Buying a horse - being honest with myself - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 27 Old 07-10-2014, 03:35 PM
Join Date: Jan 2011
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Taking a horse home to see how it works out isn't necessarily a good plan as everything is new and stressful to the horse. My qh needed 6 weeks before he was settled in. Oftentimes the horse will be on it's best behaviour (survival mode) or it may be fractious. Either way it's not a true test of it's temperament.
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post #22 of 27 Old 07-10-2014, 03:37 PM
Join Date: Feb 2010
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What is reasonable is what the seller will allow, another good reason to look locally. I wouldn't let a horse go on trial as such, but I would be more than happy for someone to come out and ride as often as they liked in a set period here. I did lease to buy one mare, but that was under the clear understanding that she was kept at my trainers barn and was only ridden when my trainer was present.

It is difficult, people wont want to lease/trial a really good horse in case it gets damaged, equally they won't want to lease/trial a bad one in case you find the holes in its training.
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post #23 of 27 Old 07-10-2014, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Saddlebag View Post
Taking a horse home to see how it works out isn't necessarily a good plan as everything is new and stressful to the horse. My qh needed 6 weeks before he was settled in. Oftentimes the horse will be on it's best behaviour (survival mode) or it may be fractious. Either way it's not a true test of it's temperament.

agree...I would never do a trial. If a buyer wants to do a lease on my property for a couple weeks...I'm ok with that, but NEVER an off property trial.
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post #24 of 27 Old 07-10-2014, 04:03 PM
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Many, many great sellers will not do a trial period, so don't be surprised if the seller says no.

Make a short list. on one side "NO", on the other "must have". Should look something like this:

-under 5 years old

- a+ temperament
- Under 16hh
- lots of experience under saddle
- great ground manners

Bring whoever knows you best and will give a sincere opinion YOU WILL LISTEN TO.

run as fast as you can if you smell anything fishy. If you catch the seller telling a small lie, run, because there are likely bigger ones there too. Ask lots of questions. Don't ever feel pressured, no matter how much you love the horse. There's a good chance other people are interested in the horse, but if you are unsure, don't commit. Don't ever fall for "she's going to auction tomorrow if you don't buy her". Better to loose a purchase than purchase a mess.
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post #25 of 27 Old 07-10-2014, 05:55 PM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Texas
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People can say all they want in their ads so it really comes down to knowing how to read a horse quickly and thoroughly in the time you have to try them out to make sure they have all the things on your list. I would definitely take someone knowledgeable with you. Have the owner ride, then your trainer/friend ride, then you ride. I will video all of the rides if I can to review when I get home. I never commit to buying the first day as many people will and then the next time they see the horse is at the PPE. It is never fun to fall in love with a horse on site despite any shortcomings that you see and that you find yourself shrugging off or make yourself willing to compromise. Don't do it. Bring someone with you who you know will be honest with you and that you will listen to so they can talk you out of buying a horse you really won't be happy with even though they are cosmetically what you really want or that you simply "see the potential".

The biggest mistake I made was not INSISTING the owner to ride first which I normally always do but my confidence got the best of me and I ended being dumped into a fence. Watch the horse ride first even if you have a good feeling about it.

I like to look for horses that have been on trails at least. Nobody generally wants to take a hard to ride or disobedient horse out into the open. I usually just look for a good training foundation. Can they lunge and take direction from you or are they stubborn and going to put up a fight when asked to move off? If they insist on resisting you then they probably have holes somewhere in training. Easy walk, trot, canter, and stop under saddle. If they go when asked, stay relaxed in each gait, and woah when asked then they had a pretty good foundation. I look for a "yes m'aam" attitude and from there I can tailor that horse to whatever I want.

I had a very good experience while looking at my current mount. I rode him twice on 2 very different days: one cool and windy, one warmer and sunny. One was on a very busy day with lots of people out riding around and one was on a day where nobody else was there but us. The owner even demonstrated him being ridden around bareback in a halter on both days. The first day she got on him bareback with a halter to take him back down to his pasture and the second day she was riding him like that when we got there around all the other horses and people.

Be sure to witness EVERYTHING. Don't allow the owner to have the horse tacked up and ready when you get there. I like to see everything from the time the horse is being caught in the pasture.

The most I have spent on a horse that all had a good foundation is $2100.

Good luck! Lots of great advice here.

Last edited by PineMountDakota; 07-10-2014 at 05:59 PM. Reason: typo
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post #26 of 27 Old 07-10-2014, 06:27 PM
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Personally I would recommend an older gelding that's had plenty of experience with lots of different things. Look for a horse that's got plenty of miles under the saddle, who isn't going to see running water while on a trail and rear up and the like. (Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.)

You shouldn't need to spend thousands of dollars on a well behaved horse, especially if you're not planning on doing serious showing. A lot of people sell horses they've owned and ridden for years casually and they don't usually expect ridiculous amounts of money, unlike people who've shown and have ribbons and medals to use to their advantage to boost the price of the horse they're selling.

Take the time to think rationally over decisions. Ask the important questions. Has this horse had health problems in the past? What has he/she been exposed to while riding? Have they done trails? Shows? If it's a mare, how is she when she's in heat? There's a lot of different things to consider!

I would avoid young horses; There's a lot of temptation when it comes to the idea of training your own horse but it's not usually the best decision. I would also think twice about a horse that has spent their youth racing. (OTTB's and Standardbreds are notorious for hot temperaments, although there are very calm and sweet ones out there!)

Definitely try to find an experienced horsey person or trainer to accompany you and I would recommend investing in a pre-purchase vet check-up as well to avoid being duped! If you find yourself interested in a horse, visit a couple of times to see how you feel each time. If it's possible to see the horse ridden by a couple different people, that can be very helpful.

Long post, sorry! Good luck with your search. :)
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post #27 of 27 Old 07-10-2014, 06:42 PM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Texas
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Oh I forgot to mention all of the horses that I have purchased have been 7-10 yrs old. I find that or even a few years older is a very good time for a horse. The prime of a horse's life is 11-15 or something like that but I have seen some really nice 16-19 year old horses still going great and you can learn a lot :)
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