Buying a new horse is exciting but should never be rushed into
Horses need daily care and are expensive to keep. The livery costs alone can be a huge monthly outlay, add to that the cost of feed, bedding, shoeing, worming, insurance and equipment and your bank balance will never be the same again! Having a contingency budget is also very important as horses have an amazing ability to always cost more than you think.
If you have thought long and hard about the commitment, knowledge and costs of owning a horse and still want to go ahead it is crucial to make a list of exactly what you are looking for, taking into account your budget, your preferred height, sex, breed, temperament and the activities you wish to pursue with that horse. It is also worth noting which of these criteria you are prepared to compromise on and then give your criteria to someone who is familiar with your riding ability and aspirations to get their objective feedback. It is all to common for people to dream of owning a horse which is either out of their budget or exceeds their riding ability.
Research livery yards in your area to be sure of the cost, facilities, services offered and availability. It is important that should you find a suitable horse you have a suitable yard which can accommodate your new horse.
No matter how experienced you are it is always wise to take someone with you when viewing a new horse, ideally someone who can be objective, is aware of your riding ability, your search criteria and your budget. When viewing a horse watch it being handled and trotted up and check their general health and behaviour. Run your hands over their entire body to look for old injuries or abnormalities. Observe the horse being tied up and tacked up to see whether he is showing any signs of discomfort or anxiety. It is also very sensible to check the details on their horse passport, check that the details match with the advert of the horse, ie its age, breed, height, colour and name as well as the owner’s details on the passport.
It is essential that someone rides the horse first. We advise strongly against purchasing horses untried, as seen from the field. Your safety is paramount and you only have the owner’s word that the horse is safe. It is helpful to see the horse ridden in different environments undertaking different activities in order to monitor any change in behaviour. If you like the way the horse is going and feel confident to ride the horse and remain interested in the horse you may try the horse at your own risk.
After trying the horse you should go away and think about whether they could be suitable for what you are looking for. Discuss things with a friend and arrange a second viewing if necessary. It is often helpful to look at a few horses before making a final decision as it can take time to find the right horse. Try not to make emotional decisions or be pushed to make a quick decision by an owner. Horses are a long term and costly commitment so making the right decision and being confident in that decision is very important. If you decide the horse is right for you it is strongly recommended to have a Pre Purchase Veterinary Examination carried out by an independent veterinary surgeon. To read more about the benefits of a Veterinary Exam please click here.