Filed under: Purchasing A Horse
A horse is a powerful, living, breathing creature, not a motorcycle or four-wheeler. Therefore, if you are in love with the idea of having your own horse, it is important you start at the beginning to avoid potential harm to yourself and the horse. The beginning is not in the saddle, but rather learning horsemanship first, before setting out for a ride.
Before even considering taking on the responsibility of caring for a horse, you have to know how a horse thinks, acts and responds. You have to know how to become a herd leader. Too many first-time horse owners underestimate the responsibility the rider has in the relationship with the horse. The horse is not going to do it all.
The first step in understanding how to buy a horse is not how to ride it, but to learn what a horse is.
Before making a purchase, there is a lot for a first time horse owner to consider. Horses require a lot of time and money. Be sure you understand the level of commitment required to maintain a healthy horse.
With that said, there are many horses for sale and there are a lot of scams and lemons to avoid.
So, how do you go about finding that perfect horse? Here are a few tips on how to buy a horse without ending up with a lot of regrets.
Understand the Cost
Be very clear that committing to the ownership of a horse means a sizeable monthly expense. It could cost as much as $500 each month for basic food, board, vet and farrier bills.
If this is your first horse, be prepared by taking riding lessons and helping out around a stable. This will provide the experience necessary to understand the various aspects of horse care. Talk to a vet and get sound advice on boarding, feed and exercise.
Realize that owning a horse also means owning the necessary tack, riding clothes, grooming and cleaning supplies. If the horse is kept at the home, they will need the proper shelter, room to run and feed. Any grazing area should be checked for toxic plants. If you don’t know how or don’t have the time to care for a horse, look for a boarding facility that can give the horse the proper care and allow you to learn horsemanship basics.
Find an Expert
Having the experience of a professional, a horse trainer or breeder, can help with the search and final decision. Frequently a fee is involved, so make sure they are trustworthy by asking for referrals. If a professional is not available, ask a horse friend or lesson instructor to help you find a good horse to purchase. Frequently, they are familiar with reputable horse breeders in the area. Always remember that humility is an important aspect of the process of getting advice from those more experienced. There is always something more to learn.
Define the Relationship
Why do you want to own a horse? What kind of relationship do you envision? Is your horse primarily going to be your companion or is riding your main interest? There are organizations all over the country who rescue horses. If you primarily want a companion, a rescue horse would welcome a loving home.
If you are mainly interested in riding, take lessons in English or Western to determine which style fits your interests.
The First Visit
Before visiting, ask your “expert” to make out a list of questions to ask the owner about bad habits, bucking, rearing, kicking, training, etc.
Once you have located a horse you are interested in, schedule plenty of time with the owner and your “expert” so you can evaluate the horse’s abilities. Ask the owner to bridle the horse, saddle him, and put him through all the paces. Then your “expert” should have a ride followed by yourself.
If you decide you have found the perfect horse, schedule a pre-purchase exam for the horse. Inform the vet what you plan to do with the horse so they can do the right examination. If for some reason the owner does not want the exam done, start looking elsewhere.
If everything checks out with the vet exam, you will need to provide the owner with a bill of sale to sign. If it is a registered horse, the seller should provide registration papers at the same time the bill of sale is signed. Once signed, a Transfer of Registration form from the seller is necessary so the ownership can be changed into your name.
Once you have your horse moved to its new home, take time to help it become familiar with the new surroundings. Keep it in a secure pen or stall for a few days to get used to any other horses and the area. If in a pasture, introduce her to other horses with a fence between them before putting them in together. Lead them around the perimeter of the fenced area so they become familiar with the location of the fencing to avoid running into it if they get spooked.
Do not expect the process of learning how to buy a horse to be easy. It could take as long as a year to find just the perfect fit. In reality, no horse is perfect, just like no human is perfect. There will be problems even if you follow advice from the best authorities. However, you can expect to have a fulfilling and enjoyable life with your new friend, as long as you have done your “homework” and are committed to this amazing creature.
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