How Do You Base Your Decision to Buy a Horse? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 25 Old 01-21-2020, 09:42 AM Thread Starter
Green Broke
Join Date: Jun 2014
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How Do You Base Your Decision to Buy a Horse?

This thread got me interested in buying horses:

When I was 11, I was allowed to buy my first horse. My parents knew nothing about horses, so much that they didn't even know that perhaps it wasn't wise to let me choose the horse. But it worked out great for me because I knew exactly what I wanted and I was going to keep looking until I found it. I probably looked at over 20 horses. Every time I tried one, I'd say, "No, that's not it." When I finally found my perfect horse, I knew it within 10 minutes of riding her. Being just a kid, I thought everyone bought horses that way.

We moved when I was 14 and I bought another horse--same thing--lots of looking, immediately knowing when the right one came along. And so on, throughout my life. I just assumed that all horse lovers came by their horses that way.

When the internet got popular, I started searching for a colt on the computer. I wondered if I could pick one from a photograph. The pictures posted of my Chorro were horrible, but I knew he was the one as soon as I saw the photo. When he was delivered, he was so stunning and lovely, I almost wet my pants. A hundred times more wonderful than I dreamed.

After years of reading Horse Forum, I have discovered that everyone does NOT buy horses by intuition, in fact, it appears that very few people buy their horses that way.

I am wondering how many of you on Horse Forum buy from your gut and how many buy with your head. How may have discovered that your gut is wrong? How many have never been wrong when buying (like me)?

I might add that I DON'T have the same success picking men. I am rotten at picking men. Is it better to be great at picking horses . . . or men?

Last edited by knightrider; 01-21-2020 at 09:53 AM.
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post #2 of 25 Old 01-21-2020, 10:01 AM
Green Broke
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When I was young there was a horse trader that lived not too far from where I lived. He knew my Grandpa and my mom- he would drop off horses here quite often and we would have "a new horse(s)" to ride for a few weeks or a few months depending on the horse. We also had our own horses here - but my sisters and I rode a lot and showed in 4-H. We all learned to ride what we had and make the best of it. When I was in 8th grade I purchased my own horse with my own money - I was tired of sharing with my sisters. I purchased on looks and budget alone. I spent $250 on a paint/Morgan cross barely broke. Loved that horse! Most of my purchase decisions have been based on budget and proximity. The last horse I purchased was in 2016 - where I purchased 2 - the first I found on the internet. I was in love with her color and her build - but she was 7 hours away. I spoke at length with the owner via email and phone - asking all of the right questions Height, training, health. I did not have a PPE done because her vet had just been there and she released everything to me. We drove those 7 hours to pick her up (April 2016) and when we pulled in I knew I had been misled. The 15H horse tied to the hitching rail was actually about 14.2 maybe 14.1. Her feet had not been trimmed in lord knows how long and she was so obese she had rolls. I literally got back in the truck and cried - the owners son convinced me to ride this poor mare and I did long enough to have her trip and fall onto her knees rolling me off into mud and wet earth. We got back to the barn and I told the owner who had just shown up that I was not interested and that the horse was misrepresented. We got in our truck and left. I cried as we headed out. The owner called me and offered me the mare for a significantly lower price and I felt so sorry for her we turned around and loaded her up. She was a lovely little mare and slimmed down and was coming right along and then she broke her leg in the pasture in August 2016 and had to be put down. Once I started looking again I vowed to not look for looks but for temperament etc. But my budget was seriously low. We looked at many horses and had many disappointments - one lady kept replying to my wanted add stating I needed to come look at her horse. I kept refusing because the pics she sent were not at all the kind of horse I wanted. Finally when we had exhausted all other options we went to see this mare. The couple that had her were in their 70's had purchased the mare at auction 2-3 years prior and never ridden her. They had a small indoor and I rode her - her gait was absolutely to die for! and she never put a foot wrong. The homeliest horse I had ever seen - but in my budget and had a nice gait. So I bought her. Tillie Mae is still here today and I love her to pieces. So I guess I buy with my heart!
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post #3 of 25 Old 01-21-2020, 10:03 AM
Join Date: Oct 2010
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I'll answer the last question first...better to be able to pick the right horse than the right man! Horses are more expensive

My first horse was a pony. Bought him with my money at 10 yrs old. I and my best friend were out riding in the country where her pony and horse lived. We saw a bay pony tied up to a tether in the ground. Being righteous kiddos, we marched up to the place and informed the (adults) that it was dangerous to tie up horses that way and they needed to put him in an enclosure immediately.

Well, they replied the pony was for sale. So I asked the man to ride it for me. He got thrown three times and refused to get on again!

I did not get on, but told him the pony was not worth what they were asking, and offered him $75.00. The man said yes, we went home (this was a Friday or Saturday) and returned the next day with the money.

I brought a bridle with me and hopped on bareback. My friend was mounted on her pony. So I got thrown twice on the way to the stable, and walked the last mile.

BO gave me a saddle to use, told me it needed cleaning up. I carried it home to clean it up, and my mother blew her cool when I carried that dirty saddle in the front door...

My dad took me back to the place the following weekend to return the pony and get my money back, but they had moved out! House was empty and they left a goat. We gave the goat to the neighbor and returned home. I was allowed to keep the pony

He was great, but eventually I ran out of money and had to sell him. Was so sad

Pretty much buy what I can afford, and turn it into the horse I want. Sometimes shiitake happens, and the horse is not fixable, but otherwise they have all been good horses!
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post #4 of 25 Old 01-21-2020, 10:03 AM
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I think "Can this horse do any of the things I need a horse to do?"

Most are for the ranch string. If they don't work there, will they jump? Chase a polo ball? Gymkhana? Make somebody a steady and smart trail horse?

And I have picked up a few just to get them out of a crummy situation and figured out something later.
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post #5 of 25 Old 01-21-2020, 10:16 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Southern California
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I have just been uncommonly lucky with my horses. I know right away if this one is worth taking a look at. There are a lot of horses that along the way I was not able to take, and wonder what happened to them.
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post #6 of 25 Old 01-21-2020, 10:25 AM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Vermont
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I've only bought 2 horses in my life. I agonized, rationalized, overthought, took advice from people I should and shouldn't have, but for me sitting in the saddle told me everything I needed to know. Either I was comfortable, or I wasn't. I'm too nervous a rider to be on something that doesn't make me feel like I will live to ride another day So I guess that means mostly heart with a healthy sense of survival instinct!
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post #7 of 25 Old 01-21-2020, 01:24 PM
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Texas
Posts: 2,205
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At 13 I bought my 1st horse because she was pretty, affordable, and came with delivery; thankfully it worked out.
Bought my 2nd horse sight-unseen at my trainers insistent urging; still my favorite horse of my lifetime so far.
I learned how to identify, buy, train and sell high quality horses while working for a trainer/breeder, then took a decade break from horses completely.

Started shopping for a well-started 4-5 yr old as my re-entrance to the horse world in 2013. Tried at a few nice prospects after viewing hundreds of sales videos, but couldn't get my mind off a Craigslist ad for a ridiculously cheap but well-bred yearling who was not at ALL what I wanted or needed. There were no butterflies in my belly when I went to see this scruffy, unimpressive, hip-high, lazy little thing with a blocky head and mischievous eye - but my mind kept screaming that he was the one. He's matured into a really attractive horse, and is a quick learner with a smooth ride. He is also an extremely high-maintenance A-hole, lol. We've been through some schtuff but I still don't regret my diamond-in-the-rough/complete-whim purchase one bit.

~MsSmartNShineyChoice, 2017 AQHA mare~
~RIP my beloved Reserved Cash & Lark~
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post #8 of 25 Old 01-21-2020, 01:37 PM
Join Date: Oct 2010
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If a horse has a good head, can work with the rest. I generally prefer a smart, hotter type horse.

I too have taken in some horses just to get them out of a bad situation. I can't do that very often, but sometimes the heart rules
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post #9 of 25 Old 01-21-2020, 02:15 PM
Green Broke
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When I started looking, I knew I wanted something young that I could start from the ground up. I did not want a few things though, no Paints, and no chestnuts. I honestly wanted a solid bay TB. When I found Rodeo's brothers photo I was interested, emailed the owner/breeder and began chatting. Soon after she told me she was selling his full brother as well, who was a year younger. I asked for the pics and was done looking LOL.

Not sure if many of you remember, but he was hideous! I actually posted on here asking for opinions on buying him and was given several opinions, 99% of them being NOT to buy him and to pass as he had several conformation issues he just wouldnt outgrow. As usual, I did what I want and bought him. Best decision Ive ever made!

When I bought my daughter's horse Ace, I pretty much got tired of looking online, went out, hopped on him, and loaded him up and took him home. My daughter loved him from the second she saw him, of course he wouldnt get on the trailer, so he remains in WV.

Squishy I let my daughter pick out, she thought he looked like a unicorn lol, has worked out great overall!

Bella, I actually wasnt planning on buying, a group of broodmares came up for sale, I went to look at a short, stocky chestnut overo, and came home with Bella.

I have found going with your gut, for me, has worked far better than going with my head!

2010 APHA gelding Rodeo Time
2005 APHA mare Aces April Dawn
2018 rescue pony gelding Squishy
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post #10 of 25 Old 01-21-2020, 02:21 PM
Join Date: Feb 2019
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I often buy at auction/production sale so I evaluate the horse prior to the auction for health, soundness and temperament. I try to have the various consignees send me video prior to the auction so I can evaluate collection and behavior under saddle. I am usually buying to train and resell, once in a blue moon to get a horse out of a poor situation if I think the horse is worth it. That one I sold last fall was one of those. Normally I would not have taken on a horse of that age and size but he was such a gentle soul I knew he could have a much better life if I just brought out the kind of horse he wanted to be. Once in a great while I get a dink but I cut bait as soon as I realize they are a dink and just sell them in the loose horse sale at the next auction. I think the longest I have kept a dink horse is two weeks after I found out how bad he could be when asked for anything more than a walk. That case was just me trying to get said sky climber's papers so he would go for more at loose horse auction. The guy I got him from couldn't find his papers so he sold grade. I only made maybe $400 on that horse after you factor in vet bills and feed and such. I like to get them as 3 or 4 year olds and train on them for a year or two and then resell them. I get my personal using horses at auction as well.

Anything worth doing, is worth doing well.
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