Ask someone what they see when they picture horses in Florida and you're likely to hear about an imagines scene that places the rider and horse on a Gulf Coast beach with the sun setting in the background over crisp blue water. While that is, admittedly, an idyllic scene that is fairly common, horses in Florida are also likely to be scene carrying their riders along state and national park trails, at racetracks and in both dressage and jumping rings.
Jumping and hunting horses are so common in Florida that many horses for sale throughout the state are described as jumpers and hunters. Because great hunters are less easy to come by than jumpers, listings for these horses in Florida and elsewhere tend to carry a higher price tag, but that doesn't mean that everyone who makes an investment in horses in Florida is going to buy a jumper - it's often a matter of preference, not just availability.
Beginners and seasoned riders alike have a variety of preferences when it comes to the horses that they buy and ride. To some extent, the preference that they have is going to be influenced by the style of riding that they are going to do. Those who are looking for a great all-around horse will be more likely to look at Paint horses or an American Quarter Horse.
Not only are Paints and American Quarter Horses both capable workers that are still common on farms in Florida, but they are also great horses for families, who want to be sure that their kids are brought up around horses - who have an even temperament and responsive disposition. American Quarter Horses are great for Florida rides in areas like Amelia Island State Park in the Northeast corner of the state where riders can watch marine life from the coastal shore. Just as the sea cow, or manatee, can be seen in great numbers near Crystal River, Florida, one could also rent horses for a day trip near the same location, north of Tampa Bay and two hours west of Orlando.
Of course, those who crave speed while on horses are likely to turn to Arabian horses and Thoroughbred horses. Likewise, when looking for horses for sale that can be groomed for the race track, plenty choose Thoroughbreds from stables around Florida.
As is the case in most places, when buying horses in Florida, the best guidance to choosing a horse is going to be what purpose the buyer has in mind. Those who wish to build a stable of racing horses will be looking at different animals than those who are casual riders. Those who are looking for a horse that will more or less be a family pet will be looking for different horses than those who need horses in Florida that will assist them with working their farms.
The motivation for buying a horse will, therefore, impact the breed of horse that is chosen. Once that decision is made, the next important considerations will be in regards to the health of the horse. A healthy horse will have the build that is best associated with the breed - for example, an American Quarter Horse will have well-muscled, strong hind quarters that enable it to reach sprinting speed quickly, thanks to the concentration of power. Likewise, its hooves, back, teeth and eyes will be healthy, and the horse will have good hearing and eyesight.
While a visual check of horses will help you to identify major health issues such as leg problems - evidenced by scarring or bumps and bulges in the horse's legs - having a veterinarian perform a more thorough examination is always a good idea. Whether you are looking for racing horses in Florida or a work horse, you want to be able to be sure that you are going to have an animal that will be in good health when you bring it to the stable.
Whether you are able to stable your horse at home or you rent a stall from someone who has a stable and pasture, know that owning horses in Florida will take some effort on your part and can be pretty expensive, depending on where in the state you reside. Still, many find that once they have had a horse, worked with it and experienced the thrill of riding, they cannot simply go back and not have horses as a part of their lives. Perhaps this is why horses remain an integral part of the American psyche, a century after the introduction of the "horseless carriage".