You Can’t Ride the Papers… or Can You?

Everyone that has bought or sold a horse or  that competes in any given discipline has heard the phrase, “You can’t ride the papers”.

It’s true! You can not saddle up a set of registration papers and take them for a ride. Well, maybe you could try, but you’d look ridiculous and probably have a few paper cuts by the end of it.

The horse world is FULL of very passionate, opinionated people. You could ask ten different performance horse owners what type of leg protection they like to use on their horse and you would probably get ten different answers.

But nothing seems to get horse owners fired up more than the discussion of a horse’s breeding.

There are always going to be those very special “no-name” horses or grade horses that make it to higher levels of competition and do well! I LOVE those underdog stories where a backyard bred horse makes it to the big leagues and proves it’s ability to keep up and win! Those are the horses that we want to see movies about.

But statistics are showing that those horses are becoming fewer and farther between in our sport.

I love keeping up with the results from big barrel races and futurities across the country. I’ve become a huge nerd about researching what horses are making it and what mares and stallions are influencing the industry now.

I have been fortunate to ride a huge variety of horses over the last couple years and in my own exerience, there is nothing quite like riding a horse that is bred to do it’s job and likes it! It’s really exciting to be on one that has the natural ability to do what your asking of it.

That isn’t to say that a horse that isn’t exceptionally bred can’t be taught or conditioned to be great at something, but I think nine times out of ten it will take more time and a little more perseverance to make it work.

On the flip side, there have been plenty of exceptionally bred horses that turned out to be duds.

Buying a performance horse prospect is always a gamble to some extent. It’s never a sure thing no matter how much research you put into it or how great their breeding and confirmation is.

So essentially you are playing the odds. That is the only way I know how to look at it. The odds are probably higher that you will end up with a nice barrel horse if you invested in one with great breeding and conformation. But the stakes are also higher because you undoubtedly spent more.

If you’re on a tighter budget but can afford to take a gamble with your time, why not buy the good looking grade horse and see if it will work? You don’t have much at stake besides the hours you put into seeing what their made of.

Buying a performance horse prospect is so exciting. There are always risks involved but that is part of the thrill of it all. I think the important part to consider is how you want to play the odds and if you want to take a gamble with your time or your money. In the end it’s a roll of the dice.
I’d love to hear about your experience!

Do you have that one in a million horse that wasn’t bred to be great but is making a name for itself?

Did you invest in a well bred prospect and feel a difference in the level of talent?

Stay in touch with me on Facebook at JE Performance Horses LLC

3 Replies to “You Can’t Ride the Papers… or Can You?”

  1. Well I will say this we bought a heard of horses that were old school cow horse bred. Some of the mares went back to king studs one had marijuana smoke on her papers and all of the babies hitting the ground had doc bar and mr gunsmoke on there papers that being said. I have a training horse in out of said herd who is a broncing bull headed price of junk. Now I believe it to be more of the owners fault then the horses but still. Now all of the babies I have from the herd are amazing and absolutely great horses and are being rode by my 12 and 8 year old siblings as 2-4 year olds as there secondary and main mounts. I also have a grade gelding who is bred exceptionally well ( we owned all his grandparents and bred his parents) and he is a rockstar in barrels to both ends of roping to basic ranch work cutting and sorting and what not. I personally prefer to buy a well bred nicely built weinling and raise it up or buy an untouched well bred 2-4 year old if I can find it. This being said buying the baby is by no means cost effective but you have two years to be teaching it manners and really getting it to want to be around you. Right now you walk out into my herd and my babies will be right up in your space wanting to be loved on they are respectful but want attention. That means they want to work for me already as coming yearlings. So they’ll be very easy to break and easy to go on with and I personally think they have more heart because they want to please. So I guess to be blunt a papered weinling with a good build is the way to go.


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