Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: North-Central California
• Horses: 0
What Avna said. I am relatively new to horses and just bought my first horse today. I've spent many, many hours researching in lots of different ways in order to figure out exactly what sort of horse would be best for me. There are so many things to consider before you even get to the point of asking a seller questions, or even talking to a seller.
First, make sure you and the horse are well matched in terms of experience. If you are a novice rider, like I am, you want a horse that is well-trained and not overreactive. You want a horse that you can ride with confidence, because being confident will improve your relationship with the horse. For me, that meant a smooth enough ride that I was not in fear of falling. For you, it might be something different.
Once you figure out what you think you want, you should go out and ride some of these horses in order to decide what it is you *really do* want. For example: I thought for a while that I knew what I wanted, then rode some horses that convinced me this wasn't really right for me. I thought I would be willing to "settle" for a rough ride but decided, after experiencing some very choppy trotters, that I really did want a gaited horse. Your needs and wants will be different from mine but it's important to ride some horses and narrow down what you'll enjoy from a horse.
Finally, be careful. There are lots of bad sellers out there. I spent months weeding through online ads and discovered that, if I'd respond to someone's ad, I'd often get a message from someone else warning me to stay away from the seller because they were known to be dishonest. One woman tried to sell me a horse that she claimed could "do everything" and I received a message from someone else who told me she'd just bought that horse at auction the weekend before and couldn't possibly know all that about him yet. This stuff goes on ALL the TIME and you need to make sure you have experienced people in your corner to steer you in the right direction before you make a costly mistake.
Finally, when you really are ready to ask questions, ask the majority of them while you are watching the seller ride the horse. Have her do things like flap her arms while on the horse's back to see if it spooks. Make her run the horse through all of its gaits. I looked at a horse and the seller was afraid to canter him. I'm not going to buy a horse that the seller is afraid of!
Finally, don't get hung up on looks. I ended up with a really pretty horse, but looks were the last thing on my list. Get a horse that satisfies your most important riding criteria and one that won't kill you. Well-broke is more important for a new rider than anything else.
Hope this is helpful. Horse shopping became an obsession of mine for a while, but putting the time in to do it right will make the end result very rewarding. I could not be happier with the mare I finally chose.