Buying a Western Pleasure Horse

This is a great read by dan Reale on “Buying a Western Pleasure Horse.”  We hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Purchasing a western pleasure horse is like purchasing most others, with the exception of looking more closely at other factors. These include behavior, how much training may or may not be involved and western pleasure riding itself. The horse must possess the discipline demanded by competition itself, or be trainable if it already does not.

Seeking a horse of a particular color and gender is idiosyncratic to western pleasure riding. These factors should be at the bottom of the list of what it is you are looking for. First, and like any horse, look for the traits and abilities required by the intent of the purchase.

Before making your selection, you should consult trainers, breeders or stable owners whenever possible. These professionals can pair you up with a western pleasure horse or find someone who can. While breeders and stable owners are excellent for finding a western pleasure horse, trainers are more familiar with the nuances of the horse and rider relationship.

A younger show horse can be ideal for training. These haven’t been ingrained to the degree that older horses are in terms of habit, riding style or competition demands. It can be difficult to work these habits out. However, an older horse trained for western pleasure riding is ideal – and a wise purchase when available.

Before you buy, you should observe the horse and how the owner handles it. If the horse becomes iratable when catched, loaded or hauled, it may not be suitable for western pleasure riding. When basic tasks of hygeine, riding or maintanence cause a horse to become irritable or nonresponsive, chances are that using it for western pleasure riding won’t work.

Ask the owner of the horse to ride it, demonstrating basic commands such as waiting, stopping, running or trotting. If the owner claims that the animal is trained for western pleasure riding, this is an ideal opportunity to see how well. This is also a good way to determine how the horse responds to commands and handling.

You will also be able to tell if the horse has become ring sour, tiring of commands and displaying noticeable resistance to what is being asked of it. While purchasing an older trained horse for western pleasure riding can be ideal, a ring sour horse defeats the purpose.  Read more