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Ten Tips for Buying a Horse

Ten Tips for Buying a Horse

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vetting a horse with paperwork and passport forms

When it comes to looking at horses for sale and buying a horse, the process can seem overwhelming. The ten tips below can help you to successfully navigate the process of buying a horse.

1. Decide What You Want

Before you start looking at horses for sale, decide just what you are looking for in a horse. Think about factors like age, height, breed, riding discipline, temperament, and experience when deciding what you want in your new horse.

2. Be Honest

When you start to look at horses for sale, be honest with yourself about your riding experience and comfort level in the saddle. If you’re a confident rider who will ride anything, great. But if you’re still gaining confidence, think about what type of horse will and will not be appropriate for you.

3. Establish a Budget

Deciding what you can – and can’t – spend on a horse ahead of time will make it easier to choose which horses are worth looking at and which aren’t. Determine just how much you can afford to spend on a horse, and then do not go over that amount.

4. Come Up with Questions

If you’re interested in a particular horse, come up with a list of questions for the seller to get any additional information that was not included in the ad.

5. Request Photos and Video

Before you make a trip out to see a horse for sale, it’s a good idea to request quality photos and videos if the seller hasn’t already provided them. Photos and videos can help you to identify conformation faults and movement issues in a horse, saving you the time of making a trip out to see it in person.

6. Show Up Early

When you make an appointment to test ride a horse, show up a little early so that you can watch the horse being led into the barn and groomed and tacked up to get a sense of his behavior.

7. Have the Owner Ride First

It is never a good idea to just hop on a horse that you don’t know. When it comes to the test ride, have the horse’s owner ride. Watch the ride and if you are not comfortable getting on the horse after, don’t.

8. Really Ride

Often riders treat a test ride as a mini session and they don’t try out many of the things that they will be asking their horse to do. If you are buying a horse as a jumper, then jump him repeatedly during your test ride to make sure that he is a good match for this type of riding.

9. Consider a Pre-Purchase Exam

Pre-purchase exams can help identify physical issues that might become significant down the road. Whether or not you do a pre-purchase exam is up to you, but it’s always worth considering.

10. Get It In Writing

When buying a horse, even if that horse is offered for free, always make sure that you receive a written bill of sale signed by both you and the seller.

These tips will help you start out in your process of looking at horses for sale. Good luck!