If you are on the market for your new horse, especially if you are looking for your first horse, it can sometimes be hard to know where to start looking. After all, many of us love the look of a certain type of horse, but realistically they simply might not be the right horse for you.
Why does type of horse matter?
Much lie different breeds of dog, different types of horse have personality traits. Due to how much cross breeding goes into different sports horses these days, there isn’t always a huge amount of variation between breeds. But horse type is still a good thing to look at.
Traditionally horse types were; hot bloods, warmbloods and cold bloods. Hot bloods are your thoroughbreds and Arabians. Warmbloods are your sports horses and cold bloods are your draught horses and native breeds. As a general rule, hot bloods are feisty, cold bloods more mellow and your warmbloods are somewhere in between. But obviously this is isn’t perfect and some horses don’t fit perfectly into these stereotypes
What do you want to do with your horse?
One of the first questions you have to ask yourself is what do you want to do with your new horse? If you have a specific goal such as jumping 1m+ show jumping tracks, you probably want to look at the hot and warmblood breeds. But if you just want to do a bit of everything at low ish level and lots of hacking, then really any type of horse could work for you.
How much time do you want to be spending on a horse?
While all horses require a lot of time to look after, some require more work than others. A hardy cob could happily live out all year round with little extra work, plus they might still be relaxed and calm to be dragged out the field once or twice a week for a hack. Whereas a thoroughbred may not be able to live out all year round happily and might need to be exercised more regularly. Obviously you get some hardy thoroughbreds and wimpy cobs, but it’s a good general rule to follow.
What is your height and weight?
While there is nothing wrong with riding a tall horse if you are short or vice versa, but being too tall or too short can make it more difficult to ride a horse effectively. If in doubt, aiming for something around 16h is usually a good idea for most people. If your are above or below average height you can move more either side.
Your weight is more important when choosing a horse. There has recently been a lot of research showing that riders what are too heavy for their horses can cause lameness. Most studies have concluded that riders should ideally be no heavier than 10-20% of the horses bodyweight. So for a 600kg horse, riders should be no more than 120kg while holding the saddle etc.
If you are a heavier rider you might also want to look at a chunkier type of horse. I don’t mean an overweight horse, but types of horse what tend to have a bit more bone, such s cobs and draught horses.
The final thing to think about is your ability. If you are a fairly new rider, there is no point looking for something that can jump around Badminton. Similarly, if you are riding at a certain level and want to get out competing, while you may be more than capable of bringing on a horse from scratch, you might prefer something ready to go. If you are in doubt about your ability or even if you want to double check, always talk to your friends, coach, anyone else who might be able to give you a realistic idea of your ability.
Once you have thought about all these things you can start thinking about how much money you are able to spend on a horse. Then you should have a good checklist of things you are looking for in a horse.