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How old?
#11
Others have heard my story of how I found my gelding, Joe but I'll repeat it here!

I lost an old gelding to colic in July '03 and was horseless for the first time in...well a LONG time! I had also passed that half century mark and decided I'd better get back in the saddle if I was going to so began my search for the "perfect horse".

I wanted a 7-12 y/o, BTDT QH, no taller than 15h gelding for $1200. I looked at all sorts of squirrels and called about a lot more but none were right. I saw an ad in the paper for a QH gelding and called about him... he had been sold BUT the guy just happened to have a few more. I'd dismissed many of those types but for some reason, went to see what this guy had. Most were outta my price range but there was a paint gelding that was GORGEOUS.... just my size, right age, perfect on the trail but he had big hind legs... they didn't go down with exercise so I passed on him.

The guy shows me Joe. Too big...too young...droopy lower lip, tail stuck up over his butt when he pooed....and a PAINT! Just not what I was looking for. I left. Then I went back & asked to ride Joe. I left. I went back and rode him again and bought a 4y/o, droopy lower lip, tail over the butt, 15.3h PAINT gelding! That was in December '03. He was NOT what I wanted at all but has turned out to be a GREAT horse.

I know a lot of people avoid horse traders when purchasing a horse but Joe came from a trader who had purchased him through an auction. Everything the guy said about Joe was the truth and while I was leary and made several trips including one that was unannounced, I sort of made a leap of faith when I wrote that check (which was WAY more than my $1200 "limit"!). I think there's a bit of that no matter who you purchase a horse from though.

Joe has been a wonderful horse but he's also been ridden a LOT. I look at every ride as a training session and we've had lessons, participated on a drill team, done a lot of desensitizing and spent a lot of time together. Like boxers, horse don't just come well trained and mannerly. [Wink]

Gaited horses generally move faster than non-gaited at their normal walk or cooresponding gait. Something to think about if you have friends you ride with....

You'll get LOTS of advice from DE when you start looking!
Karen ~ Trails  
  &
Joe Paint Gelding
Paoli, IN

"My treasures do not sparkle or glitter, they shine in the sun and neigh in the night."
[Image: th_horse-galloping.gif]  

~~~~~~
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#12
Hi Colleen
My 2 centavos here....You sound like me returning to horses 7 or so yrs ago and was looking for the same thing..same trailriding desire/mature [:X] age rider.....did NOT get that type horse...should have. Ahh, hindsight.

Looking back, I think all those trail horses I rode/rented/friends horses were so old they didn't WANT to run or bolt, too tired, and seasoned veterans. Great horses as they took care of me. Don't think I experienced a serious spook until I had my own (and younger)horses.

Those been there done that older horses (15, 20+) if sound or minor issues can be worth their wt. in gold, esp. when starting out. Flooper could chime in on his finds.... If you want to trail ride, look for one that was used for this almost exclusively and is actively being ridden. Might do better. Have your MUST HAVES on your checklist, then your "would be nice....s"

I think your questions are smart and thoughtful!
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#13
Colleen, your best bet would be to contact the Hooks & let them, in turn, put you in contact with someone experienced and trustworthy in matching horses & riders.

As people have pointed out above, IN GENERAL, your best bet would be to get an older gelding from a trainer.

Also as has been pointed out, you can't always go by generalizations! Tag did everything right, but was cheated by a dishonest trainer. And an older horse may or may not be a better choice than one a bit younger. It is not AGE itself that makes a horse safe and reliable, but the training and hours under saddle that USUALLY come WITH age. You can't always count on a horse being safe just because it is older. I know of a number of older geldings that have done nothing but stand around in the pasture practically their whole lives, and that would certainly not be suitable horses for a beginner.
So you have to be careful there. A good choice would be a horse that not only has a little age on him (or her), but that has actually been doing something all those years.

Good luck with your search!

EZ2SPOT
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#14

EZ gave you some really good advice on getting the Hooks to help you. There just isn't anything like experience when it comes to horse shopping.
Be sure to stress that you need a confidence builder, especially if you are going to be riding alone. You don't want to get caught in a situation where you wind up being afraid to ride your horse. Not all trail horses are comfortable riding out alone. If it's been a while for you, you probably aren't as confident as you want to be, and you need a horse who IS confident and comfortable alone. If you get scared and in turn your horse gets scared, the situation can spiral downwards with you both losing trust in each other, and soon you won't even want to ride. That would be a real shame, and I hate to see that happen to anyone. There is no worse feeling than wanting so badly to ride, but being afraid to do it!

Cindy
A good rider has a thinking mind, fine emotions and a sensitive hand.-Tu Yu,72 BC

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#15
Colleen,

Could you take some lessons while you're waiting to move and purchase your horse?

You could get "back in the saddle" and gain confidence, ability and maybe try out different horses for size, breed & gait. You'd have a better idea of what your level is and what level of horse you'd be comfortable with.

I agree to get someone you can trust to help find your first horse. Joe was not my first horse and I do have some experience so was able to somewhat judge his temperment and soundness. Let the Hooks "hook" you up when it comes time!
Karen ~ Trails  
  &
Joe Paint Gelding
Paoli, IN

"My treasures do not sparkle or glitter, they shine in the sun and neigh in the night."
[Image: th_horse-galloping.gif]  

~~~~~~
Reply
#16
Don't know if this helps ... or hurts. We got our first horse about a year and a half after deciding to get into it. He was a 15 year old Arab gelding that my wife had been riding as a lesson horse for almost a year. He was owned by a breeder, but was in training at the lesson barn so we got to know him really well. Also got to check out over 50 other horses and got schooled in why each one might be good or not good for us. Finally, our wonderful trainer set up the deal, telling us not to give the breeder more than half of what she wanted. It took months but the breeder, knowing we'd give him a great home (thanks to our proximity and reliance on our trainer) sold him to us for a fraction of her ask. (Of course we've since learned that it doesn't much matter what you pay for a horse - that's just the tip of the iceberg.) Then we borrowed a pony from our vet to keep him company and brought them both home to the little (but nice) barn we'd built for them. It took almost another year for me to find what I wanted - but it was not what I expected. I was thinking of a well-trained, maybe ten year old, calm-but-athletic quarterhorse. What I ended up with was a high-bred cutting horse yearling. So it was another year and a half before I could even ride him at all. Now he's going on eight years old, the Arab is going strong at 23 and they're both the best thing that ever happened to me and my wife. We've had other horses since then as well (rescued a beautiful, sweet NHS mare - futurity registered, totally trained etc. - from a mean little girl at her parents' behest, then found her another very kind little girl whos dad is a trainer - that felt great!) but thanks to the time we invested and the great help we sought out and found, the first two horses we ever got are still absolutely perfect for us.

So ignore all the above, get the best qualified help you can find, and take your time.

Just my $.02


Oh yeah - gotta say Colleen; your property looks absolutely idyllic. I'm sure you're going to be happy out of your mind once you move there with horses and dogs.
"There is something about the outside of a horse...that is good for the inside of a man." ~Winston Churchill~
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