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How To Purchase A Horse - The Mind Set
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How to Purchase A Horse - The Mind Set

How to purchase a horse and wind up with a great, well broke one is something horse lovers all want to know - and should know - like the back of their hands.

All too often we've seen, or heard of, or been the victims ourselves of a sour deal in which that feeling of joy at having purchased what we thought was our dream horse quickly becomes a nightmare. X dollars later you find yourself with a horse you can't ride and perhaps one you now cannot sell. If you do manage to sell it, it’s for far less than what you paid. You feel like a fool for being had, and your confidence goes out the window particularly if you are a novice or beginning rider.

WHERE TO BEGIN

So where do we begin to know what to ask, what to look for, and how to verify what is accurate about horses for sale in ads, auctions, or where-ever we may find them? Well, they don't use the term, "horse trader" when referring to a con for no reason. The fact that there exists many, many honest and fair folks working in the horse selling business is no reason you should not be on your toes and aware of the scams and general misinformation out there. If you are not savvy on spotting underhanded or irresponsible tactics you may as well have a big "SUCKER" sign painted on your forehead in bold letters.

How to buy a horse is one of the most important things you need to know as a horse owner. Even if you currently own a great horse, there may be a time when you decide to purchase another horse, or need to help a friend or family member purchase one.

SHOULD I BUY A HORSE?

First of all, ask yourself whether or not you really need to buy a horse. Make sure you can afford it. Horse of Course offers some great pointers to take into consideration before you answer that question.

WHERE TO BUY A HORSE

Once you've answered "yes" and are ready to begin your horse shopping, make sure you are looking in the right places. There are some places that are notorious for getting horse buyers - particularly the novice ones - in a great deal of trouble. It doesn't mean these places will never get you a good horse, but the odds are against you. You really need to have experience with horses, or have someone with you who is experienced to advise you, before you begin your search in some areas. You also need a list of what you want in a horse as well as a checklist of questions to ask. Read on and I will provide you with a link to a great checklist to use.

  • AUCTIONS

We've all heard of that great jewel someone found in an auction. You know, the dead-broke, child-proof horse purchased for a song. I've heard of those. I've never seen them. In fact every single horse I've known about that was purchased this way ended up having some serious issues. In a few cases the horse finally ended up with an experienced, confident rider willing to work with all the horse's issues. In most cases the horse simply went from owner to owner as each desperately tried to cut their losses before a rider was seriously injured.

The bottom line is a well-broke, truly child-proof horse is valuable. People are willing to pay a decent price for such a horse. So why bring such a horse to an auction? Why do folks go to auctions? That's right, to get a good deal for far less money than they would have to pay otherwise. Ask any trainer. It takes a lot of time and skill to get a good horse well broke and safe enough for the novice rider. You don't turn around and bring a horse like that to an auction unless the auction is for a good cause; such as a benefit or other extenuating circumstances. You do, however, bring a problem horse or a horse with medical or lameness issues to an auction to unload it. That doesn't mean a seller is trying to deceive you. It does, however, mean that you have to remain on your toes and that you need to ask a lot of questions any time you are considering a horse and especially so at an auction.

  • ADS; ON LINE & PRINTED

Advertisements are a good source for information. Again, using a checklist, note down which ads are possibilities and weed out those that don't meet your criteria. Do not let the pretty picture fool you into wasting time on a horse whose description does not fit your "needed & wanted" list. You will just be wasting your time and the seller's time.

Call on the horses you want to go see. Each time you go to see a horse, make sure you have a good, experienced rider with you if you are a beginning or novice rider. In fact, whether you are experienced with horses or not, it's always a good idea to bring someone else with you. Two sets of eyes are better than one and help to ensure anything of concern about a horse is spotted by at least one of you.

Make sure the seller or someone representing the seller tacks the horse up, and rides it in all gates. Most horse owners will do this without your even asking. If a horse has issues such as bucking or rearing, those issues may not raise their ugly heads until the horse is asked to canter.

NOTE: If the seller or someone representing the seller will not ride the horse and expects you to get up on it and ride it first, walk away and scratch that prospect off your list. Go on to the next horse. If the owner is to too frightened to ride the horse you know there are issues about the horse the seller is not revealing. Thank them for their time and move on.

  • WORD OF MOUTH

Some of the greatest deals are found through the horse-world grapevine. This can be the best way to purchase a horse. Many times the horse isn't even being advertised. It may be that it is a great horse but the owner can no longer afford to keep it. The horse may have been owned by a teenager who is now going off to college so - rather than sit idle and unused - the horse needs to be sold. There are such gems out there to be found. Just make sure you still follow that good-old checklist I keep harping about to ensure you get a good horse and not one that has sat around un-ridden for years and/or one that has health or soundness issues.

NEVER BUY A HORSE WITHOUT USING A CHECKLIST

Please, please, please have some kind of checklist with you. A great one I recommend is at Equine Legal Solutions where you can print a down-loadable copy. If you follow this list, or one similar, you will go see the horse, ask the right questions, see the horse ridden, ride the horse yourself, and get it vet-checked. These steps are necessary in order to protect you from investing in a horse that is not right for you. Believe me; if you haven't experienced buying a horse you can't enjoy, you are fortunate. Stay that way by checking your emotions at the barn door and staying focused on what you want in a horse. Well-broke horses are out there and - despite what some people may tell you - they are well worth searching for. So don't go for that first "pretty" one that someone says "just needs time and riding" or some such thing, unless you are someone who is looking for that in a horse. Then, by all means, give it a go.

Trust in your instincts - not your emotions - and the advice of experienced horse people representing your interests and a good equine vet. Be persistent and you will find your ideal dream horse.


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