Relatively few horses are inspected and evaluated by experienced horsemen. Most horses are bought by persons who lack experience in judging but who have a practical need for the animal and take pride in selecting and owning a good horse. If you are an amateur, you should get the help of a competent horseman before you buy a horse.
When you select a horse, consider the following points.
• The horse should be the right size and weight for the rider. A small child should have a small horse or pony and a heavy adult should have a large horse. Also, a tall person should have a tall horse.
• A quiet, gentle horse that is not too spirited is best for an inexperienced adult or a child.
• A three-gaited horse usually is best for a beginner. A beginner needs experience riding a horse in the three natural gaits—walk, trot, and gallop—before he attempts to ride a horse executing more complicated gaits.
After deciding what kind of horse you need, you are ready to select a particular horse. The best method is to select your horse on the basis of body characteristics and performance, and on show ring winnings if he is a show horse. If you intend to use your horse for breeding, you also should consider his pedigree and the records of his near relatives and offspring.
Before you go out to buy a horse, you should be able to identify the parts of a horse, detect blemishes and unsoundnesses and determine age.
You should have a thorough knowledge of the parts of a horse and be able to understand the language commonly used in describing them.
The use of a score card is a good way to make sure that you have inspected all parts of a horse before you buy him. A score card lists all the parts and assigns a proper value to each part.
Blemishes and Unsoundnesses
An integral part of selecting a horse lies in your ability to recognize common blemishes and unsoundnesses and your ability to rate the importance of each, A thorough knowledge of sound body and limb structure makes it easy to recognize imperfections.
Any abnormal deviation in the structure or function of a horse constitutes an unsoundness. From a practical standpoint, however, you should distinguish between abnormalities that do and those that do not affect service ability.
Blemishes include abnormalities that do not affect service ability, such as scars from wire cuts or rope burns.