Oh the joys.
I think just about every horsey person out there can vouch for the fact that trialling horses is not a task for quitters. It can sometimes be an extremely long process which involves a lot of blood, sweat and tears (literally). I have found myself in this procedure many a time throughout my 12 years of riding, and I can’t say that it gets any easier.
It’s like marmite – ‘You either love it or you hate it.’
It all starts with actually finding some horses to try which is a task in itself. Personally, I can’t stand sitting down for hours on end, scrolling through the sites to find some to go and try. Wait, did I mention before you even go and try them, you have to do the dreaded ‘phone call’ or ’email’. Asking the many important questions about whether it’s good to shoe, box and clip or what it’s like in certain situations.
After having cancelled out the ones that don’t meet you needs, the next step is to physically go and try them. For me, this is by far the best bit. I always prefer to see the current owner ride them first so that I can see their potential and how they move. First of all just doing a little bit of flatwork, and then popping over a few jumps. It’s all very well doing one jump but stringing a few together can be a whole different ball game. Now it’s time for my go. I start by walk, trot and cantering around to get a good feel of them and then I pop a jump. Normally by this time I know if I like them or not. I just get that feeling which is really difficult to describe, but I think it may be a feeling of belonging.
It is always so pressurising when you try a horse as you can sense the owners watching you, but at the end of the day, you’re the one potentially buying it, so have to make sure that it is right for you. If I still like the horse by this stage I then like to take it out on a hack as I feel this is an important thing for it to be able to do.
The final stage is to go home and ‘have a chat’ about the horse. How are you possibly meant to know after one trial whether you want to buy it or not? I mean, it’s not like it’s a cheap piece of clothing that doesn’t matter if you don’t like it. It’s potentially a good few thousand pounds worth which does matter.
If you feel as if you would like to purchase the horse then I can assure you that it is the best feeling in the world. I would always go back for a second viewing to perhaps try it at a different place or on a cross country course. But potentially THE SEARCH IS OVER!
However, if it is a no then you still have one last step to complete. The second ‘phone call’ or ’email’. This is a very hard step as you have to word it in a way that doesn’t offend the owner but gets the message across.
And then, I’m afraid the viewing process continues…