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HORSE SELECTION Selecting a Horse Determining Unsoundness in a Horse Owning a horse can be a lot of fun. However; always make sure that you get the last laugh. Know what to expect and know what to look for. Don’t let your horse take you for an unexpected ride!

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horse selection


Selecting a Horse

Determining Unsoundness in a Horse

Owning a horse can be a lot of fun.However; always make sure that you get the last laugh.Know what to expect and know what to look for.
costs associated with owning a horse
Costs Associated with Owning a Horse
  • Purchase Price

-depends upon age, degree of training, if registered

$450 - $1500 and up

  • Tack/Equipment

-saddle, bridle, bit, halter, lead ropes, grooming & feeding supplies

$250 - $2000 and up

  • Boarding (2 options)

-home care (grain, hay, bedding)

$100 per month

-full / partial board away from home (indoor riding arena, feed, stall cleaned / shelter, feed, share work)

$150 - $350 and up per month

  • Additional/Miscellaneous Costs

-veterinary, farrier

$400 and up

before purchasing consider the quality of the horse
Before Purchasing:Consider the quality of the horse
  • Blemish– an abnormality that does not affect the serviceability of the horse
  • Unsoundness– a more serious abnormality that does affect the serviceability of the horse
what to look for in selecting a horse
What to Look For in Selecting a Horse:
  • The horse should appear to be Balanced
  • A relatively short backand a long underline in comparison to total body length
  • Long, sagging backs (indicates weak loin) or short underlines (can cause gait problems)are a problem
a well balanced horse will appear to
A well balanced horse will appear to
  • be proportionately the same length from:
  • - the point of the shoulder to the heart girth
  • - the heart girth to the rear flank
  • - the rear flank to the tip of the buttocks
  • be proportionately the same height from:
  • - the top of the withers to the heart girth
  • - the heart girth to the ground
the horse should show quality
The horse should show quality
  • Withers should be prominent and drop evenly toward the back
  • The head should be clean and refined
  • The head should proportionately fit the rest of the body
the horse should be structurally correct
The horse should be structurally correct
  • The horse on the left is camped out(legs set back too far)
  • The horse on the right issickle hocked (leg set too far under)
  • From the rear the hind legs should be straight and parallel and show evidence of muscling in the gaskin
The horse on the left is cow hocked (hocks in / toes out)
  • The horse on the right is bow legged (toes in / hocks out)
  • From the front the horse should have straight legs, a broad chest, and be well muscled
  • The horse on the left is toed out (hooves turn outward)
  • The horse on the right is pigeon toed (toed in = paddles)
The nose should be slightly dished; ears small

-A Roman nose (left photo) is undesirable

  • A ewe neckis when the neck curves downward and the throat appears to bulge
  • The rear legs should be placed squarely under the horse
The horse on the right shows a good, straight foreleg with large, flat knees

The horse on the left is calf kneed (knee is set too far back)

  • The cannon bone should be short, vertical, and in proportion to other parts of the leg

-it should appear wider from the side than from the front

  • The pasterns should form a 45 degree angle with the ground
This pastern is too straight

(will deliver a jarring ride)

  • This pastern slopes to much and is weak

(will be a bouncy ride)

  • Inspect the feet and hooves
Tap the hooves to see if they are tender
  • The horse should have relatively small hooves that are widest at the heel
  • Contracted feet– a contracting of the heel

-caused by leaving shoes on too long

  • Founder (laminitis) causes the hoof to grow rapidly
  • Ringboneis a bony growth around the coronary band
Quarter cracks and splitsare caused by dryness
  • A bowed tendon causes the back of the leg to extend backward
  • Acapped hock is an enlargement at the point of the hock (interferes with normal movement of the joint)
other feet and leg problems
Other feet and leg problems
  • Splints– abnormal bony growth found on the cannon bone
  • Ringbone– a bony growth found on the pastern bone
  • Spavin – affects the hock (two types)

-bog spavin– fluid fills the depression on the inside of the hock

-bone spavin - bony enlargement on the lower front of the hock

  • Curb– a swelling below the hock on the backside
  • Sidebone– ossified cartilages just above the hoof head
other physical problems
Other physical problems
  • Fistulous withers-inflammation at the withers
  • Parrot mouth– lower jaw is shorter than the upper jaw
  • Poll evil– inflammation of the poll
  • Sweeney– depression in the shoulder due to muscle atrophy
  • Hernia – protrusion of any internal organ through the wall of its cavity
Ashoe boil is a sore caused by the shoe rubbing against the front leg when the horse is lying down
  • Other Things to Check:
  • Eyes should be large, round, and without cloudiness
  • Check the horses vision; the horse should be alert and responsive (check for partial or complete blindness)
Also check the horses vision from the side; a horse should have good peripheral vision
  • Age can be determined by checking the teeth; as a horse ages its teeth become more triangular
  • As a horse ages its teeth form a sharper angle
Watch the horse on the move from a side, rear and front view
  • Make sure the horse is calm, well behaved, and cooperative to saddle and mount
  • The horse should be responsive to all of the rider’s cues
vices to watch for
Vices to Watch For
  • Bolting–

-horse tends to eat too fast (can lead to colic)

  • Cribbing–

-setting their teeth against hard object then sucking air

  • Halter pulling–

-constantly pulling back and resisting being tied

  • Kicking –

-takes pleasure in kicking something or someone

  • Tail rubbing –

-persistent rubbing of the tail against a wall or stall

  • Weaving–

-rhythmical swaying back and forth while standing in the stall

  • Miscellaneous problems–

-balking, backing, rearing, running away, striking with the front feet, difficult to saddle or bridle, champing (playing with the bit)

So, now that you know all there is to know about purchasing a horse; do you still want a horse to ride?