Exclusive Interview: How Does Nayel Nassar Pick His Next Top Horse?


Exclusive Interview: How Does Nayel Nassar Pick His Next Top Horse?

May. 27,2016

Nayel Nassar, one of the West Coast best and most competitive riders. Nayel is a winner of the AIG Million dollar class and has competed at the World Equestrian Final several times, he competes at the highest of the sport and is based in Southern California.  In order to be at this level, he needs the best horses. Today, Nayel shares with us his experience and insight on finding winning Show Jumping Horses.

Nayel Nassar and Lordan - 12 yr old Lordanos x Landor S

PE - What characteristics must the horse have in order for you to consider purchasing? 

NN - It depends a bit on what you are purchasing the horse for. When I am looking for a young prospect for the top sport, there are always the conventional things like carefulness, scope and ridability that you pay attention to. But I am particular about a horse that has good blood and balance, is sound and light on his feet, and has a good attitude towards work.  

Zayn - 7 yr old Clarimo x Limbus. Photo Credit: McCool

PE - Do you have a specific type of horse that you prefer or that you've found to have the most success with? Perhaps they don't move as well but have an incredible jump or vice versa. 

NN - We are showjumpers so the first thing we look at of course is how the horse jumps. We want them to be elastic in their body and round in the air. The jump is what makes us decide whether we want to get on or not. Everything else comes after that. As long as the horse has a good attitude and is in a good program, they can learn how to do most of the other things that will allow them to be competitive. The horse just has to have a natural instinct to want to leave the jumps up.

It would be nice to have a horse that is perfect to ride and never knocks the jumps down, but nowadays those horses are too expensive to buy -- so you have to be OK with compromising on something now in hopes of being to able to improve it later. 

Acita - 9 yr old mare Acolord x Calando

PE - Do you try to stay within a specific age range when trying horses? 

NN - When I am shopping for a prospect for myself, I usually end up between ages 5-7. But top 7 year olds now are also extremely expensive since the good ones are basically a year away from jumping 1m45+. So I usually end up buying 5 and 6 yr olds and building them up slowly. I bought a 4 year old once that's turned out quite good.

PE - Do you think the horses physical capability or mental attitude are more important?

NN - Mmmmm I'm gonna cheat here and say that they are both just as important. A horse with a bad brain and big jump will never reach it's full potential, but a horse with a bad jump and great brain also won't get you past a certain level.

Baraka - 9 yr old Lordanos x Landor S. Photo Credit: McCool

PE - What are some of the questions that you ask the horses previous owners or whoever you are purchasing the horse from?

NN - Obviously they send results and videos or I look them up myself. I ask about the horse's attitude at the show versus at home, about it's current program - its work/show schedule, what it eats and sleeps on etc... If it's a mare I ask about how she gets when she's in heat, about how a stallion is to handle on the ground. I ask how it is with horse traffic, water jumps, loud noises etc. Just trying to garner as much information as possible, with special regard to the things you can't get a feel for from the trial. 

PE - Do you prefer to bring along a green horse yourself or a horse that already has experience and training?

NN - Horses that are readily trained for the Grand Prix level are rare to come by at an affordable price. So I've taken the route of producing them myself and it is surely a more rewarding process than having a horse that has already jumped big classes. Each horse is different though and has it's own trajectory in fulfilling it's potential. That said, it's not like I break horses in from scratch. The horses that I buy have some sort of education on the flat and over small jumps, I just try to teach them how to jump bigger and go faster. 

Nayel Nassar and  Lordan

A special thank you to Nayel Nassar for taking the time to answer our questions and share some of his insights into the equestrian world. To learn more about Nayel Nassar be sure to visit his website or follow Nayel on FB!