Feeling Confident About Trying Out a New Horse

Feeling Confident About Trying Out a New Horse

Feeling Confident About Trying Out a New Horse

Feeling Confident About Trying Out a New Horse

What this episode is all about & how it can help you:-

  • Get clear on your goals & your resources before starting your search
  • Realise how important it is to do your ‘groundwork’ first, before riding
  • Overcome resistance to riding a ‘new horse’
  • Make a better decision that both you & your new horse will be happy with

One of the most exciting, and yet nerve wreaking times for riders; finding your ‘new horse’.  Most riders, at some point in their riding journey, will eventually find themselves making an appointment to go see a new horse.  It might be to lease or to buy.  What is important to remember here is that whatever decision you make, it will have an impact on your riding for years to come.  It will also impact the life of the horse.

Therefore it makes sense that most riders are keen to make a ‘good’ decision.  Unfortunately this can put extra pressure and stress on the rider.  The good news is that there are some things you can do both before and at the yard that will make the process more streamlined.  These simple things will also help you to feel more confident about trying the new horse and making a good decision.

In this episode of the Daily Strides Podcast I will give you a few simple things you can do both before and while viewing a potential new horse.  They will hopefully allow you to feel more confident in your decision. 

Be Really Honest & Realistic about Your Goals

I am going to suggest beginning this process before you ever contact a seller about viewing a potential new horse.  Doing your homework so to speak!  I feel that there are three areas that you need to be honest and realistic about, your goals, the money and your current situation.

Having an idea regarding where you would like to be in your riding journey 5 or 10 years from now will help to narrow the search for your new horse. 

I often see riders turning down horses that are suited to them and their goals, because the horse is not a ‘world beater’.  Be honest.  Do you really need a ‘world beater’?  Or would a horse with average abilities and a great temperament be more suited to what you want to do in the saddle in the coming years?

Now, obviously, things change.  What you ‘think’ you want in 5 years might turn out to be completely different 3 years down the road.  however, having an idea will help you narrow that initial search and make better decisions that will help you where you are right now.

Know How Much Money You Have to Invest in Your New Horse

Having an actual figure worked out regarding the amount you are comfortable and able to invest in your new horse is essential before the search begins.  It will help both you, and also save potential sellers a few headaches as well!

Viewing horses that are clearly above your budget is not fair on anyone involved; yourself, the horse or the seller.  It leads to disappointment and can lead to resentment in the long run.

Working out what you can comfortably afford is not just about the purchase amount.  Keep in mind that there may be other expenses involved with brining a new horse into your life.  New tack or equipment.  Training or lessons.  And vets bills, transport, boarding etc.

It is also worth remembering that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is!

Being Realistic About Your Current Situation & Resources

The third thing I suggest figuring out before you begin your search for your new horse is where you are right now on your riding journey.  What level are you riding at?  Where are you struggling?  What can you do well?  And where do you need help or support?

It seems so basic, but many riders talk themselves up in order to match a potential new horses abilities…  This is never a good idea and both horse and rider end up suffering in the long run.

The more honest you can be with any potential sellers about your current abilities, the better they will be able to guide you regarding the suitability of the horse you are viewing. 

I also think being realistic about how much time you have to invest in your new horse is also essential.  This is especially true if you are considering purchasing a green or young horse.  Do you have the time to dedicate to their consistent and necessary training?

Getting The Feel for Riding Different Horses

Having one special horse in your life is a blessing.  However, it can become a bit of a drawback when the time comes to either add a second horse or retire your first special horse.  This is due to the fact that while we feel confident on ‘our’ horse, this confidence rarely travels to another horse!  Meaning that trying different potential new horses becomes fraught with anxiety and nerves!

Before you go to view any potential new horses, book a few lessons on a couple of different horses first. 

Explain to the instructor that you are going to begin viewing some potential new horses and that you have, at least recently anyway, been riding only one horse.  Doing this will allow you to become used to the feel of different horses.  From the different types of movement to the differences in energy levels.

Also, knowing you are capable of successfully riding different horses will allow you to focus more on much you are enjoying the potential new horse when you do go to view and ride it. 

Assess the Horse on the Ground First

This almost goes without saying, but let’s just say it anyway.  Meeting any potential new horses on the ground and seeing how they ‘are’ there, is really important in discovering the horses true nature.

Many sellers, usually for the sake of saving time, will have the sale horse tacked up and ready to go when you arrive to view it.  Phone ahead and arrange that this is not the case.  Explain that you would like to see the horse loose first and then go from there.

Loose can be in the stable or the field.  You are looking for how the horse reacts to your presence…

Does he turn away from you?  Maybe you notice that he pins his ears…  Or does he seem interested and alert.  Most horses will not just walk up to you, either in the field or the stable, so I feel this is an unrealistic expectation.  However, he should seem interested and friendly.

Consider How He Behaves on the Ground

This is equally as important.  I would suggest first watching how the horse interacts with the seller or the groom first.  If you feel that it is safe to do so, offer to help groom and tack up.

This is especially important if you will be keeping the horse at your house or your own barn.  If you are planning on boarding your horse at a professional yard or barn, you will probably have help and assistance if the horse is not as friendly or ‘easy’ as you would like.

However, if the horse is being kept at your own property, you need to be sure that you can handle him both on the ground and in the saddle before you bring him home. 

Just make sure that before you offer to groom or tack up, you have seen someone else successfully interact with the horse.  Make sure that you feel confident and happy about working with the horse because you have seen him behave with someone else first.

Watch the Horse Being Ridden First

Now, if things are going great up to this point, you are probably going to be as keen as custard to jump into the saddle… I am going to strongly suggest reining that urge in!  Rather ask that the horse is ridden for you first by the seller or groom.

If they are not willing to get on the horse, I really don’t think it is a great idea for you to get on board!

Use this ride to assess the horses way of going.  Is there any stiffness or excess tension in the horse?  Does the horse look and seem happy to move forward off of the rider’s leg.  And, most importantly, does the horse look like what he was advertised as being?

Watch how the rider is warming him up.  Look at how well the horse is responding to the riders aids and questions.  You can even, depending on the horses level of training, ask to see the horse performing specific tasks and movements.

Take Time to Make Sure You Are Comfortable Before Riding

If you still like what you see and you are feeling confident and happy, now you can begin preparing to mount up yourself.  So many riders begin to really feel the pressure at this point.  Try not to.  Your riding skills are not being examined, nor is your confidence.

And taking a little extra time and attention to make sure you are as comfortable and happy as possible will only help you and the new horse get off on the right note.

I suggest bringing either you saddle with you, or your leathers and irons.  In fairness, a lot of sellers might not want you riding the horse with a different saddle to their own.  I can relate as you never know what sort of saddle someone is going to bring with them!  But changing the leathers to suit you, if needed, will go a long way towards making the ride a more successful and productive one.

Once you are mounted up, everything is adjusted to suit you, you can then begin actually riding the horse.  Hopefully by taking a few actions before hand, this ride will be as relaxed as possible…

Speak Up at Any Point During the Journey

I want to end here by saying that I feel it is important you are happy and comfortable at every point along the way.  If you notice something that makes you feel uncomfortable or makes you question the horse, speak up.

Ask questions and probe into anything you are unsure about.  Any honest seller will be only too happy to have a potential buyer that cares enough to ask…

If you realise that the horse is not the horse for you, say so.  Many riders make the mistake of feeling that they have to follow the process through to the end, every single time.  This is simply not true – and actually does no one any favours.

Just like when riding, communication is essential when on the journey to finding a new horse.  Communicate with the seller and be honest and open to their thoughts and suggestions. 

Rather than wasting everyone’s time and putting the horse through an unnecessary ‘trying out session’, tell the seller that you are not interested.  Similarly, if you do follow through with the process and are interested in discovering more, tell the seller.

Just like when riding, communication is essential when on the journey to finding a new horse.  Communicate with the seller and be honest and open to their thoughts and suggestions.

What an adventure!  Best of luck :)


Other posts, episodes, and resources that relate to this topic:-

Daily Strides Premium

If you are interested in going deeper regarding what to actually do when riding a potential ‘new horse’, I am going to suggest joining Daily Strides Premium today. Training include a simple riding plan you can use when trying out a potential new steed.

Daily Strides Premium is packed full of training you can use when you do get your new horse home to keep this new relationship on track and moving forward.

Daily Strides Premium is packed full of step by step trainings for you to use in the saddle. All the trainings are easily accessed using your phone, meaning that you can take them with you wherever you are going.  These trainings and so much more are available for you immediately when you join Daily Strides Premium. Find out more HERE

Equestrian Fitness Challenge ’24

Work on improving your overall strength, fitness, and stamina as a rider. The all-new and free 2024 Equestrian Fitness Challenge is a great place for you to do this.  It is walking and yoga-based (no workouts), so it will ease you into becoming a better version of yourself in the saddle gently. You can sign up HERE or by visiting https://equestrianfitnesschallenge.com/24 
There will be a daily walk, a 10 minute daily yoga practice, and lots of tips, ideas, exercises, and ways to improve so that you can show up as the best version of you – for you and your horse.
Sign up today and let’s transform your riding – one stride at a time! 100% FREE 2024 Equestrian Fitness Challenge

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