What You are Looking for in a Horse
have three or four things in mind such as age, soundness, size,
and disposition. It really depends on your riding ability, where
you are looking to go with your new horse in the future, and your price range (more expensive horses have more to offer!). This is
a good time to analyze your expectations and question whether they
are realistic. The best way to do this is to go to a horse sales
site (such as dreamhorse.com)
and see what your “perfect” horse typically sells for;
rather than just looking for horses within your price range, pretend
that you have your choice of any horse regardless of price. Average
the prices of all the horses that appear in your search to give
yourself a good idea of how practical your expectations are.
for a Horse
see one that catches your eye and meets your requirements carefully
analyze all the information available to you; look at all the available
photos, read the description, and watch all the short videos. If
you don’t feel that you have enough information available
to you e-mail to ask for more. This is good feedback for sellers;
they need to know how useful their websites, descriptions, and other
media are to you. Create a detailed chart showing all the potential
candidates that you have screened with owner contact info, location, and asking price.
Accurately Describe Your Riding Ability
to tell the seller how many years you have been riding, how many
lessons you take each year, and what types of horses you have been
riding or have owned. It is never a good idea to exaggerate your
riding ability. You don’t want a seller to tell you that a
horse is quiet when it isn’t; don’t tell the seller
that you are a very experienced rider if you aren’t. My site
offers a Rider Evaluation
to see how compatible you will be with the horse you have in mind.
This is a very general way to correlate your riding experience with
the patience and potential of my horses.
Order a Video
seller work to sell their horse; DO NOT DRIVE to see any horse until
you have seen a video. If you see a horse that you could consider
buying take this opportunity to ask questions not addressed by other
media that you have studied. This is also a good time for you to
describe your riding/owning experience and what your goals will
be with your new horse. It is unethical and perhaps even illegal
to sell a horse to someone if you know that it can’t physically
meet his or her specific needs. Some sellers will be glad not to
consider ethics if you haven’t described your goals for the
horse. I like to know how the horse will be cared for and if you
will provide a good home. This is a very important time for you
because this is the time that you try to be the favorite potential
buyer. Later on when you fall in love with the horse the seller
will be much more willing to negotiate if the seller knows that
you will provide a wonderful home.
Watch the Video with Everyone You Know
that you watch the video(s) the better that you will be prepared
to ride the horse. It is usually a good idea to show the video(s)
to all of your knowledgeable horse friends. Watch it with you
trainer, farrier, vet, and anyone else you know who can offer
you some insight on how well the horse will work for your goals.
Call to Schedule an Appointment
Be clear with the
seller about what you
are looking for in a horse and discuss your trainer’s thoughts
on the video(s). You will get directions to the farm at this time.
Some sellers do not give you their address over the Internet without
first speaking to you over the phone, due the risk of horse theft.
After speaking on the phone about the visit you should get directions
via e-mail so that they can be very specific. Mapquest is not a
usually a good idea for traveling to see a horse (especially with a trailer), as you may be driving into rural
areas where roads may not be consistently marked; you may need directions
that say “turn after the tan house with the red barns”
in addition to mileage and road signs.
come to try the horse you should bring your own saddle, boots,
and helmet. You will probably not need a bridle, girth, or saddle
pad; these are usually personal items specific to horses like our socks
and underwear are to us! When visiting the horse at the barn,
ask questions about how the horse might behave in your own barn
and how quickly he may adjust to your schedule. This is a good
time to look over the legs and feet. If you see an old injury
feel free to ask how it happened and how long ago. Keep in mind
the things on your list and don’t
pick at the horse too much. Pointing out each and every blemish
on the horse makes the seller feel as though you are preparing
them for a lower price; this may damage your status
as the favorite customer. You should offer to tack the horse up
yourself and to ride it first; this is the only way you will get
an idea of what it will be like when you own the horse. If you
are uncomfortable riding first ask the seller if the horse can
be longed or ridden until you work up your courage.
Once you are riding continue to ask questions and to talk about
your ride, give the seller an idea of what you would like to
do next so that you can get instructions or the jumps in the
arena can be moved to suit your needs. If you are more of a beginner don't be affraid to ask the seller to give you a riding lesson type of experience; most would be happy and willing to do so. Don’t
be shy, you drove a long way and have a right to get a really
good feel for how the horse will behave under your riding. If you would like the seller to get on to show you other
things that the horse knows and to also give you an idea of what
the horse looks like from the ground don't use all of his energy on your ride!
If everything goes well give the seller a general idea of when
you will be in contact again. If it didn’t go well, usually both know it, but it is still nice to send a note of thanks.
your price research and now do a search for how similar horses
are priced to determine if your potential new horse is overpriced.
You should only try to negotiate with the seller if they have
suggested that they are willing to compromise on price, you
truely believe that the horse is over-priced, or if you feel
that the seller really likes you. It is never a good
idea to threaten the seller by telling them that you will find
another horse if they don’t
negotiate. Sellers know that you were shopping in a given price
range because you can afford it. You know how many horses you
will be looking at in the near future and sellers know how many
people are looking at the horse. You should never trust that
you are the only one interested in a nice horse; keep in mind
that if you like the horse someone else probably does/will too.
the Horse on Trial
If you had
a good ride and liked the horse ask to take it on trial as soon
as possible. DO NOT purchase any horse without a minimum trial period
of three days; there is absolutly no reason not to allow a trial
period! If the seller can't trust you, why are they selling you
their horse? Trial periods: 1) keep you at the front of the line,
2) prevent the horse from being shown to other customers, 3) allow
you more time to get to know the horse and/or get it checked over
by your vet, farrier, and trainer. You should get an insurance
policy and may have to pay a deposit as well as sign a contract.
Needless to say, you should care for the horse very closely to how
he would be cared for at home. This means feeding the same grain,
supplements, and similar hay and providing similar turn out. Sellers
love to hear from you during the trial period; send a few e-mails
to tell how the horse is doing.
Make a plan
to pay for the horse on time so that the seller doesn't have to report the horse stolen.