Shopping Cart

Purchasing a New Horse

Posted by sharoncamarillo Admin on

Your mind is made up. The search for the new horse begins. For many, the thought of buying a new horse brings on a sudden bout of nausea and others view the process as an adventure and opportunity. This article is devoted to assisting readers with obtaining positive outcomes in the arena of buying and selling horses.

In a perfect world, both the buyer and the seller would have the horse’s best interest at heart and this generally would provide a win/win situation for all concerned. Let me explain. This requires an honest representation on the part of the buyer to identify their riding ability and their capabilities in managing issues related to the horses’ individual needs. The buyer needs to realistically identify their competitive goals and the limit of their financial resources before making inquiries. The seller has the responsibility to know the horse’s strengths and weaknesses. The horse’s current level of competition should be shared with the prospective buyer. The owner should ride the horse and the prospective buyer should also ride, both at the horse’s home and at a competition or simulated competition. If the horse and the prospective buyer’s level of expertise do not match, a responsible seller would prohibit the sale. The horse is then prevented from being purchased by someone who would prevent the horse from performing at his level of training.

This is not a perfect world and sales that create inappropriate rider and horse combinations occur every day. If the buyer or seller is inexperienced in the sales process, consideration should be given to obtaining the services of an agent.  The benefits of a reputable agent are many. The professional agent is trained to assess the skill level of the horse and the rider. Although the agent will obtain a commission from the sale of the horse, the reputation they obtain from finding the right horse for the right person is what
 provides longevity in their profession. The agent should be able to provide references from sellers and buyers they have represented. The fee for service and the agreed upon services the agent will provide, should be identified in writing. The agent will be able to obtain disclosure statements from the seller regarding competitive records, health issues and vices. If the horse has medical or specific nutritional or training requirements, a written statement is usually provided to the buyer. It is in the horse’s interest for the seller to communicate all pertinent information to the buyer. Purchasing a horse should be based on an informed and educated decision.

If the seller chooses to represent their own horse, the following are suggestions that might be found to be helpful:

  • Allow the buyer to observe the entire process of retrieving the horse from the field or stall, and the grooming and saddling process. Discuss any “quirks” that the horse may have.
  • If the horse needs to be lunged before riding, tell them so.
  • Review any individual shoeing issues during the grooming process.
  • The seller should ride the horse first. This allows the buyer to see what the horse is capable of doing.
  • The seller should remain in the arena when the buyer mounts the horse to ride. It’s in the best interest of all to remain present during riding, in the event the level of expertise of the potential buyer was not correctly identified. The most solid “bomb proof” horse can become a danger if the rider does not have the skills required. The seller should intervene and ask the buyer to step down if there is potential for injury.
  • The buyer should obtain from the seller the riding methods used in training the horse. The rider should identify if the horse’s foundation is correct. Circles, direction changes, stops, leads and lateral work should be attempted.
  • If the buyer and seller are satisfied that the skill level of both the horse and rider are acceptable, the horse can be taken to a barrel pattern. The horse should not be expected to repeatedly run through the pattern. The buyer should evaluate the elements of the pattern in terms of the Approach, Rate and Turn, and determine if the horse’s strengths and weaknesses are acceptable to them. The buyer must honestly assess if they have the resources to address any of the weaknesses the horse may have.
  • The buyer needs to ask specific questions but not be argumentative. Does the horse bleed? Is the horse prone to tying up? Has he ever had colic? Any major surgeries or illnesses? Does he have a respiratory problem? Does he require special medications? Does the seller have any competitive records? Medical records? Has the horse been x–rayed? What is the seller’s routine care in terms of working, etc.?
  • Once the initial evaluation of the horse’s performance has been made, and a discussion that addresses any medical or performance deficits has occurred, the buyer can make a decision if the horse is a serious prospect for purchase.
  • The seller can determine if they believe that the horse and rider have the potential to be successful. At that time, the second phase of the evaluation can occur. The horse can be taken to a competition or simulated competition and the buyer can “make a run.” The size of the pattern needs to be identified, preferably a standard size, and an electric timer should be available. The buyer’s other option is to ask where the horse is currently competing and gain permission to attend the competition(s) and observe the horse.

The bottom line is that full disclosure on both the seller’s and the prospective buyer’s part, results in the best outcome for both everyone involved. The financial commitment required for a flawless professional caliber horse is prohibitive to most buyers. Your best course of action is to:

  • Know your abilities as a rider and a manager of your equine partner’s health.
  • Research the prospects available in terms of your financial resources and commitment to work with, and train, your horse.
  • Know your limits and the issues that, except for a miracle, are performance nightmares.

These are keys to successful horse purchases.

By Cheryl Machin Price

Older Post Newer Post


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

©2007-2024 Rafter C Productions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Site by DK Web Design.