As i'm starting to play polo really soon (taking first lessons)
I'm thinking about buying a good begginers horse. How can i choose for the right one? I see a lot of non expensive 16-20yo ponies for sale. Is this still a good age to buy a polo pony?
And in every add, People tell their pony is the best learning platform. Now i sell cars, and of course my cars are the best!!! (and i really think so)
But in the horses there's nothing like a guide for abilities, price and quallity, is there?
Should i ask to the clubmembers? the pro who's giving me lessons? Should i do a vet check to be sure the horse is 100% healthy? as some people told me this wasn't the way it works in the polo world. (except i don't wanna buy a horse who's going to be navicular for example after the cortisone has stopped doing effect.) i've seen this a lot in the horsebusiness (unfortuantely)
So it is really hard to find the perfect polopony when only a novice
no it wont need quarantine.you do have to fill out a DEFRA form if you are travelling it yourself allowing for stops and watering etc. if using a horse transporter they do it all for you and is roughly 550 sterling :-). or you could buy one from me in Germany and get it quicker and no long drive :-).
I think, the only way to select a pony is to play it. Because everyone is different, a horse that I love may be a horse that someone else will hate.
If you're just beginning, you won't be placing very heavy demands on the horse, so get an old reliable pony - and keep it running with whatever it takes. The horse that taught me to play was practically held together with duct tape and I did spend a lot of money on keeping his joints lubricated.
Was it worth it - hell yes, in fact he's now retired to riding for the disabled and I still pay for the injections if/when he needs them.
I agree with Bruce, also there are a lot of ex begginers who are selling their horses because they need to get better ones to keep improving. You gotta look for those horses and always try them, push them as your best and if they are suitable for you, I mean if you have fun playing them, get them, doesn`t matter the age, the legs or the colour, just get the horses that will make you have fun, enjoy the sport and learn.
About the secondquestion, I don`t know, I`m from Argentina.
I'm still new to polo (but not horses), and if someone is told me vet checks, and in fact xrays "aren't done in polo" I'd keep looking. That sort of thing is exactly what all of us who aren't immersed in that world dread when we realize we're over the moon for polo. Stick to your guns. Like I said, sounds like you know at least a bit about horses - and even if you didn't, what kind of sense does "we don't do vet checks/xrays in polo make"? *roll* I kind of want to hit whoever said that over the head with a mallet, or my rasp!
EDIT: oh, but don't discount the older horses, or even necessarily one that does have "issues", like the one Bruce mentioned - but you should go in with your eyes as open as possible! Older horses are often in better shape than people think though, and either way, you can feel good about providing a great old horse who has probably worked his butt off with a good home - and the good ones will really take care of you. Win win.
By the way, I have two horses who are almost completely green at polo and boy am I paying for it. They're nice, sane horses, and I've put some good miles on them, but they lost their MINDS in their first chukkers. My gelding chucked me off a couple of weekends ago when I foolishly leaned out for a shot, and my mare chucked me off (no excuse for that one, hehe) in her first ever chukker last weekend, and was still a pill in the next one (althought she did settle down a bit). I do have them in training now - had wanted to do it from the beginning, but the trainer was pretty busy when I got here and even I underestimated just how urgently they would need it. That day I said "umm, I know you're busy, but when do you think you could take these horses?", hehe. Sounds like you're smarter than that though!
Hello Cedric, sadly there are alot of people out there that would sell you any old pony, but there are a few good sellers about.
Firstly in my own opionion, 16-20 year old horses tend to be too old as they have worked very hard for approx 12/15 years.
Ideally you need a good safe pony that is not too fast and knows the game. A good pony doesnt come in a colour,sex or age.
A good pony is hard to find, you also need the pony to last you a good few years until you are good enough to buy the next model, just like cars :-). so if you are canny, you could buy a 9 year old, learn on it then re-sell in 3/4 years time and the market value wouldnt have dropped too much
The main thing to look for when buying is it's eyesight (you cant play a blind pony) it's heart and it's legs and feet. So if you get a vet to check those it should be fine. You could also get it's feet x-rayed, but that costs money, but that would show up any navicular if present.
A level platform is essential when learning polo, this means that the pony runs flat enabling you to hit the ball well, so when you find a pony, you must at least stick and ball it, to make sure you can hit the ball :-). Also watch the owner/seller ride it also before you get on, ideally a slow chukka would be the best senario, you then get to try the pony in and around other horses etc.
I wouldnt worry too much on a horses looks, hansome is what hansome does :-), you wouldnt give an aston martin to a learner driver, it is the same with horses, buy one you feel confident on and one that you can hit the ball off.
I think Bruce it the nail on the head. The whole key is pick a pony you like the feel of. Polo and Polocrosse are fantastic games on good ponies. They are hell on Earth on a bad one. I think the first and most important consideration is to pick a pony you feel comfortable and like to ride. If you dont like the feel of it when you stick and ball the pony slow you sure will like it less at speed. Having picked the right feel then get a vet to check the pony.
Age itself is not the issue. Wear is. A pony can have such bad joints at 10 years and it is burnt out . We have an 18 year old playing in the high goal and you cannot tell him form the 7 year olds.The wear depends on genitics , amount of play and accidents. A vet will give a report that is always couched in the negative to protect themselves. You cannot have a horse with 10 year experience and no signs od wear but equally the serious issues are the only ones I consider not the cometic or managable issue. Horse dealers and polo professionals can shade even the worst car dealer into looking like a Saint so listen but take what they say as only one input. Trust how you feel when you ride the pony. Then make sure it is sound with an independent vet.As a generalisation. One of the worst traps young players fall into is to oveerhorse and try to grow into the "high goal pony". Dont do this ride an easy pony and grow your confidence.Trade up when you have the experience, and still have all your body parts in one piece. A poor pony not in control is a good way to get hurt. I hope this helps.
I had the same question when I started to learn playing (and handle the horse ;-))
Most polo clubs offer some old horses. The problem is that many of them have had injuries or suffer from one.
I agree with the responders who's argument is that the old horses had a hard working life behind. But, most of them go to a butcher.... talking about respect....
Finally I did get one of those horses (for free), a 14 year New Zealand TB ex high goal and had an elephant leg. Now, this should not be a worse handicap, if it's taking good care of. The reason I took this horse was her character (tender, intelligent, realiable and still the spirit to play - or explode :-) - ) and skills. And that is very useful if you want to learn to play and to ride without worrying of the behavior of your horse, as a first step. I also still use her as a helper to train(break) the younger ones and just for fun riding through the woods (which is very handy with a polohorse). So an older horse on retirement can have a good and useful life after it's sports-career.
I hope you can make a good decision.