Just about everybody would like to enjoy owning a horse, but very few know what to look to ensure they have chosen a horse capable of high performance. Whether you are looking for a horse to pull a carriage, a thoroughbred for racing or workhorse on the farm, certain features and attributes are fairly common among horses capable of doing whatever job or task you might require.
While it is definitely true that you will to look for some quite specific signs when looking for a fine horse to do a specific task, any kind of performance horse should meet the following qualifications for purchase. Teeth A perfectly valid reason exists for why you always seen a potential buyer checking inside a horse’s mouth in movies and TV shows.
A horse’s teeth are a window into his long-term performance capacity. Any doubts you may have about the age of the horse can be generally clarified with a close examination of the animal’s dental state. The closer to purely vertical the teeth, the young the horse. Equine teeth slant at an ever increasing forward angle the older it gets. Not to suggest that an older horse can’t perform up to your particular snuff, but don’t count on that level continuing very long if the horse is notably bucktoothed.
Lameness A very big mistake made by beginners when shopping for a horse is thinking that lameness is immediately obvious. What appears to be a frisky pony may actually be exhibiting subtle signs of lameness that will only decrease its performance abilities through the years. One indication of lameness that often goes unnoticed is a slight but repetitive nodding of the head or hip. A more obvious clue that often gets underplayed is a short stride.
A head held a little too high or a little low and even the barest hint of a wobbly gait can point to problems ahead. Stall Inspection If the horse you are looking to purchase for anything from drawing a carriage to jumping over fall tree branches on back 50 has a stall to call its own, take advantage of that.
A little Sherlock-esque observation skills inside that stall can tell you a quite a bit about how the inhabitant. Carefully scrutinize stall walls signs that the animal is a kicker or biter. Sniff the air for any lingering odors indicating recent bouts with an upset stomach.
Check to make sure the water has access to a supply of fresh water. Stance Just as teeth can tell you a lot about the age of a horse, so can a horse’s stance strongly indicate the level of future performance. From behind, the legs should unroll in a straight line from the body with hooves situated in a position neither too wide apart nor too narrow. From the side, the shoulders should not be obviously turned forward or backward.
This also applies to the slant of the animal’s ankles. You want to get a horse where the lines of the legs are as near to perfectly vertical as possible.
Why? Because even the slight divergence from the vertical is going to have an impact on leverage. Even the slight undermining a horse’s leverage is going to be exhibited in terms of reduced performance. The level of performance you can expect from a horse is subject to aspects like age, temperament and physical structure.
That does not mean you should be prepared to walk away from the deal if the horse does not turn out to be perfect. Quality training, maintenance, care and good old-fashioned love can make up for a number of minor deficiencies.
As long as the horse appears to have been well cared for and is not suffering any immediately obvious physical malformations, the best advice is to go with your heart when choosing a horse.