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Don’t Go Horse Shopping Without Checking This Dressage Horse Shopping Checklist First!




You’ve just been invited to purchase your very first dressage horse, but you’re not sure where to begin! You have no idea which questions to ask, what skills you should look for, or what you’ll need to do once you get the horse home and into your barn. To help ease some of your worries and make the process go more smoothly, consider using this handy dressage horse shopping checklist before making your final decision on the perfect horse!



Question 1: Who is the ideal owner of this horse?


There are a lot of people that should not own dressage horses. If you are looking to buy one, take some time to figure out if you’re in good shape to have one. They do require a very specific owner and will only thrive in a certain type of environment. Do your homework, be honest with yourself and find out what kind of horse would suit you best before going shopping for one. A dresser can still be good for an amateur rider or even a rider just starting on cross-country courses, but they are not all-around horses or first-choice horses when it comes to showing and jumping. There is an old saying dressage makes champions and it’s true, but if you don’t want to do dressage then perhaps try something else.



Question 2: Is it reliable, trustworthy, and safe to be around other horses?



Unfortunately, some people are dishonest when buying and selling horses. The word to watch out for here is broke. This means different things to different people, but in general, it’s easy to spot an untrustworthy person if you know what questions to ask. A horse that has been around other horses should be able to have its feet picked up or shod without a problem. Some experts even think that a horse shouldn’t have trouble standing in a crosstie by itself, especially with nothing attached. If something doesn’t look right about your potential mount, move on – there are plenty of other horses available. Horses that haven’t been handled by others tend to be spooky and much harder to control on their own.



Question 3: How much is it costing to keep him?


Horses require a lot of hay and grain. I try to keep my feed costs down by growing as much of my feed as I can. You might have that same opportunity, but it might mean getting your hands dirty or stepping out of your comfort zone to do so. Before you buy any horse make sure you know how much you’ll need to spend on his upkeep each month. It could be anywhere from $200-800, depending on where you live, what kind of care he needs, and if he’s old or young.



Question 4: Are there any significant health issues I need to know about before buying him?


If there is any health question, it’s crucial to find out before buying. You don’t want to find out you bought a horse with weak knees or a bad back after you already signed a contract and spent hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on vet care. A great place to start looking for answers is at Equine Disease Quarterly (EDQ), which offers information from both reputable organizations and individual veterinarians. If you have questions about specific conditions or your horse’s breed, talk to a breeder in that breed association; often they can connect you with other breeders who have been through similar situations.



Question 5: What will it cost me to make any necessary improvements?


You don’t want to buy a horse with expensive hidden costs. If you have any special requirements, know what it will cost to meet them. Do you need to get another horse stall built? Is there a certain saddle your horse requires? Do you need to build a specific type of fencing for your new horse? Will there be any additional licensing fees needed for your new equine companion? The best way to discover hidden costs is to ask around and do some research on Google, but always make sure that if you ask about possible improvements, it’s within reason. You don’t want any potential sellers trying to squeeze more money out of you just because they feel like they can.



Question 6: What level of management do I need (and am prepared) to provide daily?


Full-time riders and/or grooms are generally expected to work five to six days per week, although how many hours they ride or groom on any given day will depend on their ability. Show riders may only have one riding lesson per day, while dressage and show jumping horses may have up to three lessons per day. These activities usually fall into three broad categories: conditioning; training; and showing, though each discipline will vary in terms of what conditioning means. In most cases, conditioning is considered anything that is not training or showing, which can include footing and pasture maintenance.

Most people who work with horses have some sort of background knowledge about these basic duties, but you should discuss your expectations before making an offer so there’s no confusion later on. It’s also important to consider your schedule when hiring a horse manager or worker. If you plan to be away for long periods during certain times of the year (e.g., summer break), make sure you find someone who can commit to working those days as well.



Question 7: Do I have appropriate facilities for this horse?


If you live in an apartment, you can’t keep a horse. If your property isn’t fenced and has no pasture, you can’t keep a horse. (Even if they say they’ll turn out 24/7, that doesn’t mean they will.) Even if you live on multiple acres of pristine grassland with a gorgeous barn and heated tack room, there are plenty of other considerations to take into account when deciding whether or not to buy: does your property drain well? Is it safe for your child and family’s pets? Will your fence hold up against winds and/or flooding from natural disasters like snowstorms or hurricanes? And what about theft—are there any break-ins in your area? You don’t want to be that guy who bought a $40,000 horse only to have it stolen off his property within weeks of purchase. Do yourself a favor and make sure you can properly house your horse before you even start looking at horses.



Question 8: Am I buying from a reputable source?


Although some sellers may be quite reputable, always ask for proof of ownership and breeding records before purchase. The National Reined Cow Horse Association offers many tips on how to buy a well-bred reined cow horse, including what questions you should ask and what paperwork you should expect to see when shopping. Remember that a good horse is an investment; invest wisely by being smart about your purchases and knowing what to look for. Don’t forget: you get what you pay for in most cases, so if something seems too good to be true it probably is.



Question 9: How long do I want this horse and why?



It may be a good idea to list your goals, but even if you don’t have long-term goals, you should think about why you are shopping for a horse right now. Are you looking for a riding partner or some additional family fun? Do you want to take lessons or compete in dressage? Keep in mind that horses can live between twenty and thirty years, so you will want to consider your plans when deciding how much money to spend on your first equine companion. If dressing is not one of your interests, it might be better to invest in a younger horse than an older one that is beyond its prime and no longer able to participate in youth programs and lessons.



Question 10: Does he fit into my overall program plan?


Horses come in many different sizes, shapes, and breeds. When shopping for your ideal dressage horse, it’s important to select one that fits well into your program plan. You must consider whether or not your potential new addition will fit in with all of your other horses. If he’s too strong, he could hurt a weaker horse; if he’s too nervous, a calm horse might be spooked by him; if he doesn’t fit well into his stall, you might have problems with other horses trying to get at him. The list goes on. Make sure your potential new horse is compatible with your current stablemates before buying him.

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The Moral Conundrum of Eating Horses!



Horses are currently banned from human consumption in the United States, but this hasn’t always been the case. In fact, before being made illegal in 2006, up to 100,000 horses were slaughtered every year in the US alone. This prompted an ethical debate regarding whether horses should be allowed as food or not, and many believed that horses should not be consumed by humans due to their intelligence and capacity to experience fear and pain. However, other arguments have been made that dispute this idea and say that horses can just as well be killed for human consumption as cows or chickens are. So what do you think?



Is eating horses, right?


There’s been a long-standing debate about whether or not horses should be eaten. Horse meat is still eaten in other countries such as France, Belgium, and Italy. But for whatever reason, horse consumption has never really caught on in North America. The idea of eating horses is often met with disgust and fear. After all, many people treat their horses like family members.

But what if the only alternative to eating a horse was starving? If it would take more food to keep the animal alive than it would feed an average human being – then it might make sense to eat the horse. In this case, you might consider it justifiable to kill and eat a horse to avoid starvation. But what if there wasn’t an alternative?



What are the arguments in favor of horse consumption?


Horses are domesticated animals and as such, they have adapted to living in our world. They have grown accustomed to humans and the ways that we live. The people who care for them have likely become their friends, feed them treats and give them affection. If a horse is treated well throughout its life, then it seems logical that it would not mind being killed to provide us with food.

If a horse is treated well throughout its life, then it seems logical that it would not mind being killed to provide us with food. There’s also the argument that because horses evolved alongside humans, their meat could be the most natural option for human consumption out there.



What are the arguments against horse consumption?


Some would argue that eating horses is morally wrong because it is unnecessary. The horse population in the U.S. has been dwindling for years and most horse owners are reporting a surplus of horses, so why take away what little food they have? Furthermore, there is no reason to eat horses when we produce enough beef and chicken to feed the entire country, not to mention the billions of other animal sources around the world that could be used as food. Horse meat also poses an increased risk of developing certain diseases such as Mad Cow Disease or Encephalitis.

Some would argue that eating horses is morally wrong because it disrespects their role in society as companion animals.





Today, horse consumption is a controversial topic. Those in favor argue that horses are a renewable resource and they have not been overpopulated like other animals like cows or pigs. However, opponents argue that eating horses is immoral and creates an unsustainable population of hungry humans and hungry horses. We may never come to a consensus on the ethics of eating horses, but one thing is for sure: you should at least know what you’re getting into before deciding on something as serious as this.

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5 Different Types of Saddle Pads and How to Pick the Right One for Your Horse



When it comes to the saddle pad, there are five main types of saddle pads that horse owners can choose from to put on their horses’ backs. Each type has its unique benefits and features. Finding the right one that fits your horse’s needs can be tricky, though, so here is an overview of the most popular types of saddle pads and how to pick the right one for your situation and horse type.



1) Half-pad saddle pads


If you are looking for a saddle pad that will keep your horse’s back cool, then a half-pad saddle pad might be perfect for you. A half-pad saddle pad is made up of two layers with a space in between them. The top layer is typically made from wool felt or silk, which absorbs sweat and wicks it away from your horse’s back. The bottom layer consists of foam, which is more supportive than sheepskin or fleece material. If you want even more protection against sore backs, some people also add an extra layer of wool felt on top of this foam layer.



2) Dressage saddle pads


Dressage saddle pads are usually square-shaped and provide a layer of protection between your horse’s back, the saddle, and your hands. Dressage saddle pads offer superior shock absorption, which lessens the pressure on your horse’s spine. They also protect your saddle from sweat, dirt, or other substances that may fall onto it when you are riding. Dressage saddle pads are available in synthetic materials like neoprene or wool as well as natural fabrics such as cotton or felt.

A good dressage saddle pad will be firm enough to support your horse’s back but flexible enough to allow for free movement in his spine. In addition, a good quality dressage saddle pad should have all four sides bound by sewn seams rather than rubberized tape strips or fabric piping.



3) Weatherbeeta Rundecke blanket


The Weatherbeeta Rundecke blanket is a great all-purpose blanket, with a soft fleece lining that can help keep your horse warm in cold weather. The Weatherbeeta Rundecke also has a high-quality wool outer layer that can offer warmth, and protection from water, wind, and dirt. The Weatherbeeta Rundecke comes in three different sizes: short horse (which fits up to 160cm), medium horse (which fits up to 175cm), and large horse (which fits up to 190cm).



4) Sheepskin saddle pads


Sheepskin saddle pads are one of the most popular types of saddle pads, but they do have some drawbacks. If you live in a climate that’s cold during the winter, sheepskin will not be a good choice because it’s not very warm. Additionally, sheepskin is porous so if your horse has skin problems, you’ll need to find a different type of pad. Fortunately, many companies make sheepskin substitutes for these reasons.



5) Sheepskin underlay pad


Sheepskin underlay pads are typically used under a saddle pad or saddle blanket. They have thin fleece on one side, wool on the other side, and sheepskin in between. This is a great option for horses who tend to sweat excessively as it offers high levels of comfort and breathability. The wool acts as an insulator against heat while the sheepskin wicks moisture away from your horse’s body. However, this type of pad might not be durable enough for use with saddles that are highly polished or those that can cause friction against your horse’s back.

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Why I Disagree with People Who Think Hitting Horses is Okay



Horses have been used as work animals and means of transportation for centuries, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay to hit them if you have the urge. If you don’t think hitting horses are okay, you’re not alone. Many horse owners don’t like the idea of their animals being beaten into submission just because it happens to be the easiest way to make them do what they want, especially when more effective training techniques exist and have been around for decades if not centuries.



How does it make you feel when you watch horses being hit?


One of my biggest pet peeves in life (yes, bigger than someone who chews and slobbers while they eat), is people who hit horses to make them do something. It makes me sick when I hear people say things like it’s what horses are bred for, they don’t feel it, or well if you don’t want it done to your horse then don’t have anything to do with racing. We just went through one of these discussions here on Kivaki about a trainer who had their filly struck in the face by another horse. Someone defended what happened and said that racehorses aren’t pets and shouldn’t be treated as such.



What about people who need to hit horses to ride them competently?



If you’re hitting a horse to ride it properly, then your skills are not quite up to par. But if that’s why you need to hit a horse, then it may be time for you to find something else to do with your life. There are plenty of professions where you can still find enjoyment while making an ethical living. Hitting horses isn’t one of those professions. The only reason people feel like they need to hit horses is that they can’t communicate with them in another way or because they don’t want an animal that doesn’t enjoy being ridden.



Couldn’t there be an alternative way to make horses submit/cooperate?


Instead of whips, horses can be trained by other means. For example, clicker training makes use of a simple noise-making device (the clicker) to mark the desired behavior and allow for positive reinforcement. The horse learns that when he or she tries different actions, he or she will get rewarded by learning what works best. Although it’s not widely practiced today because of time constraints, verbal cues are also used in some cases to motivate horses into action. With alternative methods like these available, why do people continue to resort to violence?



Where do we draw the line between acceptable and unacceptable abuse of animals?


Animal abuse comes in many forms, from neglect to deliberate cruelty. Society as a whole has agreed that certain forms of abuse are unacceptable: we don’t condone hitting dogs or cats, for example, and we don’t think pulling out cows’ tails is good practice. But what about other animals? Horses have been used by humans in labor and entertainment for millennia—so why do some people think it’s okay to hit horses when they misbehave? It doesn’t seem right to me…

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