Buying unbroken 2/3 year old, hit me with questions to ask

Sunjunkieme

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Ok, so I've always wanted to start my own. I'm 53 and I finally have the time and finances to do it right.

I'm looking to buy an overheight connie, either just backed to turn away or as a 2 YO to back and turn away next year. So what questions would you ask. I already know the breeding. That they are handled, have headcollars on, teeth & feet checks - What else do I need to know?

Just know you lot will steer me right (please don't tell me I'm bonkers, I have a husband who does that..) Go!
 

Patterdale

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I’m biased as I’m selling what you’re looking for 🙈😂

I would want a 2 or 3 year old to be genuinely unbacked. I would want them to have a had a feral life living out in a herd, not to be have been overhandled, but to like people, to have no reason to DISlike people, to lead, pick feet up, and be generally happy and able to be touched all over.

Buying a youngster is an inexact art.
My method is to go into a field of youngsters, the one that comes up to you and is curious and starts trying to get in your pockets is the one that will be easiest to work with, so if it’s also nicely put together and moves ok then buy that one subject to 2 stage vet.

If it’s over handled, has spent time stabled (apart from like a day in to have its feet done), has crappy feet, or is too wary of you, steer clear.
 
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Hi, I agree with the response above

I bought my horse as a 2 year old. A couple of questions I asked was "what age did he get gelded?" and "what age did he come off his mum?" - these questions can be good indications of potential health issues if they were taken off the mare too early etc or not making expected height if gelded too early (obviously not the issue if you're getting a filly!) - but some people believe timing of getting them gelded doesn't affect height
 

ihatework

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I would want to know about the mare - her temp, soundness, performance.
Age and method of weaning
How they have grown up since (decent herd turnout is mandatory for me). Worming history. Limb and foot balance.
I’m less bothered about how well handled they are, that can be sorted.
 

Patterdale

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There's the genetic hoof issue in Connemara's isn't there? So I'd be ensuring parents were tested and perhaps horse is too?
Ah yes HWSD for pure connies, a carrier is not an issue but don’t touch an affected pony.
Connemaras are also prone to straight hocks and steep croups with subsequent hind suspensory/hock/SA problems. All breeds have their faults but I buy a few Connemaras and I will not compromise on hind leg confirmation, don’t be tempted by a straight upright hock, however smiley the attached face is!
 

Landcruiser

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I have a decade on you OP, and bought a "now or never" two year old last year. I know two of her half sisters, and have followed other half siblings (same sire) from afar, so when one came up for sale it was virtually a no brainer. I was hoping for a just backed ready to bring on, but I'm thoroughly enjoying my baby. AS others have said, it's an inexact science. Mine had issues picking up her feet - inclined to cow kick, or wave fronts around. That is very much improved. She also has issues with hoses, or even drips off a sponge. Sprays are a no chance. In other ways she is fearless, unphased by traffic, flappy things, ropes around her legs...absolute mixed bag. It's early days, you learn as you go along, but you do need to be one step ahead of them.
 

honetpot

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I always go for temperament, and with Connies that can be variable. I used to work on a Connie stud when younger and have had several and they are a bit like supped super mini car, they have the energy and pony brain to be a problem, but with out the exterior warning signs.
I have Conniex cob that I bred myself and he is just about a large children's pony, but not for a novice. I have another one that is as thick as a plank, the old man competed and even though he is now twenty-three will dump people if challenged too much.
All of them are easy to handle, and that's the problem they are bought as childrens ponies, when really the modern ones are more like a TB/SH. I also have Highlands and I think they are better and if kept slim, are very capable at competing against bigger animals in dressage and XC, and make good family all rounder.
 

Polos Mum

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I would ask about her parents / siblings - what have they done and where are they now.

If a regular breeder they would know- I'd be nervous buying from a hobby rider who but a lame mare in foal as nothing better to do with her (a common situation !)

Then I would judge on the pony in front of you, can you pick up her feet for trimming, can you brush all over. I would avoid broken and do some face book stalking to try and ensure that is true - many a failed break sold on as "unbroken". Undoing someone else's problem is to be avoided.

Have they seen the vet for anything, up to date on jabs, worming pattern etc.
Have a good look in mouth for any issues.
 

Polos Mum

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I’ve always believed that earlier gelding results in a taller adult horse, whilst late gelding results in smaller but stockier?
I’m sure there’s research that earlier gelding results in longer bony growth?
I might be wrong!
Testosterone inhibits growth hormone so sooner you geld taller they get, you are right. At Badminton this year they had the clone of Tamarillo (WFP's gelding). The stallion was 2 inches shorter than his clone - even though tested and genetically identical
 

emilylou

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- temperament and general demeanour- this rarely changes with age. Confidence grows, but temperament remains the same
- good feet
- good confirmation
- i wouldn't be too bothered if you cant handle or pick up feet as long as its due to greenness and not poor handling or fear, most of my youngsters have been completely unhandled and have grown into lovely confident horses, you want them unsure but curious, not reactive.
- pass a two stage vet
- turned out in a herd, not kept in

other than that it all depends on your level of experience and what you want the horse to eventually do. Young horses are hard work, you have to teach all the things that you take for granted with an older horse and that takes a lot of time to do well.
 

dorsetladette

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If your buying from the breeder I'd ask to see mum (and dad if possible) or at least photos. Does mum or dad have any competition history. Is there a reason mum is now a broodmare? Injury maybe? or has she always been a broodmare?

I'd like to see the pony being handled. Tied up, groomed, feet picked out etc etc, I think at 2 (definitely 3) this should be in place. People like to say these things but actually doing them are often 2 different things. I'd then like to see it be taken for a walk, not just to and from its stable but away from friends, down a drive maybe to see if they are truly halter broken, not just wearing a head collar and walking a familiar route. I wouldn't be worried about stopping and looking at things, but general manners and not pushing the handler around.

I do a lot with my babies as I want a well rounded individual by the time they are going out under saddle. I don't want to be traffic proofing/desensitising a 4yr old while still backing him for instance. By the time I'm hacking out at 3/4 I want the only thing they need to worry about is me sat on his back not white lines and double decker buses. I'm not saying they shouldn't be out in a herd, mine are. But I find it is easier to desensitise to everything while everything is fun and playful rather than when it all becomes overwhelming at 4 and the poor pony has a brain overload. We've all seen the spooky baby horses at clinics with a rider saying 'oh its his first time out' 'he's never seen white boards before' etc. Our guys have seen all of it. And played with it. I'm not saying my way is the only way, but it does work for me.
 

Sunjunkieme

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Ok, so I’m looking at geldings - great advice so far, thank you all, keep it coming - already have a sharp, nervy 10 year old Connie, but he’s golden and super pretty, so nobody really notices that he’s a complete knob head at times..

I’m looking at a couple of 2 year olds. Leaning towards a chocolate Dun, as the alternative is a steel grey. Both around 15hh now, so hopeful either one will land at 15.2 ish. Both roughed off in fields learning to be horses in a herd, both NN for HWSD.
 

emilylou

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as far as questions, I wouldn't have lots, but I (mostly) know what I am looking at and looking for.
I like to see the horse in its field, just mooching about with its mates, see how it fits within the herd, how it responds to stimulation (usually someone waving about so they will all move), how it is when its bought/herded in, a good look at conformation etc on hard ground, if you can handle the horse how does it react to you, is it listening when lead about or distracted or on high alert.

Questions would be about parents, why the current owner bred the horse, why are they selling (if its a breeder these are obvious), any siblings and current jobs they do, why they chose to breed from that mare.

For a connie, some of them can be very sharp so I would be steering clear of anything that was reactive, even when young as hard to retrain a horses initial reaction, but again that is just my preference, some people don't mind that.
 

stangs

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I’ve always believed that earlier gelding results in a taller adult horse, whilst late gelding results in smaller but stockier?
I’m sure there’s research that earlier gelding results in longer bony growth?
I might be wrong!
You're right. Horses gelded later tend to be smaller, but with more muscle/crest, as the higher levels of testosterone mean the growth plates close earlier. I did also read somewhere that late gelding tends to be better for bones generally too.
 

tda

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Definitely temperament, I've known extremely neurotic thru to safe for children, so trust your gut feeling.
My friend is selling a bay 3yr old gelding, yorkshire
 

Ali27

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I could have written this post myself! I’m nearly 50 and planning on getting a 2/3 year old filly to back. My Connie x cob is now 20 so she needs to slow down. Lots of great advice given 😍 I’m stressing slightly about PSSM! I was looking at section Ds but apparently there is PSSM 2 found in several of the bloodlines🙈 Think I’m going to look for a 14.2 plus Connie x cob!
 

Caol Ila

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We found my old mare had 6 weeks to go when she was vetted!🙈 I waited until foal was weaned ☺️
At least your vet found it at the vetting. Mine totally missed it, but in fairness, so did everyone else until a week before she foaled.
 

Ali27

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At least your vet found it at the vetting. Mine totally missed it, but in fairness, so did everyone else until a week before she foaled.
Oh god! Nightmare!
My vet only noticed her teats were swollen at end of 5 stage and shoved his arm up her🤣 The foal was named Robbie after the vet 😍
 

BBP

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I just went for it. Bought 17 month old Connemara from Ireland unseen off the internet. Unhandled, never had his feet trimmed or picked up, barely been haltered, only learned to lead as I asked for a video of him. Never vaccinated or wormed (the worms are a bit of an issue). What was I thinking?! But had been out with a nice herd or broodmares and youngstock learning how to be a horse. I asked mostly about temperament, how he fitted with other horses in the herd.

He’s absolutely fab. Sensitive and smart but way more sensible than my PRE x Welsh, great with other horses, not bossy but not a wuss, happy to share hay with anyone, perfect manners leading despite never having done it til he turned 17 months. Super easy to teach to have his feet done and be tied up. Did one ‘hack out’ in hand before he ruptured his tendon and led the way the whole time, curious and brave. I’m thrilled with him.
 

Kaylum

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Photos of the mouth. Seen too many parrot mouthed horses in rescue that struggle and are usually dumped.
 

J&S

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I have done this twice and been lucky both times.............. bought unbroken but handled. I chose the first one out of a herd and the second one was bought from a nice lady who had a completley different pony for sale but I bought this one instead. So, gut feeling I suppose. Both stayed with me for the rest of their lives and were quite perfect! You can get the 2 stage vetting done to be sure heart and eyes are ok and a general opinion to be on the safe side.
 
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