Questions you should ask BEFORE you get on that horse!

Last month we talked about the
questions that I ask every owner of a new horse coming into my barn.
Young or old, trained or untrained, it's essential to know as much about a new horse as possible.

This month I will talk about the
questions that I would ask BEFORE I (or one
of my staff) would get ON a new horse.

Horses come for training for lots of
reasons. Whatever the reason however, you still need to collect as much
information as possible to keep yourself, your kids, your staff safe. These questions are also very important when you are trying a horse for sale, or even riding a friend’s horse for the first time.

1. Has the horse been ridden before? Sometimes this question
seems silly, but I know for sure that there has been more than one time in my life that I have gone to see a youngster for sale and been the first one on its back!
2. When was the horse last ridden?
3. Is the horse girthy or cold backed in any way?
4. Is the horse usually lounged before being ridden?
5. Was the horse ridden already before I got there.
6. Is the horse used to a mounting block, a leg up or
mounting from the ground?
7. Are there any "quirks" about the horse I
should know before I get on. (like, oh, I forgot to tell you, don't switch your whip from one hand to the other!) Yes, it's from experience that I know to ask this question!
8. Has this horse ever bucked, reared or bolted.
I know that horses will be horses, so the fresh playfull buck in the field on a cool spring day does not bother me. I am realistic, but I want to know if the horse I am getting on has a KNOWN bucking, rearing or bolting problem.
9. Does this horse have any issues with other horses
being ridden in the ring at the same time?
10. Where has this horse been ridden primarily; indoor,
outside, in field, on trails? Some of the most reliable trail horses have not been ridden so much in the ring, especially an indoor.
11. Does this horse have any known physical issues that
could prevent him from doing his best job?
12. Has this horse been on any medications in the last month?
(For example, it's nice to know if the mare you are about to have for training MUST stay on regumate or she will tear the barn down!)
13. Has the horse been on any supplement that claims to have
a"mood" altering effect?
14. What kind of tack is he used to using? Ask about saddle, bridle and type of bit.
15. What style or discipline is this horse used to being
ridden in? Event horse, western, dressage, driving, hunter?
16. Who usually rides this horse? A trainer, the
owner, a child?
17. What is the riding experience of the person who has
been riding this horse?

I am sure there are many more great questions to ask out there!

Ruth Hogan Poulsen

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