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Tips for Buying Your First Horse

Tips for Buying Your First Horse

Are you a horse lover who is planning to buy a horse? As nothing is more exciting to a horse lover than to purchase his first horse. But most often, due to lack of proper knowledge, this thrilling experience may turn into a disaster. One may not need to experience this trauma if a few points are followed along with proper guidance beforehand.

The first question to ask yourself is, “Am I trained enough to start owning a horse?” Before answering this question positively, do some introspection. To begin with, how good of a rider are you? If your experience is limited, such as you only had a few rides on a horse or only a few lessons at a local stable, you might not be ready to take that big step. In such a case, you can lease a horse. That way, you will not be entirely responsible for the horse’s cost and care. However, if you think you have enough experience, consider the following points:

When & Where to Purchase a Horse:

Few months of the year are comparatively better for buying a horse. You may get to select the best horse in the fall and spring, but the cost becomes less in the fall as sellers try their best not to “winter” horses because of their feeding costs. Horses become least expensive in the winter season, but the selection becomes limited. If you do not have good experience in selecting horses, ask for help from a professional horse person or a veterinarian.

You may find a nice horse from a private individual who plans to shop for a more challenging horse. These horses are typically advertised by word of mouth, through bulletin boards in tack shops, local newspapers, and most often on websites. You should check all of these sources, and you can also ask your equestrian friends to help you in finding a source.

The other method is the Internet. Many popular websites give the facility to search for horses of a particular breed, age, discipline, location, price range, etc. Therefore, you can do good research, view horses' photos, essential information and description, and very importantly, videos of the horse being ridden. After all this, you will understand if the horse would be suitable for you or not. But always remember, not all sellers are totally honest about their horses, so never buy from a horse website that seems unseen from the Internet.

Reputable breeders are another excellent source for purchasing a horse because most of them build their reputation by word of mouth and by returning customers. They usually keep their horses in great condition, deal in pedigreed stock, and have outstanding knowledge of the horse’s history. Prices may be higher, but the extra amount spent initially is well worth it to a novice. They may allow you to take the horse on trial, but keep in mind that you get all of the trial conditions on paper before you do.

Horse dealers are other good sources of purchase. Many of them are honest and try to match the right horse with the right person. But unless the dealer has a considerable reputation, has exchange policies or gives a money-back guarantee, a beginner rider is advised to look elsewhere. 

Cost of Buying:

The beginning price of a horse varies significantly. Breed, age, size, amount of training are some of the factors. A registered horse with papers would cost higher than an unregistered or a grade one. Age is of relatively minor importance in measuring the capability of a horse. Many horses live up to age 20 or more yet being serviceable. 

The amount of training a horse has received definitely influences its buying cost. Training of both the rider as well as the horse is essential. An inexperienced rider should never purchase an inexperienced horse. Only skilled riders can train a novice horse. 

The size of the horse is also important in that the horse's size should match that of the rider. The maintenance cost of horses are enormous and vary based on the geographic areas and whether the rider keeps the horse at home or boards it at a stable. The cost of feeding a horse depends on the horse's metabolism, workload, and pasture turnout time. 

Stabling the Horse:

Stabling the horse is one of the most expensive and vital considerations for a horse owner. Keeping a horse at home is the least expensive option, provided the horse must be taken care of at all times. 

Horses require adequate shelter as well as an exercise area. Water disposal systems and safe and secure fencing for horses is also required. In addition, you must follow zoning laws and public health ordinances. 

Making Evaluations to take a Final Decision:

Once you find some suitable prospects, start screening them. Do ask questions and be honest with the seller about your expectations, needs and riding ability of the horse. Most sellers answer questions honestly because if the horse is genuinely not right for you, they will not waste their time, either.

After narrowing down the prospects, you should try the horse. If you are a novice, take professional help. The first point to consider is its disposition and level of training. These are the critical factors in determining the suitability and serviceability of the horse. Because it may have a beautiful disposition, but if improperly trained, it can be equally dangerous.

Once the horse is caught and haltered, always observe its motion and note any indication of stiffness or lameness. Many make excuses that new shoes or recent removal are the causes of lameness; never accept that! After that, check the horse’s medical record for vaccination history, deworming information and recent Coggins testing. 

If you are satisfied with everything, try handling the horse by yourself from the ground first. Then, try to lead it, brush it, and assist in saddling and bridling. Next, you or your instructor should ride the horse.

When making the final purchase, make sure you receive a dated bill of sale describing the horse, its cost and registration papers. Please remember, never buy the first horse you see until you have seen many others. Always purchase the most suitable horse you can afford because you are the one who needs to live with the horse afterwards. So make sure to take a right final decision.

The more knowledge you have about horses, the better your chances are of finding a perfect horse for yourself and enjoying it.

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