hi, I started polo about two years ago, and had the same questions than you have.
You should go for an easy pony that knows his job about 10 yo so when you hit the ball, the horse already knows what to do.
you need a horse with experience, so you only have to focus about your swing. you don't need the fastest horse to start with.
personaly i went to england to buy my horse. you have way more choice and prices are better. you should try at least 8 to 20 horses to see which one you have the best feeling with. always do the vet check, even if some polo people say this isn't necessary.. it is a must! you can find some advice from experienced polo people on my discussion. you can find it on my page.
I hope you'll have a lot of fun and good luck with your horse hunt :)
I recommend Alice Gipps page:
My advice is BE CAREFUL!
There is no such thing as a "FREE" horse. NOBODY sells their best horses!
What is usually (but not always) on offer is a collection of unwanted horses that have maybe gone past their best.
If you like the look and feel of a horse, first, get a farrier to check out legs and feet. It is cheaper than getting a vet, and they will give sound advice on approximate age, limbs, wind, feet and teeth.
Next, if you are happy, get a vet to check out all the other bits and pieces. They might even have knowledge of the horses previous health issues (if any). Of course you will never get honest answers from a seller regarding health.
A few years back, an experienced lady friend asked me the same questions, and I offered her the same precautionary advice. Which she promptly ignored.
She bought 2 horses from a dealer who she thought was a friend. He is a businessman. His business is selling horses.
She was so proud of her new 'string'. I checked out both horses as soon as I could. BOTH were unsound. One had been pin fired, and had suspect legs. The other was "cooked" in the head. A nice looking horse, but prone to rearing up when it became agitated.
I tried to break the news to her gently, but the problem of course then is "LOSING FACE". She did not want to look foolish, and insisted that I was wrong.
So I got a couple of friends to have a look. They just confirmed what I had found.
She paid 4 thousand pounds for 2 horses, both of which were unsuitable to continue in polo. Expensive lesson.
There are plenty of sound horses around, but also plenty of unscrupulous dealers.
Please, please get a professional to advise you if you have any doubts. It will be cheaper in the long run.
And be wary of the sales lines like "Oh. This horse was Carlos Gracida's favourite horse. He won the Gold Cup on this horse." I promise you, it will be a lie.
If you are just starting out, playing low goal, be wary of breed. Unless you are a really confident, strong horseman, you should perhaps steer clear of the New Zealand Thoroughbreds. Or any TB's. If possible, find a good cross. Criollo TB is a favourite although you might find it difficult to pin a seller down on breeding.
And mares are usually considered sweeter natured, and more giving. A 10 year old TB gelding might look and feel good, but usually, as they get older, they get clever, stronger and can get a bit sour. And of course, if you have the space, time, money and energy, you can always breed from a mare.
Sorry if this sounds a bit pessimistic. I wish you great success in your search.
Thanks for your good advice, good that you want to share your experiences in this matter to me (and all other readers!) it certainly makes me more carefull and without a doubt I will ask professional advice from vets etc. before bying my first (polo)-horse.
Steve gave great advise. One more thing. ALWAYS have the horse vet checked! Spend as much time with horse as possible. Not only riding and playing it but, working with it. Can it tie up? Trailer? Can you turn it out with other horses?
hi Ken. You are absolutely right! Many people fall in love with their first horse, and tend to overlook the blemishes.
Love at first sight is always a problem...............
As you say, catching, tieing, loading are all vital to a a good relationship with a horse, so it is important to check those aspects when buying. A placid, calm temperament is absolutely vital in polo ponies. So Marco, please also bear these things in mind when you start looking. And don't be rushed by the sellers.
we do have some good "used" poloponys for sale in Berlin.
A friend has some to sale near Köln (tha's not so far from Holland).
Sometimes it`s good to start with a cheaper, experienced horse, so you can learn from it and later, when you know what you want you can start to elige out of the younger horses on the market.
Try out if the horse fitts with your experiences and the level you are playing and as other said before, always have a vet check. Last but not least an old cheap and ill horse eats the same as a younger one.
All good advice but one thing to add. I have seen many experienced riders (myself included) new to polo going for a pony that they would choose to ride outside of polo....in my case a feisty, strong, jumpy, spirited, quick as lightening fabulous pony...to ride....but on the field, way to much for a beginner polo player....its the one downside of being an experienced rider - we think we can handle anything - the trickier the better, and tend to avoid what you need as a beginner player....a rock solid, sensible, easy, forgiving pony who knows his / her job. I have found that a great way to find these ponies is from another player with a couple of years under their belt looking to upgrade their first horse (s)...just make sure they are vetted. Another tip...you get what you pay for...so be prepared to invest in the right horse....good luck : -))))))
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i am humayun from pakistan,a zero goal handicap myself....if u want i can help u get an excellent Thoroughbred polo pony from pakistan at a very reasonable price....
I would be more than happy to help as I have many contacts in germany and can help you organise a list of ponies in the Dresden area where I am based. All the ponies are out at the moment and unfit due to the snow, but we could still organize you to come look at them and then maybe try them in the spring when I return from playing in Florida.