Going Green

The benefits of investing in a green prospect as your next Eventing partner

3 year old Thoroughbred gelding

For some, the only direction they want to go is to look at a ‘made’ horse who has mileage and a competition history.  For others, taking a young green horse (sometimes straight out of a field) and molding them into a talented teammate is one of personal accomplishment.  While this topic is always up for debate, there are obvious reasons why a person should consider purchasing a green prospect.

Cost.  The amount of money to invest in a horse can sometimes place a person into a particular market.  On average the cost of a green prospect can range from $0 – $15K.  Those who are priced on the higher end may already be confidently working at all gaits and jumping small courses and even doing low-level competitions.  What can be attractive about a green horse can be the price, where it allows a larger number of the public to purchase quality young stock at an affordable price.

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Schooling trips off the farm.

Clean Slate/No Baggage.  Buying a green horse gives an owner the chance to start the horse’s training from a clean slate.  It’s at this stage where the horse can work on building a solid foundation of the basics such as walking, trotting, cantering and halting.  If done properly with sometimes the assistance of a professional trainer, then the natural progression of training a prospect is footwork over poles and small obstacles.  Gradually the obstacles should increase in their technical questions as training progresses.  Working from a clean slate can mean zero baggage, where the horse hasn’t had the chance to learn something incorrectly or develop negative behavior or vices.

3 year old Jimmy Legs first time through water

Soundness.  Prospect Eventers can be a mixed bag of breeds ranging from Draft crosses, Warmbloods, Arab crosses, Appendix Quarter Horses to traditional Thoroughbreds.  Prospects will generally be young and have less physical wear and tear on their bodies, and physical soundness combined with correct conformation is important when purchasing a green prospect. The basics to pay attention to is to start with good solid feet, then on to clean legs, up towards a large shoulder, over to a big kind eye, down the neck to a short coupled back and correct hip angle.

Horsemanship.  Buying ‘made’ horses does have its benefits, but so does owning a green horse. It’s here that an owner commits themselves to the training and management of their prospect, sometimes learning things as they go along, sometimes having the guidance of an expert and sometimes relying upon their own personal horsemanship skills to successfully take a horse up the levels.  As with any horse hands-on, there will most certainly be good days and bad days in training.  But what riders can admit about the experience of working with a green horse, is that they’ve not only become better riders, but better horsemen all around.  It’s a trait that seems to be disappearing throughout the equine community.  And maybe the fact of never having experienced what it’s like to bring a green horse out from a pasture and back it for the first time, is somehow connected to the lack of riding skills.

Beecher’s Brook schooling the ditch at home

 
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