How to Cope with Nerves When Test Riding Horses for Sale


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Every rider gets nervous at some point, but test riding unfamiliar horses for sale can make a normal case of nerves worse. If you are typically nervous when riding new horses, these tips can help to make the process of test riding horses a bit easier.

Only Look at Horses You Can Handle

The simplest way to keep yourself calm and safe when test riding horses for sale is to only look at horses that you would feel comfortable handling. If you are a nervous rider, then chances are a young, green horse would not be a good match for you. Honestly evaluate your riding confidence and capabilities, and then determine what training level, temperament, and experience you will need in a horse.

Request an Enclosed Test Ride Area

Before you travel out to test ride the horse, verify with the seller that they have a safe, enclosed area where the horse can be test ridden. If a property does not have an enclosed ring or arena, and riding in an open space makes you nervous, then it might be best to bypass that particular horse.

Have the Owner Ride First

It is perfectly acceptable (and a good idea) to request that the owner ride the horse for sale before you get on. Having an owner ride the horse first can allow you to see the horse’s movement and behavior under saddle. This can act as a gauge as to whether you would feel comfortable test riding the horse yourself.

Bring Your Trainer

Having your trainer alongside can help because the trainer can get on the horse first and evaluate whether it might be a good match for you. Your trainer can also help coach you through the test ride, and can give you tips to keep yourself calm.

Don’t Be Afraid to Say No

If you sense that a horse is very excitable or not behaving for its owner, don’t feel pressured to get on the horse yourself. You know your riding abilities and comfort zone best, so if you get a bad feeling about a horse, listen to it and stay on the ground.

Request a Trial Period

If you are nervous, it can take some time before you and a new horse learn how to work with each other. Ask if the seller would consider letting the horse go to your agistment on a trial. Two-week trials are common, and can give you and the horse some time to relax and get to know each other to make sure that the pairing is a good one.

When it comes to looking at horses for sale, these tips can help you to keep your nerves under control and ensure that you have a positive and safe experience.

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