By Fiona Stone
In shopping for a horse there are a few basic rules to meet success. Do yourself a favor and read this guideline if you want a smooth transition into your next purchase of an equine. All buyers interested in horses are interested for different reasons. The most important thing you can do for yourself is know yourself. Knowing yourself will ultimately lead you to understand what you need to aim for in finding the “right” horse. For instance, if you have never owned a horse before don’t buy a untrained horse or a young one for that matter. The market right now is such that you can find a well broke experienced horse for a good price. Also understand a horse will not train you, you need to find someone to help you learn how to become a good rider and a responsible horse owner. A well trained horse makes this transition a lot smoother if your new at being a horse owner.
Here are some steps to go by
1) Figure out exactly what you want in a horse. Figure out the breed your aiming for, the level of training you want them to have, their age, their past experience, mare or gelding, and what you want to do in the future with this companion. If you are buying your ten year old daughter a pony will the pony still fit her in four years? Will she be able to compete with her like friends when they all have quarter horses? What is in her best interest now and in the future.
2) Start looking around to see what meets this description. Look locally, look on the Internet, ask a local barn that specializing in your area of interests.
3) Once you find a prospect start asking questions. Lots of questions. Past history, vet check-ups, how they do in a trailer, how do they respond to a bath and most importantly how often is this horse worked with? How do they respond to vaccines? What do they feed him or her? Are they in a pasture, a stall, a horse facility. What do they do when they are in a stressful situation? Bring a friend that is horse savvy with you. This is important, because it will give you a different perspective.
4) Make the owner ride the horse first and watch how the horse responds and how the owner complies with the horse. Ask the owner of the horse to load the horse in the trailer just to see how the horse responds. Pick up the horses feet. Lead the horse around at a jog to see how they respond. Then if your comfortable take a ride yourself, but wear a helmet. Have a friend video tape it and if your concerned about anything take the tape to a respected trainer and ask them what they see. Suggestions they might have?
5) Ask for vet check. It is worth the investment. If you buy a horse and it ends up lame in a week your “new” horse won’t be worth as much as you paid for it. Also it will allow you to see if the previous owner has been up to date on teeth floating, trimming, ect. It will also give you a little time to really think about the decision your about ready to make. If the horse passes with flying colors I would recommend having the vet back out to give the horse it’s vaccines and worming it before it’s transported. You will be responsible for the bill so be prepared for that.
6) Ask the owner of the horse if they have sold any other horses in the two years. If they have get the name of the buyer and call them to see if their transaction was positive. Ask if the owner was honest about the horse.
7) If everything lines up then this is the one. I might wait a few weeks to make sure the vaccine becomes active and then it’s time for safe transport.
8 ) Prior to pick up ask if the horse comes with anything. A records book? A halter (do you need to bring your own), a blanket, anything? So you are prepared when it’s time to pick the horse up.
9) Once your horse has been purchased. Ask for all their vet records. If their vet has them ask for a waver so you can access them today and in the future.
10) Have the owner fill out a bill of sale and get a signature and date. Head on down the road. You got yourself a pony!
Understand that you can not predict everything when you buy a horse. That you can only do as much as you can to ensure that you made the most knowledgeable decision possible.
Fiona Stone of StoneRidge Farms
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