To Go Out and Buy a Horse Part 1
Buying a horse for private use is a journey of choices and disappointments. It is, nevertheless, a very serious business and one must accept that any horse chosen will eventually come to dominate the owner’s daily routine. Unless one is fortunate enough to be able to afford to have the horse kept at full livery, then on the morning of every day in the future, the first commitment is to go up to the stable, to check the horse and to let it out into the paddock. Owning a horse is a full time hobby and a regime which puts especial stress on any individual who also has to earn a living to pay for that horse. It is fair to say that keeping a horse costs about the same on a yearly basis as running a modest car and that does not include the capital spent on buying the animal. One should then take into consideration that an unsuitable horse costs as much, if not more, in money and effort than a horse which is fit for purpose. It is undeniable that buying the wrong horse could eventually lead to serious injury or even death. Horse riding is a risky sport in which the mutual compatibility of rider and horse is a paramount factor in matters of safety. So for several reasons the choosing of a horse is a very complicated business and one fraught with the potential for disaster. It is absolutely essential that the horse eventually acquired is fully “fit for purpose“.
What has to be countered is the considerable amount of emotion, sometimes ill conceived, which is involved in both the selling and the buying of the animal. Emotion has a tendency to distort common sense.
The reasons for Sale:
For the seller, there will usually be a pressing reason why the horse has been put on the market.
From the buyer’s point of view the most acceptable reason is that the owner cannot afford the thousands of Pounds or Dollars it costs each year to properly maintain the creature. Yet, rarely is the seller’s lack of funds quoted as a reason for the sale.
A slightly less attractive scenario is when the owner has lost interest in the horse or as is often the case the owner has lost confidence in his/her ability to ride and control the animal. To the buyer, the discarded horse presents a bigger problem than the unaffordable horse, because it is probable that the discarded horse has been neglected which in turn could well present more problems to the new owner when bringing the horse back into work. However a buyer might consider him/her self, rightly or wrongly, to be a better horsemaster than the previous owner.
The third reason might be that the seller is competitive and wants to move up a gear in competition circles. A change of horse might bring about a better chance of success.
Then comes a sale provoked by the rider simply wanting to give up horse riding for health reasons. The horse may well have been neglected and for some time.
Then there are the dealers, some of whom are open about their trade and they can be helpful However many of the semi professional dealers adopt more devious tactics and they try to disguise their status by adopting various ruses. Buying from a dealer, professional or amateur, revolves more about money and less about the suitability of the horse.
The breeders generally speaking sell most of their horses as young stock, often through auctions prior to the backing process. Breeders don’t necessarily have the patience or the skills required to school a horse. Buying young stock involves starting from scratch with a horse.
Finally comes the sundry reasons which obviously vary significantly from horse to horse.
But whatever the reason for the sale, it is important for the buyer to know what has happened previously to the horse especially over the proceeding year and what exactly is, or could be, the real reason for the sale. Horses which have passed through several owners hands in short succession will call for sensitive handling. There undoubtedly will be an underlying and good reason for the horses being passed from pillar to post. It remains for the potential buyers to suss out from the seller a believable scenario as to why the horse has come to market. Don‘t believe or disbelieve everything you have been told - just make a note of the conversations with the seller and try to check with third parties as to whether what was said was the truth, an exaggeration, misleading, the half truth, incomplete or totally untrue.
Never ever was the expression “caveat emptor” - buyer beware more appropriate than when buying a horse. Bear in mind that this expression is written in Latin, so get some idea of how long horse dealers have been in business.
To be continued/-