Buying a Horse
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While boarding a horse away from home may cost more per month, there are advantages. First of all, someone is always available at a reputable stable to keep an eye on horses and for assistance at all times. Secondly, you do not need to worry about feeding and cleaning stalls daily, unless you choose a self-care option in return for less expensive board.
It allows you to take vacations without the need to find a trustworthy horse-sitter. Thirdly, you do not have to worry about building and fence maintenance or insurance on the farm property. Lastly, most public stables also provide. The more you know about horses, the better your chances are of finding a suitable horse and enjoying it. Honestly evaluate your horse knowledge and expand it if necessary.
Free information is available from the Equine Science Center at esc. Visiting horse farms and talking to professional horse people is an excellent way to learn more about the industry. Certain times of the year are better than others for buying horses. Prices are least expensive in the winter, but the selection is limited. If you are inexperienced in purchasing horses, ask a professional horse person or a veterinarian to assist you. These animals are usually advertised by word of mouth, on bulletin boards in tack shops, in County 4-H offices, in local newspapers, but most often on Internet websites.
Check all of these sources and ask your equestrian friends to keep their eyes and ears open. A very popular method of buying and selling horses is on the Internet. There are many popular websites which allow you to search for horses of a certain breed, age, location, discipline, price range, etc. Often you can get a good feel for why the horse is being sold and if it would be suitable for you. Sometimes you must register or pay a fee to use these websites, but it is money well-spent. Just remember that not all sellers are completely honest about their horses; never buy a horse sight-unseen from the Internet.
Can You Afford to Own a Horse?
Reputable breeders and trainers are other good sources for obtaining a horse, because most build their reputation by word of mouth and repeat customers. Prices may be higher, but to the novice the extra dollars spent initially are well worth it. Here you may be able to take a horse on trial, but before you do, get all of the conditions of the trial on paper.
Horse auctions are widespread, but very risky. This is a place for a trained eye, and even then finding a nice horse may be questionable. It is very difficult to try a horse and examine it at an auction, and often little is known about its past history, personality, or health records. If you decide to attend an auction, take along a professional horse person.
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Horse dealers are another source of purchase. Many are honest and try to match the right horse with the right person. Not all, however, are scrupulous. Unless the dealer has a good reputation, gives a money-back guarantee, or has exchange policies, the novice buyer is advised to look elsewhere.
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Once you locate some suitable prospects, start screening them over the telephone to save time and money. Remember, ask questions and be honest with the seller regarding your needs, riding ability, and expectations from the horse. After you have narrowed your prospects, you will want to see and try the horse. If you are a novice, take a professional horse person with you.
The first point to consider in evaluating the prospect is its disposition and level of training. As soon as you arrive at the farm, begin your critique of the horse in question. The horse may have a beautiful disposition, but if it is untrained or improperly trained, it can be dangerous. On the other hand, all the training in the world cannot change the disposition of a naturally ill-tempered horse.
Observe the horse as the seller approaches and opens the stall door.
7 Tips for Buying the Right Horse
Does the horse appear with its ears pricked forward, calmly awaiting the handler, or does it charge the door with pinned ears? If the horse is in the pasture, is it caught easily? How does the horse react to, and interact with, the other horses in the pasture? If you intend to transport this animal, question the seller about its trailering manners. Once the horse has been caught and haltered, observe its motion while being led.
Is the walk sure-footed and even, with each foot striking the ground with the same amount of force? Note any indication of stiffness or lameness. Never accept the excuse that new shoes or recent removal is the cause of lameness. Look for kick marks on the wall, uneven floor wear near the door, which denotes a pawer or weaver, or signs of chewing, which denotes a cribber. Stable vices keep a horse unfit both physically and mentally and are often impossible to cure. While the horse is standing on level ground, ask to see the horse groomed to observe its habits when handled.
At this time, check its basic conformation and look for signs of blemishes or uneven wear of the feet and shoes, which may signal unsoundness. Observe its action as it is led to and away from you, both at a walk and a jog. To find out if the horse is suitable for you, try handling it yourself from the ground first.
Lead it, brush it, and then ask to assist in saddling and bridling. Does the horse accept the bit and tightening of the girth readily? If you cannot tack it up yourself, there is no sense in proceeding any further. Assuming that the horse has been tacked up, ask if you can observe the seller riding the horse. At this point, check on limb soundness, respiratory ability, smoothness of gaits, and manners under saddle. Does the horse move with a long, free-flowing stride? Is the horse being ridden with all types of additional equipment such as martingales, curb chains, and side reins?
If so, the horse may have some bad habits. Is it responsive to your aids in a pleasant manner? Does it respond quickly and readily?
After you have ridden the horse in the ring, take it on the trail, in open fields, past cars, bicycles, dogs, etc. If you have progressed to this stage and are still interested in the horse, thank the owners and leave the farm for a critical evaluation of the animal in your mind and with your professional horse person.
If you are still interested, go back and ride the horse several times, preferably at different hours during the day. After shopping around and deciding on a likely candidate that fits your criteria, ask a veterinarian to perform a pre-purchase exam. These exams range in cost and in the services that they provide. Depending on the type of horse and the purchase price, a qualified veterinarian will be able to advise you on what should be done, i.
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Seven Rules for Buying a Horse
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8 rules for horse buyers - The Horse Owner's Resource
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