January everything is new……..it is a New Year, a fresh start, a new
beginning. It is a time when many people are evaluating their lives and
making New Year resolutions to let go of old habits and to move forward
with new commitments.
usually include commitments to God, to family, to friends, and to
themselves……..all of which are good. It is good to have a time to
focus on perpetuating what is right in our lives and remove what is not.
Therefore, January is a gift of recommitment to ourselves every year.
for those who are interested in horses, January can be the time when you
decide to buy your first horse. Talk about commitment!! Owning your
first horse can and should be one of the most wonderful experiences of
your life, but it is definitely a big commitment of your time,
resources, and emotions.
someone who is taking that big first step of horse ownership, there are
several things to be considered. First, you must have a suitable
environment in which the horse is to live. For some people it is
better to board their horse at a reputable riding school or
on how well versed you are with horsemanship and what your goals are
with your new horse, a reputable riding stable is usually the best bet
for a novice horseman. The riding stable will provide instruction
in riding, training, horse care and others who are interested in horses
with whom you can pal around. Also, it provides other horses for your
horse to buddy up with, which is important to a herd-minded creature
such as the horse. There are many reputable riding schools and
stables in Alabama, and to find one in your area you can check at your
local Co-op or feed store, check the local horse related magazines or
papers, or even go on-line to search the Internet.
you have more experience around horses and have your own place to build
a barn and some pasture acreage, then it would be wise to build a barn
and house the horse at your own place.
be aware that your first horse purchase may quickly turn into your
second horse purchase, because as I stated before, a horse is a
herd-minded creature. In the wild, their survival directly coincides
with their ability to stay with their herd, and this instinct is still
very strong in domesticated horses. They just do not do very well alone,
so you might want to have another horse in the pasture with your horse
if at all possible.
second consideration is what breed or type of horse would be right for
you. There are so many wonderful breeds……..some are very specified
in what they are bred to do, while others are very versatile in the
range of activities they can accomplish well. For instance, the
Tennessee Walking horse is an excellent trail horse as he can walk on
forever and never tire himself or you, as he is bred to have that
smooth, fast walking gate.
you are wanting to do stadium or cross country jumping, then you would
be better off buying an English Thoroughbred or an Irish Hunter, both of
which are bred for and known for their speed and jumping abilities.
If you want to cut cattle, do reining or working cow horse
competitions, the American Quarter Horse is the breed for you, as the
Quarter Horse is bred specifically for working cattle. Of course
though, the American Quarter Horse is one of the most versatile breeds,
as Quarter Horses are used successfully in hunter competition, dressage,
and combined training or eventing.
your goals or aspirations are will determine what breed is best for you
to purchase, but then it is also wise to consider what stage of
horsemanship you are in to decide what type of horse to buy. A
green horse and a green rider do not make the best working team to say
fact, it is down right dangerous for a novice rider to be on a novice,
green-broke, or young horse. It is best to get the help of a trainer or
instructor that you trust to find a horse that "knows the
ropes," so to speak.
you have been around horses for a while, then a young horse may be a
nice challenge for you to train. You just really need to be honest with
yourself as to what your current skill level is and make the appropriate
choice with that knowledge in the forefront of your mind.
three would be consideration of where is the best place to purchase the
horse of your dreams. There are many fine farms and ranches all over the
country that sell quality horses.
again, it really depends on what breed or type you are looking to buy,
but I would say always enlist the aid of an established and reputable
trainer or instructor to help you find the perfect horse for you,
preferably someone established within the discipline that you are
interested in pursuing. They will be invaluable in helping you.
are many different venues through which you can search for horses for
sale……..such as asking at local stables if any clients are selling
their horses, reading through the sale ads in horse magazines or
newspapers, reading flyers posted at your local Co-op or feed store, or
even, once again, going on-line.
way you choose to search, please always show your prospects to the
trainer or instructor that you have picked to help you. Their advice
could save you from making a very costly mistake, and help you purchase
the true horse of your dreams.
fourth, and very important, consideration is having the animal you are
interested in purchasing "vet checked." In other words, have
your veterinarian do a pre-purchase exam on the horse.
it will cost something to have this done on an animal that isn’t even
yours yet, but in the long run it can save you a tremendous amount of
pain, heartache and money. Unfortunately, there are those in the
horse business, as in any other line of business, that would take
advantage of your lack of knowledge to make a dishonest profit. One of
the best ways to avoid that sort of thing happening to you is to have a
reputable veterinarian that you trust do a thorough exam on the animal.
vet will be able to test for any kind of drugs in the horse’s system
that could be masking lameness or severe behavioral problems. A thorough
exam would also uncover any physical problems or conformational defects
that could lead to physical problems down the road.
January is here, and so are the times of new beginnings. I wish everyone
a very Happy New Year! If you are purchasing your very first horse, I
hope the information that I have listed in this article is helpful to
you. God bless you all, and thank you for reading.
again I would really like to know what horse people want and need to
know about their animals. Please feel free to send suggestions,
questions, and comments to the mailing address: Cooperative Farming
News, P. O. Box 2227, Decatur, AL 35609-2227; fax 256-560-2605 or email:
Bryant is a freelance writer from Oneonta.