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Choosing a Horse to Fit Your Personality

There are several things to consider when choosing a horse to fit your personality. Most importantly is what you want your horse to do, both the rider and the horseís age, and the horseís conformation.

The first and most important thing to consider is what you want your horse to do. The discipline you will be doing is a very important factor in the type of horse you choose. Whether you want a trail horse, a reining horse, a show horse, or a horse to work with cattle, you must first decide what you want to do so you can pick a horse that will suit that discipline. Youíll want your horse to have the breeding and athletic ability to perform what you ask it. It is very hard to try and fit a square peg into a round hole, so it is better to start off with a horse that has the ability to do the discipline you are interested in.

Your personality should compliment the horse. If you are high strung, then go for a quieter horse. A quiet horse will not be high maintenance or get nervous or jumpy. If you have a laid back personality you will be able to handle a horse that is a little higher strung. A high strung horse may want to constantly go or may not walk very well or want to stand in cross-ties. Laid back, more patient personality types will be able to deal with those things, where as people who are high-strung will get easily annoyed or irritated with the horse.

Another essential element to look at is age. For example, people may want to buy a two-year-old horse for their four-year-old child, so the two can grow up together or youíll have older ladies who buy a young horse for a trail riding. These are both examples of poor age choices. A four-year-old child will be able to grow up with a young horse, but will not be able to learn on a young horse because they are both young and inexperienced. The older ladies run into problems because their horses havenít been out in the fields and havenít seen things that older horses have. They lack experience and get spooked or jump and cause the rider to fall off. The rider then becomes scared and is hesitant to ride again causing a major decrease in their confidence. Confidence is a big part of our CPR. Itís about getting the confidence to do the things you want to do.

Beginners in particular should buy an older trail horse. After they become good at riding and confident, they can buy a younger horse as a project. However it is still important to keep that older horse around. Itís great to buy a quarter horse that is 10 or 12-years-old and has been around different situations and has seen a lot of things.

Sometimes this older horse may be a little off, a little sore in their hocks and may need some maintenance. Part of the reason they may need maintenance is because theyíve been around and seen things and they have the necessary experience you need. Like us when we get older, we get aches and pains but weíre still good. Most of these horses are very usable, but you may need to inject their hocks and theyíll be good to ride for a while.

Donít get a really young horse and think you will be able to get everything done. If you are the type of person that likes a project or challenge then try a younger horse that needs some help in learning how to do things. You need to be a very good rider if you want to take on a project such as a young horse. If you are inexperienced and try to take on a challenge such as training a young horse, you will probably just become very frustrated.

Lastly, consider the horseís conformation. Their conformation should fit with whichever discipline you have chosen. This will ensure that your horse is made to do the job. If you are going to be using the horse for reining, for example, you will want his hocks to be lower set to the ground and shorter in height versus a tall thoroughbred with long legs that is a good jumper. That big thoroughbred is not going to make a good reining horse and vice versa. Look at the discipline your horse will be doing and compare that to his conformation. When you combine all these factors you will be able to choose a horse that fits your personality.

About Tommy Garland

Translating the experience of a 30 year training career into his universal CPR (Confidence, Patience, Respect) Horsemanship methods, Garland offers horse owners unique and innovative training techniques. For more information, visit tommygarland.com


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