Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Your Horse Wish List

Ha! Bet you thought I wanted your Christmas list for your horse, huh? Actually, I saw this on another blog, and thought I'd try it here. I'm listing the things that are important to me in a horse, and then you can tell us what you like. Sound like fun?

Okay, here's mine:

1) A good set of withers. No matter what I'm riding, I really like a horse with a good set of withers to hold a saddle on. I hate having to cinch a saddle really tight, and I love a horse with the right kind of conformation to kind of naturally hold a saddle in place, like the one below:

2) A big kind eye. Although there are exceptions to every rule, most horse people will tell you that a horse with a big, sweet eye will naturally have a good disposition, and be kind and willing.

3) A nice fast walk. I love a horse that walks out on the trail, similar to the way the one below is walking naturally in the pasture. I love to ride a horse with a big, swinging ground-covering walk.

4) A Good Mind. Of course there is no picture of this trait, but for me, it's the one that trumps all. A horse that always tries to do the right thing, an honest horse that doesn't seem to mind doing his work and that brings you home safely each day - that kind of a horse is the best of all - no matter what their conformation, breed, or looks.
Okay, your turn. What do you look for in a horse? Let us know!


Anonymous said...

I just finished a search for a new horse, which seemed like it took forever - I had to set up a "horse search" label on my blog to keep track of it!

For me, good mind/sanity are absolutely first - I've had plenty of high-strung, reactive horses and I don't need that any more. And almost equally, the horse must be sound, sound, sound - with great feet and legs and good overall balance and confirmation. I also had size, breed and pedigree preferences for this particular horse search due to what I wanted to do with the horse. I also didn't want a "project" where the horse had already been messed up or badly mistrained. I also didn't want a horse that had done serious competing - this can compromise long-term soundness particularly if the horse competed at a young age. I also had a strong preference to know the horse's history, and managed to achieve this.

I got a really fine horse as a result, although the work to get him was hard.

Dreaming said...

Sound - and confirmation to remain sound. My first horse developed navicular problems. It broke my heart. A later horse popped a splint, which wasn't as devastating long term, still it hurt me to see her hurting.

Linda Benson said...

Kate - I'm so glad your hard work paid off and you found a good horse. And Kate and Dreaming, yes, soundness is pretty important, isn't it? Especially if you've suffered the heartbreak of dealing with a horse you love that isn't sound.

And soundness is a term that's hard to define, because many horses that have had good working careers (and are therefore well-trained) might have developed some issues because of it.

For me, I also look for good legs and feet. I like a good-sized foot under a horse and good bone. I'd rather ride something with some substance than the prettiest little fine-boned thing out there.

What else do you like in your horses? Got some favorite colors? My favorites are palomino, buckskin, paint, or bay (and although I try to say that doesn't make a difference, in my heart *grin* it probably does.)

Topaz said...

* Low Drama/Sane. This is non-negotiable.
* Nice mover and jumper. Needed because I event.
* Short. 14-14.2 ideal. I have nerve issues and grooming tall horses makes my arms go numb. Plus, I just really enjoy ponies.
* No known health problems. I've been having really bad luck with this lately. Even five year old Penny pony has turned out to have one: melanomas, and far more than a pony her age should have. I know melanomas aren't normally a problem, but because she has so many so young my vet is very concerned.
* Mare, because I tend to get more attached to them.
* Not chestnut. And because of the melanoma thing I'm also now wary of greys. I'd love to have another grulla or a black or a buckskin or a palomino. I love bays, but I've had so many I want some other colors.
* And I really, really want a curly horse.

Alison said...

I want that horse in your first photo! Santa???

Folks, don't forget Linda's book giveaways on her fun blog!

Anonymous said...

On colors, I really don't care, although I have a history of having lots of bays - my new horse is my first-ever chestnut. I'm wary of paints, but mainly because I don't know paint bloodlines very well and also worry about people breeding for color rather than soundness of body and mind. I don't care about gelding/mare, although I've had more mares over time. I've also learned not to go for "pretty"/fancy - it's gotten me in a lot of trouble before.

Linda Benson said...

Topaz - yes, I like your comment about No Drama/Sane. Although I have been known in the past to get along with horses that aren't perfect in this regard (cinchy, don't like to tie) it's really nice to find a horse that is uncomplicated and easy to get along with (but sometimes I think they're rare as hen's teeth, don't you?)

I've always preferred geldings over mares, (funny how we all have our individual preferences, huh?) and the fun thing about horses is there are so many of them out there. Hopefully, in a lifetime with horses, a person will be able to try lots of them out, and own a few good ones.

And yes, I'm giving away a copy of Alison's new book called Taking the Reins, (perfect for young horse lovers) on my blog right now. www.lindabenson.blogspot.com Head on over by 12/12/10 to enter.

Susan said...

I agree with all your qualifications for a good horse, plus good bone and good sized hooves. Santa could also send me the black horse in the picture, beautiful, but then I'm partial to black because my first horse was that color. I like flashy colored horses with lots of chrome, but any color will do as long as other qualifications are met. And conformation conducive to soundness. I have to watch them move. They have to be more athletic than pretty, although those two qualifications usually go hand in hand. I like quarter horses for their minds, but other breeds work as long as they are sane. I always rode geldings, but now I'm liking mares also. I think I just repeated a lot of what was already written. Seems most of us are on the same page.

Anonymous said...

Who is that black horse? I totally want him. To me, he has the ideal build.

Every time you add a decade to your age, the importance of sanity and disposition increase 10 fold. But I'm a sucker for a handsome guy.

Linda Benson said...

Susan and redhorse - ah yes, that's a nice looking black horse, isn't it? Actually, it's a thoroughbred stallion named Deadly Storm, by Storm Cat and he stands at stud in Australia.

I guess we'll just have to settle for our good solid well-broke mares and geldings, and dream about horses like that *sigh*