Finding A Unicorn

I’d love to see a new series on TV about horse shopping. I picture it like an episode of house hunters: The buyer’s wishlist is unbelievably long and unachievable within their budget. The buyer’s friend has completely different ideas of what they think their friend needs in a horse, and they have no problems letting their opinion be known. The trainer (aka real estate agent) tries tactfully to navigate the polar opposite wish lists, while staying inside this laughable budget.


I’ve halfheartedly said that one day I’ll get another horse. I’d like to get one of the track. Mostly because I adore Thoroughbreds, I think they’re perfectly suited for eventing, but also because getting a young OTTB is practically the only thing that would suit my budget. This has had me thinking lately… what would be on my horse shopping wish list? I’ve decided to divide it into a need and a want list.


  • Sound – I plan to do a vetting. I’ve spent a lot financially and emotionally with a horse who breaks a lot, and although I know anything can happen with horses, I’d rather have one who is good to go from the start.
  • Within the budget – I work for a non-profit, enough said.
  • Good Brain – I don’t mind a little wild or silly, but I want something that has a self preservation instinct and has potential to be trained.

A smart cookie like this one


  • All brown – I’m not kidding, no sock, no star, no nothing. I want my unicorn to come in a completely brown package.
  • Open to Cuddling – I want a horse who will let me hold his head. I realize this is a bit silly, but Justin is very independent and not big on cuddling, so it would be refreshing to love on a horse and have them at least seemingly enjoy it!

Justin, clearly not a fan of hugs

  • Nice movement – I’ve never owned a flashy mover, so this would be nice, or at least the potential to make a fancier mover.

That’s pretty much it! Since last fall I’ve been very very casually browsing around online under these guidelines. I don’t have any preference on gender, I’ve ridden both mares and geldings happily. I also don’t care about height. I am on the taller side myself, but with Justin only standing at 15.2 on a good day, I haven’t found any problems with smaller guys. I haven’t really had experience buying a horse before, when I got Justin I had already been riding him, and my mother bought me my first horse when I was young, so all of this is would be a new experience. Nothing is official for now, but maybe one day!

So even if you aren’t currently shopping, what’s on your list?


27 thoughts on “Finding A Unicorn

  1. HunkyHanoverian says:

    I recently bought my unicorn last July, my first horse to buy on my own. Here was my list!
    1. TALL. I am 6 ft and all legs. I wanted 16.3 plus
    2. Prefer younger/greener. I think it hard to undo bad habits from someone else’s poor training. I’d rather start fresh.
    3. Suitable for the A circuit hunter ring. This was a toughy due to my <8k budget
    4. Sound-ish. Didn't need to vet perfect but I needed my vet to at least think he could hold up to jumping and showing with reasonable maintenance. I knew I wouldn't get perfect vetting for my price range.
    5. Good brain! I have had a few too many horses try to murder me in the past few years.

    I ended up getting a 5 year old hanoverian with limited under saddle training (your basic WTC but iffy on leads) with a mild bone spur in the right hock and a slight roach back. He has the BEST brain, is incredibly flashy under saddle, and I am SO LUCKY to have found him!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Centered in the Saddle says:

    I pretend-shop for horses all the time! Here’s my list:
    -Tall. 16hh would be the smallest. I have always dreamed of having a giant 17hh+ horse since I was a little girl but I know that the bigger they get the more health problems they can have. But in my pretend shopping world, 17hh+ is the goal.
    -Great mind / smart and sane.
    -Good movement.
    -Off the track, but started under saddle.
    -Not grey. They’re so pretty when they’re young, but once they fade out, I just hate trying to keep them somewhat clean/bright white for showing! I do not envy you with Justin! 😉
    -Sound, obviously.

    Ugh excuse me while I go look at the CANTER, New Vocations and Friends of Ferdinand listings…


  3. Avery says:

    Oh, this would be the best show! They should include a segment on online shopping and ads! lol I can see it now.
    Happy casual, low stress looking! I hope the right thing falls in your lap.


  4. emma says:

    ha i would watch that show for sure! horse shopping was definitely not my favorite thing in the world, and hopefully not something i have to repeat often. so far i feel pretty good about the choice i made last fall. plain with a good brain 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Amanda C says:

    My biggest thing is a good canter. If I can’t see the canter then I look at the walk. I don’t care much about the trot, especially if they’re still on the track, because it can change so much. Otherwise I just want something that is serviceably sound for the job and seems to have a good brain and good conformation for the sport I have in mind. There are certain names that appeal to me more in a pedigree, too. I look much harder at a Danzig. My height requirements are fairly broad (15.2 to 17h – I don’t like huge horses for soundness reasons so nothing over 17 for sure. Prefer 16h.) and I don’t care about color or any of that.

    I’m going to laugh at you when you end up with another gray horse.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Karen M says:

    That show would be such a train wreck, like Toddlers in Tiaras or something like that–great tv. Ermmm, last time I went horse shopping with specifics, they were only 16hh+ gelding and big stride (and of course a budget). Brown is a good quality.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Tracy - Fly On Over says:

    I hated horse shopping. I feel like I might like it if I had $300k to spend… but that’s uhm… QUITE unlikely, lol


  8. coloradobecs says:

    OMG the horse/house hunting image is the best. YES. That would be a show I would watch obsessively. Good luck with your search. I deal exclusively with ottbs and find they are THE best partners in the entire world. I would say dont be caught up with appearances because it is rare that they come off the track looking like they will in a few months or a year. Most of them are spectacular. I understand your desire to vet the heck out of them…. but go with your gut as well. Seems like you have a great list!


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