Who doesn’t like a lovely face? All horses, in my opinion, are gorgeous. My boyfriend enjoys impersonating me when we see a horse, so I’m sure I get a little more enthusiastic than others!
Purchasing a horse is a significant financial commitment, and not everyone is prepared for it. While most of us would love to have our own horse, there are several factors to consider before making a purchase – horses live a long time, require a lot of attention, and can be expensive to maintain. It can be a difficult task, especially for first-time home buyers. So, here are six things to think about before purchasing a horse.
Where am I going to keep my horse?
That is an essential question. Horse owners have several options, including boarding at a livery or housing the horse on their own property, each with its own set of benefits and drawbacks.
Depending on where you live, boarding may be scarce in your area, necessitating commuting time (which is related to point #1).
Many places also need you to care for your horse on a regular basis.
Choosing a boarding facility for your horse can be a difficult balancing act between time, distance, and expense, as well as compatibility with your goals.
If you board the horse on your own property, however, you will be responsible for all of its needs, including veterinarian care, training, exercise, and feeding, even during the winter months when turnout may be insufficient, or during rainy seasons.
However, when it comes to purchasing a horse, I don’t allow my emotions get the best of me. There are some important factors to consider, and they go far beyond how gorgeous he’ll look in the matching numnah and ears I’ve ordered from Premier Equine.
Here are our top five considerations when purchasing a horse.
The reason you’re purchasing a horse
When purchasing a new horse, you must be extremely clear about your objectives. If you only want to show jump, limit your search to show jumpers for sale.
This may appear to be a basic and obvious concept, but there are far too many horror stories of equestrians purchasing a horse with the potential to perform what they desire, only to have it fail miserably. If you plan to show jump, a dressage horse with’scope and potential’ to jump should not be on your list of horses to look at.
Stay away unless you’re really experienced or truly want to do some dressage. Yes, most well-bred horses can turn their hoof to numerous disciplines, but adopting that route merely raises the chances of getting an inappropriate horse.
My heart melts for steel greys, and every time I see one, I have to fight the want to write a check right then and there!
However, I keep my goals in mind and think with my head to ensure that I find the best fit for me.
Take into account your riding abilities.
Take a long, hard look at yourself in the mirror and be completely honest with yourself. Even if I won the jackpot and thought I’d be the next Pippa Funnell, buying a 4* international event horse would be a mistake.
That’s not to say you can’t have lofty ambitions! The majority of equestrians seek to enhance their riding skills and take lessons from instructors to do so.
Instead of buying a horse for where you want to be in five years, look for one that will take some time to grow into but will make you feel safe and confident riding. You’ll be able to step up your game together next season with a little aid and support.
Of course, if you’re content with what you’re doing, purchase a horse that matches your present level of ability. I’m fine with doing some cross country and competing at the BE 80 level (BE 90 if I have my hip flask with me…).
I look for horses that can help me get to that level, and unhappily, the purchase of my 4* international event horse has been put on hold indefinitely. Consider your budget before purchasing a horse.
Can I afford to buy a horse?
Horses are expensive creatures, and while spending time with them is extremely fulfilling, it would be a deception to claim that it does not cost a lot of money.
This includes tack, feed, veterinarian expenses, emergency provisions, training, exercise, transportation, and any other requirements that an animal may have.
Even if you already possess horses, it’s always a good idea to be sure you can afford another one without breaking the bank; otherwise, you could end up in a bad scenario.
If you have huge aspirations for the future but don’t have the money to make them a reality, this one might be a kick in the teeth. Unfortunately, as with everything else in life, you must consider your budget as well as the initial purchase price while making a decision.
Depending on what you do, the annual operating costs of keeping a horse can vary. Yes, eventing is a money pit that will drain your savings, but what else would you do in your spare time?
So, once you’ve assessed your goals and abilities, plan your budget wisely. If you’re an experienced or gifted rider with a limited budget, consider younger horses. Up to a certain age, the more experience a horse has, the more expensive it will usually be, but young, unknown horses are often less expensive.
Alternatively, an experienced rider on a tight budget may wish to hunt for a horse with a peculiarity or a flaw that would turn off most buyers but that you can work around. These horses have a significantly smaller pool of possible purchasers, which frequently results in a tempting discount.
If you’re like me and content competing at the lesser levels, budget management is more important. Maybe you can afford a £20,000 horse (I can only dream! ), but it doesn’t imply you should. It’s critical to do your research and check online for horses that meet your requirements.
If one is significantly more expensive than others of its kind, it’s generally not worth it or appropriate for you. But, let’s be honest, if it’s a steel grey and I’m out shopping, it’ll be a struggle!
Do I have the time to care for a horse?
This may appear to be an unusual question, but it is crucial. Horses require consistent exercise and care to flourish, and not everyone is able to make such a commitment. This also ties up with other areas (see below) where we talk about where you’ll board the horse and whether you’ll be able to commit to being there regularly enough.
If you don’t have enough time (and how much time you have depends on your ambitions, whether it’s simply for fun or riding professionally and competing), it might be better to lease or co-own a horse rather than buy one, as this will allow you to share responsibility for the horse with other people. In any case, it’s something to think about.
You can use your leisure time to train a horse
If you are not a full-time equestrian, you must be realistic about how much time you will have to devote to riding the horse you intend to purchase. Balancing a work, a relationship, and, dare I say, a social life with caring for and riding a horse is no easy task!
The amount of time you will spend riding is critical because some horses require more instruction than others. If you can only ride once a week and on weekends, buying a four-year-old isn’t the best decision.
Producing your own horse is a beautiful and incredibly satisfying goal, but young horses take a significant amount of time. Individual training sessions might be brief, but they must be repeated on a regular basis. Without it, you’ll struggle and may wind up with a misbehaving horse because it isn’t getting the necessary work and development.
What kind of horse am I looking for?
This includes everything from attitude to discipline and breed.
What kind of horse do you want, and, more importantly, what kind of horse do you require and can afford? While everyone would love to own an international champion show horse, having such a horse (which will cost a lot of money) solely for weekend hacking would be excessive. Worse, it’s critical to balance your objectives with your reality: your talents and capacity to handle the horse and its demands.
This also pertains to the personality of the individual horse.
A schoolmaster horse (one used in riding schools, or an older, calmer, and more patient horse) is preferable over a furious young stallion for a beginner or inexperienced rider. This also applies to breed, as some are normally calmer than others, and should impact your decision as well as meet your aims.
If you’re too busy or don’t have the assistance to ride or train your horse on a regular basis, it’s a good idea to purchase a more established horse. Some horses are content with being rode twice a week, but these are usually the older, more mature horses.
The proximity to amenities and the presence of a well-kept yard
Access to the correct facilities and a yard that suits your new four-legged buddy is just as crucial as choosing the right horse. If you’re serious about eventing, having to travel for hours every time you want to train cross country or not having a manège at your yard to do some dressage isn’t going to cut it.
It is critical to acquire a stable for your future horse at a yard with facilities that meet your needs. Most will require a small deposit if a stable is provided for free, a minor fee that is well worth it in the long run.
However, there is always opportunity for improvisation! My yard, which I’ve had for many years, only had lights erected around the manège last winter. Prior to that, working full-time made weekday schooling in the winter nearly impossible, until I realized I could mount portable construction lights on a jump wing in each corner of the school. That provided me enough light to go horseback riding after work!
Where will I purchase my horse?
Purchasing a horse can be a difficult procedure, and it is preferable if you find a reputable seller. Whether you buy from a riding school, a horse dealer, or a private individual, each option has advantages and disadvantages.
When possible, however, it is advisable to buy locally, especially for new owners. Not only will a local vendor be easier to reach, including when it comes to transporting your horse, but it will also be more likely to have a well-established reputation in the area.
Before purchasing your future companion, investigate the seller’s background: track record, comments from others, reputation, and so on. This reduces the possibility of interacting with dishonest, untrustworthy sellers. It’s a good idea to start by frequenting and asking inquiries in Facebook groups like unscrupulous horse dealers.
Inspect your possible purchases thoroughly
This is a critical step before finalizing a transaction.
Always have a reputable veterinarian properly examine the horse, obtain medical records, and study its behavior.
Before purchasing, always ride it or have some touch with it.
This way, you won’t be startled by a horse that appears to be sound but isn’t, or by a horse with behavioral issues.
Don’t start with an emotional statement.
While liking the horse is an obvious reason to buy, it may turn sour if the horse does not fit you or is more than you can handle safely.
While caring for a horse is pleasant, certain animals may prove to be too much, whether in terms of health or behavior.
Be honest with yourself about what you can handle, and make sure your final decision fits what you expect and require.
There is no such thing as a perfect horse, but with time and effort, you can find one that is a good match for you.
You will be able to make an informed and mature decision if you follow these guidelines. Congratulations on your purchase!
Some needs are absolute musts, while others may merely necessitate some creative thinking. It’s up to you to decide what you’re willing to live with.
Purchasing a horse is one of the most significant events in horse ownership – and the decision will be with you for a long time!
The horse you choose impacts your experience from the start, influencing how much fun you have in the fascinating world of equestrianism. That is why it is critical to take the proper measures before reaching a final decision and spending money.
We hope you found this blog helpful and learned something new for your next purchase. Please share your own thoughts and experiences in the comments section below – we’d love to hear them!