Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: New South Wales, Australia
It's great that you've started posting here, it's a great resource. Welcome!
As you can see by the varying responses, it can be really hard to give advice online just because people here don't know your situation. In face to face contact so much information, not just spoken but observed, is passed between two people.
To make up for that online it's usually a good idea to try and give some context to your question. A little background about you, about your experiences, about what you want to do can make the world of difference in answers!
And if you don't get the responses you like, remember that they are responding to what you wrote, not who you are because we don't know you are. If in doubt, look over what you write and think "If I knew nothing about this person what would this question make me think?".
As far as your questions go, my money saving tip, and this might sound like a weird one, to save money spend more on your initial purchase price. Basically don't cheap out when buying the horse - save money later on pasture board or self care.
Trying to buy a "bargain" horse is almost guaranteed to get you something that isn't quite right. It could have health problems which quickly get very expensive. Or it could be not trained enough for you, or not experienced enough and require a lot of time and effort, and probably the hiring of trainers, to make the horse suitable.
In general, people do not sell good horses for cheap. If the horse is priced under market value in any discipline, age group etc there is almost always a reason why. Buying a horse is not the time to take risks. If you have a small budget, wait, save the money you would normally spend on horse care, and use to get the right horse. The right horse doesn't need to be competitive, it might just be a seasoned trail horse, but choose wisely.
With a lot of horse stuff, think things over. Buy the best quality things you can find, and that might mean second hand gear. Use the services you need when you need them, like dentist, saddle fitters, farriers etc.