Where Do You Buy A Horse?

March 15, 2013

Don’t you wish for one of those spectacular deals that let’s you get a great horse for a song. One of those situations, where the neighbor down the road has a great trail horse and suddenly decides to sell everything he has to join the foreign legion. Yeah well, just keep go right on waiting and hoping.

Of course, you could go to the sale barn. Years ago, we ran across a newbie horsewoman. She had only ridden a horse two or three times when she decided to purchase her own mount. She went to the Friday night sale by herself and came back with a horse. It never kicked, bucked, or acted up. She trail rode it, took it to parades, and loaded the horse in a single axle, one horse trailer that would barely hold a Shetland pony. The horse was a bargain beyond description.

Well, before you try it yourself, make sure your life, health, and disability insurance is paid up. Experienced horse traders find surprises when they come back from the auction with new horses. There’s a reason horses are cheap at the sale barn and it’s not just because somebody decided to sell them quick. Don’t mistake us, good horses go through sale barns. Sort of like taking a child fishing and watching him cast his unbaited hook into the water. Once in a while, there’s a catch, but not often.

The best place to buy a horse is from a person who is selling a horse you already know. Makes perfect sense, you know what you are purchasing and can evaluate the transaction from all angles. Yep, it’s still the same old problem, those situations are few and far between. Most people who have a horse they like, aren’t looking to sell it. So the opportunity to find this type of market is limited.

So where do you buy a horse? You need to do some homework and find a place that does a couple of things:

        1.     sells sound quality stock,

        2.     encourages you to ride, test, and get to know the horse BEFORE you buy it,

        3.     sells horses that perform in the environment you plan to use the horse, and

        4.     prefers to lose a sale than sell you a horse not suited to your riding experience and ability. 

Are these facilities particularly easy to locate?  Not necessarily, but the odds are considerably better than your other choices and far more within your control. After all, if you are speaking to a seller who doesn’t meet any of the above criteria, go some place else. You don”t have to keep talking to them and you sure don’t have to give them your hard-earned money.

Our principle aim is to match you to a horse that does what you want. We aren’t about volume and never will be. We are all about quality and the genuine pleasure of seeing folks find the horse that is right for them!



Horses For Sale

December 5, 2012

Our two-year trail riding program was started because we saw the need for well-broke, sound trail horses and recognized the value of them. A good horse is hard to find, but worth every penny! There are huge quantities of horses that aren’t broke, aren’t sound, and can’t be ridden by the average rider. The sale barns are filled with the same horses going through one-more time for the next unwitting buyer.

Some horses just don’t make it through our two-year trail horse program. They may make a useable  horse for a real experienced rider, but not be suitable for the quality trail horses we turn out. It can be the wrong temperament or disposition that renders them too impatient to meet our standards. It may be a physical impairment that prevents the horse from doing a full day of work or feet that are too soft to handle the rocks. Still the horse may be acceptable for some other purpose or need.

The horses that graduate and sold thru our two-year trail horse program are broke, experienced and trained. However, we also know some of our horses may be sold ahead of their graduation date . Folks see them riding well and want to take them home before graduation. While we will sell a horse ahead of graduation, we don’t let anyone represent they have purchased a horse that passed our trail program unless it actually graduates

When we have a horse that is unfit, rogue, or genuinely unsafe, we take it to the sale barn and put it in the lucky horse lottery just like everyone else. The horses you see on this blog are sold by  the ranch  with as much disclosure as we can give. We want people to know what they are buying before they spend the money.

Our experience shows that not every rider is suited for every horse. The hospitals and orthopedic surgeons provide the proof. We always suggest that customers ride our horses several different times and try a number of them to find the one that is right for their personality and ability. We stress not everyone is going to be a superstar and you don’t need to be to have fun.

Many people who contact us have considerable riding experience gained from years  in various disciplines. These individuals have reached that stage of life where they still want to actively ride, but they want a horse that is ready to use. They have done the training route and understand the time it takes and the risks of riding inexperienced or even green horses. Although no one can assure an accident won’t happen, a good, well-broke horse can be the difference.

It only takes one ambulance ride and overnight stay in the hospital to easily pay the cost of a good horse. Not to mention, the pain associated with being thrown, bucked off, and injured. Our goal is for people to safely ride and enjoy life. Horses are a great way to get some exercise and enjoy the world from a view-point like no other.

We also get  contacted by busy professionals who want to ride, but have  demanding jobs that don’t always give the time they would like to spend riding. They  just don’t have the hours it takes to work with a  green  or unbroken horse. While many long to ride every day, they just can’t.  So when their day off  finally arrives, they don’t feel safe climbing on their  horse because it isn’t trustworthy. So  they end up not riding, but lounging their horse in circles.

If you are looking for horse you can actually ride and enjoy, you might take a look at the horses listed in the for sale category. Let us know if we can help you find that special horse that will be the perfect fit for your needs.

Welcome To Horsesfortrail

October 8, 2012

Welcome to horsesfortrail.com, a blog dedicated to trail horse riders and their mounts! We write to give updates about equine events related to trail riding, tips on teaching your horse, progress on horses in our training operation in Bixby, Oklahoma, and encouraging the most relaxing and therapeutic  activity in the world, horse back riding. Recently we have picked up several new readers and your interest is genuinely appreciated.

Education is an essential component of success in everything in life. Horses are no different. The goal of horses for trail is to help provide insight into the world of trail riding and help others avoid some of the things we learned the hard way! Yep, we want to save you those ” Ouch, that hurt ” mistakes. Thanks again for your kind interest in the blog and trail riding.

Getting Your Money’s Worth With Professional Horse Trainers

October 6, 2012

If you decide to use a professional horse trainer, you may be asked if you want your horse to perform to the best of his ability. The question is usually asked in general conversation and it is the rare owner who answers no. After all, you want to get as much for your hard-earned money as you can right. Well maybe.

Let’s think about it just a little. First, if you could get the horse to do what you wanted, a professional trainer probably wouldn’t be under consideration. Most folks don’t spend money for services they don’t need.  So if you are going to a training facility and using a trainer, it is probably because you need some help. Otherwise, you probably would just do it yourself.

Outside trainers by nature want to do their best and often push a horse to the edge of his ability. It’s great watching the trainer, but not so good for the owner.  Common sense tells you a professional horse trainer rides better than his customer. Pushing the horse to the limits of his physical and mental abilities likely means the  horse will perform above the customer’s riding level. Our experience has been most people want a horse they can ride. Not a horse their trainer can ride!

One reason we set up our two-year training program was to develop horses almost anyone could ride.  These horses often have athletic ability far above our typical customer’s riding capability. So to compensate, we first train for the horse’s potential and then teach the horse to adjust to cues slower and respond less quickly. The intended result is a horse that can perform when needed, but doesn’t react faster than the rider.

For example, we have some horses trained to the point that the slightest leg cues move the horse and quickly. Perfect for a reining horse, but not so good for a purchaser wanting to ride trails without falling off.  Bottom line,  if you are going to  an outside trainer, find one that can  ( and will ) teach the horse to perform at the level  you ride. Talk to them before you deliver the horse and make sure there is a clear understanding who is going to be riding your dream horse, you or the trainer!

Outside Horse Training

August 31, 2012

We have a different approach to horses than a lot of facilities. We don’t train horses owned by other people. A lot of training operations and even some ranches will take outside horses and charge a monthly fee for teaching and riding your horse. We have no problem with those operations, it is just not what we want to do.

From our perspective, it is far more rewarding to see someone choose one of our horses fully broke and ready for the trails. Trying to fix problems created by years of bad habits and inexperience is hard work and sometimes impossible.

It never fails the person wanting outside training has just bought a horse that isn’t a good  fit. He may be the right color, but everything else is wrong. We see folks from time to time who take rescue horses. An admirable aspiration, but not always fully thought out ahead of time.

Our goal is to provide horses ready for folks to ride and enjoy. We like to see people having a great time and enjoying horse ownership rather than wondering how they ended up in some unpleasant situation.

Red, Blue, and Green Horses

July 14, 2012

Horses come in all sorts of colors, shades,  and combinations. There are blue roans, red roans, blacks, paints,  polka dot , and even yellow horses. But when you  hear about  ” green ”  horses, it has nothing to do with the color.  So what’s a green horse. Well, that’s one of those questions that if you ask 10 different people, you’ll get 10 different answers. You see a ” green ” horse is one of those words that does have a meaning, it just isn’t used the same way by people in  the horse industry. Sort of like the term ” vehicle ” can be anything from a moped to a dump truck. 

For some ” green ” means the horse is ” broke ”  and most likely can be ridden by a lot of people including new riders provided nothing unexpected happens. The horse will behave and ride nicely, but occasionally spook or jump at something. Others say a horse is ” green ”  just as soon as someone steps down from the first ride without the horse bucking. If you  hear some guy say,  ”  Oh, he’s a little green “, make sure you know how to ride before you climb aboard. It generally means the horse isn’t suited for a novice rider and probably not ready for a lot of experienced ones.

We have seen some pretty bad wrecks over the years when inexperienced riders end up on ” green ” horses.  Something like a rabbit jumps out of the brush and everything gets exciting.  The situation escalates from what could be a great training scenario  for the horse into a hospital trip for the rider.  Identical circumstances  with a skilled  rider  end up with the horse learning from the experience and no harm to anyone.

So when you hear someone say a horse is green, find out how they are using the term and make sure you don’t wind up learning it the hard way!

The Horse Needs To Compliment The Rider

June 22, 2012


Your horse needs to fit you. Size is important, but temperament, experience, training, and personality are probably more important.  You know how some people just annoy you. As hard as you try to like them, it’s not a good fit. Yet, you meet others that hit it off with you immediately and strike up a great friendship. Horses are no different, some fit you better than others. We like to see people come ride our horses several times before purchasing and find out if it is a good fit. If you are going to spend a lot of  time in the saddle, why not do it with a horse you like. This is Suzie that we introduced in an earlier blog. Suzie is a wonderful mare, sweet, kind, and easy to be around. She doesn’t like to run or lope. It doesn’t mean she won’t when asked, but given her choice a steady walk is just fine. A dandy trail horse for a lot of riders, but not necessarily the best horse for a cowboy who is going to be chasing cows or loping a couple of miles to the next pasture.

We can not over emphasize getting to know the horse before you buy, not after. Most folks don’t get married on the first date and you don’t have to buy a horse on the first ride. One of our goals are horses that fit the rider so there is a long, pleasant, and happy relationship giving both horse and rider years of fun and adventure.

Lies or Just Poor Communication?

May 23, 2012

The agriculture industry is full of poor communication at best and downright lies at worst. The horse business has some of the best and the worst. We started our horse operation out of frustration over the horses we bought that didn’t meet our expectations or the promises made to us.

Probably some of you have been there also. The guy on the phone says the horse is so gentle even his wife can ride it. You put a foot in the stirrup and that bomb proof horse blows up. He really was bomb proof, but  you weren’t!  Then you find out later, the guy’s  wife was riding broncs at 4 years old.  

How about the kids ride him all the time. Ever heard that one? We have and far too many times it turned out to be slightly less than accurate. Sure the kids rode him, five years ago from the barn to the gate. Whether less than truthful or just bad communication, it is still  your hard-earned money for something you didn’t want.

Frankly, we decided a lot of the problems aren’t so much sellers trying to cheat folks as just plain, old lack of communication. What  ” gentle  ” means to one person is  not the same to the next. Broke is a term that can mean almost anything from ridden twice without bucking to ready for a noisy Christmas parade.  A ” good horse ” is equally valueless in terms of understanding what the seller means.

Communication is a two-way street and the buyer also plays a role. Don’t ask vague questions when  purchasing a horse. Ask detailed questions that get to the heart of what you want to know. Example: Does he load in the trailer easy? Sound like a detailed question?  It’s not. Are you talking about a four horse stock trailer or a one horse? Does it have a ramp or does the horse have to step up into the trailer? Does it have rubber mats or does it have a slick floor? See how just a few variables can really change the meaning of what everyone believes they said or heard.

A better approach is to ask the seller to simply tell you about the horse and then listen to what is said. ” How many times have you loaded the horse into a trailer? ” “How did you load him? ” ” Can you show me? ” These types of questions along with ” show and tell ” give the prospective buyer far more information. If the seller grabs his cell phone and starts calling the family to help ” load the horse “, you get a clear picture.

We used to say, ” Tell me about the horse’s bad habits. ”  With some people you get straight to the truth. With others, you don’t get what you want to know. Having been the owner of a proud cut gelding several years ago, I distinctly remember asking the seller  to tell me all the bad things about the horse several times. He clearly said there weren’t any. The horse was a dream in every way when saddled and a nightmare when not. The man said he owned the horse for 5 or 6 years. I noticed there were some brood mares just down the road and we talked about them. Really hard for me to believe he told me the truth. Now it’s water under the bridge, but an expensive lesson.

If you are looking for a horse, make a written list of everything you think your next horse should be able to do. Try to spend several hours and write down all the simple things  you can possibly can. Don’t assume a horse does anything other than cost you money! If you think the horse will stand tied, you better find out. Some stand tied better than others. The details are nearly endless and you should know more about what you want and expect than anyone.  These are the areas you want to go over with the seller in DETAIL.  Don’t assume because the last 5 horses you rode were easy to bridle that the one you are checking out will be.

I scratched the hood on a nice car one time getting out of the way when a guy tightened the cinch on a  ” well broke ” horse. It reared up and fell over backwards trying to grind the saddle into the ground. Notice I said the guy pulled the cinch! I already knew enough back then to make the seller do everything I wanted to do FIRST.  You may be surprised how many sellers would love to ride the horse for you if it wasn’t for that ” catch in their back “.

At the end of the day it is buyer beware. So questions, questions, and more questions!