How to test a temperament, pre-purchase?

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How to test a temperament, pre-purchase?

Postby millertime » Fri Oct 30, 2009 2:13 pm

How do you know if an unbacked horse has the right temperament?

In my case I have an opportunity to acquire an ex-race horse and whilst she's backed, she's hasn't been conventionally ridden. I'm reassured by the trainer (who I know very well) that she is not at all 'hot headed' or 'sharp' - but that's all relative, he's used to riding TB's!

So I'm off to see her next week, and for my own peace of mind I would like to know if anyone has any tips on things I can ask them to do with her to explore how trainable and willing she is and give an indication of how sharp she may or may not be?

Any experiences anyone?

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Re: How to test a temperament, pre-purchase?

Postby Kaliska » Fri Oct 30, 2009 2:48 pm

What about doing some groundwork exercises? Circles, stopping, leading nicely from each side etc. I always think temperament is quite noticeable even without riding a horse, just go with your gut instinct.

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Re: How to test a temperament, pre-purchase?

Postby greyhorse » Fri Oct 30, 2009 3:46 pm

Very tricky - if you know the trainer and trust them, then you are well on your way. I'm not sure anything you could do in an afternoon will be a true test of temperament. I worked at a yard who took on a few racehorses a year, and always turned them away for at least six months before even attempting to retrain them. In my experience, they are so fit and so wound up that they aren't in a mental (or physical) state capable of being to be receptive or open to a more relaxed way of life. Often in work since they were two, little or no turnout, high energy feed... Becoming a riding horse is such a drastic change in routine, I think a transition period is a nice way to let them settle and be a horse for a little while. Every one that showed up was a completely different horse after six months turned away - three months anyway with handling might set you up well.

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Re: How to test a temperament, pre-purchase?

Postby cloudybay » Fri Jul 23, 2010 8:56 am

Trust your gut instinct.

Do they have a kind eye, are they easy to handle, do they stand still while tied up or being held. Does the horse have good manners when being led? Have the horse trotted up more than once as often when they have trotted up the first time, naughty horses can anticipate the next trot up and show signs of misbehaving. Also if you see the horse lunged, you will have an idea of how well mannered they are likely to be.

Also be sure you can handle a young TB and have help from a good trainer in case you need it. I had a horse from racing who turned out to be one of the best horses I have ever owned, but equally I have seen many people come to grief with hot TB's that made them lose their nerve.

Good luck!

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Re: How to test a temperament, pre-purchase?

Postby blondie91 » Fri Sep 09, 2011 11:00 am

If its an ex-racer your after, theres some great racehorse rescue groups out there...I realise your talking about a particular horse here, but theres a particular group in cumbria i think it is, where they retrain their horses, then loan them out long term to you...instead of you just choosing the horse, you apply, state what you think you need/want, and they match you to something suitable...seems a pretty reasonable and worthwhile organisation and they seem to have something for everyone, from happy hackers to horses with competition potential! It does also say that if things dont work out, they're always happy to take the horse back/offer help.

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