Category Archives: First Horse

Your first horse is always a very special and has an enduring relationship with you throughout your entire career or profession.

Why You Should Consider Horse Shopping in Ireland


Contrary to belief, a day out horse shopping in Ireland can be a fun and highly cost-effective way to view a multitude of extremely well bred, potential and proven, Irish competition horses in a short space of time.

Within an hour of Dublin airport, you will find several highly reputable breeders, producers and competition yards with quality stock for sale at sensible prices.  Ireland is renowned for many things but breeding great horses and making Guinness easily come top of the list.

Next time you are looking for your next competition horse, consider a quick day trip to Ireland instead of planning several long drives around England and Scotland to view individual horses. Why not view 6-8 horses in one day to find the horse of your dreams?

Equally, if you’re looking to buy more than one horse, you could plan a weekend trip in order to visit a few big yards. Some breeders and producers will offer overnight hospitality so you’ll leave Ireland having made new friends as well as buying new horses to add to your current string.

If you want to set your pulse racing then you should visit one of the many esteemed sports horse sales in Ireland. The atmosphere was electric at Goresbridge Go For Gold and the Supreme Sale of Showjumpers in November, and I have no doubt the horses they sold will be gracing the top of the leader boards in the very near future.

How To Get There

The cheapest and quickest way of getting to Ireland is typically by aeroplane; flights from most regional airports start from just £18! No need to pack a good book as you’ll be landing before you know it; the flight takes approximately one hour. Most Irish breeders help arrange pick up from the airport or will collect you in person.

Ferry is another option and costs range from £50-£180 depending on how far in advance you book and what date you travel on. The ferry isn’t the quickest or cheapest means of getting to Ireland but having your own car does mean you can drive around Ireland at your own leisure and travel further afield to view horses.

Travelling by train is the third option with return tickets from your own local train station starting at approximately £78.

Three Quality Irish-Based Horses For Sale on Horse Scout


1.35m Perfect Young Rider Horse: ISH Bay Mare rising 8 years 16.1 hands.  Grade A mare with 375 points. She has multiple wins and placings at 1.30m – 1.35m level. She jumped clear in the Hankook 6/7 year old Grand final at Cavan Indoor Championships September 2016. She is a serious speed horse and tries her heart out in the ring. Would be a top horse for a competitive young rider or experienced amateur.


Super Rising 7YO CIC* Event Horse: Beautiful grey ISH mare 17hh rising 7 years old by Carrick Diamond Lad. Placed 2nd as Reserve Champion at Dressage Ireland 4yr old Championships 2014.  Won at BE100, placed 2nd at Tullymurray CNC* – only her second ever 1* event.  6 Eventing Ireland points, 32 Dressage points. She would suit a competitive amateur rider or a professional to realise her full potential as she has been bred and produced to go all the way.


Excellent 1.40m showjumper: Talented and experienced mare that has competed up to 1.40m level successfully in Ireland as an 8 yo. This big scopey mare has a good canter and a brilliant attitude in front of her fences. Proven to be brave and careful over her fences and should go on to jump even bigger tracks. Suitable ride for either amateur or professional rider.


Horses for sale this winter


Horse Scout’s advice for buying horses this winter.


Winter proves a perfect time for the acquisition of new horses for sale for Horse Scout riding professionals. This contrasts  first time and novice buyers ideal time of year to purchase a new horse unless they have a professional support system in place.

Professional yards overcome the difficulties of riding through the winter months with greater ease than the amateur home.  There is a tendency for better facilities: walkers, staff, lunge pens, structured daily routines, which undoubtably  enable professionals to slot any new horses into their set up with greater ease than smaller private homes.

The Horse Scout Team have found that all too often, first time and novice buyers encounter a negative experience with a new horse through the winter months. Contributing factors range from common and understandable mistakes such as: over feeding, unnecessary clipping out for aesthetics versus logic, poor warm-up options / lack of training support and poor turn out routines.

The  inability to maintain necessary work levels, (or that which the previous home and rider was able to facilitate) tends to be paramount. If you or your friends are having any concerns, we would recommend a winter livery option with a proven professional yard that works within the same discipline you have purchased your horse for.

International Event Rider and Hampshire based trainer Lucienne Elms confirms the relevance for a patient approach, especially with the youngsters or novice rider. “I always give the young horses the chance to relax and warm up on the lunge long and low,  with a loose set of side reins for 10-15mins over the winter. Especially if they have had a day off, it keeps their brains ‘on side’ as they are able to then relax and concentrate when my clients or I get back in the saddle. In my experience horses are two things: memory and instinct. It takes months, even years to train them; but seconds to form an unnecessary habit or bad experience. Clients being bucked off onto frozen ground is never something I want to hear, and when selling its always best to be honest about the ‘quirks’ or needs of the animals, that way these problems can be avoided. Prevention is better than cure!

Horse Scout Team would recommend when buying a horse for sale, it is always best to take a professional with you, ideally one that knows you, and your riding ability, to support your selection process and reduce the chance of being victimised by a sharp or underworked horse over the winter months.

Horse Scout invests in star show jumpers


Horse Scout, which has secured global investment to further develop its innovative equestrian social network platform and help riders boost their professional careers, is to sponsor the next round of young show jumpers on the British Showjumping and Haddon Training Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence (AASE) programme in its mission to nurture future Olympic stars.

Applications for the 2016/17 AASE programme open at the end of July and those accepted will have the opportunity to be coached and trained by some of the top sporting coaches and experts in the UK including Heike Holstein (flatwork) and Andrew Saywell (jumping).

The programme also gives participants (age 16-19) access to experts that focus on them as an athlete: a physiotherapist to help reduce imbalances and weaknesses, a dietitian to advise on nutrition, and a media trainer who can help develop communication skills.

Aimed at developing and preparing talented young upcoming athletes at the top of their game, the AASE programme provides training and education for those who have a real chance of excelling in their sport and competing at European and Olympic level.

The AASE programme also develops the riders into young professionals within the sport with many progressing to start and run their own businesses.

Haddon Training has delivered AASE for British Showjumping since 2013 with 100 young riders completing the 12-15-month programme which culminates in a Level 3 nationally recognised qualification — equivalent to two A-Levels and 85 UCAS points.

Corinne Bracken, AASE Programme Manager, says: “The programme covers all the core components including technical, tactical, mental and physical skills delivered by industry experts, plus those that are essential to attracting owners and sponsors to the sport. It’s great that global organisations such as Horse Scout recognise the importance of supporting future stars.”

How to apply:Any young rider seeking details on the AASE application process should contact

I wish horses could BURP! 10 tips to help stop ulcers spoiling your horses performance


Understanding how the equine digestive system works is key to understanding a horse’s dietary needs, and it is valid to question why horse owners insist on feeding grains to herbivores. There are so many supplements, specialist feeds and different approaches to feeding your horse that it can be difficult to know if you are making the right choice.

Keeping things simple, as simple as you can, is the right approach for the everyday horse owner.

  1. The horse is a grazing animal designed to graze for 16-18 hours per day, consuming low-grade forage,
  2. It has an in-built urge to eat and will not stop until it feels satisfied. Its natural position for eating is with its head down.
  3. Food passes from the horse’s mouth into the oesophagus aided by saliva for lubrication. The saliva is produced in response to chewing and is high in bicarbonate. (A natural antacid)
  4. A horse produces 32-46 litres of saliva per day. The less chewing a horse does, the less saliva it will produce. Eating forage slowly encourages it to produce more saliva.
  5. A horses stomach is small because the horse is a defenceless animal whose natural instinct is to flee from danger andthe stomach impacts on the chest and diaphragm, so if it was too large and too full of food it would inhibit the speed at which the horse could flee.
  6. A horse produces 35-40 litres of gastric juices independently of it eating, so stomach needs to stay at about a third full of fibre and forageto act as a mat in the base of the stomach and hold the acid.
  7. Ceareal based diets mean that the stomach can be emptied too fast and as the horse moves, acid splashes up onto the top of the stomach wall. This, combined with the associated imbalance of alkaline saliva and acid gastric juices, further reduces the pH in the stomach and causes ulcers.
  8. Around 95 per cent of racehorses and 35 per cent of leisure horses have ulcers, but because, as a prey animal, they are not designed to exhibit signs of pain, owners may not be aware of them. However, they can be detected by scoping and they are likely to manifest themselves as behavioural problems.
  9. A horse’s pancreas only produces a finite amount of insulin and if this is used up early in a horse’s life, by having to process an excessive amount of sugar and starch, it will create health issues such as metabolic syndrome. It is so easy to upset the natural balance of your horses digestion tract.
  10. A horse will function best, what ever its job, when fed as closely to its natural diet as is possible, given the restrictions of stabling and restricted grazing.

If you are keeping your horse with a professional trainer on schooling livery or for your own pleasure at a livery yard you will be able to work closely with the professionals in charge of your horses welfare. However, if you are looking after your own horse there are so many products and supplements on the market that it can become tempting to complicate the whole thing and end up causing your horses digestive system to become overloaded or stressed.

Horse Scout Blogger was watching the racing this weekend (along with a few other people I suspect!) One particular trainer recounted that despite a victorious last race of the season before but that something had been nagging at him (the trainer) He knew there was something “not quite right” and tests did show that the horse was suffering from acute ulceration of the stomach. With a change in regime and fodder types the horse had bounced back and was in the best form ever, and indeed was lengths ahead of the rest of the field.

Selling your horse or pony with Horse Scout, preparation for potential buyers


It’s important that once you’ve made the decision to sell your horse, you advertise in a manner to help potential buyers understand their suitability. At Horse Scout sales questionnaires draw the correct information to help you reach your target audience.

Our top tips
Insist those trying always wear a hat, and ideally a body protector if they bring one, prevention always better than cure!

Preparing for sale
So the advert is live and you’re waiting for the phone to ring with potential buyers. If you haven’t already done so, below are our top tips on preparing your horse for sale.
correct information

Passport, Vaccinations, Breeding, Competition Record. Ensure you have all the required information to hand. The advert process with Horse Scout will ensure all areas are already covered!

Have the right facilities to show your horse off. If you are selling a jumping horse and do not have any jumps then you may need to arrange to go rent a ménage, and jumps. make sure the horse is happy with where he is going and has seen the fences or surroundings before.

Try to get your horse used to being handled by others, especially if he is just used to you. Buyers will want to run their hands down his legs, pick feet up, prod and poke! Get him used to being taken out of his stable and stood up, and trotted up.

If possible, try and get your horse used to being ridden by other people who are suitable, and competent. This will increase the chance of the animal being settled when being tried by someone new and different. First impressions count, relaxed horses sell!

Clean and Tidy
Take time to prepare your horse to ensure he looks his best. Give him a bath, pull mane and tail be sure they look clean, tidy and smart. No one wants to be bucked off! Ensure bathing is done with ample time to dry, and be warm.
Clipping, Loading and Hacking
If you have said your horse is good to load, clip and hack then a buyer may want to see this evidenced. Make sure you are prepared, and can support your advertising statements. Any vices should always be declared in advance, after all there is a home for every horse!
All the best!

Choosing the right horse for you, buying a horse for the first time


Horse Scout’s top tips:
Horse Scout strongly advises that you stick to your itinerary: the choices you make should be guided by the person helping, managing, training you — and not influenced by the seller.

Age: This is a common conundrum… the novice rider needs an animal to have been backed and in regular work for at least a couple of years. Purchasing a 5-year-old with little time under saddle may be problematic, as horses will grow and change in temperament. As a rule of thumb, horses decrease in value after 11 years; age starts from January each year. Therefore buying a 10-year-old in December will leave you with an 11-year-old horse in January.
Budget: If the animal seems too good to be true, it probably is! Unless you have a personal connection to the seller, there may be a veterinary issue, which is not being disclosed, or there could be a lack of suitability of the horse for required purpose.
Type: Consider what you want your horse to do and view potential horses accordingly. If you want a quiet schoolmaster, don’t be tempted to view a young feisty thoroughbred. If you want something to hunt, don’t be impressed by something with flashy movement that probably won’t stand up to running on unlevel ground.
Breed: Avoid full blood thoroughbreds as a first horse unless the animal has references and history already suited to your needs. Mixed-blood ‘colder’ breeding will lend to an easier/less sharp temperament. After all, you would not purchase a Ferrari as your child’s first car!
Size: Horses can grow until they are 8 years old and breed will dictate the chance of the horse having a late growth spurt. Seek advice from a vet/professional when buying a youngster.
Sex: Consider where the animal will be kept. Some yards have a gelding-only policy. Always ask when a gelding has been gelded if young, as it may still have stallion tendencies!
History: If you’re looking to compete, buy an animal with a competition history. The animal’s experience will help to keep you confident eg if you are embarking upon a show jumping horse, buy a horse with a BSJA record, NOT just on a ticket.
Research: Keep looking at Horse Scout frequently. A good horse will go quickly. Horse Scout adverts get rated for the amount of information given – if it hasn’t got five stars find out why and ask appropriate questions.
Trial: If you arrive at the venue and immediately know the horse is not for you, say so. You’ll only be wasting the owner’s time and yours. Visit the horse more than once, as this may unveil character flaws or you might merely have missed something on your first visit. See the horse ridden before you get on, watch the horse jump before you jump, and hack alone and in company if hacking is important to your requirements. Video the visit so that you can watch it at home with someone whose opinion you trust and ask as many questions as possible.
Vetting: Confirm that the seller is happy to have the horse vetted, and possibly x-rayed before you book a visit. However, weigh up what level of vetting you need. If the horse is just for hacking, a three-star vetting may be enough.
Horse Scout believes there is a home for every horse.

Best of luck – the Horse Scout Team!