How to find the perfect all-rounder for sale

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An all-rounder will not be a world beater, but should be a nice safe horse that is capable to competing in a wide range of disciplines at local level, is good to hack and safe for a variety of riders.

You might have thought that such a horse wouldn’t be too difficult to find, but the very best all-rounders rarely change hands as, once you have found one, you rarely want to let them go. So how do you find this elusive family all-rounder for sale?

Here are some expert tips to help you find your perfect horse…

• Be prepared to put in the (air) miles

You might be lucky and find just what you’re looking for on your doorstep, but the chances are you’ll quite literally have to go the extra mile.

“It was the last thing we wanted to do, but eventually getting on a plane to Inverness meant we found just what we were looking for,” says Derbyshire-based Jan Hutchinson.

• Don’t make plans

You’ll need to be ready at the drop of a hat to beat your fellow searchers to the latest gem.

“I would be waiting on the newsagent‘s doorstep for him to open, ready to grab my copy of H&H and flick through the all-rounder for sale ads,” says Berkshire-based Sarah Jones.

“The rest of the time I was covertly scouring the horses for sale websites while supposedly working, looking for the latest additions!”

• Do your homework

Find out as much as you can before getting in the car to give yourself a chance of avoiding disappointment, but brush up on your cynical side just in case.

“I got an experienced horsey friend to give sellers a thorough grilling before I went to see potential ponies, as I learnt the hard way that people don’t always give you the full story,” says freelance journalist Charlotte Mackaness.

“Even so, a few slipped through the net; unsoundness, bad habits, splints, height not as described. It never ceased to amaze me how they would be misrepresented.”

• Go with your instincts – and your cheque book

“I knew as soon as I sat on him that Max was right for me. He was £1,000 over my budget, which suddenly developed a convenient elastic quality, but I never regretted it,” says retired riding club enthusiast Hilary Clark.

“He was with me until the end of his days and I never found a horse to match him.”

For the full feature on finding the perfect all-rounder, see the current issue of Horse & Hound (24 June, ’10)

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Originally published on horseandhound.co.uk