I cannot count the number of times I have seen people buy totally inappropriate horses for kids. I am usually called in after the horse has bucked off his little rider, run away, reared up, or done some other foul act.
The new horse owners call me in to discover what health issue is causing the horse to act so badly. They say to me:
“When we tried out this horse, he acted beautifully. He was the perfect children’s horse. Then we bring him home and he acts like an absolute nut. What happened?”
What Goes Wrong When Shopping for a Children’s Horse
When I am called out on these occasions, I usually do find something wrong with the horse’s health. Sometimes the horse needs bodywork or a dental float. Other times the horse needs better-fitting tack or supplements to address his ulcers. I can help with all of these horse health care issues, and sometimes that takes care of the problem.
What I can’t fix is the problem of having chosen the wrong horse. That’s a total bummer, and something I hate to see. When people go shopping for a good children’s horse, they are often fooled into buying a horse with a totally inappropriate personality type. A good kid’s horse is:
– wants to please
– sociable and affectionate
– a good caretaker
Unfortunately, not all horses fit this description. Prospective buyers, especially ones who have never owned a horse, are often shown horses who are:
– aggressive or overly competitive
– fearful and need a strong rider for support
– not interested in “getting along” with their rider
– too speedy
– not well-trained
In other words, prospective buyers are often shown horses with overly strong personalities or without enough training. Trainers are often able to show these horses well, and school them well enough so that the child can ride the horse easily …on the day the horse is shown. The trouble happens when the horse is brought home. That’s when the true colors of his personality come through. Luckily, there are ways to prevent buying a horse who is inappropriate for your child.
Three Ways Prevent a Bad Horse-Shopping Experience
First, shop with a reputable trainer, so I suggest doing some networking to discover which trainers are reliable and honest.
Second, test any prospective horses for their personality type before buying one. You can test a horse’s personality test online (for free) with our free Horse Harmony Test. If you don’t know the horse well enough, encourage the trainer to take the test. That way you’ll have a better idea of how the horse is likely to behave once he’s home, as well as what kinds of health issues and management issues he may have or develop.
Once you have tested the prospective horses for personality type, see if any of them are the following types, all of which make excellent horses for kids:
– Shao Yin
– Yang Ming
If none of your prospective horses fall into these categories, you may wish to keep looking. You can read a summary of each of the types on the Horse Harmony website.
Third, see if you can arrange to bring the horse home or to your local stable for a trial period. This will allow you to see if the horse is truly a good horse for kids, and whether the match will be harmonious.
Sound good? Want to know more? Learn more about horse personality types with the resources below: