I bought my first one from a person who lived about 40 minutes away. I called around to some of the stables and one Barn Owner told me about somebody advertising she had several horses for sale.
My second one was more or less a rescue if someone like me didn't buy him. He was at a sale auction and I went the day before the auction. That's back when the auction place sold more to the "kill" people. I should've waited and got him at the auction.
My last horse I bought from an ad in a paper. I wanted a black and white and was going for nothing less the third time around. He lived about 1 1/2 hrs from me. Again, spent WAY too much for him. But, black and whites were hard to find at this time.
After owning them I found this to be true, the first person lied to me about the mare, the second person coudn't tell me any history about the horse since they just got him in, but, they didn't care either way, and the last person owned 60+ horses, and, he told me the truth about the horse but either didn't really know, or, lied about his true age. I was told he was 5, but, he was really only 3!
I made several classic mistakes buying horses. Too little knowledge, experience and in too much of a hurry. But, I worked with what I bought, and love them all and wouldn't trade them for another horse!
Those same mistakes made me a much better horse person. I had to learn quick!
I've bought my horses over the years from a number of different places.. Some Auctions, some friends, Even horse Traders... My horses I have now came from:
Cactus was bought from my Uncle. He had just picked her up at an Auction and brought her to me because he knew I was wanting a Paint mare to run barrel's with.
Rain was bought from a family friend, who is also a horse trader lol, but my brother had owned her before he sold her to the friend..Because when he had her I was in the process of selling one of my horses..
I was told the truth about those two.. But I have been in a lot of situations where I was lied to about the horse..Live and learn I reckon lol
Gem and Vega we got from a barn I was taking lessons at. They would get horses from out west, ship them in, train them, use them for lessons/trail rides and they were offered for sale for the entire time they were there.
I classify Gem as being a rescue considering that amount of things wrong with him and the (IMO) neglect going on with him. Vega wasn't there for too long to have any real affect with their handling.
Montana was bought through a friend of my BO. I was looking for horses for sale when she told me about him and got me in contact with his owner.
My mare was given to me by her old owners ex-wife... They had bought her and she had intimidated them by throwing everyone who got on her, so they put her in our pasture for a few years and let us feed her every winter without paying us nothing... we pulled the old 'if it's at our place for more than a month, it's ours' trick on them and then added that they owned us well over two thousand for all the time we'd been taking care of her and all the training I'd already put into her, so they just said that we (I) could have her.
For my colt, we paid a fifty dollar stud fee and then about another hundred or so in vet visits... and he was born eleven and a half months later, lol.
Over the years, including childhood, horses I have worked with have come from riding ranches, people who just stuck them in the field and wanted someone to monitor them in exchange for riding, friends, and right from the race track. They've all been very low-budget or free.
The rescues have come from a riding ranch and the track.