Questions to Ask When Horse Shopping? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 04-27-2010, 08:18 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Redondo Beach, CA
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Questions to Ask When Horse Shopping?


I'm looking for a Quarter Horse to purchase, and I am going this weekend to look at a few potential matches, so I am compiling a list of questions to ask about the horse. This is my first horse, and first time horse shopping, and I want to be as thorough as possible.

If I like what I see/ride, I am planning on taking my instructor with me on a second trip, as well as get a vet check, before I agree to buy.

Here is a little information about myself that might help:

I am a novice rider, looking for a well broke horse QH that I can use for pleasure trail riding and also for practicing trail (competition) with the possibility of showing western pleasure with my instructor.

The horses are being described as very broke, confidence builders for beginners that have great handle, neck rein, move off the leg, and back up. Both are geldings.

Very short descriptions, I know. I suppose it doesn't matter much until I ride, as the seller can promise the world in an ad.

The horse doesn't have to be competition ready, as long as the basics are there. I am hoping the horse and I can hone our show skills together

Any shopping tips and advice is appreciated. Thanks!
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post #2 of 21 Old 04-27-2010, 08:41 PM
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: , Australia
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I would ask how they are in traffic! i had a friend who bought a horse and they said used on trails but when she got her home she found out this only meant bush trails and the horse had never been in traffic' if you are a novice a bombproof horse in traffic is essential!!! also ask that they not catch the horse before hand so you can see it being caught or if stabled see the horses behaviour in the stable. see the horse have all its feet picked up try and touch the horse in as much places as possible to see if anything sets the horse off. Always get the rider to ride the horse first!! then ride the horse yourself and make sure you really test the horse out many horses will do a few laps of an arena find until they get bored then things can get interesting.. all the normal stuff also how they are with other horses' what there like around feed time' trailering. there are all basic things that i would ask but being your first buy maybe i have been able to mention something you haven't been told to look for yet... :) very exciting good luck :)
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post #3 of 21 Old 04-27-2010, 08:51 PM Thread Starter
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Actually, it didn't occur to me to ask them not to catch the horse ahead of time. Very good point.

Being accustomed to the traffic is also something I will definitely bring up, because I live in and will be riding in an area where you have to cross traffic to access different trails.
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post #4 of 21 Old 04-27-2010, 09:46 PM
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Orange County, NC
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Try and ride the horse in the ring and on the trail, alone, and with at least another horse. Those are all different situations for a horse (especially riding alone) and they all react differently. You should be able to ride an experienced trail horse alone without the horse being nervous, spooky, or herd bound, and in a group, the horse should 'get along with others' (e.g. no fussing/kicking).
Handle the horse as much as possible, e.g. handle the feet, pick the hooves, groom, saddle, lead in hand, etc. to see if there are any obvious bad habits.
Load the horse in a trailer.
Look at the condition of the feet and find out what the horse is being fed. These are the two areas that can make the difference between a low maintenance, easy keeper, and an expensive, high maintenance horse.

On the sixth day, God created the Quarter Horse.
On the seventh day, he Painted the good ones.
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post #5 of 21 Old 04-27-2010, 09:57 PM
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Location: Ohio
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*Has she ever been shown
*Has she ever been taken on trail
*Has she any shown any type of aggression towards certain horses
*Ask if it would be okay to have a vet check, even if you don't plan on getting one. Watch their reactions closely.
*Pick up their feet!!!!!!
*Ask what farrier they use
*Ask if they're current on shots
*Ask if you can take her on a trial period
*Ask about bad habits
*Ask why they're selling
*Ask why the price is the way it is if it seems unreasonably high or low
*Load the horse before aggreing to buy him and have the horse clipped (just his bridle path or something to make sure he really does clip if the owner says he does)
*Take the horse on a ride alone and with another horse. If she avoids taking a horse with her that's already caught or something, ask why she's not taking him along, as this could tell whether or not the horse gets along with mares, for example
*When I went to look at Molly for the second time the other day, the owner told me to ignore her and pretend Molly was mine. So I caught her, haltered her, lead her in the barn, cross ties, groomed her, picked her feet, rubbed her all over, tacked her up, loaded her in the trailer, etc. I reccomend this as it can tell you so much if the owner's hiding something
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post #6 of 21 Old 04-27-2010, 10:25 PM
Join Date: Feb 2010
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oh just a quick note i noticed equiniphile mention to ask for a trial period if they say no to this it does not necessarily mean there is anything wrong with the horse as i do not allow trials on horses i am selling or i should say i don't allow them to leave the property until they are sold... I bad rider can stuff a horses training pretty quickly as well as teach them bad habits so i like to be able to see the people handling the horse and riding just in case they do something i don't agree with in which case they arn't the right buyer! not saying you are at all but as a person who has sold horses a few times you always protect your asset.
you may find you can trial the horse as much as you want but it's not to leave the property were its kept this should be an acceptable outcome to asking to trial the horse. in my opinion anyway
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post #7 of 21 Old 04-27-2010, 10:46 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Redondo Beach, CA
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It is hard to find places that allow you to take the horses on a trial, and understandably so.

However this seller does have a policy where I can take the horse for a 10 day trial for $200. If I purchase the horse, that money goes toward my purchase price, if I decide the horse isn't right, the $200 is considered a rental fee. Being a novice, I think this will be VERY helpful, and I find the fee very reasonable.
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post #8 of 21 Old 04-27-2010, 11:02 PM
Green Broke
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If there are multiple people there, ask both of them the same questions if you can get them apart.

I went to look at a "bomb-proof" quarter horse and when the guy hopped on to show me what he could do, his daughter was busy telling me that Mr "bomb-proof" hadn't bucked anyone off in over 3 weeks now! Considering that the guy had just told me that the horse hadn't been ridden in about 2 weeks... I ran from that one!
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post #9 of 21 Old 04-27-2010, 11:05 PM Thread Starter
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Delfina... You gotta love kids. They are always so honest. I would run too!
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post #10 of 21 Old 04-27-2010, 11:23 PM
Green Broke
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Yeah, it was one of those situations where things got worse and worse the longer I was there. Brand Inspection? Oh I didn't *need* a brand inspection you see..the vet drew a lil picture of the horse when he did the Coggins and that's good enough ('till the first cop stopped me!).

Oh and bring your saddle with you, you'll find out if it fits and more importantly, you won't be standing there looking at a ginormous 18" saddle with stirrups that are a good 2 feet too long because that's all the owner has (well he did offer me his kid's 12" saddle.... I'm not THAT small!).

If the horse is housed with a friend, make sure you get to separate him/her. I also looked at a lovely mare who apparently had NEVER been away from her buddy to the point where she screamed the entire 20mins we were gone and her buddy was SO upset he beat himself against the metal corral panels until he was bloody and practically unable to walk.

Tie the horse and see how that goes.... looked at yet another lovely mare who flipped out the second she was tied. Owner insisted she'd never done that before....

Take your time, I probably viewed 25 nightmarish wrecks of horses, 5 - 10 decent ones and only a couple that were actually what they owner claimed they were before I bought my horse.
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