8 Things to Look for When Buying a Horse

8 Things to Look for When Buying a Horse

Purchasing a horse is exciting, no matter your age. However, you should know what to look for when buying a horse before making a significant investment.

A horse requires a significant investment. The care, attention, and commitment needed to own a horse are considerable. Therefore, finding the ideal horse for you is crucial to develop a successful relationship with it.

Deciding what you want in a horse before you start horse shopping is crucial. For example, are you looking for a trail horse, a show horse, or a horse for lessons? Do you have a preferred breed in mind? To help you find the best match, know your goals for you and your new horse.

Here are eight criteria to consider before purchasing a horse.

1. Age

It can appeal to many people to purchase a foal and raise it as their own. However, raising a foal requires a lot of effort, commitment, and expertise, necessitating a person with extensive experience.

For most buyers, a horse with experience and complete training is ideal. Generally, a horse should be purchased between the ages of 5 and 16 when it is in its prime. Younger horses are typically not a good match for novice owners since they usually need more expertise.

A novice rider seeking a dependable mount may want to consider purchasing a horse in its late teens or early twenties. It is crucial to remember that an older horse could be more susceptible to soundness and health problems. Additionally, they might only ride for a short time before retiring.

An adage states that a child and horse should be at least 20 years old together before purchasing a horse. So if your child is ten years old, you should get them a horse at least that old.

This adage also holds true for people with years of expertise. Although it is a helpful formula to use, you should also take the horse and rider’s experience, history, and temperament into account.

2. Conformation

Nice-looking horses are more likely to have sound builds in addition to having good conformation. Good conformation is an indicator of balance, structural correctness, and good muscle.

For show horses, in particular, a nice conformation is crucial. A powerful, balanced, and structurally sound horse is more likely to move well. Additionally, conformation is a judging criterion in various classes at horse shows.

3. Experience Level

A novice rider and a novice horse need to make a better combination. According to the proverb, “green and green equals black and blue,” suggesting that a novice rider operating a novice horse may be dangerous.

A novice rider must frequently gain the abilities necessary to control a green horse. In addition, they require a horse that is calm and well-mannered. Novice riders should never purchase horses marked as “needs finishing” or “green” as they will not be a good match.

Always look for a horse that is appropriate for your level of experience. Beginner and intermediate riders should seek out horses with extensive training and years of experience. A younger or greener horse might be more of a challenge for seasoned riders with the right skill set.

When viewing a horse for sale, it is always a good idea to bring your trainer with you. They can evaluate the animal and assist you in deciding whether you two would make a good match.

4. Soundness

Soundness is essential if you want to ride your horse frequently or in competitions. Numerous vet bills are likely to result from a sound horse.

Ask to see a horse in hand, under saddle, and while you are riding it whenever you are looking at one that is for sale. This will give you a good understanding of the horse’s soundness, fitness, and suitability for your needs.

It is usually advised to undergo a vet examination before purchasing because not all soundness and health issues are obvious. A veterinarian will assess the horse’s general health, look for signs of prior injuries, listen to the heart and lungs, inspect the teeth, and check the eyes during a pre-purchase examination.

5. Price

Set a budget before you go horse buying. You must consider the cost of the horse’s upkeep, including boarding, farrier, veterinarian, tack, equipment, and training/lessons fees.

Be sensible with your spending and know what it will buy you in a horse. Quality trail horses or lesson horses are frequently available for a few thousand dollars or less. A top-notch show horse will cost much more, easily ranging from $7,000 to $80,000 or more.

Be cautious if a horse’s advertised price appears too good to be true. If the vendor is anxious to sell, they may be omitting important information about the soundness or temperament of the horse. Always investigate the horse thoroughly, and ask lots of questions.

6. Temperament

Temperament is a crucial criterion when looking for a horse to purchase. It is especially crucial for a first-time buyer to select for a horse that is polite, considerate, and dependable.

An experienced rider could like the challenge of a “hot” horse. However, an unskilled rider might quickly get overwhelmed by a hot horse that is enthusiastic and high-energy. Find a horse that suits your energy level as well as your skill level.

You should look for a quiet, easy-going horse if you want it to be a trail or lesson horse. You’ll probably want something more flamboyant with a little more oomph for a show horse.

When purchasing your first horse, you should search for one that is bombproof and won’t spook easily. A horse that readily spooks at a frightened, inexperienced rider is not a good combination. Look for a horse in which you have confidence and trust.

7. Pedigree

The pedigree of the horse is primarily unimportant if you are looking for a horse only for trail and pleasure riding. However, a strong pedigree may be crucial if you’re looking for a show horse.

You should check the horse’s papers and registration information if you’re looking for a show horse. In addition, you can learn more about the horse’s history by looking at its pedigree.

In particular, the sire, dam, and damsire of a horse can provide helpful insight into the horse’s potential. Breeders will thoroughly examine pedigrees to create the highest-caliber horses. The horse will likely be top-notch if it is descended from a champion stallion with a track record of producing outstanding offspring.

8. Background

It’s crucial to understand the horse’s history before deciding to purchase. In addition, you’ll have a clearer sense of what to anticipate from your new partner after reading this.

Inquire of the horse’s owner if any past wounds or health problems need attention. Find out the horse’s previous uses. Find out if the horse has participated in training, lessons, or shows. Please inquire about the frequency of use, vices or peculiarities, and the skill level of riders who have ridden it.

Look up the horse’s history if it is a show horse. Then, look at the horse’s performance at competitions and how frequently it is displayed. Ask for videos and photos of the horse competing if you can so you can compare it to how it performs at home.

Learn more: 8 Adventure-Packed Horse Riding Destinations


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