Blog Hop: Dealbreakers

I’m pretty sure we’ve discussed dealbreakers before, at least in the capacity of buying a horse, but what about the things that would prevent you from even swinging a leg over in the first place?

I’m not a particularly timid rider, so most things don’t bother me. I don’t mind a hot horse, or one that might be inclined to buck or play or spook. Young and green is fine, and while I’d prefer to not have to ride one that requires a ton of leg (let me tell you what I’m not good at – slow horses), I don’t mind it every once in a while. My dealbreakers are mainly of the I-don’t-want-a-horse-to-crash-down-on-top-of-me variety.

For me there’s only one thing “on the flat” that will make me not even want to climb aboard: rearing. Been there, done that, got the bruises and the near death experience to prove it. If it rears, I’m not going near it. Period.

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There’s a reason I like eventing this horse

If we’re talking about jumping, I have one more dealbreaker: I will not jump a horse that has a consistent tendency to hang it’s knees and jump over it’s shoulder. See above about the whole not wanting to ride a horse that is going to crash down on top of me thing. Rotational falls are scary, I’m not interested in stacking the odds in favor of one happening by riding a horse that hangs it’s knees. I think I’d be cantering down to every fence just holding my breath, so… no thanks. Hard pass. I make enough mistakes, I don’t need to be extra worried about the potential ramifications of my bad decision-making. While it’s true that just about any horse can get to a solid fence badly enough to have a rotational in exactly the right circumstances, I sure as heck am not interested in stacking the odds in my favor by picking a horse that jumps with hanging knees.

What about y’all – any dealbreakers that make you not even want to ride a particular kind of horse?

41 thoughts on “Blog Hop: Dealbreakers

  1. Hah, your answer to this question is a lot more fun than mine. I have a lot of deal breakers… although if I know the horse, sometimes I’ll be okay with certain things. I guess I don’t have a ton of off the top deal breakers, but I generally don’t like to ride horses I don’t know.

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  2. I won’t ride rearers either. I am a wimpy wimpy rider and have to realize i am going to be safe (hence me with my death grip on Henry but the fact I got on him at all is huge!!) before I get on a horse ever. I generally feel safer in a ring than in the open but depending on the horse I might be okay out in the open. I also don’t like horses that don’t stop. Or buck. Sheesh I am such a wimp. I didn’t use to be so wimpy but a horse rearing up and falling on me cured my non-wimpiness fast.

    I don’t like horses that rush jumps either. I watched a few horses at FH this weekend and tho great jumpers they made my stomach hurt cause they were so fast and so quick to the jumps (and not always in great form, quite a few rails in stadium or misses).

    I can usually size up a horse pretty quickly. I honestly think I have ridden Remus the last few years and other than that Henry the one time and that it is. I do not think i have swung a leg over another horse. Wow. That might tell you something about my range of dealbreakers 🙂 HA!

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  3. Man is he ever perfectly consistent with his form!

    I’m with you, I really don’t want a horse that will threaten in any way to fall on top of me. I’ve also reached a point that I try hard to not ride any horse that I cannot learn something from. I spent years getting on anything anyone offered and I recognize how lucky I was that I survived all of those escapades. I don’t heal like I used to and I’ve got horses of my own now. If I’m going to ride Not My Horse, I want it to be a pretty solid mount that I can ideally learn something from without being on the edge of my seat worrying I’ll be hucked off at a moment’s notice.

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  4. For the most part I’m not super picky. As a young professional without any real financial backing from my family, I don’t have the luxury of a huge list of “do-not-want-to-ride-that-ever.” I’ve dealt with quite a lot of rather unsavory habits but actually my least favorite is a horse with a truly DIRTY stop in it. Not fun and frankly, most of the time not easily fixed unless you’re blessed with brute strength. I’m 5’7″-ish and 122lbs, so brute strength is not one of my physical attributes. I can sit a buck and ride through a rear, I’ve dealt with bolters and lazy horses both, I dont mind a careful horse that needs some confidence over fences, but dirty stoppers are mostly just assholes and they, frankly, just don’t want to jump anyway.

    I also find those kinds of horses tend to just be jerks about working in general, especially when anything gets the least bit difficult for them. I hate that kind of attitude in people and I certainly don’t like dealing with it in horses.

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  5. Bolting. I need brakes. Once you take a nice helicopter ride to a L1 trauma center thanks to one who bolted through a fence, it tends to result in a dealbreaker for life.
    I also don’t like rearing. I’ve seen one too many nasty accidents from that. In general, it just needs to have a good brain.
    On a totally superficial level, I hate blue eyes.

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  6. Oddly enough I’m not too afraid of a rearing horse as I am of one that consistently bucks LOL. But that could be because I had to retrain a filly that reared. But she wasn’t menacing about it, and I’ve never had one seriously rear on me, really. Still don’t want to hop on that though lol! I try not to judge a horse before I swing a leg over because the horse’s attributes I don’t like most of the time is influenced by the rider and how they’re riding the horse. It’s a bit vague but most of the time I won’t swing my leg over a horse when I know they have a lot of really bad baggage. I feel as if I have to be very careful with them, and if I don’t know what can set them off, it ends up being very stressful for me. But most of the time, horses are always different than I perceive them once I swing a leg over.

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  7. The older I get the longer my list gets! Haha!
    But it’s also different based on the situation. I think I’m willing to sit on more things than I would consider buying. I’m with you on the rearing and the leg hanging. (Also learned the rearing one the hard way. No thanks.) I’m also not super willing to sit on anything neurological. Which is kind of funny because I ride Rio everyday, and he’s an EPM riddled mess. But he’s my mess. I just wouldn’t get on anyone else’s mess.
    I’m kind over the ones that run away bucking like broncos too.

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  8. I want a horse that likes it’s job. I have ridden reiners, AQHA show horses, hunters, fox hunters, ranch horses etc. If the horse likes it’s job and is physically built to do it, then I’m fine with most anything. In my experience if a horse is acting badly there is a reason that most likely isn’t the horse’s fault. This is probably why I like to buy babies. The horse will tell me what it wants to do and what it doesn’t want to do.
    I brought Sterling (TB) along very slowly. We tried a season of fox hunting when he was six, a few slow trail rides in small and large groups starting when he was 3 and riding out alone and he HATES it. We are talking sweating, chomping the bit, rearing, running sideways, etc. The older he gets, the worse he is riding out. Take him into a ring with some jumps and you have a completely different animal. He LOVES being a hunter. LOVES it.
    Jaguar on the other hand is a complete jerk in the show ring. He did fine his 2, 3 and 4 year old years (he was a reiner, started reining towards the middle of his 3yo year), but the more he figured it out the more he expressed his disdain for being in an arena. Spooked at random chairs. Swapped leads when he shouldn’t. He wasn’t ever dangerous like Sterling is on the trail, but he didn’t like it. Take him on a cross country course, fox hunting or out moving cattle and you have a DREAM horse! He likes to go and get shit done!
    My dealbreaker is a horse in the wrong job. I want a happy horse that is willing to work.

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  9. I’m not interested in riding anything with a few screws loose. Not because I can’t ride a buck/rear/bolt/spin, but because I work with my body (doing ultrasound), and I am really not interested in risking my livelihood on a horse I don’t own. Even a simple sprain of the right hand/wrist would be bad news for me. As I’ve gotten older I’ve really come to realize how dangerous it is what we do, and I’m not interested in increasing the risk factor any more then necessary! If a horse is known for being any sort of psycho besides the occasional spook, I will not swing a leg over. No thank you. I have nothing to prove these days!

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  10. I’m the same in that I definitely won’t ride any horse that rears, but I’m also not super into the horses that are near impossible to slow down or stop. My preferred horses are ones that are push rides if I’m being honest. Which I seem to have thrown out the window with my new 5yo who has very, very strong opinions on going right and will do a lot to not go right including bolt to the left! 😂

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  11. Hahaha I’m an ammy for a reason. These days, I will only ride nice horses. You know. Some buttons. Not crazy. No big vices.

    It’s just not worth it to me to get hurt and miss work/mess up my life over riding some dumbass greenbean that isn’t even mine.

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  12. No rearing. No bolting. No back cracker type bucking. Otherwise I’m good with hot, slow, spooky, young/dumb. Actually I’m on the fence about clumsy. Which I didn’t even know was a thing until I got my current riding horse and suddenly have concerns when the terrain is questionable. Haha.

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  13. Rearing sucks, but it wasn’t a deal breaker for me considering I owned one that did it. He didn’t do it very often, though. Like you, the o/f deal breaker is bad/incorrect/dangerous form. And if I have foreknowledge of a horse flipping over a jump even once, I don’t want it. Some habits might make me crabby, but not much truly bothers me. I don’t think I will ever buy a mare, but it wouldn’t be a deal breaker.

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  14. Yup… I just turned 50, and after some pretty nasty falls and injuries, even as a trainer, there are just some horses that I choose to pass on. I want to live to see my grandchildren. We had a boarder that had a horse that would literally snap in 2 without warning. They wanted me to try and fix him… I opted out! I’m all for sending to the younger guys )colt starters) and let them deal with it. There are enough really nice horses in the world, why own a jerk?

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  15. One that I have no information about. Like, vaguely was told by the maybe honest owner that the horse was probably broke at one point in time a few or many years ago but has been out of work basically since then and maybe will rear or buck but he’s a nice horse, really, and you definitely don’t need a helmet to ride him! Yeah. Not happening. Two days later that same horse went full-on stallion and attacked me when I went to catch him (and he is actually gelded). 🙄 No thank you.

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  16. Similar to Karen I can’t say that I won’t own or ride one that’s lost gravity in their front feet from time to time but I definitely don’t want to ride a confirmed rearer. A horse with a shit front end is a deal breaker though. I have a horse that is a total freak and I have a horse that could stand to learn a few things from his kid sister… I would buy the one that jumps a 10 every time every day over the other.
    I can probably improve Houston’s form as he started out jumping plenty safe but if he doesn’t consistently jump better I won’t be pushing it. I don’t want to flip over anything. Life is too short to take dumb risks in an already risky sport.

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  17. Like HunkyHanoverian, I make my living with my body, and cannot afford even a minor injury these days.

    I re-learned to ride on a borrowed hard-mouthed ex barrel horse, who was a confirmed bolter. (horse choices are limited here on the island) Because we mostly rode on the beach it didn’t seem so scary, although often there were no brakes – you just had to ride it out. I would pass on a rearer, or anything that forgets where it’s feet are and might fall over. But my worst equestrian injury came from an incident in a stall with my own horse so – you can be totally picky and careful and sh*t still happens.

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  18. I’ve ridden a few horses that lacked the self-preservation gene. I’m basically done with that, it’s terrifying. If I have a horse that’s going to act up, I want to make sure that it’s at least not going to kill itself in the process. It’s too unpredictable. I’m also not fond of buckers. I don’t mind a horse that crow hops, but one that twists its back and really tries to get you off is pretty much a nope for me. I’d much prefer a rearer.
    Basically I like a thinking and sensible horse. I’d much rather one that’s going to refuse to do something because it feels unsafe or doesn’t understand then one that will rush headlong into absolutely anything just because I ask it to.

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  19. Rearing is a big one…I’ve had a horse go over on top of me before and I plan on never having that experience again. I also don’t personally click well with the super stoic types…hence why I gravitate to ponies. Their cheeky, sometimes naughty, larger than life personalities are totally my jam. Lazy horses that don’t GO FORWARD are also frustrating for me so I definitely gravitate towards the slightly hotter ones.

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  20. Deal breakers, hmm, don’t love one that wants to stand up, but unless it’s a confirmed problem, that hasn’t been too hard to get rid of in a greenie. After a bad fall years ago, the levitational feel of the withers rising that sometimes comes before the crack in two makes every inch of my anxiety fire off. More often now, I can talk myself through it, but I hate that feeling now that I am old and know I can only ride certain bucks out. Not a deal breaker, but I do like one to take me there, so sully and too quiet need not apply. My string right now is mostly TB or WB with a good dose of it. I am not too worried about a rotational fall, but boy do I want the snappy front-end. And maybe on the deal breaker list is not athletic enough for the intended job. I ALWAYS want to have more jump in the tank than I will ever need, but in a controllable manner.

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  21. Great topic!!

    I don’t want to ride anything that’s known to be dirty… if it’s trying to find a way to dump me, get rid of me or be nasty I’m good thanks I’ll pass. They are all going to spook and I’d like one that’s not a big spooker but as long as it’s not malicious.

    And year reading no thanks.

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  22. As a pretty green rider, rearers are definite no-nos as are bolters. I haven’t have a bad rear yet, but my old lesson horse was a duck n’ bolt butthole who tried to kill me every other lesson. Nothing like that outta control feeling. I finally had to ask to be put on another horse or I’d go somewhere else. My current lesson horse is a little bit spooky and every so often he’ll throw in a buck just to make sure I’m paying attention, but so far I’ve been able to stick the spooks and bucks and have actually developed a decent seat *knocks on all the woods*

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  23. No readers, I don’t like buckers or bolters either. At this point, I don’t care for horses that rush fences. I don’t find having to use leg, I have absolutely no issues with leg. My biggest issue is stoppers. Owning a stopper now (he’s confident over cross rails now but will never be safe over anything else/solid/fill), I hate riding stoppers and they wreck my confidence so quickly.

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  24. I can’t stand dirty stoppers. I’ve ridden several horses that had the propensity to stand up but I’m pretty good at not pushing that button (unless everything pushes that button, then fuck me).

    But dirty stopping for no reason? Someone else can throw a leg over and make it go.

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    1. I feel like I should add that I am not as ballsy as I was when I was a teenager and I now like when my horses keep all 4 ft on the ground (except when I’m asking them to jump, obvi)

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  25. My dealbreakers are rearers and horses with a dirty stop… like someone else said, that bad attitude is nearly impossible to remedy. Back in my early eventing days, I had a horse who would pull those dirty stops at starter level logs on the ground, and nothing is worse for a timid rider’s confidence than that kind of bullshit!! I’m also not super fond of spinning, as the horse I owned before Siggy had a really nasty spin in him. Other than that, I find myself gravitating more and more towards forward/hot horses… which is a HUGE progression for me, but I can no longer stand riding horses that you have to spur every stride. I shouldn’t be doing more work than the horse is!

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  26. Any horse that gives me that vibe that it doesn’t care if it hurts itself – cos in the process they’re going to REALLY hurt you. Hence, anything that bolts (blindly – there’s a difference between bolting and just refusing to stop but still having an eye on the fences/trees/roads) and anything that rears that looks like it’s gonna go over backwards (plenty of horses out there that have learnt that raising their front feet off the ground a bit is a good way to get the rider to get off). I’ll ride a smart, careful naughty horse any day.
    But I don’t ride confirmed buckers – lower back mobility issues myself mean I just can’t ride then out.

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  27. This got me thinking. It depends on what I’m doing on the horse. If I’m riding a horse out on trail for endurance conditioning, my deal breaker is an edge walker. I hate horses who have to walk on the very edge of the trail and need a constant leg in the side to push over so you don’t get either walked off a cliff or your knees wiped off trees.

    Obviously that doesn’t matter in the arena. But rearing and bucking are up there too

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  28. Honestly? I would take a rearer over a bucker any day.

    I have had both and had the near death experience from the bucking.

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  29. I’m so with you on this one mate. Rearing! I hate it. I can handle bucking and spooking and hot OTTB’s straight off the track. I love that feeling of throwing my leg over a Thoroughbred fresh from racing and living the fear; but rearing spooks the hell out of me. I guess because i’ve seen a horse go backwards and fall on someone. Also, rearing is just bad bad mannered. Like spooking I get, a little hump or buck in the canter I get. Rearing is so malicious.
    A deal breaker for me is slow horses. The “i don’t even want to try horse” i can handle most things but laziness is just such hard work.

    Happy Riding & Keep Smiling
    Mel

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