Buying a horse... Need advice... - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 10-21-2013, 08:29 PM Thread Starter
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Smile Buying a horse... Need advice...

So this is my first thread on HF and I'm not quite sure how it works yet, but ill figure it out. Anyway, I live in LA and I am in 8th grade this year and plan on buying a horse when I start 9th. I have been riding/competing in dressage and show jumping since 8 and the whole English thing just got too competitive for my liking so I started riding western pleasure about a month ago. So far I absolutely love it and plan to stick with it. I have switched barns and my new instructor is great as well as relaxed and not competitive. I have been looking forward to purchasing a horse ever since I started riding and now that its finally happening I still have a million questions! I do NOT plan on competing or doing anything too serious with my future horse, just a lot of trail and pleasure riding. I will be at the barn everyday and i will have plenty of free time, so time isn't an issue. Any advice is greatly appreciated... eg: what breed is right for me, what age, what sex, how important are blood lines, what to look for, how long is the process of buying, is it a bad idea to get a green horse, what selection is available in the $500-$3500 range, spirited or bombproof, rescue, adopt, buy, or go to a breeder, bad idea to get a project horse, what are some good sources to look for horses, and what is the average cost for monthly pasture boarding? Any advice or opinions are greatly appreciated, thanks for reading!

Last edited by PinkPoloPonies; 10-21-2013 at 08:31 PM.
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post #2 of 6 Old 10-21-2013, 08:44 PM
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You are a first time horse owner and you're young you need an older horse that's been there done that broker than broke horse. Something to learn from. No project horses you're not experienced enough to fix them. There's a lot you can learn from a solid older horse. That's how I started out and I wouldn't have it any other way. And you posted in the wrong sub forum this one is for color and genetics but that's ok.
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Last edited by Peppy Barrel Racing; 10-21-2013 at 08:47 PM.
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post #3 of 6 Old 10-21-2013, 08:55 PM
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A lot of your questions can be answered by talking to your instructor, if they are good at their jobs, that is! It's never a bad idea to get a second opinion, of course :)
As far as age/breed goes: Any horse of any age can be calm or spirited. I've seen 25 year olds that are spirited and hot and spooky, and then you get some 5 year olds that are **** near bombproof. Same goes for breed - there are QH that are hotter'n'hell, and there are TBs whose favorite gait is "whoa."
A lot of it is going to depend on your experience and comfort level. When I was your age, I was the guinea pig - my instructor tossed me on anything and everything. Others my age were more timid and didn't want to ride anything too "up" on themselves. Still others were even crazier than me and had no fear. My first horse when I was 12 was a green broke TB mare.. probably not the best idea in the world, BUT I had a competent instructor that brought us both along.

My personalized suggestion for a first horse for your age range is to get something really well broke that you can have fun with. (With my first horse, I was on guard the entire time I was around her for the first year and a half). I'd suggest nothing less than 6 years old, personally. Breed depends on what you want to do as well - if you want to compete in breed classes (AQHA) obviously that's going to limit you. Otherwise if you want to dabble in everything, you can go with almost any breed. Bloodlines become important when you are 1) breeding 2) buying a young prospect and 3) wanting an indication of potential performance, usually for upper levels of competition.
When you're looking to buy, take along your instructor or a knowledgeable person to help. Always get a PPE for soundness, and always ask if the owner would mind if you request a blood test for drugs (I've never done one, but you can get a feel for a person's response.) I do suggest going to try the horse a couple of times to make sure you're the right fit for one another.
Ask questions. Lots of questions. Especially if some things are super important to you, such as ground manners, clipping, tying, bathing, trailering etc. If you're wanting a companion to go trail riding on every weekend, you may not want to get a horse that hates to trailer.
Boarding is a regional thing. I pay $400 for a paddock, but that $400 will get you a stall at a barn an hour away. In some regions, $150 will get you full care stall, and in others, a stall runs you upwards $1500/month.
Do as much research as you possibly can - as you obviously are doing :) Good luck with your search, and HAVE FUN!

Horse sales sites that I like

Also, search Facebook for horse sales groups in your area - I've found some amazing horses on FB that aren't listed elsewhere..

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post #4 of 6 Old 10-21-2013, 08:59 PM
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What breed is right for me? - Any, really. It depends on the horse. Look at quarter horses if you're interested in western pleasure though. They tend to be good at it.

What age? - Older. You want one that's been around the block a time or two. One that's been there, seen that.

What sex? Either, I guess. I'm partial to geldings - not as crabby as mares generally, and not as cocky as stallions can be.

How important are blood lines? For a first horse that you don't want to compete with? Not very, I guess. As long as the animal is sound and healthy you should be good.

What to look for? A horse that matches your skill as a rider and your personality. One that is healthy, sound, and patient.

How long is the process of buying? As long as you want it to be.

Is it a bad idea to get a green horse? For your first horse? Yes.

What selection is available in the $500-$3500 range? With this market? Anything.

Spirited or bombproof? Bombproof

Rescue, adopt, buy, or go to a breeder? Any option.

Bad idea to get a project horse? Horrible idea to get a project horse for your first horse.

What are some good sources to look for horses? Online is a good start.

what is the average cost for monthly pasture boarding? Not sure. I'd guess 300 for basic care?
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post #5 of 6 Old 10-21-2013, 09:08 PM
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Howdy and welcome to the forum . As you said, there are a million and one questions that a potential new owner will have so I'll mostly just address the ones that you asked about specifically.

Originally Posted by PinkPoloPonies View Post
... eg: what breed is right for me,
Any breed you want. Nearly any breed will have horses that suit your purposes...or even a mixed breed. Personally, I'd keep my options completely open and go check out any horse that strikes your fancy regardless of what breed they are.

what age,
For a first time owner, I always suggest something a little bit older, like 7+, though some folks say 10+ is a good guideline. Generally speaking, a horse that's over 7 has been going under saddle for at least 2-3 years and should be relatively experienced by that point.

what sex,
Again, that's all personal preference, though I would advise against a stud . I prefer geldings myself because they are generally easier to get along with than mares, but there are a lot of folks who love the heart and attitude that come with mares. That's something you'll just have to find out for yourself in time.

how important are blood lines,
If you're not looking to compete or breed in the future, then bloodlines mean absolutely nothing. For an average pleasure rider, just about any horse that's good tempered with good training will suit their needs fine. Most my horses are mutts and I wouldn't love them any more if they were papered and bred out the wazoo LOL.

what to look for,
That is something that you'd need to take up with the trainer that you're working with. They know where your strengths and weaknesses lie in your riding and would be able to tell you if the potential buy would fit with your ability and desires.

how long is the process of buying,
Depends on the seller and how quickly you make up your mind. I've known buyers who took their time with each horse, going to try them out on numerous occasions and in different environments before making a decision and I've known buyers who walked onto the property, saw the horse, rode the horse, paid for it, and took it home that day. I've also known some sellers that were very reluctant to sell to just anyone so they would ask the potential buyer to come several times, they would check out the buyer's property, etc just to make sure that the horse ended up somewhere good. So, the buying process can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few weeks.

is it a bad idea to get a green horse,
Since you've got a trainer and are not a brand new rider, then I can't say that it would be a bad idea, but I probably wouldn't encourage it either. BUT, I don't know your ability or the caliber of horses you've ridden in the past. If you have experience with green or less than finished horses, then a greenie might be just the ticket to save in the budget...providing you've got the ability to help them reach their potential. If you've only ever ridden lesson or school horses, then a greenie might be a bad idea.

what selection is available in the $500-$3500 range,
In this day and age, with the market like it is here in the US, you can get anything from a piece of crap outlaw to a well schooled and experienced horse in that price range. Generally speaking, the more expensive the horse, then the better it should be...but that's not always true. For that reason, whenever you start going to try horses out, I strongly suggest you take your trainer with you as they'll have a more experienced eye to spot drugged or problem horses.

spirited or bombproof,
This is something that's a personal preference as well. Myself, I prefer something in the middle; a horse that's got a good mind and is trustworthy and calm, but has personality and fire as well. A horse that will calmly go in any gait I wish on a loose rein but has the ability and willingness to jump from a standstill directly to mach 3 if needed with the touch of a leg. Some people like a horse that's moving out and going fast all the time, other folks prefer an old plodder that wouldn't spook if a bear jumped out of the woods and licked him on the nose.

rescue, adopt, buy, or go to a breeder,
Again, personal preference. Horses are so readily available at this point that you can find a good one just about anywhere. So, I'd look in all those places.

bad idea to get a project horse,
IMHO, the same applies to this as it does to buying a green horse.

what are some good sources to look for horses,
There are several websites designated for horse buying/selling like,,,, etc. Craigslist can also be a good one if you can sort through all the crap on there to find the gems.

I prefer word of mouth advertising. Talk to your trainer, check out the posting board at the local tack store or feed store, etc. Talk to other horse friends and see if they know what's out there. Just take a look at the horse that MHFQ got just a few days ago...all through word of mouth advertising.
Well, this addition makes 14 my new girl Bailey!

and what is the average cost for monthly pasture boarding?
This I can't tell you since I'm so far away, but you should start calling around to boarding barns in your area just to see what kind of price you're looking at. That may sway your budget as far as what kind of horse to look for or what price range to look in.

Any advice or opinions are greatly appreciated, thanks for reading!
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post #6 of 6 Old 10-22-2013, 08:43 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you all so much! Great advice! I'll be sure to consider all of it when I start looking;)
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horse advice , new horse owner , what do you think?

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