Buying your first horse is an exciting and nerve-wracking experience all at the same time! Taking the leap into horse ownership can be daunting however our step-by-step guide should make it a little easier to know what to expect!
- We advise you to take someone who is well experienced in buying horses with you to any viewings with any potential horse. If possible get them to ride the horse on your behalf and give feedback on what they think!
They will be able to feel how the horse moves and reacts to their aids as well as being able to see/feel any issues such as stiffness. There are professionals who can search and source horses based on your criteria. Have a list of questions ready about the horse’s current work schedule, routine, history, any known issues, reason for sale?
- A genuine seller will be happy to allow you to try the horse, see it be brought in from the field and ridden or handled in a variety of situations. Beware of someone who will not handle or ride the horse themselves and who does not have a rider available to ride the horse for you!
- It’s advisable to have the horse vetted as well to check for potential issues. Don’t be afraid to walk away if it’s not right for you, but let the seller know your decision.
- Look through pictures and videos of the horse and do your research! Is the seller a dealer or a private seller – what are their reviews like? How do the horses in their care look, what is the yard like – a good clean tidy yard with well kept animals is more likely to be a decent seller who knows the horse well. Sometimes a quick social media check can unearth a lot about a horse’s history or the seller.
- Be honest about your ability, do you know the basic horse first aid and common ailments/stable management/handling techniques and how to establish good ground manners? Are you experienced handling a variety of horses on the ground?
Are you able to ride a variety of horses in a range of situations – it’s great you’ve mastered riding around the arena on the local riding school ponies however can you ride out independently on a hack, various terrain/ground conditions/on the road and around the arena without a lead horse or instructor telling you what to do?
School ponies are usually well used to their job and a mixture of riders whereas most privately owned horses are a bit sharper and not so used to a wobble – there are many very genuine and kind horses out there who are happy to accommodate a lapse of confidence or a wobble however there are also a lot of horses who need a rider who is able to push them on or help them out and it can be a recipe for disaster as the horse and rider feed off each other’s nerves.
A horse who is unsure of what’s expected can escalate very quickly to a “problem” horse if left room to wonder what’s expected of him/her. This can also be the case from poor management – overfeed which leads to excessive levels of energy, ill-fitting tack, overgrown teeth, lack of turnout, turning for home that’s not corrected etc – each horse is an individual and what suits one may not suit another!
- Horses are a very expensive, time consuming and a long-term commitment! An old saying goes – CHEAP, GOOD AND SOUND. If you want it CHEAP and GOOD it won’t be SOUND. If you want it GOOD AND SOUND it won’t be CHEAP. There are of course the odd exceptions but this is a good rule to go by.
A horse is not cheap to produce by the time you’ve paid for livery, stud fees, feeding, vets fees, dental work, breaking and training as well as the time and love that goes into producing a good horse with a well-rounded life experience that is suitable as a first horse.
Be realistic about your expectations, the initial outlay of actually purchasing the horse is only the first part! Can you afford to appropriately care for the horse long term (livery, vet fees, dentist at least once a year, insurance, bedding, feed, equipment, transport?)
If you are interested in seeing what horses are currently listed with The Horse Empire, visit our Horse for Sale section