Before we purchased Esta, there were a couple of things we were looking for in a horse:

1) suitable for what we intended to do (dressage),
2) soundness,
3) price we could afford, and
4) not-too-sensitive or opinionated horse my daughter
can ride

We felt the Lipizzan breed might fit these requirements (and so far Esta has done fine in these areas).

We also had a pre-purchase exam by a vet but I suspect a very experienced, TRUSTED horse person could do the same thing. The vet said she looked good and got her up-to-date on shots (the previous owner did not believe in these).  He also mentioned that her heels were low and toes long, so a good farrier straightened her hooves out.

We had her teeth checked out (which should be done before inserting a bit in the mouth). Glad we did because she had wolf teeth and the expected sharp edges.

All this preliminary work was expensive at $800-$900, but we didn’t want to take any chances.  I’ve seen too many friends pick up horses with degenerative diseases or other problems.

And finally, the saddle. Needless to say my arab’s dressage saddle did not fit, so after much deliberation and research we settled on a Zaldi saddle from Spain ($1300).  They are designed to fit baroque breeds.

So with all that out of the way, we started training.


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