Pretty is as Pretty Does: Why looks aren’t everything

As a fashion blogger, you wouldn’t expect me to write about why looks aren’t everything. Lately I’ve found my writing to be moving more in the direction of being the type of person who owns the clothing they wear. One, who makes a statement and sets themself up as a role model that others willingly want to follow. It’s important to look for the same qualities in an equine partner and not be swayed by their outward appearance. Buy from a reputable seller, do your research, know your budget and skill level.

When purchasing a horse you should look for one who is willing and able to do the job you need done. A can do attitude it just as important in a horse as it is in a person. A sluggish or ill-tempered horse makes riding, roping or showing hard.  

I recently caught up with Kyle McEntire of Three Circle Barrel Horses to ask a few questions and get some further insight on purchasing a horse. McEntire brokers horses from a high school to pro rodeo level but his heart is in the futurity world. He believes if you have a winner at a young age in the right hands they will go on to be successful in the rodeo world. 

“I started ‘Match Making’ in 2010, just here and there. I really didn't take it seriously until about 2013. I don't do it so much for the income. I believe as a trainer you only look as good as the horses you are making but to sell them to someone that will shine with them makes you look even better.”

Whether it’s a $10,000 horse or a $250,000 horse, the self-proclaimed Patty Stanger of Horse Match making is big on doing your research before you buy. 

“I believe as a buyer you should always start shopping with research on what kind of horse you want. Buying a horse is a HUGE investment and you have to make sure you get the one you want; research pedigrees, winnings and style. STYLE is so important because if you don't match you won’t be successful.”

Sure there is the old adage that you can just as easily feed a pretty one as an ugly one but if the pretty horse doesn’t fit the demands that’s all you will be doing, feeding it. Getting caught up in color, mane and tail length or other superficial features of a horse won’t do you any good when it comes performance time. Overlooking a conformation defect in favor of the “pretty factor” will hurt you in the long run. You will likely spend more time getting or keeping the horse sound or dumping money into training for an event that the “pretty horse” wasn’t really suited for. 

Again McEntire stresses doing your homework.

“Research. Research. Research. You can never get enough information on a horse. Now days, you can find so much information on the web. Most results are posted online so you can see where the horse is running. Ask for numerous videos. DO NOT be afraid! Get videos of them doing dry work not just running, this allows you to see any weird movements or steps before you go the next step in the buying process. If you know someone in the area, ask about the horse make sure there isn’t any red flags such as bad warm up habits, ally way issues, or ducking.”

Researching the seller is just as important as researching the horse, McEntire adds.

“I only take a couple horses in on consignment. I am not a typical broker because I hate to say it but now days there are so many ‘Horse Traders’ out there just selling horses to make a buck! Do some research on the horses they have sold in the past, check the conditions of the horses in their care. Take note of their feet, coat and weight. Ask why they selling, how long they’ve had the horses, etc. These things can make or break a deal.”

When you finally get to the point of a purchase, McEntire recommends a pre-purchase exam.

“Once you find the horse you like make sure you cross all your T’s and dot your I’s. Ask about the horse’s current maintenance routine, injections, anti-inflammatories, etc. Go to a vet you trust, shoot x-rays of all the feet, ankles, knees and hocks. This will save you from things we cannot see with the naked eye such as: chips, splints, fractures, spurs, and inflammation.”

McEntire closed the interview with this advice.

“Once you buy the horse, if things aren’t clicking don’t be afraid to go back to the owner or trainer and ask for help. I would rather help someone fit the horse then watch them make mistakes over and over. Horses learn by repetition and if you are not doing something right that becomes a habit and those are often times harder to break.” 

You can find more information on Kyle McEntire, his training program and the horses he has for sale at his Facebook page Three Circle Barrel Horses. 

Here are Kyle’s Keys to Success:

  • Shop in your price range and actually have the funds available.
  • Do your research and know what you want.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask anything that comes to your mind.
  • Don’t buy just to buy. Make sure you are purchasing exactly what you want.
  • Have someone you trust go with you for a second opinion and another set of eyes.

If you have any other tips or keys to purchasing the ideal partner for more than just color leave a comment below. 

- Paige Morgan
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