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What are your deal breakers when buying a horse?

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  • #41
    I don't think going intermediate, even on an experienced horse, would be boring. But green horses are challenging in a different way. It just depends on what interests you.

    I have never bought a horse with much event experience, due to budget constraints, but if I could I think it would be fun.

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    • #42
      Originally posted by scubed View Post
      I would vote the in between ground of a younger horse with a packer mentality.
      I kind of agree with this statement because it's what I lucked into. However, the word luck is operative. Trying to find a younger horse with a packer mentality is a bit of a gamble, because you really don't know for sure until you've taken them out and competed them. If they haven't done anything, you have no clue for sure. If they've done a bit and have the packer mentality along with potential to move up the levels, their price skyrockets.

      I'm gonna say don't mark off an older packer to move up the levels on because it's 'boring.' No matter how much experience the horse has, there's ALWAYS something you can work on (otherwise you'd be winning all your events on an 18 dressage score, right?), plus Intermediate and Prelim are extremely fun without the complication of 'challenging.' I feel that challenging is really only fun at Training and below, by the time you get to Prelim you want them to grow beyond the 'challenging' stage into the 'rideable' stage.

      Just my opinion, of course.

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      • #43
        Deal Breakers for me are any on the ground vices/bad manners and some in the saddle. Plus like some of the other posters I have to love the horse, even if no one else does.

        My current horse, and OTTB mare, has questionable loading skills, has broken the tie rings on my trailer a couple of times, and was a completely haughty, snobby, queen when I first visited her at the track. In fact when the trainer trotted her up for me the mare nearly put hoof prints on my car. Granted she hadn't done any movement above a walk in months due to a bowed tendon, so I forgave that one. And while she can have some tendencies to challenge me and be a little naughty, for an ammie with a full-time job bringing along a straight from the track OTTB she was pretty freaking awesome. She has her quirks, and while she's lame at the moment I'm hoping she'll come sound by spring. A co-worker of my husband's said today "We're trying to convince him to get you a new horse for Christmas." My reply was, "I want to try and fix the old one first." Because I love her, she was sooo not what I needed as an ammie short on time, but we haven't killed one another yet, and she other than the tying thing she has perfect ground manners.

        I may be doing more than window shopping in the spring, but I know I can't afford what I really need which is an at least Novice level packer, who is forgiving, and kick-along quiet to haul me around. If I happen to stumble upon that heart of gold, and in my price range packer who cribs, then I won't hold it against them. But otherwise it's back to the track and looking for the quietest baby on four legs that I can afford.
        Eventing at Midnight Blog

        Rodan and Fields, Ask Me About it
        A Measure of Grace Blog

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        • #44
          Personally, since I become a bigger chicken as I get older, my big thing is SAFE. To me that means a good XC record and pleasant to deal with. I don't mind if the horse isn't a packer out there on cross-country, but I don't want to be stressing about that ditch issue.

          I can handle poor dressage scores and I can handle a horse who tends to have a couple of rails. That said, the horse has to be pleasant on the flat. There are lots of horses that are pleasant to ride but aren't super movers or able earn the really super marks. But given that most of my rides are flat schools, it has to be fun and enjoyable to ride. It also must have a good canter. As a wimpy adult, I find that I get pickier and pickier about what constitutes an acceptable distance, and having a good quality canter that allows me to adjust to get the distance I want. Oddly, I've felt safer on really athletic and spooky horses than on a horse that was a total packer but with a horrendous canter.

          Rails don't really bother me. I don't have any ambitions beyond Training level, and there are few horses (in my experience) that remain truly bad in SJ despite good training/grid work and an accurate ride. If I fail to give the horse the accurate ride and we have a rail...well, that's just on me.

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          • #45
            I'm gonna say don't mark off an older packer to move up the levels on because it's 'boring.' No matter how much experience the horse has, there's ALWAYS something you can work on (otherwise you'd be winning all your events on an 18 dressage score, right?), plus Intermediate and Prelim are extremely fun without the complication of 'challenging.' I feel that challenging is really only fun at Training and below, by the time you get to Prelim you want them to grow beyond the 'challenging' stage into the 'rideable' stage.
            This. Hard to get bored at prelim and above....even on a packer. I went from a "challenging" horse in the dressage, to one who is very obedient and willing. He's not boring in the least! Because I get to do fun stuff like half pass. And while I LOVE riding green beans and developing them, there really isn't anything like conquering a great big xc course on a horse who knows his job.

            If it won't load willingly. Seriously. I have picked up 100's (yes) mostly from the track; and loading has always been my measure of what we're in for. I have walked away from horses I have already bought because of this issue, with no regrets. My newest guy jumped right up into the trailer, and I've been in love ever since.
            Seems like an easy way to miss out on some great horses. I don't think loading poorly into a strange metal box is something that should be held against an otherwise good horse! Most will come around with a little patience. Toby has taken some time, but is pretty consistent. And, you know what? He puts his head down in dressage! Vernon was a perfect loader from day one...but was an ass on the flat. I'll take a poor loader but good when it's time to twinkle our toes!
            Amanda

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            • #46
              Originally posted by NMK View Post
              If it won't load willingly. Seriously. I have picked up 100's (yes) mostly from the track; and loading has always been my measure of what we're in for. I have walked away from horses I have already bought because of this issue, with no regrets. My newest guy jumped right up into the trailer, and I've been in love ever since.

              Nancy
              I don't get this. I have a young horse that had a traumatic ride in a way-too-small slantload last fall (long story... prospective owner took him for a vet check and I wasn't there when they picked him up), and came back shaking and sweating. I will never let someone I don't know haul my horse again. So he went from a perfect loader to being petrified of getting on the trailer. It took me some time but he is now back to normal.

              Horses don't load for a million different reasons: past trauma, poor training, lack of training, etc. How a horse loads is the least of my concerns. It's usually a training issue...

              OTOH, I would definitely be skeptical of a horse who scrambles while hauling. Ugh....

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              • #47
                Originally posted by NMK View Post
                If it won't load willingly. Seriously. I have picked up 100's (yes) mostly from the track; and loading has always been my measure of what we're in for. I have walked away from horses I have already bought because of this issue, with no regrets. My newest guy jumped right up into the trailer, and I've been in love ever since.

                Nancy
                I agree 1000%

                Petey loaded up in 30 degrees, sleeting, dark, into a bumper pull with one working flickering light. Never missed a beat walked right in, ate hay and told us to fire up the engines. He's been that easy every step of the way.

                ~Emily
                "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries

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                • #48
                  Originally posted by kcmel View Post
                  Don't feel bad! There is a young pro in my area that has the cutest horse on the planet (IMO) that he hasn't sold yet. Was priced fairly early in the summer when he had it on one of the sales website (no price on his own website). Dressage scores are 10-15 points worse than his other rides, but his sj and xc are always perfect. I guess ammies are thinking if a pro gets those scores then what chance do I have? (Of course this is pure speculation on my part since maybe the horse has other issues).
                  That is actually a good point. I've had a handful of people say something like "you obviously have a really accurate eye" when they call on her, and I'm thinking "dude, when I got this horse, I couldn't see a distance if it knocked on my forehead and did a little dance. SHE never misses."
                  Big Idea Eventing

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                  • #49
                    Originally posted by Xctrygirl View Post
                    Petey loaded up in 30 degrees, sleeting, dark, into a bumper pull with one working flickering light.
                    Danny -- who is now subk's perfect cribber -- strolled into a knee-high step-up, looked over the divider at the trailer buddy horse, then took the buddy's haynet and moved it so it was hanging on his -- Danny's -- side of the divider. Two for me, none for you.

                    I like a horse who looks after himself.

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                    • #50
                      The trailer loading thing doesn't bother me at all--but I am a trainer so I can teach them to load. I think some of the OTTBs have only been on vans so a trailer is unfamiliar to them. And many horses have had bad experiences so it really depends on what you are looking for.

                      If you are looking for a perfectly trained horse that is one thing but I wouldn't turn down a really nice horse just because it has trouble loading. I smart trainer can fix the problem!

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                      • #51
                        RE: Trailer Loading--it gives me a first glance at their problem solving skills. They are faced with a strange trailer, leaving an environment they know, etc. Yes, you can solve a lot of those issues. But after hauling many, many horses, I have found that those that's first answer is an emphatic NO usually have that same answer for a lot of other questions down the road.
                        www.canterusa.org

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                        • #52
                          Originally posted by Fergs View Post
                          This! Bad feet are a total deal-breaker for me. No hoof, no horse.
                          This is my number one deal breaker for any horse, especially if I am looking to breed. Stallion has to have quality hooves no matter what. ;-) If I am looking to buy, there are lots of things I can "repair" myself such as the dressage scores and the jumping, but hooves....nope...it's in the DNA and those farrier bills plus all the maintenance adds up. Oh, and horse has to have demonstrated that he understands the meaning of the word, forward...in that he has a willingness to go forth and conquer. ;-) Bold but careful.
                          Bethe Mounce
                          Head Trainer, AmeriCan Romance Equestrian
                          https://www.facebook.com/AmericanRomanceEquestrian
                          Brentwood CA

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                          • #53
                            Originally posted by yellowbritches View Post
                            And while I LOVE riding green beans and developing them, there really isn't anything like conquering a great big xc course on a horse who knows his job.
                            Always be yourself. Unless you can be Batman. Then always be Batman.

                            The Grove at Five Points

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                            • #54
                              Originally posted by NMK View Post
                              RE: Trailer Loading--it gives me a first glance at their problem solving skills. They are faced with a strange trailer, leaving an environment they know, etc. Yes, you can solve a lot of those issues. But after hauling many, many horses, I have found that those that's first answer is an emphatic NO usually have that same answer for a lot of other questions down the road.
                              We'll have to agree to disagree on this one then. While I've known some jugheads who were bad about loading and bad under saddle, I've also known some saints under tack who were not great loaders, and vice versa.

                              Like I said earlier, dealbreakers are personal.
                              Amanda

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                              • #55
                                I think a LOT of the deal breakers mentioned are things that with time can be improved upon. Like loading, which IS important to me...but it's something I've corrected before and would assume that it is something I could work with again. And if it was something I COULDN'T fix on my own, I would know where to go for help.

                                However, I will agree that it can give you a glimpse of their problem solving skills/willingness/character. Are they scared or stubborn? How do they handle correction? How long did it take them to trust/give in? I think those ARE important observations to make, but I personally wouldn't allow that to take one off my "maybe" list. (unless it is an extreme reaction/problem)

                                Like YellowBritches's Toby, Sir Woods of Spookalot is ANYTHING but an ammy-friendly horse. I deal with things on a regular basis that would make some of my friends set him loose on the beltway with a "free to ANY home" sign around his neck. But he's talented and adorable and doesn't have a mean bone in his body. He's made me a better rider, and besides the goofy grin it gives me, is why I do this.

                                Would I like to go out on a leisurely hack without the realisticpossibility that the little monster will1) put me on the ground and then 2) run away only leaving me to hobble 1 mile back with a twisted ankle? Sure, but I've realized that's not what he's good at. SOMETIMES he is...you just never know, and that's something that I'm willing to put up with.

                                One of the ways he makes up for it is his willingness to stand on a trailer FOR HOURS without making a peep. I compete by myself most of the times and I can't express how important this is to me. I would not enjoy owning a horse that WOULDN'T do that.

                                Almost makes up for the feelings of abandonment I get when I see his little red ass disappear in the forest.
                                Last edited by Lisamarie8; Dec. 3, 2012, 11:28 AM.
                                ------------------------------
                                Life Goes On

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                                • #56
                                  Not that I'm eventing anymore (other than the odd one for fun), here are my dealbreakers:
                                  1) Lack of heart, brains and work ethic - doesn't matter how freakishly athletic they are . . .
                                  2) Major trailering problems - including tantrums about loading and any kind of problems when actually travelling. I load up and go mostly on my own, I know things can be fixed but it's not my forte. Blank slate is fine, reluctance/inexperience is fine, but no more than that. Any scrambling is a huge turnoff.
                                  3) Can't be ridden by on own - again, if it's a major spinning, rearing nutcase no way. If it's just a bit of nappiness then sure.

                                  WRT to refusals - definitely a case by case thing. A green horse who stopped a bit at ditches or water initially but is now going well? Possibly fine. Random stopping, hmm, I don't know.

                                  But all deal breakers are negotiable too - if someone offered me a 1.40m horse that would teach me a lot for a really good price that wouldn't go out on it's own and was a problem loader - hey, I'd take it!

                                  Though No 1 isn't negotiable - my last mare had heart, brains and work ethic - but not, sadly for jumping. She was super athletic, beautiful jumper, but just not very brave. I bought her as a green broke prospect on her paces alone, but it was disappointing riding a horse that had sooooo much potential but didn't have her heart in it. She really tried, but she just didn't have the heart for it. Anyway, she's cleaning up in her new showing and dressage career with a friend.

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                                  • #57
                                    I define deal breaker as something that will make me immediately turn and walk away. My deal breakers?

                                    - Rearing. Nuh uh, no way. I feel a horse even threaten to go up, I'm done looking at that horse right there. I've had a horse go over backwards with me, it's terrifying. Never again.

                                    - Mean streak. Not the rude due to improper handling or a dominant streak, the actual mean streak. I went to see a gelding and was warned he could be pushy. I corrected him for trying to be a bully and he got nasty. Struck out with a front leg at me and everything. I walked away, even though he was one of the most beautiful, athletic movers I had seen in a long time.

                                    - Dirty stop while jumping. Every horse has a stop in them at some point. Self preservation ensures that. I just don't want one with a dirty stop. Those hurt and make my riding get really defensive. It's not fun riding every fence like you're gonna die if you don't do it perfectly.

                                    - Herd bound. Too frustrating to train out of them for cross country.

                                    - Consistently hanging knees while jumping. Too dangerous

                                    - Spooky. I just don't have the patience for a horse that can't cope with a changing environment. Looking is fine, even encouraged for a cross country horse, but then it's done and they have to carry on with their jobs.

                                    I don't care about dressage scores so long as the horse moves well enough. That can be worked on. A couple stops in cross country I don't mind so long as it's not constant. Every horse gets surprised sooner or later and the smart ones will stop rather than chance getting hurt. There's also the rider to consider, sometimes mistakes are made. A couple rails won't even bother me so long as the horse isn't a dangerous jumper. My deal breakers are the things that make a horse too dangerous (in my opinion) or unpleasant to deal with on a day to day basis. Show scores? Eh, even a score in the 50's can do well on a given day. So long as the horse is fun and the rider is comfortable/enjoying themselves, it's all good.
                                    http://thoughtfulequestrian.blogspot.com - My Ventures Into Eventing

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                                    • #58
                                      You know, the biggest issue is potential unsoundness. If he is going at the level I want and staying sound, even with bad xrays or whatever, then I would prob take the risk.

                                      If it is a OTTB that I was looking at and he had some joint issues, I may pass.

                                      Cribbing is fine with me, weaving is fine, biting is fine, and not tying is fine. I can work through most issues, but if he is just plain mean its not as easy for me to be around him/her. I will still ride, but don't expect me to spend extra time with them.

                                      I like a good work ethic and a good soul. The only thing that has kept me from buying horses is pig eyes. I will turn and run. I have not seen/ridden a nice horse with a pig eye. Not a fan.
                                      I am on my phone 90% of the time. Please ignore typos, misplaced lower case letters, and the random word butchered by autocowreck.

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                                      • #59
                                        I was actually thinking about this thread all weekend!! (Pathetic, I know)

                                        We are currently in the "green but steer-able" stage with two fillies. One is larger, very well-built, and very gentle and sweet, a Labrador type. However, she is a total chicken under saddle, and spooks at the SAME jump that has been in the SAME place in the SAME arena for two months. Every. Single. Ride. She takes correction, even strong correction, very well, and is generally pleasant under saddle. However, we Do. Not. get along. I find her spooking antics infuriating.

                                        Other filly is pretty much nuts. Smaller, but super fancy mover, VERY cute. Was very hard to break as she is easily the most stubborn horse I've ever encountered. She is a total Alpha Mare and has resorted to theatrical antics on the ground lines to avoid submitting to the bit. Under saddle there are times you wonder if you just might die this ride. However, she's brave, tenacious, and has a personality like no other I've encountered. She's very sensitive, but very sweet on the ground once she attaches to you. We get along very well, but it is frustrating to take one step forward and three steps back every few weeks because she feels like throwing a tantrum.

                                        What I've learned is, I won't deal with chicken-hearted horses, or ones who invent reasons to spook, Ever. I will pass in a heartbeat. The crazy filly has taught me that I won't own a horse who makes you feel like you're getting nowhere.

                                        For me, a problem loader has to be perfect in every other aspect because I also have a low tolerance for it. Bad manners can be fixed, but a mean streak is also a deal breaker. I have to like a horse, genuinely LIKE him/her. I can overlook some things if the horse has a good, kind heart. I won't deal with a horse who pulls back for fun. Also, if they are super difficult to bridle/handle, nope. I want to spend time fixing our riding, not having to stand on a step-stool to put a bridle on a horse because you can't touch their ears. That type of habit also depends on age. A baby, I could possibly deal with it, if the rest of the package is awesome. An older horse? Nope.
                                        runnjump86 Instagram

                                        Horse Junkies United guest blogger

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                                        • #60
                                          Deal breaker?

                                          Right now I have to say the biggest deal breaker is a seller who does not answer inquiries. It is hard to make a deal when sellers cannot be reached. I know people are very busy but selling a horse takes a bit of customer service...like answering emails or calls

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