4 Important Things to Look For When Buying a New Horse
For equestrians, purchasing a new horse can seem like a daunting task. Horse shopping is not an easy feat, and it may be hard to figure out where to start. There is a lot to consider on the quest to find your next equine partner. Whatquestions should you ask? What should you look for and what should you avoid? How do you find the perfect fit?We’ve put together a list of the top four most important things to look for when purchasing a new horse to help guide you on your search.
One of the most important things to consider when purchasing a horse is its temperament.
You need to think about your skills as a rider and how much horse you can handle. If you are a novice rider, you arebetter off purchasing a calm, bombproof horse. Advanced riders can look at “hotter” horses if they feel like they can (and want to) deal with the extra energy they have.
Besides considering your skill level, it is also necessary to determine how their temperament will affect their suitability for the discipline you plan to ride. For example, you don’t want a lazy horse if you want to do a more high-energy discipline like jumping or dressage. If you’re just planning to ride around the farm and go on hacks, a slower, calmer horse would be appropriate.
Another thing to take into consideration is their attitude. Some mares may be crabby when they go into heat, so ifthat would bother you, you may be better off paired with a gelding. Some horses are willing to try anything for theirrider while others can be quite stubborn, so try to get a feel for the horse’s personality when you try them out.
2. Soundness and Medical History
It’s happened too many times: a new owner is super excited for their future with their horse only for them to show up lame or ill shortly after they arrive. It’s extremely important to inquire about the horse’s soundness and medical history. Arrange to speak with the horse’s vet regarding their health. Before you buy a horse, set up a pre-purchase exam with an unbiased veterinarian to get a full picture of their health. Some sellers are upfront aboutmaintenance that a horse may require to stay in good health, such as injections or medication. Required maintenance is not necessarily something to beware of but it’s important to consider the severity of their condition as well as the ongoing cost of treatment.
Soundness is not the only thing you should ask about, either. Some horses are prone to illnesses such as colic or ulcers and may have recurrent medical episodes. There are clumsy horses out there who are prone to injury, too.Being thorough in your inquiry and understanding the horse’s full health history could save you from a hefty vet bill in the future.
3. Suitability for the Rider
Suitability was mentioned earlier in the article when discussing temperament and it’s worth another mentionbecause it is often overlooked in the purchasing process. Buying a horse is the best time to be picky. You need toknow what you plan to use the horse for. If you want to
compete extensively, a horse with no show record is probably not the best fit. Beginner riders should look for a trusty experienced horse instead of a young prospect. Older horses, especially those over 20, might be fine for a starterhorse or a horse to just hack around on but would not be suitable for a rider looking for a long-term riding or competition horse. Cost can be a factor in considering suitability as well. Horses that require extra training or frequent lessons with an instructor may not be a suitable fit for a rider with a tight budget; training fees can add up quickly.
4. Red Flags from the Seller
Not every seller is honest. Some try to purposefully hide or cover up flaws to trick unsuspecting buyers into purchasing their “problem” horse. A few red flags to look out for are sellers that dodge questions about their soundness/health history, refuse a pre-purchase exam, refuse to ride the horse first when you come to try them out, tryto make you put a down payment on the horse before you come out to see them, and horses that seem extremely groggyor sluggish when you try them out. If something feels off to you, talk to a trusted equine friend about it. It is also a good idea to bring a friend along with you to try the horse out, especially one with more experience than you. They can help you identify red flags and keep you safe.
As a buyer, it is important to consider everything and make sure you know everything you need to before youmake the big purchase. Temperament, soundness, suitability, and red flags are a few things to look out for whenbuying a new horse. We know buying a new horse isn’t simple, but using this guide will hopefully help simplify the process and empower you as an informed buyer.