10 tips on buying your first horse

When I started looking for a horse I read many sites up and down to gather information on what would be the best horse for me. The outcome was that I really got the one that I wanted with the behaviour and knowledge that I wanted. Lately I’ve seen a lot of horse riders surrounding me buying horses that simply isn’t what they should buy. We all know that horses come with different breeds, looks, characters, and behaviour. Some people really think they can change the horse, and then they realise after a year that their knowledge wasn’t enough to do so and they end up selling the horse again. So here are my 10 tips when buying your first horse.

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First time trying out Mr.Grumpy.

1. Take your time

It took me about 6 months to find the right one. I was searching many sites online and talked to a bunch of people in my surroundings to be able to find the one that was right for me. So please take your time and don’t buy the first one you see just because you think there is no other one. There is a bunch of horses out there, so take your time slowly and make sure the horse is the right fit. In the end my instructor found Mr.Grumpy for me as she was informed by the stable he now stands at that he was for sale.

2. Bring someone with you with loads of knowledge of horses

This point is extremely important. If its your first horse and you’ve never gone together with someone buying one before, make sure you bring someone with you with a lot of knowledge. They can first hand see if the horse is healthy, if he walks well and overall if you are a fit together. I brought my instructor with me and she straight away saw that we were good together.

3. Test the horse several times

I tried out Mr.Grumpy twice and went to a competition to check him out before I bought him. Especially if you are trying out several different horses in the same time period you should test the horse several times to make sure you are making the right decision. For all you know the owner could have lunged the horse before you came to make sure it was calm when you got there. An extra tips on this one is to show up 10-5 minutes to early to have a look around and check out if they are doing something with the horse before you arrive. Unfortunately some stables do drugs their horses before people come to test them, therefore its also important to try it twice to make sure its the right fit.

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Checking him out at a competition. 

4. Age and Character

The general saying is that you shouldn’t buy a young horse if you’re a novice rider. The more knowledge you have the younger you can go. The reason for this is because if you have  big strong horse that doesn’t listen to you when you ride him it can be fatale. If you don’t have the knowledge to ride in a horse or teach him things, then make sure you get one that already has the knowledge. Otherwise you will have to get a hell lot of lessons to make sure you both learn the right things. The same goes for character, don’t buy a super hot/forward horse if you are a bit afraid, or a horse that bucks a lot if you don’t know how to deal with it.

I was looking for a horse that already had the knowledge I didn’t possess, that was calm, and wouldn’t buck me off the second I did something wrong. Hence why I ended up with a 14 year old horse that till now hasn’t done anything to throw me off. And the best thing, he has thought me so much. Don’t be afraid to choose something a bit older if it means you will learn a lot. It will give you some much back compared to one you will fall off every lesson.

5. Don’t go for looks and price

We all know it, horses are beautiful creatures, and its easy to fall in love with them. However, just because a horse is beautiful doesn’t mean you should buy it. For all you know you might be bucked off for the next 10 times you ride it because he is too hot for you. So don’t let the looks fool you, there will be a beautiful horse out there with the right character for you. Same goes for the price of the horse, just because it costs 15000 euro doesn’t mean its an amazing horse, the seller decides the price, so make sure that if you don’t have the knowledge concerning the price a horse should be, bring someone with you who does.

6. Don’t believe the great stories

One thing I learned when looking for a horse was that many sellers make great stories, I think their even worse then car salesman. “no, this horse never ever bucks”, “a kid can ride him”, “yes, he can do a pirouette “. Don’t believe this before you have tested the horse yourself. They want to sell the horse as much as you want to buy it.

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First time lunging Mr.Grumpy.

7. Don’t go for good papers

For some people its important that their horses have good papers as its make them feel more privileged. Here in the Netherlands the stallion Jazz is really well know and has been breed with a lot. For some  reason people seem to automatically think that every horse with him as father is great. Unfortunately thats not how it works. If you can’t see if the horse is a good walker by yourself, bring someone with you that can. By the way, there are great horses out there without papers too!

8. If you don’t have enough money, save some more

Unfortunately horses are expensive. Some people think that they can have a budget of 3000 euro and have a walking wonder that at the same time behaves like a god. Unfortunately most horses that walk wonders that doesn’t have something wrong with it doesn’t come in that price range. If you notice that the horses you want don’t come in your  price range, go ahead and save some more. A good friend of mine bought one for 2500 with good papers and crossed her fingers the horse would be great. 6 months in the horse has been operated 3 times and she had to buy a new one. Of course you can be really lucky, but the chances are slim.

9. A horse costs much more then just buying it

Before I got Mr.Grumpy I set up a budget to make sure I had enough money for everything, however I blew it fast. Lucky for me I had some money left over, but having a horse is far more expensive than buying a horse. Make sure to set up a budget of the monthly costs so you won’t be surprised when you finally have one. Make sure you have enough money for vet checks, tack hauls, food, stabling, shoes and your own product.

10. Get a thorough vet check

I cannot express enough how important this is! Make sure you get the horse trough a thorough vet check before you buy it. You don’t want to end up with a horse that has kissing spine or other serious injuries because you didn’t check it when you bought it. A one time vet check can save you a lot of dollars in the future so make sure you get one. Make sure that you get to decide which vet check him, as some sellers have their own vets who they make deals with on beforehand to not tell you everything they should.

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First day owning Mr.Grumpy

And last, but not least, have fun with it. Hope some of these tips will help you, good luck!

Riding training pants

Lately I’ve noticed that more and more brands are coming with “training” riding pants or breeches like some would say. I don’t fully understand where this come from as I don’t really think it looks very classy, but my guess is that it comes from many riding pants just simply being so uncomfy. The riding world is definitely made for tall and skinny people. I can’t count how many times I’ve stood in a fitting room and tried on tons of different brands and pants and nothing fitted. Hence why I buy the same pant over and over again.

But now I went off track here, this was not what this post was about, it was about “training pants”. Have any of you tried these pants? Most of my jogging pants generally become quite a lot bigger  after a while, so I wonder if its the same for these. The ones from hooks looks quite comfy, but I wonder how it is sitting in the saddle with them, if you know what I mean..

Harry’s horse – 69.95 euro

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Hooks Europe – 79.95.
I think I’ more of a “classy equestrian”, I don’t think these fit with boots, but for the younger generation their probably perfect. Specially for those days you spend the whole day in the stable.

Petrie Padova

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As I told yesterday I went and bought new boots. It was quite a journey!

On Friday I went to Epplejeck Heemskerk who told me I wasn’t allowed to try the ones I wanted to try because she checked the size of my calf and said they would never fit. So the next morning we went to Divoza in Zoetemeer, which is a 40 minute drive from where I live. Once there no one came to help me and I couldn’t find anyone either so I decided to try on some boots myself.  I tried on the one that I wanted, and noticed it did fit around the calf, but they didn’t have the size I needed. So on we went to the next store which was Epplejeck Den Haag. The girl that helped me there was a lot nicer then the one the day before, but unfortunately they didn’t have my size, but at least I found out that the boots did fit around the calf for sure.

Thereafter I started calling around to loads of different stores: Levade in Haarlem didn’t sell them, Boer en dier in Muiderberg told me the size didn’t exist?! and then lastly I ended up checking Ooteman and they had them, the only issue was that they were over an hour away from where we were and it was 1530 and the store closed at 17.00. However we decided to drive there and I was so happy I did. Not only did they have the boots I wanted in both Black and brown, so I could choose, but they also provided great service. And to make it even better the boot was priced down from 299 euro to 245. Below you can finally see my new boot, the Petrie Padova. I was so afraid that I would need to customise boots as I have quite thick calfs(42 cm), but these fit perfectly because of the elastic on the back. Once I’ve used them a couple of times I’ll make a review. For now they do feel super comfy and love that the zipper is on the front side.

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Horse Bit 

I find the world of bits incredible difficult, there are so many out there with really random names. I recently bought a new one for Mr.Grumpy that was based on what he had before, but a better quality one. When I stood at the store there were so many and I noticed the shoplady didn’t have much knowledge either. So Maria did what she does every time she doesn’t know something, she googled. I found these info sheets below that I found really helpful. Maybe they can help you to in your search for a new bit. Otherwise I would recommend getting a bit expert to look at your horses mouth, might be expensive there and then, but if you keep buying bits, that’s expensive to. And your horse will thank you for it. 

Which bit do you use? 

15. Wisdoms from Carl Hester 

Carl Bucas emailer

Carl Hester is by far one of my favorite dressage riders. His way of keeping his horses and riding style is definitely one I’d like to follow for the future. I found these 15 pearls of wisdom on the site of horse and hound. Love the fact that he bought Valegro for 4000 pounds. The amount that horse is worth today is insane. Anyhow, here are the 15 wisdoms:

1. He buys two horses per year on average — most of these are two and a half year olds.

2. He purchased Valegro as a youngster for £4,000. His bargain price tag was due to the fact he was still entire and not showing many signs of being a future superstar. As soon as Carl purchased him, he had Valegro gelded which improved him dramatically.

3. All of Carl’s young horses live out in the field 24/7.

4. When Carl is looking to buy a youngster he says: “They need to have a good walk and canter as these paces are difficult to markedly improve. We can work with the trot. I also look for expression in its raw form to utilise later in life for grand prix movements. They must be naturally motivated and want to work.”

5. Carl’s youngsters are ridden for no more than 20-30 minutes per day.

6. Carl says a horse with a really good walk is hard to find.

7. Carl doesn’t necessarily want a horse who has a quiet, easy temperament. “I’m not looking for a police horse!” he says.

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8. Transitions within your schooling session are important to keep things varied and interesting.

9. Valegro was nine years old before he could show elasticity and suspension in half-pass.

10. Grand prix horses need to be good at both sitting and pushing in their work: “It is very rare to find a horse who is good at both,” says Carl.

11. “Charlotte Dujardin is very good at riding trot,” says Carl. “She improves the trot of every horse she rides,” he admits.

12. Carl’s yard contains 18 horses who are looked after by five full-time members of staff. “I don’t make a profit from the yard!” he confesses. “But this means that there is fantastic attention to detail in everything we do.”

13. “The one way to keep a horse sound is to keep it moving,” says Carl. His top horses get out of their stables three to four times per day. This usually consists of spending time on the horsewalker, being schooled, spending time in the field, going for a hack or being lunged.

14. Carl’s top horses are warmed up for 30-35 minutes for each schooling session. They then go for a nice walk down the road to warm down after the sessions.

15. “If you want to improve your core strength, ride without stirrups,” says Carl.

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Ariat Tek Grip gloves

I’ve stood in several equestrian stores and tried on gloves after gloves. Unfortunately because I have rather small hands a lot of the gloves out there doesn’t fit me, yes even the Roeckl doesn’t fit me. I can’t stand when there is a piece of fabric left over at the tip of your fingers. After a lot of searching I came across the Tek Grip from Ariat. These fit me like a glove literally, haha, they also have a winter version which is great if you do a lot of outdoor riding.

So if you got small hands like me, you should definitely check these out. They go for a about 35 euro, you can buy them here and here. Both sites have 25 and 21% off the price of a product of your choice this weekend, so then they become a bit cheaper.

There is a first for everything.

Woohoo first blog post.

So who is that grumpy horse?

After 3 years riding at a stable on different “stable horses” I decided it was time to buy my own. Looking back I probably would have advised myself to wait a bit so I could learn more about horses before buying one, however my stubborn self decided it was time, so half a year ago Mr. grumpy walked into my life.

Mr grumpy is my sweet 15 year old Zangersheide gelding(x Artos Z) who has a slight tendency to become grumpy if there is something happening that he doesn’t like. He specially hates most other horses as well as rugs. If he didn’t become such a fluffy hairy bear in the winter I would let him stand “naked” all year around.

He is bred as a jumping horse, but we do dressage together as he turns a big cray cray if he has to jump. Unfortunately something happened in his past that made him really scared of jumping, but as I’m not a jumping hero either we fit well together. Even tough we go through life arguing a lot I couldn’t imagine life without him. He makes me laugh everyday.

The last half year has gone by in a whirlwind, and I’ve certainly been on the speed train when it comes to learning about horse handling. As I don’t want to forget everything I’ve learned and our journey together I’ve set up this blog as a online diary. Hopefully we will start our first dressage competition this summer.