zondag 1 maart 2009

How to buy a horse in Holland - Part 1

We’ve been talking about buying a horse for years, the top present on Jolanda’s wish list for “Sint” was always “a pony” as she got older and bigger, the type of pony changed, from “Shetlander” to “Welsh” to an E pony. She no longer believes in Sint, but this year, when her “Droom Paard” became an “Andalusian stallion” advertised on http://www.marktplaats.nl/ and available in Friesland for a mere eight thousand euros. We started to look seriously at more practical options.
But I cannot blame the pressure Jolanda has put us under, I won’t deny that owning a pony was always my childhood dream too, and I am a firm believer in “living your dream” even if it does take forty years to achieve!
After we discussed it as a family, and John admitted that he had no arguments against the idea left, and getting advise from people we trust in the local horse fraternity; Jolanda drew up a list of what she wanted in a perfect horse, and got the green light to trawl the net for horses.
She’s a clever girl, and did not only look on one site, but compared http://www.sporthorses.nl/ with marktplaats, and found a really pretty 4 year old gelding on offer on both sites, for different prices! We decided to contact the people advertising on sporthorses, and got an appointment to see it yesterday.
We got up bright and early and set off for the stables which were about thirty minutes away. First impressions were really favourable, the farm and stables looked really professional, and as we walked through the line of stalls to the office, we passed some beautiful looking horses.
The girl showing us the horse was great, with the sort of laid back, calm approach to riding that sets you at your ease.
In real life the horse was really pretty, quite small (thankfully) and nice eyes. I have never even thought of what you look for when you are buying a horse, but he was rugged up when we first saw him, and I really wanted to see him “naked” so to speak!
He did not disappoint, although we noticed he had a really slow amble as he walked though to the saddling up area. As the girl was getting the tack, I started to run my hands over him - with no idea what I needed to feel for, but it was obvious that his muscles were really soft; the ponies we know work out each day, and they are fit, with firm muscles.
Before he was tacked, she let him loose in the arena, and he had a great run around, he looked lively, but Jolanda thought he seemed to put his feet down heavily.
We had been chatting all the time with the girl, and she was really open in her answers, but when I asked if he was known to buck, she sort of ummed and muttered that all young horses have that in their character.
She saddled him up then, and she rode him first to show us what he could do – it was not so much – he might be zadelmaak (broken in) but he was all over the place – did not even stay on the hoofslag (round the edge of the arena). It took her ages to get him into canter, too. We saw the buck he gave as he cantered from E to B. By the time she was finished she was the colour of beetroot, and sweating!
Jolanda was brave enough to want to try him out, (I would have done it for her, honest!) so popped her hat on, took her coat and scarf off, and hopped up onto him.
She took him round a couple of times in trot; and did a few circles, and changes of direction. Before she went into canter, the girl suggested Jolanda should try him with spurs, and fixed a pair on her boots – Jolanda has never ridden in spurs.
We kind of both thought there would be problems with cantering, but as I was on the ground filming, and Jolanda was about 20 meters away on a horse, we couldn’t really discuss it.
She popped him into canter and he kicked the skirting boards, so she tried again and he went into a series of bucks, trying to get rid of her. I did not get that on film, as there is something incredibly scary about watching your 12 year old daughter fighting an angry horse.
However, she rode it out, then got a nice canter out of him finally. When they finished, she was really tired, and he was too!
So he’s not the horse for us, I don’t like the bucking, and Jolanda found him hard work to ride, and couldn’t imagine having to train him from zero to where she wants to get him. Looks aren’t everything as they say!
He is not really a good first horse, but to someone who wants the challenge, he would be a great buy.
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3 opmerkingen:

BevS97 zei

OMG, the stress to get it right. I find it hard buying a car, but when it's a horse it seems even more so. You want to get the perfect horse just for you.

I hope you find a lovely one really soon.

Bev

Andy Baker zei

I can't imagine. I wouldn't know where to start in terms of what one is supposed to look for. My father had horses when we were young. It was nice having access to farm animals growing up. Good luck finding the right one.

Jane zei

thanks Andy,
and if your dad has any horse sense he can pass on - it would be great to hear it!