Caveat emptor

For all those selling horses, I know that the following may not be true in every instance. But… from personal experience, my advice to those buying, is to question every aspect of an advertisement, not to be difficult, but to ensure that you purchase a horse that you can enjoy. That said, the following is a bit of fun, and written with a fair bit of tongue in cheek. Ultimately the horse you buy is your decision. My decision was flashy but a bit nuts, but I don’t regret it…

  • Not novice ride – avoid at all costs.
  • Lack of time forces sale – issues that current rider unable to solve.
  • Change in circumstances forces sale / very sad sale – spent all my money trying to sort out this horse, including lots of lessons, a spell with a horse whisperer, a variety of training aids, bits and tack and now have no money left to pay for livery / field rent.
  • Perfect gentleman to handle – bastard to ride.
  • Never strong – lazy and may have problems getting off the yard.
  • Forward going but safe – unstoppable, but doesn’t buck, rear or nap.
  • Perfect mother daughter combo – needs fearless pc daughter, and well off mother to pay for horse, lessons, competition fees, lorry etc.
  • Hunted last two seasons in Ireland by 13-year-old girl/boy – suit rider with no fear or issues about personal safety.
  • Loves XC – knocks down every SJ pole and does rubbish dressage test.
  • Bold XC never stops – says it all…
  • Star quality could go right to the top with right owner – homebred out of quality unrideable mare.
  • Wasted in current home – current home over horsed and unable to deal with quality ride, likely to come with issues.
  • produced over 3 top quality foals – unrideable (which is why she was a broodmare in the first place) and past her progeny producing best.
  • Never marish – consistently difficult.
  • Schoolmaster – lovely horse, who’s worked hard for their keep, now coming to the end of its competitive life.
  • Competition horse – completely nuts unless ridden by a pro without a full time job.
  • Could make it to the top in any sphere – homebred.
  • Ideal pony club horse – ideal for fearless 10 year old pony clubber, likes to go first hunting / hacking / and everything else.
  • Talented horse but low mileage due to work commitments – too difficult for current owner to compete with, likely to have mastered evasion tactics.
  • Lack of time forces sale of this special horse – even riding this horse three times a day hasn’t solved his/her problems.
  • A sought hard to find – lovely but grossly overpriced.
  • Anyone’s ride – anyone who doesn’t ask for anything.
  • Bombproof – even legs of iron and riding with two schooling whips won’t get this horse off the leg.
  • Absolute bargain, reduced as owner moving abroad – don’t even think about taking me to court as you won’t find me.
  • One not to be missed – worth a look, but more than likely jockey off to university, so be prepared for a horse that has been ridden by a fearless pony clubber coming off ponies.
  • Done it all – done being the past tense, probably a genuine horse in its day, now showing early signs of arthritis or other age related issues.
  • Good doer – just has to look at a blade of grass and you’ll be calling the vet for suspected laminitis
  • Would suit competitive amateur or professional – talented but likely to have dumped the competitive amateur before they even got into the SJ ring or first jump at XC, amateurs avoid at all costs,
  • Will excel in any sphere – homebred done next to nothing but quality breeding.
  • Owner retiring – you may not fancy the horse, but may be a good deal going on lorry, rugs, saddles, etc….
  • Real confidence giver – no mouth, not responsive to aids, but its own sense of self-preservation will get you through
  • A real eyecatcher – flashy, catches the judges eye,  especially when entering the ring on two legs.
  • Quirky – good-looking horse (probably chestnut) on for about a quarter of what they’d be worth minus the quirks.
  • A real character – similar to quirky, i.e. talented, loveable, but highly unpredictable.
  • A favourite on the yard – loved by all who don’t have to ride it.
  • Great BYEH prospect – lovely horse priced at the ‘money to burn’ market.
  • Safe, irish hunter – quiet mare worth about 5k and on for 8k.
  • Currently excelling in dressage, with scopey jump – buy for dressage, as if jump were as good as it sounds it would be on for top class event prospect.
  • 5yo BE affiliated at BE 100 – great prospect if you are a consistently competing at novice or above.
  • Genuine horse, happy at BE 100 or below – this is the type I want to buy, but they seem to be rather short on the ground. D x

Anyone for Dressage?

Hello, its been a while (since June to be precise) and its now the end of the summer, with long nights and bad weather to look forward to…

Its been a long, drawn out difficult summer for me, my friends, family and work colleagues, who have all been bored to absolute rigidity regarding my ‘to sell or not to sell’ dilemma. This ongoing saga, peppered with a few disappointing and demoralising views of potential steeds has dominated, what should have been a wonderful summer.

Not that I haven’t had a good time, I’ve just not done it on horseback (as they say), this summer I’ve had more success riding my surfboard than my horse.  So there is to be no post summer round-up, highlighting the thrills and spills of middle-aged show jumping.  In fact last week, I contemplated giving up horses completely, this week however, I am contemplating a winter of dressage…


Its odd, but I never thought that I’d be ending the summer having spent three months trying to work out exactly what I want from my riding and whether my drive to compete is greater than my desire to enjoy and pursue other activities, such as cycling, surfing and maybe even having a bash at Kite Surfing (another tick on the bucket list).

All this soul-searching is important, as a new horse is a significant financial investment, which once in my hands is only going to depreciate. Young, (slightly) cheaper greenies, need to be ridden everyday, and whilst older schoolmaster types may seem the answer, how long has one got before arthritis and any number of age related problems start to take hold? and don’t get me started on the whole minefield of reading between the lines regarding over optimistic adverts.  I may do a separate post on what those familiar phrases really mean!

So for now, Jay is staying, yes, he can be a tinker, but sometimes ‘better the tinker you know’.  As to my future plans, well, I might try a winter of dressage, he works nicely on the flat and I’ve never explored his (or my) potential in this area.  Maybe I need to stop acting like such a diva and realise that I’m lucky to have a horse at all.  If the show jumping isn’t quite working out at the moment, taking the pressure off myself and Jay might be just the ticket. Training for dressage is much more convenient and competing doesn’t reduce me to a quivering jelly of nerves.

I just need to get over this little niggle in the back of my mind which keeps telling me I’ve failed, and allow myself to cut myself some slack.  Riding is a hobby and I need to start enjoying it all again. After all, who knows, if I can brush up Jay’s canter on the flat and produce a softer, more responsive horse, that surely has to help our jumping.

I guess, if I’m honest I worry that a brief sojourn from jumping, may end up as a permanent break, but I think I’ll park that thought and deal with it at a later date.   After all, following some rather hairy hacks with Jay, I was wondering whether my days of barreling up and down the beach were over, but a fantastic ride on Putsborough beach a couple of weeks ago put paid to that particular theory. (See photo, this was taken last year, and it was much sunnier for the ride).  Thanks to Big Lilly, the lovely 19 year old thoroughbred/warmblood cross. She’d done advanced dressage in her time, but sadly there was no room in Tony’s van to take her home.

Puttsborough looking towards Woolacombe

I suppose this is the reality of all sports, things don’t always go to plan, and rather than being down and beating myself up, I should be grateful that I can simply swap disciplines and dip my toe into the world of dressage. After all, Pammy Hutton said that our flatwork yesterday was the best she’d seen us, so it has to be worth a shot.

Anyone selling a MW second-hand dressage saddle?!