Finally! (aka the horse buying delima)
OMG I'm finally ready to start horse shopping! I've been waiting for this since high school, wait scratch that, since I was 8 years old and took my first riding lesson (though technically I've had a horse since then). After making it through school and getting a steady job, I've finally got my budget squared away and found the perfect place to board. All I need to do now is find the perfect horse! I'm both thrilled and terrified at the same time.
We had rotten luck with horses when I was a kid, hence the reason for my parents refusal to continue to support my horse habit. And while I have plenty of experience riding over the years, I've nearly no experience with horse buying. I know this is a huge commitment and I don't want to blow it on the wrong horse. I've got a pretty solid idea of what I want, and I have all my horsey friend on the look out for me. But I'm still scared I'm going to make a mistake. I suppose I'm just gonna have to dive right into the process and hope the more experienced people around me will guide me in the right direction. I know my equine soul mate is out there somewhere, I just have to get out and find him(or her).
Oh and any tips you guys might have would be greatly appreciated as well :)
Congratulations on reaching this milestone. I think I would only say that if you have a trainer whose opinion you respect, then I would bring him/her with you to look at any serious prospect. That's number one.
And sleep on any decision, at least one night.
Look for soft eyes (but not "doped" eyes) and a horse curious about its surroundings,interested. Deffinatly get a vet check with a vet you trust and yeah, bring a trusted trainer :D Good luck!!! Maybe browse your local rescues just to see if something good ended up on the bad end of things :wink:
Step one is to determine exactly what you want your horse for and at what level of training you want it at.
If you are not sure what you are shopping for it makes it much more difficult to find what you want versus finding something that is cute that ends up not being what you actually wanted.
Step two is employ someone who knows what they are doing. That could be a good friend who knows their stuff. That could be a trainer. A second set of eyes that will tell you, "No, Ink, I know this horse looks way cool but I do not think you two are a good match" and you will listen.
Do you have a trainer who knows you well? you said you have a lot of experience, but is there someone out there who knows what your future goals are? It's great to hear someone not set a specific breed or even gender in mind from the beginning. It sounds like you are very open already, to what it is you may end up being the right horse for you.
1) You have to evaluate your riding experience first. Can you bring a young, green mount up to what your goal is? or find one that can take you to what your goal is?
2) What is it you want to actually do? how high are you hoping to get into that discipline? is a trainer getting you to that point? or are you going to be doing it on your own?
1. NEVER go look at a horse who has anything you don't want in it. I don't know about you but I get attached to those big brown eyes and don't wanna let go. I have almost made the mistake of buying one of them, even though the horse would have been a terrible match for me.
2. Never bring a trailer, or money, when you go see a horse. Sleep on it, and think hard on it.
3. Never trust the seller. ALWAYS test what they say, and have them SHOW you what the horse can do. No matter how nice they seem, don't take their word for it.
4. Always pay attention to weird behavior and follow your gut. Ask plenty of questions. Horse looks awfully skinny? Could be that they underfeed him to keep him calm for a quick sale. Also people drug their horses, watch for the signs of that. (And yes, I have had that happen to one of my family members, horse went nuts as soon as they got it fed well).
5. Know what you are looking for before you go looking.
6. Go prepared with questions to ask, pertaining to things you are looking for. (For example, you want a horse with good feet. Ask the owner how often the feet are trimmed, if the horse has ever foundered, worn shoes, etc. Also observe the feet and write down your notes)
7. And probably my number one rule: make the person bring in the horse from it's natural pasture, or stall. Watch them do everything from catching to saddling to bridling. If the horse is tacked when you get there, red flag. Ask the owner to un-tack the horse and start from square one.
There are things called "buyer sheets." If you search the forum you will find some very good ones. Its a great way to organize the information you receive when you go look at a horse and to remember to ask all the important questions.
Thanks guys! I've got a lot to think about. Unfortunately I just switched trainers a few weeks ago. I really like the new one, but she mainly does dressage and eventing. I've been enjoying the dressage but it's still pretty new for me, and not really sure yet if its something I want to pursue hard core. So I'm wanting to start out with an all-around horse that I can swap from western to english and just play around with in general. Doesn't have to be fancy, just a as long as he's decently well put together and broke enough that I'm not gonna have a rodeo on my hands every time I get on, I think I'll be pretty happy. Besides, I can always get a dressage horse to go with him if I decide it's something I really want to get into. After I get a couple pay raises and/or win the lottery lol. Anyway, point of that little rambling is the all-around stock type horses I'm wanting to look at aren't exactly my new trainer's specialty. I do however have a knowledgeable friend that lives a couple hours away that I will try to drag along with me if the horse is close enough in his direction.
Which brings be to my next question. How do you go about getting a vet check for a horse that's 2-3 hours away? Is that something to put in the contract that I could return the horse if the vet check is unsatisfactory?
You do not usually take the horse until after the vet check.
If your vet (the one you plan to use) will not travel to that area then hire a vet in the area the horse lives in for the PPE. Do not use the horse owner's vet if you can help it.
Have you talked to your trainer about your horse buying desires and what you want? She may be willing to offer an opinion (for a fee I assume) on any horse being suitable for what type of horse you are looking for. Just because she does the dressage thing does not mean she does not about a good all around horse.
Eeek I'm going out to see a horse today! My trainer won't be going with me unfortunately, but she says she thinks I've got a good eye and enough knowledge to make a good decision. She also told me to take lots of pics and video so I can show her when I go out for my lesson tomorrow. I'm gonna keep my fingers crossed, because this mare is pretty much everything I'm looking for. Wish me luck!
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