If you find yourself considering buying a new horse, then you’ll want to keep these tips in mind. Unfortunately, not everyone is honest and you want to make sure the horse is what the owner says they are. You also want to make sure the horse is sound before purchase.
There are so many aspects that a person must consider when trying to find a new horse and it’s a based on the individual person. But the most important things to consider before horse shopping are. What will the horse be used for? What is your experience? What is your budget? This is going to determine what type of horse to look for. The saying you get what you pay for holds true with horses as well. So saving for the right horse will actually save you in the long run. Something to remember is a lot of times the initial cost is the cheapest thing about owning a horse.
Questions to ask Prior to Meeting the Horse
If you find a horse that fits within your above criteria, then you’ll want to gather all the basic information you can on the horse. Such as breed, gender, age, and height.
If the horse sounds like a good fit for you, then you can make a call and ask some of the following questions over the phone. If they weren’t already answered in the ad.
- What is the horse’s history?
- What are they trained to do?
- How are they with other horses?
- Can they stand for a farrier?
- Can they load in and out of a trailer?
- Is the horse spooky at all?
- Is the horse up to date on all shots?
- Have they ever bucked, kicked, or bit anyone?
- What ground work has the horse been taught?
- Are there any bad habits to be aware of?
If the horse sounds like a good fit for you, then the next step is to make arrangements to meet the horse.
Questions for the Owner in Person
Ask the owner to ride the horse first before you get on. This is not only safer for you, but will give you a chance to see how the horse moves with a rider.
Be sure you also ask for any history and papers on the horse, such as breeding papers and vaccination records. You’ll not only want to make sure the horse is up to date on everything, but you’ll want a current copy of their coggins papers as well.
Ask the owner to prove everything he says about the horse. If he says, for instance, the horse is kid broke. Then tell him to show you. Don’t just take their word for everything they say.
You can also ask for references, such as what farrier and veterinarian they use.
Lastly, ask lots of questions and take your time with the horse.
Red Flags When You Arrive
If you arrive and the horse is already tacked up and appears sweaty, then the owner could be hiding something. I would communicate to the owner that you want to watch the horse caught and tacked up after you arrive.
Don’t Get Caught Up on Color
If you are really enamored with a horse for its color, don’t let that cloud your judgement on any other aspect of the horse’s behavior. This may be one of the most common mistakes people make when buying a horse. While color is nice, behavior and soundness are much more important aspects to consider when finding your perfect horse.
I recommend reading a book called, A Good Horse is Never a Bad Color, written by Mark Rashid. I also have a book review of his books, you can check out.
Take Someone with You
It’s really important that you take another person with you. Possibly a trainer or even a farrier. Someone who has an eye for horses and can help you make a choice and lend support. This is really important! A second set of eyes makes a vast difference.
Have the Horse Vet Checked
An extra precaution you can make is having the horse vet checked. That is, if the owner doesn’t already have a current health certificate for the horse. You’ll want to do this before money is exchanged! Keep in mind the buyer handles the vet bill, but if you don’t know the seller or the horse, then it really isn’t a bad idea to have this done.
A vet exam may include checking overall body condition, checking the horse’s oral health, and a laminitis check. They will often listen to the heart, lungs, check the eyes, and can usually estimate age if the horse doesn’t have papers. They can even tell you if the horse has had any previous surgery, such as colic surgery. If the owner doesn’t consent for any reason, then walk away!
If you are considering buying a horse at auction. You’ll need to keep the above information in mind, but you may not have the chance to have a full vet check done. With that being said, it is buyer beware.
There are some things you need to do, though. Look any prospective horse over carefully. Check their hooves, their eyes, and their teeth. Check their joints for swelling or heat. Look for signs of drugging, such as sleepiness or glazed eyes. Again, make sure you take a person with you that is knowledgeable in horses.
Buying a horse online
It’s not uncommon now-a-days for horses to be purchased online and sight unseen. In this instance, it’s important to trust the person or site selling the horse. You also want to see lots of videos of what the horse can do. This, at times, can be sufficient to see if the horse is everything you want it to be.
Bear in mind, a lot of times, online sellers have a reputation to uphold. So as long as they have a reputable history of selling good horses, then you should feel safe with your purchase.
Other Things to Consider
Stick to your guns. Don’t let a seller talk you into a horse that doesn’t fit the exact needs you require.
Trust your gut. Do you feel a good connection with the horse?
You want this to be a perfect match, so don’t take it lightly.
There are so many things to consider when purchasing a horse it can feel overwhelming. If you don’t know where to begin, you can always try EquineNow. It’s an online sales site. You can even search by area. You can always begin letting people in your area know that you’re looking for a horse. Sometimes a trainer or horse person can help you with your search.
Thank you for being here. I want to wish you the best of luck in finding your next horse! I hope you found this helpful. If so, please share!
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Phenomenal tips Rachel!
Thank you so much!
We just got our first horse a few months ago and luckily had a good person who sold us her. I wish I would have seen these tips before that, but I’m glad I have them now for our 2nd horse!
Congratulations on your first horse. That’s so great!