Horses – Secretariat’s Maiden Races

An article about the early races of Secretariat when he was a maiden runner, coming in 4th in his first race but coming in a winner in his second maiden race.
In this article we’re going to take a brief look at Secretariat’s early races in his career that led up to a triple crown winner.

Secretariat was a winner, but he didn’t start out that way. His very first maiden race was on the 4th of July in 1972. There was a lot of fanfare surrounding this race. The big bad red racehorse was supposed to eat up the field alive. All the talk about his lineage and all the rah, rah, rah, couldn’t stop a 4th place finish. Oh he was chasing after the leader as they came down the finish line but never could catch him. In spite of the disappointing 4th place finish, owner Penny Chenery and trainer Lucien Laurin, along with the Meadow Stable crew, must have seen something special on that Independence Day.

Twelve horses were entered into that race on that day at the Aqueduct Race Course. For those who don’t know this, a maiden race is a race where all the horses are non winners. Not only were these twelve horses non winners but five of them had never even been in a horse race. While this race was viewed as a learning experience for the young Secretariat, it more than showed what he was capable of doing.

In this race Secretariat was a 3-1 odds to win. Ironically, this was the longest odds he would ever go off at in his whole career and it was only time that he ran a race and didn’t win, place or show. Even though this was a maiden race the stands were packed on this day. For true racing fans this was a historical event and one that they weren’t going to miss. Of course if you ask people to this day, there will be many more who will have claimed to have been there than actually were on hand. Kind of like Woodstock.

Even though Secretariat didn’t win his first race, his winless career wouldn’t last long. Eleven days after his racing debut at Aqueduct he was back at that same race course as the favorite to win.

He got off to a shaky start in this race but showed some real power down the stretch. He came out of the gate 6th and immediately went for victory, not pacing himself at all. Unfortunately he didn’t break out well and was rushed into contention. He quickly went from 6th to 4th until finally he was first by about a half a length. Around mid stretch he really took command and went on to win the race by four full lengths or the distance of four horses. The rider of Secretariat for his first win was veteran jockey Ben Feliciano.

Secretariat had his first of what would be many wins. He didn’t disappoint anyone on this day, coming in as the favorite and winning easily. After the race, Secretariat headed for Saratoga Springs, New York. At Saratoga, everyone’s eyes were on what was going to become one of the greatest race horses of all time.

Horses – Secretariat – The Legacy

An article about the legacy of the triple crown winner Secretariat and what writers from all over the world had to say about this one of a kind horse.

   In this article we’re going to review the life and career of one of the greatest horses in horse racing history, Secretariat.

If you were around in the early 70s, regardless of whether you were into horse racing or not, you knew who Secretariat was. His name was plastered all over every newspaper in the world. There had never been a horse like him before and will probably never be another one like him again.

In June of 1973 he came to the Belmont Stakes with the chance to become the first triple crown winner in 25 years. Not only was he on the front page of every newspaper, but he was also on the cover of Time, Newsweek, and Sports Illustrated. This is something that had never happened before or since.

Writers from all over struggled to explain what it was about this horse that was so incredible. In a book written by Marvin Drager, called “The Most Glorious Crown”, the author gathered a number of clips from all round the country with words printed about this magnificent horse. Some of the comments were one of a kind in themselves. For example, Time magazine writer, sports columnist Pete Axthelm, who never saw a horse race in his life said…

“Secretariat generates a crackling tension and excitement wherever he goes. Even in the kind of gray weather that shrouds lesser animals in anonymity, Secretariat’s muscular build identifies him immediately; his glowing reddish coat is a banner of health and rippling power. Magnificent enough at rest … when he accelerates … he produces a breathtaking explosion that leaves novices and hardened horsemen alike convinced that, for one of those moments that seldom occur in any sport, they have witnessed genuine greatness.”

But the glowing words didn’t end there. A columnist for the New York Post by the name of Larry Merchant, who went on to become known as the HBO boxing analyst with the sharp tongue, said…

“Secretariat is the kind of Big Horse that makes grown men weep, even when they are flint-hearted bettors, even when he goes off at 1-10. He is the apparently unflawed hunk of beauty and beast they search for doggedly in the racing charts every day, and never seemed to find. His supporters rhapsodize over him as though he is a four-legged Nureyev, extolling virtues of his musculature, his grace, his urine specimens. If he were to lose the Belmont the country may turn sullen and mutinous.”

The media explosion over this horse was simply unprecedented. Certainly, horse racing had never seen anything like it before. Even though nothing has quite come close to the furore over this horse, the media did finally understand and recognize when something of this nature was to be looked out for. That’s why in 2003, when Funny Cide was about to make a bid for triple crown glory, the media came out in droves.

In no way are the stories of Secretariat and Funny Cide alike. One was royalty and one was just an everyday horse. But that’s what makes headlines, when an everyday horse can actually challenge royalty. It certainly does make for great theater.

Horses – Seattle Slew

The career of Seattle Slew, one of the most cheaply bought triple crown winners and the only one to win one while going undefeated in his career up to that point.

In the short list of triple crown winners, this horse had to be one of the biggest bargains in racing history. We’re referring to the puzzle of a wonder, Seattle Slew.

The story of this horse is just another reminder of how weird the sport of horse racing can be and how unpredictable it can also be. All over the racing industry millionaires were spending small fortunes trying to breed the best horses they could in the hopes of coming away with a winner. While this mad spending was going on a few friends got together and spent $17,500 to buy Seattle Slew when he was just one year old. You wouldn’t think that kind of money would get you much of anything. But these friends saw their investment go on to become a triple crown winner and also go on to be one of the greatest horses in the 20th century.

Seattle Slew was the son of Bold Reasoning and My Charmer. The horse was brought along very slowly in his career by a young trainer named William H. Turner. He was the oldest horse in history to make his two year old maiden race which was on September 20, 1976 at Belmont Park. Out of twelve horses in the field, he went off as a 2.6 to 1 favorite. He took the lead quickly and won the race by five lengths.

Oddly, Seattle Slew started just two more races as a two year old. He won an allowance race on October 5 and then won the Champagne Stakes eleven days later by a whopping 9 and 3/4 lengths. After that race people were already talking about whether or not he would be the next triple crown winner in just 4 years since Secretariat in 1973.

Again, once Seattle Slew hit three years of age, his trainer took things slow with him, not starting him in his first race as a three year old until March 9, 1977. That race was in Hialeah where he won by nine lengths. On March 26 he then won again at the Flamingo Stakes by four lengths. Finally, he won the Wood Memorial Stakes on April 23 by 3 and 1/4 lengths.

By the time the Kentucky Derby came around on May 7, because of his past performances, Seattle Slew was the overwhelming favorite to win going off at 1 to 2. Ironically, the race was nearly a disaster for Slew when he swerved and was sharply taken by the jockey. He was allowed to take an early lead because of this but that resulted in him tiring down the stretch that became a 3 horse race. Slew did manage to hang on and win by 1 and 3/4 lengths.

At the Preakness, two weeks later, things were very similar to the Derby as Slew was involved in a real horse race but managed to hang on to win by 1 and 1/2 lengths. At this time people were starting to worry that he would fall short in the Belmont. But Slew didn’t disappoint. The Belmont was a completely different story and Slew went on to win by four lengths.

The victory made him not only the 10th triple crown winner but the first undefeated triple crown winner. Slew finally retired at the end of the 1978 season.

Horses – Citation

  An article about the career of Citation from his early days as a young hopeful to one of the greatest triple crown winners of all time.

   In this article we’re going to briefly go over the career of one of the most famous horses in racing history, Citation.

If you look past the losses that Citation sustained at the end of his career, this has to have been one of the greatest horses in racing history if you simply look at his accomplishments. Citation was a horse that was not only blessed with blinding speed but with great staying power. The horse just never tired. Add to that a killer instinct that literally willed him past the other horses and this horse was almost unbeatable until he just got too old to do it anymore.

Over the course of Citation’s career there were many changes. After the patriarch of Calumet Farms, Warren Wright, died, trainer Ben Jones started to hand over more responsibility of handling Citation to his son Jimmy. He ultimately took this horse to a place where no other horse had been to that time; retiring as a millionaire in 1951. Unfortunately, the losses he sustained in the last 2 years of his career greatly diminished what he had accomplished in the eyes of others.

The truth is, racing was never easy for Citation in spite of his natural talent. Injuries kept him completely out of the 1949 racing season. To compound matters, Warren Wright’s dying wish that Citation retire a millionaire kept this horse racing into his sixth year when most other horses would have already been long retired. In spite of all this, Citation somehow managed to shake off the defeats late in his career and win his final three races, something nobody expected him to be able to do. His final victory was the Hollywood Gold Cup, which was the race that put him over the million dollar earnings bracket, the only horse to ever reach this plateau.

Warren Wright was actually more responsible for the great horse that Citation became than anyone realizes. It was his choosing to breed Bull Lea, a less than successful triple crown winner, and Hydroplane II, a horse he purchased from Lord Derby in the spring of 1941. Obviously, this pairing was a work of pure genius on Wright’s part.

Citation’s career began in 1945 with great fanfare. By the time he reached his 3 year old season in 1947 he was honored as racing’s Horse Of The Year. That year he won the Flamingo Stakes and Everglades Handicap and he was on a seven race winning streak.

But the pinnacle of that year was when Citation won the triple crown, winning the Kentucky Derby by 3 1/2 lengths, the Preakness by 5 1/2 lengths and the Belmont Stakes by an amazing 11 lengths. With that victory, Citation became racing’s 8th triple crown winner.

But he wasn’t through. Citation won 9 more starts in 1948. By the time his 3 year old career had ended Citation had won 27 races and came in 2nd twice in 29 races.

Citation died on August 8, 1970, at the age of 25. He was truly one of the greatest.

Horses – Breeds, A To Z

Do you wonder how many breeds of horses there are? Well, this article isn’t going to go through them all but will give you an idea of how many there are, where they came from and what they’re mostly used for.

A horse is a horse of course of course. Right? Well, not exactly. There are more breeds of horses than Carter has liver pills. We’re just going to touch on a few examples here, otherwise we’re going to need a book about 2000 pages long.

For example, and we’ll just start with the letter A, there is the Australian Stock Horse. This is one of those horses that arose from selective breeding due to the demands of the environment. The history of this breed actually began in 1788. When the first breed of horses was brought to Eastern Australia by the First Fleet. These horses were of mixed English Thoroughbred and Spanish stock and they were hardy enough horses that they were a perfect choice for the cavalry.

Moving along to the letter B, we have the Basotho Pony. This horse is found only in Lesotho, which is in South Africa. The horse is used almost exclusively for riding. The breed itself was developed sometime after 1825 from the Cape Horse. By the start of the 20th century this breed almost completely disappeared due to exporting of the horses and cross breeding with Arab and Thoroughbred horses. Fortunately, during the later part of the 20th century, a society was formed to revive the breed.

One of the most famous breed of horses starting with the letter C is the Clydesdale. This horse was developed in a district of Scotland. It is a heavy draft horse breed. The breed itself was developed by farmers in Lanarkshire, which is the old name for Clydesdale. This horse was mainly bred to meet the agricultural needs of farmers. The Clydesdale is a real work horse. Make no mistake about that.

The letter D gives us the Dartmoor Pony. This horse is one of nine breeds that are specific to the British Isles. This particular breed comes from a barren moorland called Dartmoor, which is located in Devon, England. These are very old horses which go all the way back to the reign of King Henry I. Today, Dartmoor Ponies are found all over Great Britain as well as countries like France, Sweden and Germany.

Moving along to the letter E, we have the Eriskay Pony. This particular pony is the only surviving variety of the Hebridean pony. It is found on the Hebrides Islands off the coast of Scotland. Today this particular breed of pony is almost extinct. Recent DNA testing of these animals show that they are of very ancient origin. These horses are mostly used for transportation and common chores such as pulling carts and even taking children to school.

And in case you are wondering, yes there are breeds of horses that begin with the letter Z. One of them is the Zaniskari Pony, which is found in Northern India. This particular breed is what is called a riding and pack breed.

Yes, there are more breeds of horse than you can possibly imagine. If you’re interested in doing more research on these animals you can do so by going to You’ll have enough to read to keep you busy for many years to come.

Horses – Assault

An amazing account of a horse named Assault saddled with injuries and luck who in spite of this went on to become the 7th triple crown winner in history.

If seven is a lucky number it certainly was a lucky number in the year 1946 for a horse by the name of Assault who went on to become the 7th triple crown winner in horse racing history.

Assault didn’t have an easy time of it on his way to the triple crown. For that matter, he didn’t have an easy time of it just racing. Coming from a family of horses plagued with health problems and nagging injuries, Assault seemed to fall victim to the same fate. When he was a foal he stepped on a stake at King Ranch and was nearly crippled because of it and it did leave him with a malformed right fore hoof. Because of this, Assault was difficult to shoe. He had a ghastly looking walk and a gallop that ultimately led to him getting the nickname “The Clubfooted Comet”.

As race horses went, against all kinds of odds, Assault was a thing of great beauty. In his first race he finished only 12th and only won 2 of his first 9 races but when the turned three he finally started to get his act together. It was a miracle he could race at all. He won the Wood Memorial Stakes before heading for the Kentucky Derby. Unfortunately, he finished off the board in the Derby trial and was sent away as an 8 to 1 long shot. Ironically, there was another long shot in that race who ended up setting the early pace. He led Assault by half a length at the stretch but Assault turned it on and ended up winning the race by 8 lengths in a runaway surprising everyone.

A week later came the Preakness. The racing world was still stunned by this horse’s victory at the Derby and while nobody really expected him to make a run for the triple crown, his dreams of the crown almost ended at the Preakness. It was obvious that he was bothered early in the race and was 6th in a 10 horse field. In a desperation move, Assault’s jockey decided to let it all out and went after the leaders going around the far turn. He was up by 4 lengths going down the stretch but clearly ran out of gas. By the time he staggered home his lead was almost gone, managing to hang on and win narrowly by a neck ahead of Lord Boswell.

Finally on June 1, 1945, came the Belmont Stakes. Many felt that the long distance of this race would be too much for Assault and that his dreams of triple crown glory would come to an end. Assault wasn’t even the favorite in the race, going off at 7 to 5. When the race started, he stumbled and faltered. But this time his jockey didn’t push him. He stayed cool and let Assault work his way up the pack. In the mid stretch he trailed by only 2 lengths. Suddenly he zoomed into the lead with just 200 yards left and won by a comfortable 3 lengths. He became the 7th triple crown champion and the 3rd one of the 1940’s.

Horses Affirmed

One of the greatest racing rivalries of all time between Affirmed and Alydar which led to Affirmed being the first back to back triple crown winner in racing history.

In the crazy world of horse racing the one thing we had yet to see going into the 1978 horse racing year was back to back triple crown winners. That was about to all change because of a horse by the name of Affirmed.

Not only had there never been back to back triple crown winners but no horse ever had to beat the same rival in all three legs of the triple crown. So 1978 was indeed special all the way around. Because during this amazing year Affirmed and Alydar gave racing fans all over the world the thrill of a lifetime. By the time the last leg of the triple crown at Belmont was run, Affirmed was a triple crown winner but it was Alydar that got everyone’s sympathy and was the hero of the year.

The truth is, the Affirmed – Alydar rivalry started long before they ever got to the Kentucky Derby, the first leg of the crown. On June 15, 1977, was when it all started at Belmont Park. The two horses were running in the Youthful Stakes. It was Alydar’s first race and Affirmed’s second. Affirmed won the race while Alydar finished a disappointing fourth. In was the only time in ten meetings between these two horses that they both didn’t finish first or second.

Affirmed came into the world on February 21, 1975. He was born at Harbor View Farm in Florida. The owner, Louis Wolfson, had sent other horses out to race in his career but never with the success that was about to come with Affirmed.

Affirmed made his maiden race on May 24, 1977, at Belmont Park. He won the race by an easy 4 and 1/2 lengths. Three weeks later was when he won the Youthful with Alydar coming in fourth. But after that race, Affirmed and Alydar ran every race almost neck and neck in one of the greatest rivalries of all time.

On July 6 at the Great American Stakes, Alydar finally got the better of Affirmed and beat him winning by 3 and 1/2 lengths. This didn’t discourage trainer Lazaro Barrera who then immediately shipped Affirmed out to Hollywood Park where he won the Hollywood Juvenile Championship on July 23. This was the first of four straight victories for Affirmed.

There were other races afterwards, with Affirmed and Alydar trading victories. This set up the first leg of the triple crown, the Kentucky Derby. Ironically, this turned out to be the least exciting race of the three with Affirmed taking a commanding lead. At the end, Alydar could only close the gap to 1 1/2 lengths though he gave it a valiant effort.

It was a different story two weeks later at the Preakness where the two horses were engaged in an epic duel. Affirmed again took an early lead but this time Alydar made it a race with Affirmed winning only by a neck.

But as good as the Preakness was, the Belmont Stakes will go down in history as being one of the most exciting races in history. For almost the entire race in a five horse field, Affirmed and Alydar were running neck and neck. It was like out of a movie. Finally though it was Affirmed who won the race by a head.

This was indeed one of the greatest horse rivalries in racing history, one which may never be duplicated.

Horse Trailer Buyer Tips: Slant Load vs. Straight Load

Learn the differences between slant load and straight load horse trailers so you can make an informed buying decision…

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There are many design choices when buying a horse trailer. One decision that can be difficult to make is whether to buy a horse trailer with a slant load design or a straight load design. A slant load horse trailer enables you to load horses into slanted stalls (from left to right), making it more economical when hauling three horses. A straight load trailer has a traditional design in which the horses are led straight into the trailer from the back, facing forward.

Choosing a slant load or straight load trailer is really a matter of preference and practicality. You should research all the facts about horse trailers before making a purchase, and know what you’ll need for your horses today and in the future. If you have two horses now, but plan to buy another horse soon, you might consider this when choosing a horse trailer.

Straight Load Horse Trailer – Pros and Cons

A straight load horse trailer features escape doors at the front, which allow you to exit the trailer easily after loading the horse. There’s usually a ramp at the back for loading and unloading and one or two escape doors in the front. With some horse trailers, the escape doors are large enough for the horses to exit through them in case of an emergency. Another feature of the straight load trailer is its wheel wells are located outside the stalls.

Straight load horse trailers tend to work better for larger horses because they provide more space in the stalls.

A disadvantage of straight load trailers is they can be very big when you need one to haul more than two horses. This can cause additional strain on your hauling vehicle.

Slant Load Horse Trailers – Pros and Cons

Slant load horse trailers are convenient and economical when hauling two or three horses. With a slant load trailer, the stalls are slanted from right to left; thus, you can haul two or three horses without adding much to the length or width of the horse trailer. The wheel wells can be located in one of two places on a slant load trailer, so you can choose between a wide interior trailer with wheel wells in the stalls and a trailer with unobstructed stalls.

It has been proven that horses tend to ride at a slanted position naturally to maintain good balance, so the slanted stalls enable them to stand in a slanted position for the duration of the trip. Sometimes, however, the slant provided in the stalls might be too much for some horses, causing strain on them while riding. So, each horse owner should carefully consider this for their horse to determine if a slant load trailer is right for them.

Slant load horse trailers also have a few drawbacks. There’s often a small tack area in the corner, but this usually forces the last horse to back out because there’s not enough room to turn around. Another drawback is some slant load trailers are designed so it’s impossible to unload the second and last horse without unloading the horse before it. This can be dangerous if there’s an emergency.

When choosing between a straight load and slant load horse trailer, consider the size of your horses and how calm they are when loading and unloading. Bigger horses might be too cramped in a slant load trailer whereas smaller horses usually have plenty of room. If you have only one horse, you can still buy a slant load trailer made for two and remove the divider to provide more space for your horse. Or, you can buy a three-horse slant load trailer for two horses to give them more room to move and breathe.

Shopping for Horse Trailers

You can find numerous horse trailer brands online to get an idea of the style and design you want. One of the more popular brands is Sundowner horse trailers. These provide great features, living quarters, and more. To search online for information about horse trailers, type in keywords referring to the brand name and where you live. For example, if you live in Tennessee, you might type in “used horse trailers in Tennessee” or “Sundowner of Tennessee.” More general keywords to type include “used horse trailers,” “slant load horse trailers,” or “straight load horse trailers.”

No matter which type of horse trailer you prefer, consider all its features, benefits, and drawbacks before making a decision. Buy the horse trailer that will be comfortable and practical for your horse for years to come.

Horse Trailer Buyer Tips: Gooseneck vs Bumper Pull

  Learn the advantages and disadvantages of gooseneck and bumper pull horse trailers.

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 When choosing a horse trailer, there are many features to consider. One important feature is whether the horse trailer will have a gooseneck or bumper pull design. There are several reasons you might benefit from either design. Let’s compare these two features to see which will work best for your needs.

Bumper Pull Horse Trailers – Advantages and Disadvantages

Bumper pull trailers, also called tag-along trailers, are horse trailers that attach to a hitch on the hauling vehicle. The trailer “tags along” behind the hauling vehicle and does not become a part of the overall vehicle.

There are five major advantages of bumper pull horse trailers. One, they usually cost less than a gooseneck trailer. Two, it’s not necessary to use a pickup truck for hauling the trailer, and more people can haul this type of trailer with their current vehicle. Three, normal turns are often easier because the tag-along will follow the path of your tow vehicle. Four, you won’t need as much storage space for the trailer as you would for a gooseneck trailer. Five, the trailer doesn’t have to be classified as a “commercial” vehicle for licensing purposes because the weight of both the trailer and tow vehicle is usually less than 10,001 pounds.

There are several disadvantages as well. Bumper pull trailers do not offer as much room for the dressing/tack room. Some bumper pull trailers might not be sufficient for hauling more than two horses due to the type of hitch required for the weight of the trailer. Also, bumper pull trailers tend to fishtail on curvy roads, which can be dangerous and scary.

Gooseneck Horse Trailers – Advantages and Disadvantages

Gooseneck trailers differ from bumper pull trailers in their hitch style. The gooseneck is attached within the hauling truck’s bed with a ball and coupler mating. The gooseneck trailer offers several benefits. One, it doesn’t sway or fishtail like a bumper trailer tends to do, and towing is more stable. Two, it provides more room for living quarters, which can be convenient for camping and long trips. Three, the gooseneck is easier to back up to and align with the ball while hitching it to your hauling vehicle. You can see it clearly from the rear window. Four, the gooseneck design is more secure without worry of the load coming unhitched while traveling on the highway.

There are also a few disadvantages. Gooseneck trailers are more expensive and are usually bigger so they must be towed with a truck that is able to handle it. The hitching system is also more expensive for a gooseneck setup. While hitching the trailer, you must climb into the bed of the truck to complete the process. Also, you will have to remove your camper top (if you have one) from the truck to haul a gooseneck trailer.

Find the Right Horse Trailer

Whether considering a bumper pull or gooseneck trailer, you can go online to check out various designs of each. If you’re on a tight budget, you might consider searching through used horse trailers to find a bargain. A popular brand name to start with is Sundowner horse trailers. You might also search using keywords related to your state or local area. For instance, if you live in Tennessee, you might type in “horse trailers in Tennessee” or Sundowner of Tennessee.”

Some horse owners prefer bumper pull trailers while others absolutely love the gooseneck style. Consider the advantages and disadvantages of each design before making a purchase.

Horse Shopping Is Easier If You Do This First

Advice from a professional horse trainer to help you find and buy your perfect horse. These are the top ten things to do BEFORE you start horse shopping.

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Top 10 Things to do BEFORE you go horse shopping

Buying a horse is a big commitment in both time and money. The emotional energy spent is a large factor as well. With so many horses for sale, how do you choose?

If you buy a horse before you lay the correct groundwork, you run the risk of coming home with one that isn’t suitable for you. At the worst, he could be dangerous and at best, you could easily spend a thousand dollars or more to get professional trainer to correct the problems.

Make a plan before you look at horses for sale and do these 10 basic steps first.

1. Take riding lessons for at least six months.

Horse riding lessons will teach you the basics of control and the foundation for correct horsemanship. In addition to learning to ride a horse, you’ll also learn how to safely groom and handle one. You’ll establish a relationship with a professional horse person in your area who knows you and who you can turn to for help if you need it.

2. Decide on the type of riding you want to do.

There are many types of horse riding styles. The most basic are Western or English. Then you can break down those two styles into many subcategories. You don’t have to make one choice exclusive of all others. Many people enjoy riding both styles and compete in both.

Decide if you want a horse to trail ride and just enjoy having him or if you want to be competitive and show.

3. Horse’s personality

The type of personality you want for your horse depends a lot on the type of riding you want to do and also your personality. Some riders want a horse with a big engine and a lot of fire. Others like a horse to be quiet and laid back.

It’s usually easier to get the laid back one to rev his engine than to get a hot horse to relax.

4. Decide on what breed of horse you most want.

Once you’ve decided on the type of riding you’re interested in and the type of personality you want your horse to have, the breed choice will become easier. Some breeds are associated with certain types of riding. For instance, a Thoroughbred or Warmblood breed are usually thought of for the Hunter/Jumper circuit or dressage. In the past, the Quarter Horse, Appaloosas and Paints were thought of for Western riding. Today, these breeds can successfully compete at all levels with the more traditional hunter type horse.

If you want a very smooth ride, look at the gaited breeds such as Missouri Foxtrotters, Tennessee Walkers or Paso Finos.

5. Decide on how big a horse you need.

If you’re looking for a horse for a child, buy a pony that your child can groom and handle now. A too big horse is intimidating for a young child to deal with.

If you’re looking for one for yourself, consider the type of riding you want to do. Western styles of riding do not require a large horse and most of the stock type horses can carry a large adult even if the horse is 15 hands or smaller.

If you want to show in hunter/jumper classes, a 16+ hand horse is necessary to be competitive. However, if your plans are to learn to jump and go to small local shows, you’ll save money by buying a smaller horse.

6. Decide on the gender of the horse.

A gelding or a mare should be your only consideration. A stallion is difficult to handle and can be downright dangerous even if you are a very experienced rider. He isn’t suitable unless you’re in the breeding business.

Geldings make great riding horses and companions. Preferably he was gelded before his second birthday so that he never learned stallion behavior.

Mares sometimes get a bad rap for being difficult every time she comes into heat. Perhaps some are, but there are many wonderful mares with very stable personalities.

7. Decide where you will keep your horse.

If you plan to board, check out several boarding stables. Your first choice is probably the barn where you’ve been taking riding lessons. Look at some others to have for back-up choices and as a general comparison.

If you plan to keep your horse on your own property, be sure to have safe fencing, a solid barn and know your time schedule will allow you to feed your horse at least twice a day – every day – rain or shine. Find out any local and state liability laws for a horse property before you bring your new horse home.

8. Figure how much you can afford for the initial price of a horse.

The original purchase price of a horse is a large upfront expense. Obviously, the more you can afford to spend on a horse, the more choices you’ll have to look at when shopping. If you have this money saved up in advance, you’ll have better leverage with a seller. If you have to buy your horse on payments, you’ll limit your bargaining power and choices because many sellers won’t want to take payments.

9. Figure out your monthly expenses.

Monthly expenses include board, lessons and supplements if you keep your horse at a boarding stable. If you keep your horse at home, you’ll be buying feed, hay and stall bedding instead of a board bill.

There are reoccurring expenses that don’t come every month but still need to be added up for a year’s cost and averaged as a monthly expense. These include farrier visits, worming, vaccinations and vet care such as floating teeth and a yearly Coggins test.

10. Tack and Supplies

Purchase the basic supplies before you get your horse so that you’ll be all set when you bring him home. Brushes, shampoo, liniment, leg wraps, buckets and a first aid kit are a good start on supplies to have ready.

An all purpose headstall and a few bits, saddle pads, a saddle, halter and a long lead rope with a stout snap are your basic tack supplies.

If you follow these 10 steps before you begin horse shopping, you’ll have a clear idea of the horse that will be the best choice for you when you do begin your search.