Evaluating and Selecting a Horse for and in Schooling

To begin, the rider must decide what the objective for the horse is to be. When schooling is finished, what should the horse be?  A show hunter for A-level competition, an equitation horse, a local show hunter, a jumper, a field horse, an event horse, or a dressage horse? These questions should be revisited throughout the selection process and the schooling program.

It should be emphasized that the success of schooling efforts depends largely upon the selection of the schooling project. A horse that starts as a naturally poor mover cannot be made into a great mover that will win under-saddle classes in A-level competitions.  Schooling can improve the movement, but it will not make a poor mover a winning mover. That same observation also applies to jumping and temperament.  The quality of success in this system of schooling and riding depends largely on the qualities and the characteristics of the horse.

When objectives for the horse have been selected, an evaluation of the rider is the next step. Is the rider experienced enough in the system to train the horse without professional guidance? Regardless of the answer to this question, having a qualified amateur or professional who will help with schooling at least periodically is a good idea. Evaluations and help sessions should be clearly laid out in the schooling plan and calendar.

Some riders might decide to use a professional teacher for part of the schooling, such as jumping.  If the person helping with the schooling is involved with the selection of the horse, things may go more smoothly. Actually, in contemporary commercial riding as it stands in the United States today, most professionals will insist on being involved in the selection of the horse.

Whether one is purchasing a prospect or taking on a clients horse to school, a sound horse is essential no matter what the objective.

Finally, it is important to develop your own routine for evaluating a horse in training as well as for looking at a prospective horse when visiting the seller or a client wanting a horse trained.