Category: Trainers

Reflections On Another Year For Me & My Horses

2009 held a lot of good things for me.  I’m thankful for my husband most of all.  After 35 years of marriage, he still endures my horse craziness.  He is the reason I still have horses today because I almost gave them up several times for economic reasons.  I love him very much.

I’m glad I have my horse buddies.  Without them, my horse life would not be as much fun.  My trainer is very tolerant of my weaknesses & phobias.  Lessons are fun and vary in intensity.  I will master my weak points.  I can also say she is a good friend.  The stable owner has been a friend since her mother owned the place.  I’ve ridden many Saturday morning group lessons with her.

I’m extremely fortunate to have the horses I own today.  I’m glad I took the time to search for the right horse.  Every time I ride, they teach me to be a better rider.

So as the hours wind down for 2009, take a few minutes to reflect on the past year.  Learn the lessons taught from the bad times.   Be thankful for all the good times that have occurred over the year.  As for 2010, plan to make your horse experiences better.

Natural Horsemanship Seminar – Day 2

Day 2 of this seminar was interesting, but was very long.  There were numerous slow parts to the seminar.  This one was being filmed and it had several lengthy slow segments while staff members were setting cameras, calling staff members to the arena for filming and microphones being delivered.  There didn’t seem to be much preparation.  If there was, it seemed to be changed at the last minute.  There was also a time where students who were being graded on sections of the clinician’s program.  This could have been done after the day’s seminar and invited the audience to stay to observe instead of making it part of the seminar.  This made the seminar too long and for me, not very interesting.

To hit the good points,  there was a part on why the snaffle is considered a training tool by this particular clinician.  We were shown how he uses the snaffle by demonstrating with a bit in his hands.  This allowed the audience to see how each side of the snaffle works independently of the other.  I won’t go into the mechanics of bits that is too much subject for this post.  If you are really interested in how each type of bit works, you should probably invest in a book on bits.  You would get a much better explanation than I could try to give.

There was also a section where a horse with a severe head tossing issue was worked trying to stop this bad habit.  This particular horse had been worked the day before with good results, but still did not accept pressure applied through the reins to the bit when being cued.  This horse did not like anything on, around or near it’s head.   The clinician worked with the horse for about another 45 minutes with some pretty good results.  The horse’s owner will still have some work once they get home, but they got a good starting point.

There also another section where a horse was being trained to lay down.  This particular part I found hard to watch at times.  While I understand that by achieving this maneuver, the horse is giving you his total trust.  I personally just don’t see much use for it.

I did get some training ideas, so I would I classify the seminar as time well spent.   If you have never been to one of these seminars, you should go to one.  The ones I have been to were not very expensive, just $25 – $35 for 2 days.  I was able to purchase tickets from the clinician’s website, so that was pretty easy.  I would definitely invest in checking out a seminar near you.  You can find a schedule for seminars in just about any horse magazine.  If you don’t have a subscription to a magazine, just click one of my recommended magazines links on my website to get one started.

There will also be merchandise & DVDs of the clinician’s training program for sale at these seminars.  Most of the clinicians sell their entire training system,  which can be expensive.  However, if you buy this way, each section is usually cheaper than buying one section at a time.  Buying one section of the program as you need it may be more affordable.  Some also sell memberships to their club websites for a monthly fee.  These have extra material available only for the members.  Any of these are potentially worth the price if they help you and your horse.  But to be worth the money, you have to use them.

In these tough economic times, you have to decide what is right for you.

Natural Horsemanship Seminar – Day 1

Today I went to a natural horsemanship seminar.  I found it informative.  I’m always open to learn from others, especially if they are trying to teach me a better way of training my horse.  The better way is what has become the buzz phrase . . .  natural horsemanship, horse whispering, etc . . .  For me, this is training my horse without harsh training aids or techniques. 

Today’s lessons were on the importance of ground training your horse & getting them to move forward, laterally & back; and doing these going both ways.  If you can’t get your horse to do any of these moves from the ground . . . how do you expect your horse to do it when you are in the saddle.  Good ground work is the essential basic that a lot of people leave out of their training because they are in a hurry to get results.  You are not only training your horse good basic moves, but you are also establishing mutual respect.  Without respect, you are going no where.

There are several different clinicians to choose from.  Each has their own style & way of teaching.  I would encourage you to go to a few of these seminars when one comes to your area.  You may decide you like one clinician’s style better than another and that’s OK.  If everyone liked the same things, life would be pretty boring.   What I would like for you to do is listen with an open mind, learn something new and see if it works you & your horse.

Trailer Training Is Not A Last Minute Task

Dollar is my 6 year old palomino gelding.  I named him after the horse John Wayne rode in his movies.  Never mind that the movie Dollar was a sorrel, I am just one of those avid “Duke” movie fans.  Anyway, Dollar is just about as laid back as a horse can get.  I haven’t found anything that bothers him.  He also has as much curiosity as any cat.  He’s always looking to see what you are doing and at times it seems like he would really rather help you with whatever it is you’re doing.  He’ll walk along side of the tractor while the pasture is being mowed looking like he’s trying to tell you how to drive & mow.  He stands guard by a ladder while you are on the roof.  He also likes to floss his teeth with the tail of the lead rope you have him tied with.

Dollar has had his moments where he didn’t want to load in a trailer.  I have had to do last minute trailer training while trying to go to a show.  I have also had him refuse to load in the trailer when trying to leave the show.  Almost all horses at one time in their lives will be difficult to load in a trailer.  But consistent training and practice rides have helped immensely.  He now just walks into a trailer like an old pro.

My trainer, Ellen, told me she had to use Dollar this last weekend.  One of the other horses (let’s call him Teddy) at the barn had been sold and was leaving.  The new owner could not get Teddy to load in the slant load trailer.  Teddy is just a big kid (about 16.5h) and really had little training.  He stopped at the trailer door and refused to budge.  The new owner decided some trailer training was going to be necessary before leaving.  After several failed attempts, Ellen offered to get Dollar out of the pasture.  Dollar was Teddy’s “pasture and play mate”.  Dollar was loaded first and then Teddy was led up to the trailer.  He was quite reluctant to load.  He did get his front feet in the trailer and immediately backed right out.  He did this a few times, each time inching further in the trailer.  Finally, Teddy stepped all the way in and stood nervously beside Dollar.  Ellen told the new owner to just let them chill there for awhile, so Teddy would become adjusted to the trailer.  Then both were unloaded so Teddy could be loaded by himself.   Next Dollar was tied to the outside of the trailer as an enticement for Teddy to load.  It took a while, but Teddy was finally coaxed back in the trailer.  Ellen took Dollar back to the pasture.  Before she walked back to the barn, there was Teddy standing at the gate ready to go back to the pasture.  The new owner told Ellen that Teddy had managed to get his head over the divider bar and his neck was caught between the trailer wall and the divider.  He couldn’t get loose by himself.  To keep him from becoming terrified, he was freed from his precarious predicament and he immediately escaped from the trailer.

Well now, you can just imagine how hard it was going to be to get Teddy back in the trailer this time.  No amount of coaxing or bribing with his favorite treat seemed to work.  So it was back from the pasture for Dollar.  This time, tying Dollar outside the trailer did absolutely no good.  Since Teddy was wise to this trickery, Ellen decided it was time to actually load Dollar in the trailer again.  By this time, Dollar was a little tired of the this game also.  He balked.   But after being walked around in a circle, he loaded right in.  Teddy took some convincing.  He was  convinced by 2 people locking arms behind his haunches & helping him in the trailer.   Ellen told the new owner to tie Teddy in the trailer.  This way he wouldn’t escape again.

Now, how to get Dollar out of the trailer.  The new owner offered to let Teddy out so Dollar could be unloaded.  Ellen graciously declined this offer because it had taken literally 3 hours to get Teddy to this point.  Spending another 3 hours loading this big baby was not what Ellen had imagined for her afternoon.  She said she would get him out through the escape door.  She threw the lead rope over Dollar’s back, opened the escape door and called for him.  She had placed the bucket with the remaining food about 3 strides away from the trailer.  Dollar looked at the food and started out.  He then saw the ground which was a very long drop.  He backed up, looked at the grain and Ellen called him again.  Dollar once again stepped towards the escape door, once again looked at the ground.  Then he stepped forward enough to get both feet on the ground.  He never balked after that and just stepped right out the door and walked over to the bucket that held his treat.  The new and old owners just looked in amazement.  All Ellen said was “He’s not for sale” , turned and walked Dollar back to the pasture.

The point of this story is not about the loading/unloading methods (through the escape door) that were used on Dollar.  Neither Ellen nor I advocate this method used for anyone!  It was used because we both know the temperament of Dollar and knew his trailering abilities.  Please do not try this with your horse.  So what is the point of this story?  If your are selling a horse, be honest about the experience your horse has with trailering.  If you are buying, ask to see the horse load in trailer and maybe even take a small trip to see how the horse rides.  If you are going to a show, trail ride or even just to the vet, don’t wait until you need to leave before you trailer train your horse.  All you’ll get is frustrated with your horse and your horse will probably develop a very negative attitude towards trailering.  Take the time to trailer train your horse properly and take him on small trips every now & then to reinforce the training.  Nothing takes the place of preparing you and your horse for anything, whether it be riding or trailering.

How do I know this . . . don’t ask!

Leave a comment & tell us one of your horse trailer stories.

Secure Those Stall Doors

Even though Iggette is gone now, she still has lessons to teach.    Let’s talk about securing the stall door & gates.  Most people look at the latch on any typical stall and wonder how in the world can a horse open it.  Well let me tell you, Iggette was quite an escape artist.  She learned this little feat while at the first stable and continued it at other stables.

The small pasture I originally put Iggette in just didn’t work out as planned.  She was the only horse there and horses just don’t fair well by themselves.  So I moved her to a shed row with 3 large paddocks and each paddock was shared by 4 stalls.  Everyone who had stalls here rotated paddock time.  Iggette had other horses to visit and a mare next to her.  I felt like I had her in a pretty safe place.  The stall was big, it was in good condition, the stall door was a partial door so that she could stick her head out and socialize and the paddock was secure.  The stall & paddock gate had “horse-proof” latches, so I knew she would be safe.

I’m one of those anal types when it comes to checking & rechecking for closed & locked doors.  When I left everyday, I must have checked the stall door 5 times, the feed room door 10 times and the paddock gate 20 times.  I absolutely wanted to make sure that my horse came to no harm through my carelessness.  Can you imagine the shock I felt one day when one of my friends called me at work to say my horse was out.  Not just out of her stall, not out of the paddock, but out in the open field!!!!  This field had no fence and it was only a few yards from a busy street.  I rushed from worked to the stable.  As I drove up the long driveway, I saw my friend out in the pasture trying to coax Iggette AND her friend to come to her.  I went to the tack room and got a bucket of grain.  If Iggette was anything, she was a chow hound.  I just knew she would come to me with this temptation.  To my surprise, Iggette thought much more of her freedom at the time than what her belly would normally tell her.  Everytime I got near her, she would turn tail & sprint off in the opposite direction.  Remember I told she was hard to catch and she was certainly living up to that on this day.

I talked with my friend while trying to catch up with these two.  She told me she didn’t know how they got out.  She came out to feed her horse which was in the paddock next to mine.  She noticed that my horse was not anywhere to be found.  She looked for her and just happened to catch a glimpse of her through an alleyway between our shedrow and the one behind us.  That’s when she called me.  Since we weren’t having much luck trying to catch them, we changed out tactics.  We decided to try to herd them into a semi-enclosed area.  There at least, we might have a chance putting a halter on them.  Funny how things work out.  Iggette led us right into the alleyway and actually caught herself.  I was quick to put a halter on her and my friend caught the other horse.

I put my horse back in her stall.  The other horse, we just left out in the paddock since it was her time to be out.  Iggette had another idea.  I was standing not far from the stall talking with my friend, all of a sudden Iggette’s stall door flew open.  Iggette promptly walked out and went over to her mare friend.  She actually herded the mare back into her stall & closed the door on her.  She didn’t lock, just pushed it shut.  Then she returned to her stall and closed her door.  My jaw just about hit the dirt.  My friend & I looked at each other in total amazement.  How did she do that?!

It was time for a little investigative work.  I locked Iggette’s door and all of the others in our paddock area.  In no time, Igggette’s head popped over the door and started jiggling the latch with her lip.  You’ve seen how a horse will curl their lip when you scratch just the right spot, well that’s what her lip looked like.  It was only about 30 seconds later and she was out of her stall.  She went next door and got her lip working over that latch.  Soon, her friend was out and they both went over to the gate.  Iggette once again got the lip going.  Fortunately for us, I had figured out where she was going and just got to the gate before it too went flying open.

An escape artist had been born.  Now the hard part was going to figure out how to keep Iggette in her stall and keep her safe.  We start with making sure the “horse-proof” latches have a way to lock it closed.  Get a swivel snap or double ended snap & secure the stall door latch.  A simple $2 piece of hardware can give you piece of mind.  It may be more of a pain to the open the stall door, but wouldn’t you rather have a friendly face meeting you at the stall instead of you meeting your worst fears opening an empty stall?


Meet My First Horse

My first horse Igette was a race bred quarter horse

I’ve been referring to my first horse in several posts.  Let me introduce you to Juniper Moon Wind, affectionately called Iggette.  If you’ve read my posts on what & what not to look for, this is a very good lesson in what NOT to do for your first horse.  Iggette, in her younger days, was an absolute nightmare for any novice.  I will add that in time with a lot of patience & training, she became the best horse ever for both me and the countless students that she taught how to ride and overcome their fears.

Iggette is a race bred Quarter horse.  In 1979, she was in training at a smaller track in my area.  She had about 60 or 90 days of training.  To be quite honest, I just don’t remember anymore.  As with a lot of young race horses, her legs just couldn’t stand up to the strain of hard training.  Before she ever had an official race, she hurt her front legs.  This wasn’t a life threatening injury, but it did end her race career.  The only good therapy was complete rest.

Iggette was taken off the track to recover at her owner’s home.  She was put in a pasture with feeder cows.  Unfortunately for Iggette, she has a lot more cow sense in her that a race horse should have.  She herded the cows around the pen, cut them into corners and wouldn’t let eat.  She did this several times a day.  Let’s just say she wouldn’t let the cows fatten up and a skinny cow is not what you want to take to the butcher.  To top this off, Iggette bucked off the owner’s wife when she was ridden.  Remember Iggette only had race training, she didn’t know how to be a pleasure riding horse.  This just added insult to injury.  It was time to sell her.

My and Igge at CavalierThis is where I come in.  I had never owned a horse, I had never taken care of a horse and I had only ridden a few backyard pets that my friends had.  I was a stupid 20 something and was just as horse crazy then as when I was at 4.  Oh yeah, I was also recuperating from a very bad fall off a lesson horse trying to learn how to jump fences.  I was told Iggette was going to the sale barn and I just couldn’t let that happen.  I talked my husband into buying her.  I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with her, but I knew I couldn’t let her go to the sale where she might end up in the hands of the killers.  I bought her without even going to look at her first.  This is how I became a novice owner.

When I went to get her, her former owner had offered to trailer her for me since I had neither a truck or trailer.  Being off the track, I thought she would just jump in the trailer & off we’d go.  We tried loading her the normal way by just walking into the trailer, she won that battle.  We tried a rope around her backside to try to pull her in, she won that battle.  We tried backing the trailer in the ditch so she wouldn’t have very far to step up, she won that battle.  We finally had to put her in a stall and back the trailer up to the door.  After an hour of trying to coax her in, we won – sort of.  She did get in the trailer, but she did the 4-foot shuffle all the way to her new home.  Whew, was I glad that was over.

Iggette’s new home was a stable not far from my house.  I did the good owner thing and walked her around the pasture so that she would know the fenceline.  Just as I took off her halter, a jet flew overhead as it was taking off from the airport.  The airport was less than a 1/4 mile from the stable.  Needless to say it was low and loud.  Iggette reared up at the sound of very loud jet engines & took off running.  She had never heard this sound before & it scared the daylights out of her.  I couldn’t catch her the rest of the day.  Within a week, jets didn’t phase her anymore.  Catching her while in the pasture remained one of her biggest vices for quite a few years though.

As for riding her, I quickly learned race training is just what it implies.  The only gaits she knew how to do were a fidgety walk and run at top speed.  I needed help and decided to use the resident manager/trainer.  This was another big mistake.  ALWAYS – ALWAYS – ALWAYS check out the trainer before hand.  Talk with some of their customers, watch a few of their training sessions and talk with other people in their barn.  If the trainer discourages or flat out won’t let you talk to their clients or watch them train, pass them up.  Don’t even think about it.  After finding out a few of his “training techniques”, I knew this was definitely not the trainer for me or my new horse.

I suffered through trying to train her myself or maybe it was Iggette who suffered through a complete novice trying to train a green horse.  We didn’t get very far.  Since I had no idea of what I was doing, the best I could manage was a somewhat slower walk and a trot that would jar your teeth out.  I didn’t try to lope at this point.  To be quite honest, I was intimidated and she knew it.  She never tried to dump me or rub me off on the nearest fence, but she was never willing to give to in to me either.  She seemed to do better with women than with men.  My husband would ride her and she would do little bunny hops sideways.

So to sum up this part of my novice experience: I bought a 3 yr old horse. I bought a horse off the racetrack. I bought a horse that only had race training and no other type of training. I bought a horse I had never even seen. I bought a horse from sheer emotion. I bought a horse that at times was almost impossible to catch. I bought a horse that would not load in a trailer.

How many more wrong things can a person do?

You can see now why I am passionate about helping other novice horsemen out there.  It can be mighty painful without some experienced help.

The Pre-Purchase Exam


If you’ve been reading my blog, you  know  I’ve  talked  about  riding  lessons, checking the stable for possible flooding problems and  what  and  what  not  to consider for your first horse.  Now let’s talk about whether or not a pre-purchase exam is necessary.

First let me say, you need to get the March issue of EQUUS.  If you don’t have a subcription and would like to subscribe to EQUUS, just click on the EQUUS picture at the right.  This issue has a 14 page article on the pre-purchase exam.  It tells what the process is, takes you through an exam and gives you a few stories about different outcomes based on the findings of the pre-purchase exam.  This is another MUST read article for the novice.  I really can’t tell you any more than what is in this article. 

I have only had 2 full pre-purchase exams on horses that I either own or was considering.  I had a partial exam on a horse that had an eye defect.  One horse failed the exam because of arthritis that I would not have found without the vet check.  The horse with the eye defect was cleared because it was a birth defect and it was determined the defect shouldn’t bother her.  I still have the eye checked every year though.  The other horse passed the exam and then I had x-rays done on the knees.  I wanted these x-rays because the horse was just a 2 year old and I wanted to see if the knees had finished developing.  My decision for just knee x-rays was based on what the cost of the exam would be with full leg x-rays.  I simply couldn’t afford all of the x-rays.

You should consider your budget for horse expenses.  Pre-purchase exams are not cheap.  The cost will probably vary depending on which part of the country you live in.  Are they worth the money?  If it prevents you from buying an unhealthy or injured horse obviously the answer is YES!  If the pre-purchase exam proves that the horse is sound, then you not only have piece of mind, but now have a better idea what the horse can do.  Also, the more expensive the horse, the more obvious it is that you should have the pre-purchase exam done.  And if you are considering a less expensive horse, that shouldn’t keep you from considering the pre-purchase exam.  If you are trying to save money & buy a cheap horse that costs you a ton in vet bills, well . . . it wasn’t a cheap horse.  You, with the help of your trainer and/or vet, should make the decision of whether or not to have the pre-purchase exam or at least how much of the exam you can afford.

Like I said above, I had 2 full exams done and only came home with 1 horse.  One exam ABSOLUTELY saved me from buying a gorgeous palomino I really wanted but had unseen problems.  If you are actively looking for a horse, maybe you should consider a pre-purchase exam for the top candidate.  If the horse passes, you have a new equine friend.  If the horse fails, you are only out the cost of the exam instead of the price of an unsuitable horse plus whatever else it will take to keep the horse sound and healthy.

Read the article.  Be informed.  Consider the costs.  Ultimately, the decision for the pre-purchase exam is yours.



Magazine Must Haves For The Novice Horseman

I just received my Horse & Rider magazine.  This is just one of my magazines that I read front to back.  There is an article in this issue that you, as a novice looking to buy a horse, MUST read!!  The article is “7 SIGNS YOU SHOULD WALK AWAY FROM A HORSE FOR SALE (OR SELLER)” by Bob Avila.

This article tells you what bad habits to look for.  The article goes into bad attitude, this would be cranky, rude or impatient.  It tells you about being barn sour and also about not respecting your space.  There is a small section of information about lameness.  There are also signs to look for in the seller.  This article is only 4 pages long, but it does give you information that you will need when you go to look for that dream horse.  READ IT!! & READ IT again!!

And when you are done with this article, read the one from Clinton Anderson on getting your foot shy horse  to let you handle those ticklish feet.  Oh and don’t miss YOUR HORSE YOUR LIFE for a few pointers.  There are some really good common sense things a novice horse owner may not know.  There are also on going articles on conformation, riding & horsemanship.  AND THIS IS JUST 1 ISSUE!!!

If you don’t have this magazine . . .  go out now & get it at your local bookstore, drug store or grocery store.  It is well worth your time and effort for this one.  This is just one MUST HAVE magazine for any novice.  It is just full of information.  There is also EQUUS.  I highly recommend this magazine for the latest in  horse health.  Practical Horseman & Dressage Today are outstanding magazines for the owner who leans more towards English riding.

These are the magazines that I subscribe to for the latest information in health, riding and horse related products.  Over the years, I have gotten an enormous amount of information from these magazines.  There have been articles on legislations that effect the horse world.  There have been articles on which hay may be better for your horse, oats vs sweet feed and which plants in your pasture are deadly to your horse.

If you don’t have a subscription for any of these, check out the MUST HAVE MAGAZINES in the right column of my blog.  Just click on the magazine that you would like to subscribe to.

Subscribe today, don’t miss another issue!

What Horse To Look For – Part 4

It’s been a few days.  Have you read up on the type of horse that is right for you?  I do hope you’ve spent some serious time on this subject.  You don’t want to go into horse ownership on just a whim.  To make it work out for both you & the horse, you have to be as prepared as possible.  So in all fairness, it’s time to talk about what a novice should not consider as their first horse.  That’s not to say you should never consider one of these next types, but maybe you should wait until you are a little more experienced.

I already talked about my #1 horse a novice should not consider.  That is the stallion.  I won’t go into stallions much more  than I did in my previous post.  Stallions need absolute distinct differences between what is breeding routines and normal everyday routines.  You need to be to the top dog . .  horse. . . with a stallion.  They need to respect you as the herd leader and you need to respect them for what they are.

My #2 horse a novice should not consider is a foal (weanling) or 1 year old.  But you say they are sooooo cute & irresistible.  Just remember foals are babies . . .  big babies . .  big babies growing bigger.  Their nutritional needs are more  than an older horse.  This will end up in a higher feed bill.  As with all babies, they take an enormous amount of time to raise and train properly.  They absolutely need to learn who the leader is.    If you don’t have the time EVERY DAY to spend with a foal/yearling, you are not doing yourself or the foal any good.  You have to teach these guys everything a good horse should know.  The only real discipline you can do with a baby is halter and if they are 1 year old maybe longe line.  You can’t ride them until they are closer to 2 years old.  Remember these are growing babies.  They need consistency and repetition, repetition, repetition.

The #3 horse is the unbroke or green broke horse.  I want to teach my horse myself you say.  Green horses need consistency in their training, which means either you or the trainer needs to do something with them at least 5 or 6 days a week.  Training a horse needs a steady hand that is also gentle and forgiving.  A cool temperament on the rider’s part is an absolute must.  If you can’t keep your cool when stressed, trying to train a green horse will be a disaster. If you are a novice, you are still learning.  It is better to get a horse that can teach you.

The last horse I’ll talk about would be one fresh off the race track.  These horses are trained for speed.  While they can make excellent horses, it will take a lot of just quiet riding time to retrain them for gaits other than running.  I would also watch for injuries to their legs.  I tell you this from experience.  My 1st horse was off the track.  While I knew of the injury to her legs that ended her race career, she had another leg problem that took a little time to show up.  I would definitely have a pre-purchase exam on an ex-racehorse.

This is my list of the top 4 horses not to consider if you are a novice.  You can buy one of these if your heart is set on a horse from one of these groups.  Just remember that you will probably need the help of a professional trainer not only for the horse but for you also.  You can make it work, just don’t expect miracles overnight.  Any of these will take a lot of time and even more patience.

What Horse To Look For – Part 3


Let’s talk horse breeds.  There are soooo many breeds and color breeds to choose from it’s mind boggling to a novice.  Take your time, figure out what discipline you want to pursue (riding, jumping, halter, trail, etc).  While any breed of horse can do just about anything, I would suggest that you read up on the different breeds.  There are lots of books and magazines at the book store and on the web.  I could go on for a long time about the breeds but you should consider this more homework.  Choose a breed that will be best for your desired discipline.  An example would be if you wanted a miniature horse, your desired discipline shouldn’t be dressage or trail riding.  If you want to show in the quarter horse shows, you shouldn’t get a loud spotted paint.  Talk with your riding instructor or horse friends.  Talk with the people at the shows.  Unless you are smitten with a certain breed, picking a breed will probably be a tough task.   


Don’t just consider a pure bred.  There are lots of show circuits and fun shows that you don’t have to have a pure bred horse to show.  You don’t have to have a pure bred to ride the trails.  If showing in the breed show is not your cup of tea, you might even consider a grade horse.   What is a grade horse?  This is a horse that can’t be regisitered in a recongnized breed registery.  This could be a solid colored paint that the owner just didn’t want to register.  This can be a cross between 2 different breeds that don’t recognize the other in their registries.  This could be a pony breed that the pony just grew too tall.  There are a lot grade horses and all of them have the same potential as any pure bred horse. 


I will say right up front, I’m partial to the quarter horse.  This would include the Quarter horse & any breed that recognizes it for acceptable breeding.  Why you ask?  The only reason I can give you is this is what I grew up on.  I personally own a Quarter mare, a Paint mare and a Palomino gelding.  They are all mostly quarter horse in their breeding.  They are not a small horse nor are they too big.  I like their temperment and they are versatile.  With that said,  these qualities can be found in any breed.


You can have just as much enjoyment from your equine friend no matter what his breeding.  The key is picking the right horse for you.  Have you read my slogan? 


Success is not what horse you have . . .  but what you do with that horse.