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Re: I'm Buying My First Endurance Horse

Well, I was going to pass this question by because there are so many more
qualified to I read the responses, a thread keeps
popping into my mind. The question it seems to me that most are answering is
"how do I know that I am buying a "made" horse? It seems to me that if one
is looking for a FEI prospect, maybe some of the requirements become a
little narrowly honed. But for most of us, good, solid knowledge of a well
built horse goes a long way. First off, I would look for an Arabian just
because I wouldn't purchase even the prettiest high heel shoes or ballet
slippers to go mountain climbing.
Having decided upon an Arabian, I would seek out one who is conformationally
corrrect (and there are scads of them around), one with a big, soft, kind
eye, and one who had been started by someone who did not traumatize the
horse. Of course, one of the variables that has changed for me since I
bought my first horse, is that I would rather have a horse who has not been
broke over one who had been "broke" in a manner that made him come with
"lot's of baggage". If the purchaser is willing to put in the time to
properly train the horse, including proper groundwork, and bring the horse
along slowly and solidly, the chances of ending up with a contender are
greatly increased. So many people want to buy a horse, start riding the next
day and go to their first endurance ride in a couple of months. I would
rather take a year or more to work with, learn the horse, have the horse
exposed to a lot of things, trail and dressage. We have all known people who
were often rather inexperienced riders who show up for their first endurance
ride and are encouraged by others. They may be so happy to merely finish
with a sound, happy horse. They keep showing up at rides and don't seem to
care that they don't finish in the top ten. In a year or so, lo and behold,
they are finishing strong and both horse and rider are happy.
I have also seen the yahoo who buys a "fast" horse and is going to show
everyone how wonderful they are and they either burn the horse out or have a
major wreck.
I would answer the original question by saying:
Buy a sound, well treated horse and be willing to take the time and work to
learn all you can about the sport and proper care, feeding and training of
an endurance horse. Spend time with knowledgeable, successful endurance
riders, always put your horse's welfare (physical and psychological) first
and be patient.
Every time I go on a training or endurance ride with my Engelita now ten
years old (got her when she was four), I am so thankful to have such a
wonderful partner. I have to think hard to remember how I used to have to
fight her to keep her from burning herself out in the first ten miles
(sometimes I still have to work at it) and all the dancing and prancing and
spooking we went through. Had I become discouraged and sold her to find
another, better prospect, I would have missed the most wonderful horse I
could have imaginied.
The answer to the original question is different for different people. How
much of yourself are you willing to put into making that "perfect" horse?
Get a horse with a good foundation and "make" your own "perfect" horse. You
really can't buy one.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Rides 2 Far" <>
To: <>
Cc: <>
Sent: Friday, March 02, 2001 5:13 PM
Subject: RC: I'm Buying My First Endurance Horse

> > HELP!  I'm going to look at my first, bought for the purpose,
> > endurance
> > horse.  Now, I don't want a hard time about this, but it's not an
> > Arabian,
> Well, hmm, I've finished rides on 3 different Appaloosas, one mule, and
> several Arabs. I've had a few more that I tried training and never
> started a ride with.  I can tell you the mistakes I made thinking horses
> would be good that weren't.
> First tried 11 year old 16 hand Appaloosa that I'd been riding on trails
> for 9 years.  He was always in a hurry and I'd never seen him tired.  He
> was a handful.  Once I started riding 5 days a week (overtraining...made
> the mistake of believing all those fake training schedules) he settled
> down, then slowed down, then let me know that anything over 25 miles was
> stupid in his opinion.  He seemed flat muscled to me at that time, and
> leggy. Looking at old photos now he looks very long boddied and short
> legged.  Had to duck a lot of limbs.
> Next tried an App that seemed inappropriate.  Very cresty neck, fat back
> (could have rolled a marble down his spine), but looking at his photos
> now I see he was short backed and rather long legged for his body style.
> Turned out he could trot a blue streak.  Only did one 25 on him before he
> had a career ending kick. I think he'd have done OK in cool weather.
> Bought a small App that looked like an honest to goodness Indian pony.
> Light weight, short back, leggy, big feet.  Many Arab similarities with
> great color and a rugged look.  Then I brought him home and found out he
> wasn't really light bodied, just hungry.  As soon as I put him on even a
> conservative diet of regular feedings he chunked out like a good roping
> horse.
> >sigh<
> What do I look for now?  Well, I like big round feet with good heels,
> good legs, short back, a long enough neck to counterbalance the back (had
> a short necked horse that could hardly climb a hill). I like a horse that
> pushes off strong from the rear and really sweeps over the ground.  If
> they overstride I like them wide in the rear so they don't pull their
> shoes.  I like a back that looks easy to fit with a saddle, no swayback,
> big dips behind the withers or downhill build.  I like one that doesn't
> carry his head up in my face.  I want him looking at the ground and not
> hollowing out his back.  I won't fool with one that refuses to tie or
> stand for shoes.  Life's too short, farriers are too precious.   I ride
> geldings, cause life's too short and Spring's too long.  Look for a good
> personality, you're going to be spending a lot of time with him.  No
> cribbing, or pawing.  Of course you hope the horse has been raised on the
> side of The Rocky Mtns. and had to climb them every day.  Oh well, I'm
> sure there's more to tell you but I'm boring myself.  Oh yeah, for a 100
> mile horse as opposed to a 50 mile horse, I like a little more substance,
> a little meat on their bones and the will to go on down the trail
> indefinately.
> Angie
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