Horse & Rider



A non-show horse doesn’t need to be a showstoppe­r if he has the experience and temperamen­t for trail riding. But he does need to have attractive structure. Unappealin­g structure typically means abnormalit­ies that cause inefficien­t movement. Over time, poor movement strains his body, and especially his joints, causing soundness issues.

When you’re in the market to buy, the most dangerous approach to horse shopping is to have no approach—or plan—at all. Ask yourself these questions to help you determine the type of rider you are and what soundness issues you can overlook.

How much do I want to spend? Rehabbing an injury or conditioni­ng and feeding a horse to fitness takes time and money. Work this into your buying budget so you don’t overspend.

How much time do you have? A seasoned horse that’s been there and done that is perfect for someone who doesn’t have a lot of time to commit to training, rehab, and extensive care. It sometimes means you must compromise on budget if you expect your horse to be ready to go and sound.

How much experience do you have? Some pre-existing issues are more difficult to manage than others. Be sure you understand what you’re facing before you take on a soundness issue or other problem.

How difficult are the trails you ride? A horse with a pre-existing condition won’t be able to withstand many long, strenuous rides, and taking him on them will make him worse. Instead, look for a horse that’s physically capable to ride the way you want to.

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