Shopping for a Horse!

Before anyone gets excited…

Its for a friend…

I promise.

Don’t get me wrong, I would not say no to another horse, not that I would ever sell Eva but, you know, I think she would love a sibling…

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Well … maybe not

(But in all seriousness I do plan on getting a second horse in 2020 for various reasons, and of course it would be a second horse because I would never sell Eva as she is my first horse)

Anyway I have been speaking a lot to my friend recently about buying horses as she was on the look out and now has just successfully bought her first horse! I am so excited for her and her future with this horse!

So I thought I would write about the important points that you should really be considering when you are looking to buy a horse.

  • Know you budget!
    • Obviously the initial cost of buying the horse
    • Plus all the up keep as well; the livery, tack, rugs, feed, insurance. Work it all out so you know exactly what you can realistically afford.
  • Where are you keeping the horse and does the yard you are looking at, or currently at, have space?
  • What are you wanting to do with this horse ?
    • Hacking – You are maybe looking at a confident horse who maybe isn’t highly schooled in fancy dressage moves or jumping high but is quite happy going for a wonder by themselves.
    • Schooling – If you only have a school to hand you perhaps want to look for a project, something that needs time to mature and develop.(This was very much Eva when I bought her.)
    • Competition – This is were you are looking for a horse that has possibly already been out a few times and has coped well with the experience. You are either looking for a been there done that or a baby who has taken to work well and ready to be produced.
    • This is also probably the deciding factor in what breed of horse you would probably go for as well. Something hot blooded would probably not suit a hacking home, but you never know, every horse is different at the end of the day.
  • What age are you looking for ?
    • This is a massive factor in the experience of the horse. I hate saying this – I really do – but this is also were you might end up with “other peoples problems”, by that I mean if the person was perhaps tight through their shoulders and by doing that created tightness in the horses shoulders, you will then have to spend time undoing that. I am speaking from experience here, Eva learnt “if I throw a tantrum I get out of work” therefore I have spent a lot of time teaching her that if something is difficult throwing her toys out the pram is not the option to go for.
    • However in saying the above, if you are perhaps an inexperienced rider and don’t know how to bring on a younger horse, buying a horse who is a little older and knows their job and has been well looked after and will look after the rider while doing there job might be exactly for you!
  • Height of the horse ?
    • Lets face it I am about 5 ft 10″ and while I am not particularly over weight, I am also not skinny either I have a reasonable amount of muscle therefore what with my height and weight taken into account anything under 16hh would not suit me for seriously riding.

Now its time to get shopping !

Next question, where are you going to look?

  • Social media
    • Facebook is becoming far more common to find and buy horses. There are probably several groups focusing in buying and selling your area.
  • Dealers Yards
    • The idea of them is great. You tell them what you are looking You go and ride a few horses. There are ups and downs of these yards, not something that I will go into in this post
  • Word of mouth.
    • If it is your friend or instructor word of mouth is generally a reliable source.

Now, going for the viewing …

  • Bring someone with you!
    • It can be very hard to keep level headed when there is a horse that you are considering buying in front of you.
  • Arrive on time
    • It will be frustrating for the owner if they are waiting around for you to arrive.
  • Have questions ready
    • It will be frustrating for you if you are driving away and think of a question to ask afterwards.


One last thing..

Remember to bring your helmet!

6 thoughts on “Shopping for a Horse!

  1. Couple of extra things to add to the list –
    When looking for a ridden horse always make sure you see the seller riding before you jump on and try him out for size.
    I strongly advise people to pay a second visit preferably with much notice or warning. Appreciate this is a pain in the arse for sellers and to be honest I hate people rocking up unannounced but be that as it may I would still understand if it concerned a horse I had for sale. Lot of dodgy people drugging horses and ponies so they look like placid, laid back and safe as houses.


    • Yes I agree but hopefully you have seen some sort of recent evdience of the horse being ridden first if thats the type you are looking for. I bought my mare without seeing the owner ride as the owners didnt ride and I was schooling Eva for them.
      The drugging is an issue to be mindful of when buying however if you are traveling a decent length to see a horse you might not have the opportunity to see the horse a second time without it becoming costly, in which case you would have to go with your gut feeling of if the person seems trust worthly or not.


      • It’s probably impossible to cover everything..Having spent most of my life in the European horse world, and moving to the US a few years ago I’ve noticed a huge difference, in about every aspect of having a horse. Through the years I’ve owned a number of horses in Europe, having my horses insured was not even a question. It was a necessity, along with a pre-purchase vet check. While here in the US not one hobby rider that I know have there horse insured. I havent had any horse insured here either. Your post covered a to of helpful things. Looking forward to reading more posts!


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