What should I be looking for?


Active Member
Oct 6, 2016
hi everyone,
I'd be interested to hear some opinions. I've been looking for a horse for a while now and they seem thin on the ground at the moment! Hoping that will pick up.

I'm very nervous when riding as I had an accident a few years back but once I begin to get to know a horse, my confidence will build pretty quickly - as long as they instill that in me in the first place. And with my last loan, I even found myself riding out on roads alone, doing a bit of jumping and even sitting to an odd crop induced little buck now and again.

I've had advice left right and centre and it's all been different so I wasn't really planning on asking for more, but on my last post, I found advice really helpful so wondered what people think on this one.

I'm 5ft9 and 14st. Longer in the body so sit up tall on anything I ride making me look a bit daft on most smaller (under 15.2) horses that I've tried.

I know everyone is different but would be interested to hear your thoughts, if any, on the following:
What age should I be looking for and does age make a difference?
What breeds are good or should be avoided?
What should I look for in adverts and what should ring alarm bells?

:) look forward to hearing your thoughts xx


Active Member
Oct 6, 2016
My thoughts are ideally hacking and schooling leading to some low level dressage. I'd like to pop a small cross pole for fun but don't see myself going into jumping - I'm too nervy in general.

Sorry if that doesn't sound very sure. I'm sure that's all I want to do - other people are telling me that with the right one I'll move from that and be happy to do more. But my concern is if I think like that I'll end up overhorsing myself and won't even dare do what I want to do let alone anything else.


Well-Known Member
Dec 21, 2003
I guess you will move on. You may be a RS rider. Ask people to talk to you about the horses and ponies there. Some ultra safe starter ponies are not flexible enough to do the canter 10 m turns you get to ride in dressage. But other equally safe horses are. Flexibility and schooling to keep a horse supple do not involve over horsing yourself. I had to move on to other horses as the pony I rode couldnt go further. And it would have been worse if the pony was one I had bought.
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Cantering cabbage!
May 18, 2009
I guess what you need to ask yourself too is would you be happy to buy a nice steady confidence giver and then sell it on and buy something that can offer more once you have got your confidence back?
Would you want to do more or would you be happy with a safe hacking partner that you can do some low level dressage and the odd jump on? Only you can answer that and it's one of those things that until you get to that point you won't know the answer to yourself.
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Well-Known Member
Dec 20, 2004
Suffolk, UK
I'd be looking for a nice nature above everything else, probably a been there, done that, got the T-shirt type but sometimes an inexperienced horse just has that nature that will carry you through new experiences (they are pretty rare though). If you like finer types go for something with a bit of cold blood mixed in too cool it down, if you like chunky's then we have some cracking natives and cob's available now days but don't assume every cob is made equal, not all are dopes on ropes :)
You could buy a horse and be ready to move on, but equally there are those out there who are able to look after a nervous nelly and step it up for someone wanting to do more, it really depends on you, personally I am not good at parting with them :p
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Mary Poppins

Well-Known Member
Oct 10, 2004
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You sound very much like myself. I have always been a nervous rider and picky about the horses that I ride. When I trust a horse and build a relationship I am much more confident, but put me on a new horse and I got to pieces.

I find that horsey people like to tell others to ‘progress’. But what does this really mean? I was once told by a few people on my yard that I needed to ‘progress with my riding’, but to me riding isn’t about beating others and winning rosettes, it is all about building a safe and solid partnership with your best friend, and then facing the challenges together. Riders who haven’t suffered from severe nerves can never understand how it feels to be absolutely terrified of riding, but getting on and doing it anyway. They don’t understand how a nervous rider has to trust the horse before that ‘progress’ can be made.

My horse is the safest horse you could ever wish to meet. He is a 16.1hh shire x tb, who likes to live life in the slow lane. He was 7 years old when I bought him, and previously had 7 owners in the space of 3 years. Everyone got bored of him and wanted to ‘progress’ to something faster and better, but they didn’t appreciate the fundamental quality that made me fall in love with him. He is safe, and kind. He is solid and dependable. And most importantly, he tries his heart out for me. We have a try at everything. We do dressage, we jump, we show etc. Sometimes we get paced, more often than not we don’t. But everyone always comments on our solid partnership and the fact that I can take him absolutely anywhere and he is unflappable. We are also having dressage lessons and we our improving. Our ‘progress’ is just being a little better than we were before.

My advice is to listen to your inner feelings. For me, safety is the absolute priority. If you feel safe then you and your horse can develop together. I see so many people who have over horsed themselves and who have bought themselves horses who they just can’t cope with and don’t actually enjoy riding. Yes, their horses may have that ‘wow’ factor and ‘look at me’, but as they ride out the rodeo in the warm up ring and end up in the floor at the practise jumps, I sit on Ben watching and know that I wouldn’t change a single thing about him.

Safe horses come in all shapes and sizes. You can get crazy cobs and sensible TBS, you would be wrong to limit yourself to one breed as you may miss the perfect horse. I always think word of mouth is the best way to find the perfect first horse. I would join your riding club, go and ask at riding schools, discuss on facebook etc. Many of the safe horses never get advertised as they are always in demand.
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Active Member
Oct 6, 2016
Thank you Mary Poppins. I can so relate to this. you are right, I am so nervous that really competitions are probably going to kill me anyway haha. There's a long story and it's not very nice about what made me get back into riding but it made me realise that you do what you love because you love it - as you say not because you want to be the best or jump this highest or have the flashiest horse. Some people like it for that. But for me it's about the wind in my hair and the bond and the feeling of freedom that comes with riding. And I suppose when buying I need a horse that helps me feel all those things. Thank you. That, as with the other comments, has helped so so much. You've reminded me why I'm doing this xxx
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Active Member
Oct 6, 2016
Thank you so much everyone. You lot are amazing. I knew there was a reason I asked you :) xxx
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