Buying Your First Horse

Buying Your First Horse

For some, the pandemic is a great time to consider new endeavors.  If horse ownership and/or horseback riding is a possibility for you or a loved one, consider the following:

Let’s talk a little about buying a horse and the things to make sure that you make an intelligent decision.  This is not a cheap purchase and the upkeep on a horse is not cheap either.  Make sure you are financially prepared for your horse.  Do you have the facilities to have a horse or will you have to rent a space?  Factor that into the equation.

The first consideration is your riding ability.  If you are a beginner, don’t buy a young or “hot” horse.  An older horse that is calm and has a “been there, done that” attitude would be the best choice for you.  Don’t let your heart be the deciding factor: don’t just buy a pretty horse or a pretty color.  Buy for temperament.

Have the seller ride the horse and watch how the horse responds and his temperament.  Then you want to ride the horse with your own equipment, if possible.  Take the time during saddling to evaluate temperament and to look over the body for conformation and prior injuries.   Notice how the horse reacts to you as you move around it. Is it calm or nervous?  Pick up and examine the hooves.

During your ride, start slow and go through all gaits and evaluate the horse’s responsiveness.  Ride in both directions to check for any limping.  A pre-purchase exam is always important.  This includes x-rays of legs and hooves. 

If you then decide to purchase this horse, find out what feed the horse is on as well as any supplements or medications.  If you don’t know a farrier, find out from the seller who they use if they are in the area.  Otherwise, check the internet for a farrier close to you.  Hoof trimming and shoeing are part of the normal maintenance of a horse.

You can visit this website for a more information on buying your first horse:  https://esc.rutgers.edu/fact_sheet/tips-on-buying-your-first-horse/.

Daphne Rashall

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