Buying a Horse? What You Need to Know about Buying a Horse

5 Things You Need to Know About Buying A Horse

Buying a horse is an exciting time. There is nothing quite like owning your first horse or welcoming another horse to your family.

However, buying a horse is not a simple experience. Whether you’re an experienced rider looking to buy your first horse or a new rider keen to buy a horse – there are a few key things you need to know and consider.

Above all else – never feel pressured to buy a horse and make sure you’re buying a horse for the right reasons.

If you have suggestions about what people need to know when buying a horse or have a horse buying experience, please share it with the Grand Meadows community on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The more we can support one another with our experiences and knowledge, the better.

5 Things You Need to Know About Buying A Horse

These 5 things you need to know about buying a horse are a guide to help you get started. Please do lots of research, ask many questions, talk to others who have bought horses, and take your time making your horse buying decision.

1. Before seeing a horse, ask the person selling the horse lots of questions.

It’s key that you don’t “fall in love” with a horse before you know anything about the horse, their history, and the seller. It helps to have the answers to your questions about the horse in writing – so take advantage of email. But also make sure you speak to the horse seller over the phone – pay attention to how your questions are answered.

Don’t be shy – ask every single question you can think of. And make sure you ask questions about the person selling the horse. Contact the horse owner if you’re not dealing with them – ask them your questions. Talk to other people who have bought horses from this seller or owner.

Why are you selling the horse? What is the horse’s health history? Can I see the veterinarian records (if not – why)? Has this horse been ridden before? How long have you owned this horse? How has this horse been trained? What kind of feed and horse supplements does the horse receive? How would you describe the horse’s temperament?

2. What kind of horse do you want? What kind of horse do you need?

The horse you want and the horse you need may not be the same. Before you start visiting horses and taking them for test rides, make sure you know exactly who you’re looking for.

Do you want a horse that you’ll ride in competitions and at horse shows? Do you want a horse that enjoys trail riding? Do you need a horse that is comfortable around children and people new to horses? How do you want to ride and be with this horse? Why are you buying a horse? What is your riding style – English or Western?

Write down your answers to these questions and keep them in mind when you’re interviewing horse owners/sellers and when you meet a prospective horse. It’s very easy to be swayed by a good sales job or when a horse gives you that look that captures your heart. Remember, the horse has to be right for you and you have to be right for the horse.

3. Know the costs of owning a horse.

How much does it cost to own and care for a horse? Surprise – horse ownership is not cheap. It’s critical you can afford to give your new horse everything they need for a safe, happy, healthy, and long life.

When working out a budget and estimating the costs of owning a horse, remember these costs:

  • Purchase price: the price of your new horse really depends on how you plan to ride your horse. If you’re looking for a competition horse, you will need to pay more than you would for a horse you plan to ride for leisure and companionship. Do not pay more for a horse than you can comfortably afford!
  • Boarding costs: these costs are based on the type of boarding you want. It’s important you choose a boarding facility that is close to where you live and that you can get to easily. You need to find the balance between, the right boarding arrangement (full or self-care) and ease of getting to the boarding facility daily. Don’t sacrifice one or the other – this impacts both your horse and you.
  • Farrier costs: your new horse needs farrier care every 6 – 8 weeks. Make sure you can pay for these costs and are prepared for any extra shoeing needs.
  • Veterinarian costs: your new horse will require regular veterinarian visits and may occasionally need an unexpected visit from the veterinarian. Talk to your local veterinarian about the costs, so you can put some money aside for this.
  • Feed and supplement costs: just like us humans, your horse needs top quality feed and supplements. The health of your horse depends on the feed and supplements you provide. Talk to your veterinarian about your options, make sure you know about any special feed requirements, and do research horse supplements to understand how these support all aspects of horse health.
  • Tack and equipment costs: along with the initial purchase of horse tack and equipment, you must be ready to pay for seasonal or incidental costs.

And don’t forget to include horse ownership costs such as bedding, lessons, competition fees, travel, and accommodation, and any miscellaneous costs.

4. Looking at a horse with both eyes open.

When you decide to visit a horse, please take your time. Don’t get overly excited. Try not to be pressured by the horse owner or seller. Be wary of aggressive pressure on behalf of the seller.

Take a good look at the horse’s environment. Pay attention to the horse’s disposition. Be aware of how the horse reacts and responds to the person selling the horse. Ask the owner or seller to ride the horse so you can gauge how the horse rides. Make sure you ride the horse and take your time with the horse. Ask a trusted horse instructor, horse owner, or friend experienced with buying horses to come with you – a second opinion is a must. Make sure you get the horse assessed by your veterinarian.

5. Don’t rush in to buying a horse.

Buying a horse is a big deal. Take your time and be confident you’re making a decision that is right for both you and the horse. Remember, you can’t make a horse fit your wants and needs.

Admittedly, it’s difficult put emotion aside when you’re looking at horses online, talking to seller, and then finally meeting the horse. Take a step back and think about why you’re buying a horse, what you want and need from your horse, and assess if you can give this horse what they really want and need from you.

Every single horse has different needs. Make sure you can fulfill these needs at all times and that you’re prepared to make any changes to your lifestyle required to care for and love your horse.

The right horse is out there for you. Take your time. Do your research and budgeting. Think about the responsibilities of horse ownership. Talk to friends who own horses about what life is like as a horse owner. And know that you’re buying a horse for all the right reasons. When you do this, you are giving your new horse a huge gift with a loving, safe, and secure home and in turn your horse will be your true friend, confidant, and companion.

Photo by Esther Driehaus on Unsplash

Nick Hartog

by Nick Hartog

In 1994, Nick Hartog became an owner and President of Grand Meadows Equine Supplements bringing his talents and extensive background in domestic and international equine sales and manufacturing. He has a reputation for plain speaking of the truth. In 1997, when the US horse supplement market was something akin to the Wild West with a complete lack of standards, Nick personally tested 32 different horse joint supplements to see if they matched the label. Unsurprisingly, to him at least, only 2 products matched the label claim. Read more...