Friday, 31 May 2013

Take Your Time When Inspecting Hunter Jumper Horses For Sale

By Frances Keith

If you are looking for hunter jumper horses for sale, you should take your time and not rush into a purchase. A horse is an expensive acquisition and such a decision should not be made in a hurry. If you make a mistake, you may find it very difficult to recoup your money.

Perhaps you are hoping to show your new mount. If so, there are certain criteria you will be looking for. Classes for these horses may be held on the flat and/or over obstacles. The former will require a handsome, well-conformed horse. His ability to jump will not be so critical. If you wish to enter classes which test the entrants over obstacles, your horse will need to be both well-conformed and able to jump well.

In the show-ring, conformation is extremely important. A horse cannot perform well if he is badly put together. He must stand in a balanced manner with his four legs evenly spaced. An attractive head with large, friendly eyes will draw the judge's attention. The horse should be broad between the eyes with a straight or concave profile.

A nicely arched neck is attractive. It should lead to a sloping rather than a straight shoulder. Horses with straight shoulders have an uncomfortable, choppy action. A jumper needs strong, muscular hindquarters. The back should be relatively short and the chest broad. This gives room for heart and lungs. Well-sprung ribs are another factor that judges will look for.

The legs are an important part of any horse but particularly so if it is to perform in the show-ring. They must be straight. The pasterns should not be upright as these need to absorb the shock when a horse lands after jumping. The bone must be hard and flinty. Watch out for imperfections such as splints or spavins. It is important that the legs point straight ahead. Both pairs of hooves must be of a similar size. The front hooves are often more oval in shape than the back ones.

When you go to view a horse, inspect it first when it is standing quietly. Look at it from every angle. Ask the owner to walk and trot the horse away from you then straight back towards you. Look for straight action without excessive throwing of the feet to the sides. Then stand to one side and have the horse trotted past. The steps should be even with the hind feet stepping past the imprint made by the forefeet.

If you are satisfied with your inspection, you should now have the animal ridden by the owner. Before saddling up, pick up each of the horse's hooves. He should allow this without fuss. Saddling and bridling should be done with the horse remaining calm. He must be easy to mount. If necessary, ask to see the horse jump.

If the horse seems safe and obedient, you may want to try it for yourself. Let it walk around for a short time before asking it to trot and canter. The gait should be even and regular underneath you. You should feel in control. And remember, when looking at hunter jumper horses for sale, the last consideration should be its colour.

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