Buying and selling
“How Not to Buy a Horse” (EQUUS 474) was very well written and brought back memories of my own bad experience buying my first horse. After that, I made it a rule to ask my own questions of the seller as well as to longe the prospect, brush him, clean his feet and ride him at all gaits. Another tactic that worked for me was to give the owners a vague arrival time so that they wouldn’t be able to drug the horse.
I have now owned trail horses for over 35 years. I have seen too many people pass through the stables where I have boarded my horses who are incorrectly matched with their horses. Hopefully this article will educate those riders who made their own mistakes when purchasing a horse. Elaine Cohen Staten Island, New York
I must respond to “How Not to Buy a Horse.” I am yet again “in between” horses, with my fourth one in seven years up for sale. In that time, I purchased a “cheap horse” who bucked me off in my front pasture. I purchased a “bully horse” with terrible arthritis in his hocks (unbeknownst to me, despite a prepurchase exam). I purchased a “thin horse” with an amazing canter because I felt sorry for him, but he ended up being anxious and too flighty for me.
My fourth horse was wonderful until I moved him from a boarding barn with an arena to my place, which offers primarily trail riding. After he became buddy sour, backed me into a ditch and fell on me, I decided I’d had enough. With each of these four horses, I did prepurchase rides, I had prepurchase exams, and I took videos to show my riding instructor. And with each horse, I ended up having several falls, some of which were serious. Fortunately, I am proud to say that, by presenting their faults honestly, I was able to place each horse into a good home. None had been presented to me truthfully by the sellers, and parts of their histories were omitted.
Once this fourth horse is sold, I will begin my search anew. Your article was
very helpful to me, and I’ve realized I become emotionally attached to horses for various reasons. I buried my palomino mare, Duchess, in the back paddock after she passed away at 32, and for seven years now, I have been searching for another version of her. With each horse since, I have learned something that I will take with me on my next search. But your article was invaluable, giving me much to think about as I get ready to begin my next search. Alice M. Yutzy Hughesville, Maryland
The troubling persistence of tail blocking
I really appreciated “The Truth About Tail Blocks” (EQUUS 476). This practice should be considered animal abuse.
I used to show Quarter Horses, and you could see immediately when a horse had its tail blocked or not. Despite the heat and flies, those tails never moved. Yet the judges would give the first, second and third places to those horses because their tails never moved. Meanwhile, I thought that the horses whose tails moved more naturally were more beautiful than the ones that were placed. They were penalized for even the slightest of tail motions.
I still own a Quarter Horse, but I stopped going to the shows, and I dropped my membership in the breed association. The organization may prohibit tail blocking, but it is still being done. Helen Sanders Cumberland, Maryland