Before purchasing your first horse, consider a few of these suggestions.
1) No impulse buying!
It’s pretty exciting buying a new horse. Horses have captivated the hearts and minds of children and adults alike. These beautiful animals come in all sorts of majestic makes and models. But let’s be real! You need to do your research! Are you looking for an easy keeper, bomb-proof, spirited, easy going, young, old, mare or gelding, etc? Boil you love for horses down to EXACTLY what you are looking for.
2) Know what you can handle!
Most first time horse owners dream of getting a horse that is well trained, easy going and well-mannered; a horse that will not bite, kick or buck; one that is forgiving of their early blunders. However, every horse will eventually try to test the boundaries you set for them. Be sure to choose a horse depending on your experience level. If you are new to horse ownership, consider buying an older horse that is less likely to test you at every turn. Remember … Green + Green = Black & Blue!
3) Educate yourself.
Get some knowledge under your belt. Plan to put yourself in riding lessons with a reputable riding instructor. This will give you real hands on experience, as well as teach you how to establish those boundaries we were talking about. The more you are around them, the more you will learn to read the clues and body language of horses.
4) Prepare for the homecoming.
Before purchasing your new horse make sure your property, pasture or boarding facility is ready to accept your new family member. Ideally you will get to have your horse right close to you. But if not, have a reputable boarding location lined up.
Initially you will only be able to purchase grooming supplies, a riding helmet, feeding buckets, lead ropes and anything that will make your horse’s transition more comfortable. Once they are home, you will have a chance to measure and fit your new horse for a good fitting saddle, bridle, saddle blanket, etc. Picking good quality equipment should last for many years to come.
Keep in mind that wise first time horse buyer choose older horses. And older horses often need extra feed or supplements to keep them happy, healthy and strong.
6) Take a second set of eyes with you.
Bring an experienced horse owner with you. An experienced horse owner may catch something you may easily miss. When we purchased our newest horse Estelle; we brought along a fully trained Horse Chiropractor and Massage Therapist. Thanks to her expertise, we were able to pick out the candidates with body and confirmation issues before these things added to an extra vet visits. By bringing her along we were able to quickly narrowed our search, and make choose or newest family member a breeze.
7) Do the basic ground work yourself.
Ask the seller to NOT saddle them up before you arrive. Request that you be the one to groom them and tack them up before the test ride. By doing this simple hands on experiment, you will be able to learn a lot about the new horse you are thinking of buying.
Your goal is to do the following routine tasks, like catching your new friend in the paddock or pasture, with little or no fuss. Haltering them, grooming them, pick out their feet, saddling and mounting them with ease. If you go to purchase a horse; and that horse runs away from you as soon as it sees the halter, you may be in trouble when you finally get it home. Watch for clues from your new friend. Their behaviours could be pointing to underlying issues.
8) Ask for the horse’s history.
Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions. How long has the seller owned the horse? Why are they selling? Does the horse have registration papers that will be signed over to you upon the sale? How old is the horse? What kind of training have they been put through?
9) Name that team!
If you are able, request the names and phone numbers of the horse’s current Veterinarian and Farrier. Before purchasing, you can ask these professionals if they have noticed any kind of health issues.
In addition, If you do purchase him/her, your new horse is going to need regular hoof care every six-eight weeks. Having the name of a good farrier can be very helpful, unless you are planning on doing it yourself.
The same goes for a reputable Veterinarian. Keep in mind that your horse may need dental care, vaccination, chiropractic care, and emergency medical care from time to time to maintain your new family member’s health and well-being.
And there you have it… our “honey-do” list before purchasing your first horse. Good luck and buy wisely. We hope to meet you on the trail.