Rutgers Young Horse Teaching & Research Program
Home | Site Map | News2009-2010 Horses | Auction | Stallions | FAQ
Graduates | Research, Students & History | Support | Contacts & Directions | Links

RU Rosie, RU Pardner with RU Glinda, RU Casanova, RU Brisa and RU Genesis

Before You Buy
a Young, Unhandled,
or Untrained Horse

Although we are eager to find our horses homes, we want to ensure that prospective buyers understand the reality of horse ownership.  Here are a few considerations to keep in mind:

1.)    Horse ownership is expensive. Can you afford to keep your young horse?

Although the initial investment (i.e. cost of the horse) may be only a few thousand dollars, yearly expenses—which may include veterinary, farrier, feed, dental, and boarding costs—can exceed $5,000.  Medical emergences (e.g. colic surgery) will increase this estimate.

2.)    Do you have a place to properly keep a young horse?

Some stables will not accept young horses. Our youngsters have been known to jump (or push through) 5 ft fences if isolated from other horses. Be sure that you have suitable facilities.

3.)    Size considerations:

Although you may purchase a 15.2hh draft-cross yearling at our April auction, he or she will continue to grow (both vertically and laterally) until the age of about three.  Furthermore, as their breed designation suggests, our draft-crosses have draft horse ancestry—in many cases, their dams were Percherons or Belgians.  This heritage predisposes them to larger, wider sizes. Keep this in mind when considering the intended rider. The mustangs, on the other hand, will be smaller and narrower—more petit.

4.)    Our horses are young.

This reminder is not intended to discourage novice horse owners; indeed, our draft-crosses are known for their forgiving personalities and, with the help of an experienced trainer, can make ideal “first horses.”  However, despite the extensive handling they receive while in the program, our horses have “young minds.” At times they can be reactive to new stimuli and misunderstanding of your commands.  Their youth also limits their “ride-ability”; you’ll have to wait 1-2 years before training them under saddle.  If you want a horse that is “ready to go,” check out our “For Sale” section under the "Graduates."

5.)    Mustangs may not be the best choice for novice horse owners.

The mustangs have consistently shown an ability to learn quickly.  Although this aptitude, when correctly handled, can facilitate training, in inexperienced hands it can also contribute to rapid development of bad habits.  Furthermore, on average, the mustangs have displayed a higher level of reactivity to new stimuli than the draft-crosses, which may be unsettling for novice horse owners.

6.)    Our horses are not ready to ride.

Although our horses have been round-penned and worked (from the ground) under tack, they have never had riders on their backs.  Ideally, this training should not begin before they are three years old--only after more ground preparation.

Equine Science Center

Rutgers University

Search Rutgers

For questions about the program or the website, please contact Dr. Sarah Ralson at

2009, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. All rights reserved.