and buck because she's pretty alpha. That doesn't bother me, but would it bother you? Find that out first!
Some draft crosses (like the one I'm riding now) are smart enough to use their size and bulk to bully you a little. This can be exacerbated by not having the conditioning/strength to really hold themselves up -- it's hard to work correctly and they may want to revert back to how they've always gone. How does this mare react when you push her? Does she try harder? Does she shut down? Does she buck? In addition, draft crosses tend (not all, but many) to lean a bit because they were bred to pull and they are simply heavier in their front end. If trail riding and maybe hilltopping are a goal for you, it is important to see how she does both in company and up and down hills. I love, love, love to foxhunt but you need to ride a horse that is controllable, nimble and very obedient -- I think what surprises people the most when they hunt for the first time (even hilltopping) is that we move at speed across very varied terrain and we go from walk to gallop to halt sometimes in a matter of minutes. You need a horse that is not on its forehand and that won't trip over every root or you end up with your heart in your mouth (I've hunted a horse like this and it's not fun).
FWIW, I've been riding a lot of horses over the past six months as my own TB was laid up with a check ligament injury. The chance to ride a variety of horses has been great for my riding. It's shown me where I've gotten lazy and made me work on myself. It's also cemented for me what I like/don't like in a horse.
Don't be in such a hurry to buy.
Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews. Tack Guru - Expert Reviews of English Tack
I've been in your shoes and the problems you're having have a lot more to do with you as a rider than the horses you've had. It is possible to get over your fears and get where you where you want to go. But the first step is to be realistic about where the problem lies.
__________________________ "... if you think i'm MAD, today, of all days,
the best day in ten years,
you are SORELY MISTAKEN, MY LITTLE ANCHOVY."
You aren't bothered by their being enough slack for her to get tangled and hurt herself...nah- let's freakout !!! about the rope halter.
Her owner doesn't have anything but rope halters, and she was briefly tied that loosely so that I wouldn't have to lift a gallon bucket of water up to her face while in my show clothes. Plus, if you noticed that she is tied loosely and in a rope halter, then surely you noticed that she is tied with a safety knot and one quick tug of the end of the lead rope would have freed her.
Maggie Bright, lovingly known as Skye and deeply missed (1994 - 2013) The Blog
Because I was a dumb a**. He was the first horse I ever owned or bought. I didn't know any better at the time and was close friends with the owners/barn and I believed them. Didn't know until I took him to the university for his knee and they believed he was 12 then when they did the oral exam he turned out much older lol. Didn't matter I would have bought him anyways because things were going downhill there quick and I wouldn't have left him. He is that one horse I wish I could have back. Loved him dearly. He had a happy retirement here with me, the link above is a photo of him at 34. He lived to be 36 and he had a happy life that he much deserved after what I finally learned what his history was.
Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole