Tips on Buying a Horse
Owning a horse is a big commitment. Doing so will take up a lot of your time and energy – and your money too.
Once you have weighed up the various pros and cons and decided that you are ready to jump in and make the commitment, the next stage is the big purchase.
Before you buy a horse it is important to take your time and make the right decision. If you don’t, you could end up with a horse that isn’t suited to you or that ends up being a lot more work than you had originally prepared for. Spend a bit of time putting together a checklist of exactly what you are looking for and refer to it throughout the process as this will help keep you on track. Only after you have your list should you start looking for a horse.
Use reputable sources to help you track down horses for sale. Riding magazines, online listings websites, your local stables or any other equestrian contacts you might have are a good place to start.
Make sure and read each advert carefully so that you don’t waste your time – or the time of the seller. If you have any questions that aren’t answered by the advert, give the owner a phone. Ask plenty of questions, find out why the horse is being sold and for how long the current owners have had him.
After asking all your questions, if you are still interested, that would be the time to arrange your first viewing.
Make sure to look the horse over carefully. As part of this process, it is a good idea to ask to prepare him for a ride so you can check how he behaves. Watch someone else ride him before you clamber on and, if possible, get someone to film you while you do ride so you can watch it back later.
Be prepared to answer a lot of questions as well as ask them; a good owner will want the horse to go to a good home and if they don’t seem interested in who gets their horse, that could be a cause for alarm.
More important than anything else is making sure the horse has a temperament you are happy with. If anything about how the horse behaves during your visit causes you to worry, that is not a good sign. Always follow your instincts.
If everything is okay on the first visit, arrange a second viewing to:
- Ride him again in a different environment
- Take a more detailed look at the stable he lives in
- Ask any questions that have come up in between the viewings.
During a follow-up visit you could also try loading the horse into a horsebox to see how he reacts. Follow up visits are your opportunity to make sure you have all the information you need before taking the plunge.
Before you hand over any money, make sure to organise for an independent vet to come with you and check the horse over. They should do a complete health check, including taking a blood sample. Ask the vet to draw up a report based on what they find so you have all the information to hand.
It is illegal for a horse to be sold without a passport so make sure there is one and, last but not least, have a written agreement drawn up with the current owner and a written receipt for the purchase.
It might seem like a lot of work, but, in the end, it will all be worth it to make sure you get the perfect horse.