Categories | Horse Breeders
Horses are beautiful, strong, regal animals that are great for many different things. They are a necessity on many farms for rounding up animals, and they are also used for dressage and other equestrian events, for labour (horses’ strength makes them perfect for pulling carriages etc), or just for general day to day riding. It is the dream of many children to own their very own horse and special bonds are formed between horses and their owners.
Types of Horses
There are different types of horses and they are all suited to different purposes. Some types of horses include:
- Miniature horses – these are simply horses that have been “miniaturised” through breeding.
- Ponies-- a pony is defined as any horse that stands under 14.2 hands. They are excellent for both adults and children and they are great at things such as jumping and trail riding. Examples of ponies include Shetland ponies and Welsh ponies.
- Light horses-- these are the horses that many people are familiar with and they are great for everything from trail riding, to racing, to cross country to equestrian events. Examples of these horses include Arabians, Morgans, and Thoroughbreds.
- Heavy horses-- these are the horses that were bred to be tall and large and they are absolutely ideal for farm work such as pulling, but they can also be used for riding. Breeds of heavy horses include the popular Clydesdales, and the Belgian.
Popular Breeds of Horses
Some of the most popular breeds of horses today include:
- Clydesdales -- these are large, heavy horses that were bred to be workhorses, pulling carts and other heavy loads. They are attractive horses that come in bay, chestnut or black colours with white stockings, and they have a very docile temperament.
- Thoroughbreds -- these are tall, slim and athletic horses that are most commonly used for horse racing but they can also be used for equestrian sports. It needs to be noted that a Thoroughbred is an actual breed of horse and not just a name for any purebred horse (this is a common misconception).
- Arabians -- these horses are very recognisable due to their distinctive head shape, and tail that is carried high. Arabians are famed for their good temperament and they are used for riding, showing and equestrian events.
- Shetland Pony -- the Shetland Pony is one of the most loved of all the horse breeds and they are well known for their short, stocky stature, and beautiful, shaggy mane. They are surprisingly strong and they can be used for riding or they can be harnessed.
Difference between Purebred and Crossbred Horses
A purebred horse is a horse that has two parents that have fully identifiable and traceable pedigrees and bloodlines. These horses are bred to have the most desirable traits of that breed while trying to eliminate the lesser traits. A crossbred horse is when two different breeds have been crossed together in order to try and marry the best traits of two breeds. Each parent of the horse has identifiable pedigrees and bloodlines within their own breed. Crossbred horses can actually go on to become a registered breed in their own right such as the Morab (a cross between the Morgan and the Arabian).
Choosing a Horse Breeder
A horse breeder is a breeder that specialises in one particular breed of horse and their aim is to mate specific male and female horses in order to produce horses that have the desired characteristics and traits of the breed (such as good temperament, strength, good body shape, glossy coat, colourings, etc). As well as actually breeding horses, horse breeders may also house the horses, train them, and keeping them in top shape.
When you are choosing a breeder to get your horse from, look for the following things:
- Ask if you can see the bloodlines of both the parents.
- Look at the condition of the stables – are they clean, free of odour, and large enough for the horses to be comfortable?
- Are the horses in good condition and look healthy?
- Do the breeders give their horses the amount of exercise that they need?
- How are the horses groomed?
- What diet are the horses fed and is fresh, clean water available at all times?
- What training is done with the horses? Look for horses that have been trained for your needs – e.g. for trail riding, for jumping, for dressage, or for rounding up cattle.
- Do the horses have good temperaments?
- Are the horses friendly and well socialised?
How to Choose a Horse
If you are thinking about buying a horse, you need to be aware that of the costs that are involved with keeping a horse. This doesn’t just relate to the cost of their feed but also the cost of the grooming equipment, saddles, and other pieces of tack. You also need to think about where they will be housed. There are minimum requirements on how large a piece of land has to be to keep a horse so if your land doesn’t meet the requirements, you will have to agist the horse, and the agistment fees can add up over time.
You also need to think about who will be primarily riding the horse. If it is a child or teenager, a pony or a smaller horse may be a much better option than a larger horse. You then need to think about what you wish to achieve with your horse. Do you want to use the horse for everyday riding, for equestrian events, for a harness, or as a work horse? Don’t forget to look at the temperament of the horse that you are looking to buy as well. You want a gentle natured, placid horse that is not likely to bite, rear, or kick. Look at the experience that the horse has had, how much training it has had, and what age it is. You can also choose between a mare, gelding, filly, colt, or stallion.
By answering these questions, you will be able to narrow down your search to the horses that you think will be most suitable. Once you have done this, ask the horse’s owner if you can spend some time with them and have a trial ride. This is very important as you want to make sure that you, as the new owner, can bond with and trust your horse.
Where to Buy a Horse
If you are thinking about buying a horse, there are several avenues to obtain one. Of course, a horse breeder is one of the best options if that is available to you. You can also look through horse magazines for people that may have a horse that is for sale, or ask around – word of mouth is an excellent avenue for sourcing a new horse!
If you don’t want to buy a horse outright, you have the option of leasing a horse from someone that already owns horses. This is a great option if you are a relative novice as you can contact the horse’s owner whenever you need help. However, in some cases, you might find that the owner wants their horse back after a period of time, so if you want to avoid this from happening, try and negotiate a leasing to buy agreement.
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