Top Tips for Buying your First Horse

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You’ve made up your mind,  you are going to buy a horse…

You know what your looking for; well roughly!  You are trying not to think of the cold winter rainy evenings and are focusing on the sunny balmy summer rides. You have sat down and done your sums and you have a budget and a sum you can ring fence every month to keep him and a savings account to pay into for emergencies and all those things you never thought that you would ever need.

Importantly you have worked out what size, shape, sex, ability, colour, age, confirmation, temperament, your budget and where you are going to look……yes! You have to know these things before you set out….well not the colour obviously because if you are thinking straight that is right sown at the bottom of your list –  NO? If it happens to be in your top three cross it out.  I promise colour is the least important thing on your shopping list, that and its name; although how many white socks it has and if it has a blaze can be important considerations-more on that later.

Where do I start? Top Technical Tips

Tipping the Scales – What size?

Lets work out roughly what size horse you are looking for -

  1. Add up the total weight of the horse, rider, and tack. Our eg: Horse (15.2 allrounder at 400 kg) + rider (Jo average 5’.4” and 70KG) + tack= 507kg (convert to lbs=1188lbs)
  2. Measure the circumference of the cannon bone midway between the knee and fetlock. Our example: 7.5 inches
  3. Divide the total weight by the circumference. Our example: 1188 / 7.5 = 158.4
  4. Divide the result by two. Our example: 158.4 / 2 = 79.2

 

You know exactly how tall you are and how much you weigh (methinks!) Here’s an average horse weight chart

Height (hh) Weight Range (kg)
9-9.3 – Shetland 200- 240
10-10.3 240-280
12 – 12.3 200-300
13-13.3 230-370
14-14.3 290-390
15-15.1 360-550
15.2-153 400-510
16-16.1 470-550
16.2-16.3 490-650
17.2-17.3 640-900
17.2-17.3 – Shire 850-950


…but…..and there is always a but! Some breeds have denser bones e.g. Arabs and Icelandic and New Forest Ponies which means they are able to carry heavier weights than others of a similar height and build.

Horses can be separated by build (height weight ratio) into light, middle and heavy weight and in the case of show horses “small” as well. This is not meant to be an indication of their present dieting regime but describes their build, and confusingly, this is relative to their breed types in most cases.  So, for instance, a light weight hunter (usually a ¾ or 7/8th Thoroughbred) is a well built, elegant horse of around 16-16.2hh capable of carrying around 12st.7lbs (177lbs/80kgs) including all tack and a bone size of around 8 inches. A middleweight hunter may be around 16.2hh, so slightly taller and have a deeper girth and a heavier build with a bone size of around 9 inches.

New Forest Pony breed guide says that a new forest is capable of carrying a stone for every hand and Shetlands are capable of an even greater height weight ratio.  However, if you are tall riding a small pony is not always very comfortable or elegant.

I think the point I am making is that TOP TIP One is buy a horse to make you happy and TOP TIP TWO is buy a horse that fits.  More pointers In TOP TIP THREE.