Thursday, September 12, 2013

Tire Kicking Checklist

So, I'm gonna be kicking some tires the next few weeks..or at least I'll be trying out some different horses and I thought it would be good to put together a list of things I should try.  I mean, we know I want a broke horse so how do I make sure I get that?

Be as enthusiastic and gesticulative (huh, that doesn't seem to be a should be.  It would be used like this "I am very gesticulative when I talk" meaning I use my hands and arms a lot to tell stories.) as I normally am.

Allow myself to be anxious.  The right horse will go through his paces despite the crazy lady on his back.

Groom him everywhere.  Touch under his belly.  Lift up his feet.  Ask to have the horse wear boots or bring boots for the second trial. (I didn't do this and I should have!).

It's warm enough that if they say the horse bathes, ask if I can rinse off the horse after my ride.  Do I do this on the first ride or wait until I really like a horse?

Ditto for clippers.  If they say he clips, I want to see it.  Again, maybe a 'return' visit request.

What else am I missing?  What do I need on my pre-flight, tire kicking, horse shopping checklist?


  1. Go for a wander a little ways up the drive. See how it makes *you* feel. That was what did it for me with Moon. We went down the drive and I went "Well we can go up the ditch a bit too." When I got back, I realized I *felt* safe. Plain and simple.

    And blanket the horse. Some are nuts when you pull those things over their heads! And fly spray. Gawd I hate spray-neurosis! Feed aggression. Touch boy parts to see if he'll need to be drugged for sheath cleaning (better yet, just always pay someone, lol).

    Good luck!

  2. How does the horse handle and lead on the ground? Does the horse stay out of your space or will you have to teach this? Does the horse respond to light pressure, or will you have to teach it - move over or back with the touch of a hand, back in hand with halter or bridle, lower head with slight pressure on lead rope - you get the idea - it will tell you a lot about how the horse has been handled and trained. When ridden, is there a reliable forward from a soft cue? Is there a reliable stop from a soft cue? Will the horse move laterally off the leg? Will the horse back softly when ridden? If there are issues with any of those things, that's not necessarily a problem but you need to feel that you have the skills to fix any that aren't to your satisfaction.

    What's the horse's demeanor and "eye" - relaxed and confident, or tense and/or hard? Friendly or stand-offish? (Stand-offish isn't necessarily bad - it's a question of what you're comfortable with.)

    Any slight lack of soundness is a deal breaker for me. Make sure you get a good look at how the horse moves, and a good feel of it too. Only vet check a horse that is otherwise everything you want and that you observe and feel to be sound - otherwise you're wasting your money. Make sure you don't fall in love with a horse before the vet check.

    Make sure you catch, lead, groom, hoof pick and tack up the horse yourself. Watch for signs of soreness or discomfort. Is the horse easy to mount - does the horse stand still? If not, you'll have to teach it if that's what you want.

    You get the idea.

  3. Trailer loading! Walk him/her on a trailer yourself. Multiple visits and ride each time. It is tough - but think with your head, not your heart :)

  4. I try to do something they have never been exposed to before. Lets you see how thy approach scary new situations. Noisy kds toys are great :)