There are many different types of horses, from tiny miniature, to huge draft horses. There are so many breeds, that's it's impossible to touch on them in a book such as this is intended. As I'm using it in this book, the term "average horse" is simply meant to discuss a typical riding horse. This can be a purebred animal, or one who is a cross of two or more popular breeds. If you're seriously interested in buying a horse, I encourage you to do some research into the different breeds. Each will have its good points as well as its bad points.
Choosing a sex is also important when you're considering buying, possibly as you're looking through ads in the paper. Stallions 1should only be owned by reputable breeders who are aware of the special circumstances and challenges that owning one of these horses comes with. The terms colt 2 or filly 3 are generally used to describe young horses, sometimes up to 2 years of age; often horses this young haven't yet been trained to carry a rider. A gelding 4refers to a male horse who has been castrated (in a manner similar to male dogs), and a mare 5 is a mature female.
Mares, like any mature female animal, will undergo an estrus cycle, in which their bodies are prepared to mate. Some mares may become moody during this time, and they may be more difficult to handle. Although, my mom says she doesn't have any trouble with me, so maybe that's just a training issue. Of course, if anyone near you has a stallion, you may notice your mare's attention span is very low when she is in heat.
If a male horse is castrated at a young age, generally before 2 years old, it helps to reduce the amount of male hormone in his system, and keeps him calmer and easier to manage than his intact brothers. Gelding is always recommended unless you're a breeder; penning and handling a stallion offers a whole new set of challenges.
If you're looking to buy your first horse, you should look for older animals, either mare or gelding, at least 10 years old or older (especially if you have very little knowledge of horses), and avoid animals that are said to be green broke, 6 which usually means they've had very little in the way of training. An older, well-trained, and docile horse is the best choice for the first-time buyer. If you're lucky enough to know a horse person, ask them to go along and possibly even ride the horse you are looking at. Spend time, if possible, with several horses available for sale, so you can see which one might seem to have a fondness for you, as well as you for him or her.
Don't buy an animal that seems sick, or is injured, or if he or she is said to have a history of founder. 7 Ask questions of the seller, and try to find out as much information as you can before you commit. Often, for a small fee, a large animal vet may come and do a quick exam of the animal for you.
Keep in mind, this information is extremely general, and each horse has his own personality. Some horses are just naturally harder to handle, while others are naturally docile. Always keep in mind when dealing with any horse, that this is an animal weighing 1,000 pounds or more, and he can cause serious injury! Always keep your guard up around your horse, but don't be afraid of him. They pick up the scent of fear and will be more likely to push you around if they know you're afraid of them. Be firm but kind with a horse. They look to you for herd leadership, and if you're a strong leader in their minds, they'll be a lot easier to handle.
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