BUYING A NEW HORSE? WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR

Buying a new horse can be an exciting time! Studies show that when we shop, our brain releases serotonin which is a chemical that makes us feel goooooddddd!

Buying a new horse can be an exciting time! Studies show that when we shop, our brain releases serotonin which is a chemical that makes us feel goooooddddd! 

Sometimes the biggest mistake people make is we let our emotions do the buying. We’re cashed up, feeling goooood, and we purchase on looks, instead of staying focused on our needs or our ability/experience. 

Remember, you are buying a horse not a goldfish. If you intend on buying a horse, then you have to make sure that it is suitable for what you want to do with it and more importantly the horse has previous experience and is safe.

I don’t know how many times I’ve seen people purchase a cheaper horse because that’s all they could afford, but unfortunately you are probably buying an unsafe/unexperienced horse! 

I don’t know how many times parents purchase an off the track thoroughbred for their pony club child upgrading from their first pony, again usually due to budget. 

I don’t know how many times people purchase a young horse because they have a fairy tale of growing and learning together. 

Unless you are an experienced, capable rider who has the time and knowledge to educate a young horse, then I wouldn’t suggest purchasing a young horse. 

If you are in the market for a new horse, or have a friend that is, please share my simple guide to ensure you find the right match. 

1) Is the advertisement thorough? You can usually get a gauge of the buyer from the information they tend to disclose in the advertisement. If they haven’t put much effort into the advert and missed out common details like; age, height, sex…. chances are they probably won’t put effort into disclosing additional details to you…..you know the girth proud one.

2) When enquiring from the advertisement ask the owner as many questions as possible. Is the horse going to suit your chosen discipline?  Ask for proof of papers or horse’s performance. Ask around and see if you know anyone that knows the horse. A common question a friend was taught me was to ask “What’sthe worst thing the horse has ever done” and if the owner replies with she’s perfect, then you’ve got to question why they are selling it….right?

3) Take an experienced friend or family member with you to go and look. An extra set of eyes are always helpful when there’s no emotional attachment to them. They might be able to see confirmation flaws, attitude behaviour while your riding etc. And alarm bells would normally ring if the horse is already tied up, or saddled, or even worse sweating when you arrive. Chances are it could be hard to catch? Or it could be cold backed?4

) Always ask the owner to ride the horse first. Alarm bells would ring if the owner wasn’t willing to ride first. Plus its good to watch the horse move out in person and check for any faults or flaws.

5) Try the horse out properly! You’ve viewed images or footage in advertisement, you’ve now seen the owner ride, now its your turn! If you’re purchasing an eventer, then make sure you jump. If you’replanning on barrel racing, then try its balance out, turning capability, and speed. There’s no point in hacking the horse around and feeling uncomfortable when the horse is at its own environment. Chances are you or the horse aren’t going to be comfortable once you get home.

6) I wouldn’t suggest buying sight unseen, especially if you’re not a capable and experienced rider. Buying sight unseen is a risk, and I would be asking for all types of footage, slow speed, fast speed, again depending on the discipline. Please share your footage with an experienced friend as they may see something you’re not. I’ve had friends purchase sight unseen and the horse was uncomfortable to ride, so it’s a personal thing to try in person.

7) If it’s a big investment, then I would suggest a vet check to avoid any health issues.

8) Listen to your intuition……your gut! There are plenty of horses in the world and you don’t have to decide on the first one that you view. If it doesn’t feel right, then don’t purchase. 

If you follow this simple guide, then you will find it easier in finding your next perfect purchase. 

Happy Shopping!