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Tips for Buying Your First Horse or Pony: A Beginners Guide

If you are looking to buy a horse for the first time or you are a novice rider, there are many things you should keep in mind. First, it's important to find a horse that is suitable for your level of experience. Novice riders should look for a horse that is well-trained, gentle, and easy to handle. This will help ensure that your riding experience is safe and enjoyable.

When looking for a horse, it's also important to consider the horse's breed, size, and age. Some breeds are known for being good for novice riders, additionally, smaller horses may be easier for novice riders to handle, as they are less intimidating and require less strength to control.

It's also a good idea to work with a reputable horse trainer or equestrian professional who can help you find the right horse for your needs. They can provide guidance and advice on what to look for in a horse, and can help you evaluate the horses you are considering to ensure that they are suitable for a novice rider.

How to choose the right horse.

Choosing the right riding horse can be a difficult decision, as there are many factors to consider. Here are a few tips to help you choose the right horse for you:

Determine your level of experience and the type of riding you plan to do. This will help you narrow down your options and choose a horse that is suitable for your skill level.

Consider the horse's personality and temperament. It's important to choose a horse that is calm and well-behaved, as this will make your riding experience more enjoyable.

Take your time to get to know the horse before making a decision. Spend some time around the horse, observe how it behaves, and ask the owner or trainer about the horse's personality and history.

Consider the horse's age and physical condition. A younger horse may have more energy and be suitable for more advanced riding, while an older horse may be more suitable for beginner riders.

Talk to the owner or trainer about the horse's health and medical history. This will help you understand any potential health issues the horse may have and ensure that the horse is in good physical condition.

Take a trial ride on the horse to see how it feels and to get a sense of its personality. This will help you determine if the horse is a good fit for you.

Overall, choosing the right riding horse is a decision that should be made carefully. It's important to consider your own experience level and the type of riding you plan to do, as well as the horse's personality, age, and physical condition.

To determine how much weight a horse can carry...

You will need to take into account several factors, including the horse's size, breed, age, and physical condition. A general rule of thumb is that a horse can carry up to 20% of its own body weight, but this can vary depending on the factors mentioned above. It is always best to consult with a veterinarian or professional trainer to determine how much weight a horse can safely carry. It is also important to remember that horses can become uncomfortable and even unsafe if they are asked to carry too much weight, so it is important to err on the side of caution and not overburden your horse.

Thoroughly evaluate before you buy.

Once you've found a horse that you are interested in, it's important to thoroughly evaluate it before making a purchase. This includes checking the horse's health, looking at its teeth and hooves, and observing its behaviour. You should also make sure to get a veterinary examination and have the horse tested for any health issues or conditions that may affect its suitability as a beginner's horse.

In the end, buying a horse is a big decision, and it's important to take your time and do your research to ensure that you find the right horse for you. With the right horse and the right support, you can have a rewarding and enjoyable experience as a novice rider.

Are horse dealers always honest?

As with any profession, there are honest and dishonest people in the horse dealing business. It is always important to do your research and due diligence when purchasing a horse from a dealer to ensure that you are getting a healthy and well-trained animal. As previously stated, get a second opinion from a trusted veterinarian or equine specialist before making a purchase. An honest dealer who has the best interests of the horse and the buyer should agree to take the animal back should it not prove to be suitable.

Horse insurance (Important from day1)

Horse insurance is a type of insurance policy that provides coverage for horses, ponies, and other equines. It can provide financial protection against a variety of risks, such as accidents, illness, and theft. Horse insurance policies typically include coverage for medical expenses, loss of use, and mortality. Some policies may also offer coverage for breeding, show fees, and other equine-related activities. It's important to carefully review the terms and conditions of any horse insurance policy to make sure it meets your needs and provides the level of protection you require.

A short overview of popular Horse Breeds

When we did our research, we were surprised to find out that there are over 300 breeds of horse in the world. You will find a brief overview of the ones deemed suitable for beginners and novice riders below.


A cob is a type of horse in appearance resembling a large pony that is typically stocky and sturdy, with a short back and strong legs. Cobs are often used for riding and driving, and they are known for their calm and gentle dispositions which makes them ideal for beginners and novices. Some common breeds of cob include the Welsh Cob, the Gypsy Cob, and the Irish Cob. Cobs are often used in a variety of equestrian activities, including show jumping, dressage, and eventing. Cobs usually stand at around 15 hands.


There are several types of horse breeds that are considered to be Coldbloods. Coldblood breeds are typically larger, heavier horses that are known for their strength and endurance. Some examples of coldblood breeds include the Clydesdale, Shire, Percheron, and Belgian. These breeds are often used for draught work, such as pulling carriages or ploughs, and for other heavy labour. They are also sometimes used for riding, but are generally not as agile or fast as other horse breeds. Popular with pleasure riders and beginners because of their slow and steady nature.


Warmbloods are a type of horse breed that originated in Europe. They are known for their athleticism, versatility, and temperament. Warmbloods are highly trainable horses that are athletic, and true performers – they excel in equestrian sports such as dressage, showjumping and eventing. Some popular warmblood breeds include the Dutch Warmblood, the Hanoverian, the Holsteiner, and the Trakehner.

Hot Bloods

Hot bloods are a type of horse breed that are known for their speed, athleticism, and spirit. Examples of hot blood breeds include Thoroughbreds, Arabians, and Akhal-Tekes. These breeds are often used in racing and other high-performance equestrian activities. Hot bloods are known for their strength, endurance, and ability to perform at a high level for extended periods of time. These horses can be challenging to train and usually not suitable for beginners or first time owners although there are exceptions to the rule.

Best Horse/Pony for Children

When choosing a horse or pony for children, it's important to consider the child's age and experience level. A smaller horse or pony may be more suitable for a younger child, while an older child with more experience may be able to handle a larger horse. It's also important to choose a horse with a gentle and calm disposition, as this will make it easier for the child to handle and ride the horse safely. Additionally, it's a good idea to work with a professional trainer or instructor to ensure that the child is properly matched with a suitable horse.

Shetland Pony

Shetland ponies are small horses native to the Shetland Islands, located northeast of mainland Scotland. They are known for their sturdy build and thick mane and tail. Shetland ponies are used for a variety of purposes, including riding, driving, and as pets. They are also popular in shows and competitions. Shetland Ponies are super cute and ideal for first timers. (Children)

Welsh Ponies

Welsh ponies are a type of small horse native to Wales in the United Kingdom. They are known for their pony-like size and stature, as well as their intelligence and agility. Welsh ponies are extremely versatile, often used in a variety of equestrian disciplines, including jumping, dressage, showing and driving. They are popular as children's ponies and are often used in pony clubs and other youth riding programs. The Welsh pony is common all around the world and make great companions. The Welsh pony is a breed of pony that is average in size and can come in basically any solid colour but can’t carry a pattern.

Miniature Ponies.

A miniature pony is a type of pony that is smaller in size compared to a typical pony. Miniature ponies are often used as pets or for showing in competitions, such as horse shows. They are known for their friendly and playful personalities, and their small size makes them well-suited to being handled by children. Miniature ponies are typically very intelligent and can be trained to do a variety of tasks, such as pulling carts or performing tricks. If you want to get your child a horse to handle, rather than ride, the miniature horse is a great option. They can have lots of fun in agility competitions and can be a great way to introduce your child to the wonderful world of equines.

In conclusion

As previously stated, there are over 300 types of Horse or Pony so buying one for the first time can be a bit of a minefield. As long as you do plenty of research and know what you are looking for, you should be fine. Remember to always get advice from knowledgeable people before making any decisions. Last but not least, never buy a Horse or Pony without having it vetted and remember to get your new acquisition insured from day one


The Confident Rider website was created to help nervous horse riders overcome their anxiety and fear through the use of Self-Hypnosis.

Our online store offers a variety of downloadable audio sessions, written and recorded by Sharon Shinwell, a UK qualified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a lifetime of riding experience.

These sessions cover a wide range of pleasure riding and competition disciplines and are designed to address specific issues related to riding. By using proven techniques, our audio sessions help riders relax and feel more confident in the saddle. Our website is user-friendly and all of the sessions can be easily downloaded and accessed on any device.

In addition to the Self-Hypnosis audio sessions, we also offer advice and resources about all aspects of owning or riding horses and ponies through our Blog. We welcome suggestions for topics that you would like us to cover.

Sharon was a co-author of the popular book "Ride With Confidence," which was forwarded by Kelly Marks, the well-known Horse Whisperer.

Our Self-Hypnosis sessions have received positive reviews from customers and have been featured in various media outlets such as Your Horse, Horse and Rider and Horse and Hound.

If you're ready to overcome your anxieties or fears and become a more confident, relaxed rider, visit our website to access our Self-Hypnosis audio sessions and take advantage of our special offer of a discount, when you join our mailing list, at the bottom of our home page. Don't worry, we won’t bombard you with emails, perhaps just the occasional one to tell you about something new.

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"This article represents the personal views and opinions of the author and should not be taken as representative of the official policy or position of any organization, professional, expert, or individual."

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