Buying a steed is a lot like buying a supplied car. Both take it a the majority of research, plus part experience and smart to buy strategies, to do a purchase you’ll be happy with. Use this guide and tips, emerged by equine legal experts, to get prepared for your an initial horse.

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Posted by Rachel Kosmal McCart | may 21, 2020 | Blogs, company Management, steed Care, Horses and the Law, Legal pertains to & Legislation, Recordkeeping, Sales, State & local Legalities, Welfare and also Industry, Working v a Veterinarian


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Too numerous first-time steed owners choose a equine that isn’t appropriate for them. Eventually, they obtain frustrated and also give increase on equines altogether, forever absent out on the happiness of equine ownership. At equine Legal Solutions, our whole lives are about horses. We desire to do whatever we deserve to to encourage new horse owner and assist them enjoy horses as lot as us do. So, we put together this guide to buying your an initial horse.

Buying a horse is a lot prefer buying a supplied car. Both take a lot of research, plus some experience and smart to buy strategies, to make a purchase you’ll be happy with. Like used car salesmen, horse sellers have actually earned a call as rather shady personalities who frequently downplay flaws and enhance attributes.With creatures together beautiful and sensitive as horses are, it’s simple to let ours hearts dominance our heads. However that’s why we composed this guide–to help an initial time equine buyers make smart choices.


Not for this reason Fast! prior to You to buy a Horse…

As lot as we love horses, we understand that not everyone have to own one. Not also every steed lover must actually very own a horse. Horses are a vast time commitment, and also a vast emotional and also financial commitment. Steed ownership is definitely not because that the pass out of love (or irradiate of wallet)! below are some steps we suggest taking before you decision to purchase a horse. If girlfriend don’t have an instructor (but we extremely recommend friend do!), count upon the advice the a reliable friend who is an extremely knowledgeable around horses and has steeds whose habits you admire.

Enroll in continual riding great (at the very least once a week) with a dependable trainer or instructor.Consider a complete or partial lease the a horse for at the very least six months. Leasing is an arrangement in which you pay either a solved fee or a section of the horse’s prices in exchange because that riding time on that horse. In the typical full lease, you take it over all of the horse’s expenses and care responsibilities, and also in a usual partial lease, the owner remains generally responsible for these items. Ask your instructor or trainer to introduce a leasing instance for you. Numerous trainers and instructors have horses because that lease in your barns. Equine Legal options offers steed lease commitment forms the clarify the owner’s and the lessee’s responsibilities.Only if leasing a horse doesn’t administer enough “horse time” because that you, must you consider actually to buy a horse. Deciding to buy a equine is a substantial commitment, a lot like going from owning a dog to having actually a baby.

Horse to buy Budgets

First time equine buyers often ask me exactly how much they should spend ~ above a horse. The prize really relies upon what you want to attain with that horse. If you simply want to walk out and also have fun, and maybe complete at a local level, girlfriend should have the ability to find a an ideal horse because that $5,000 or much less (with part variance based upon the local steed market in her area). If friend have an ext serious competitive aspirations, consult v your instructor about what you need to expect to invest for a suitable horse. Store in mind that your very first horse can be a “starter horse”–a horse that is safe for you and also will aid you learn simple horsemanship skills. Even if you ultimately want to contend at a national or civilization level, your an initial horse doesn’t have to be the equine that will certainly take you to the top.

Now, one necessary thing to know is that the initial purchase price the the equine is simply a small fraction of the ongoing costs you have the right to expect to incur. Below are some of the items girlfriend should budget plan for ~ above a monthly basis, in the almost right order that magnitude:

Lessons. Even if friend have currently had several years the lessons, you should plan to proceed instruction so friend can proceed to build your skills. Having an recurring relationship through a professional instructor can aid prevent problems and also solve those that execute arise, all in an setting that help you continue to be safe.Competitions. You could want to get involved in at least some modest forms of vain and/or social events with your horse, which involve entrance fees, transport for the horse, and special outfits and equipment. Consult your trainer or instructor for much more guidance ~ above this price item.Tack and equipment. When friend buy a horse, girlfriend will have actually an initial invest for a saddle, bridle, to organize supplies and also other simple items. You will likewise have recurring expenses, such as fly spray, grooming supplies, steed blankets and replacement of tools that wears out or is damaged. Ask her instructor or trainer for guidance in selecting equipment and supplies the are great quality and also long-lasting, together price is not constantly a trusted indicator that quality.Feed and supplements. Many an initial time horse buyers wisely choose older horses. Older steeds do frequently require extra feed and also supplements to store them healthy and also sound. Consult your veterinarian for an ext specific nutrition advice.Bedding. Many boarding facilities administer bedding as part of a full-care program.Miscellaneous. as soon as it comes to owing horses, there constantly seems to be some unexpected cost that arises–just component of steed ownership!

You must ask her instructor to aid you develop a realistic budget, and also ask horse-owning friends because that input together a fact check.

What kind of steed Should girlfriend Buy?

Your number one priority have to be your an individual safety. That won’t perform you any an excellent to very own a steed if you excellent it from her hospital bed! You desire to buy a steed that is well-trained, well-mannered and also kind, with a quiet, secure temperament. Your first horse have to be one that virtually anyone have the right to handle and ride. If it isn’t, equine ownership won’t it is in fun, and also it could well it is in dangerous.

Beauty is as Beauty Does

Nowhere is the old adage “pretty is as pretty does” an ext true than in the equine world! Temperament should be the solitary most vital factor in your horse-buying decision. Your first horse must be kind, gentle, quiet and also calm and shouldn’t ever kick or bite. In spite of all the great you’ve taken, you will make failure in handling and also riding your brand-new horse, and also you want him to it is in tolerant and forgiving, a gentle teacher. Even if girlfriend are keeping your horse with a professional trainer, you should easily be able to perform the complying with tasks with your brand-new horse: capture him in his pasture or stall, halter him, lead him to the grooming area, tie him up, groom him, pick out his hooves, saddle, bridle and also mount him.

Let your instincts be your guide. As soon as you walk to look at a horse, even you together a novice have the right to tell a lot prior to anyone even rides the horse! go the horse walk quietly and also slowly with the seller, and also wait patiently because that them to tie the up, or does it prance ahead of the seller or shot to usage them together a scratching post? does the horse stand still because that grooming and also saddling, or does it swing the body everywhere the place? does the horse wait quietly for the seller to tighten the girth and also mount, or go it step off simply as the seller is placing her foot in the stirrup? go it pin its ears and wring the tail, or does it wait patiently because that the seller to mount up?

Here is a very straightforward temperament test we’ve found to be a very reliable indicator. As soon as you walk to look in ~ a horse, lug a jacket v you (any type of jacket). If the seller is riding the horse, place the coat on the fence that the area whereby the equine is being ridden. If it’s an open area, place the coat on the ground. Keep in mind the horse’s reaction come the jacket–does he casually notice the jacket and also go best on by, or does the screech come a halt or jump sideways? You desire a horse to notice the jacket and even be casually interested in it, however not afraid of it. He have to go right past the jacket there is no snorting or eye rolling. Life is simply too short to have to convince your horse on a daily basis that demons space not in fact lurking behind every rock and also muck bucket.

Does dimension Matter?

There’s no perfect size horse other than the steed you feeling comfortable with. As lengthy as you have the right to mount and dismount without difficulty, and your feet are not hanging significantly listed below the horse’s barrel once you’re mounted, size doesn’tmatter also much. Store in mind the most steed sellers one of two people can’t or don’t correctly measure their horse’s height. And even if castle do, the horse’s height is just one indicator – a 14.2-hand horse might easily accommodate a 6′ tallrider if the horse is large-bodied enough. If the equine sounds perfect except for his height, walk look prior to you preeminence him out.

What Breed need to You Buy?

Much like dogs, horses have actually been selectively bred because that generations to develop details breeds with certain characteristics. Specific breeds tend to it is in quieter and more docile, such as 4 minutes 1 Horses, Paints and also many types of draft horses. Various other breeds often tend to be more spirited, such together Arabians and also Thoroughbreds. However, there are outstanding instances of quiet, docile horses and highly spirited horses in every breed. Your instructor can assist recommend the appropriate breed(s) for you.

How much Does age Matter?

When buying steeds for children, there’s one old saying that the period of the horse and also the age of the rider should add up come 20. It might not be 100% accurate, however it’s not much off, either! Adults have the right to substitute year of horse experience forage, and the same formula will still apply. Younger horse usually aren’t quiet and experienced sufficient for a first-time horse owner. Horses can live to 30 years plus with great care, therefore don’t to exclude, older equines from your search–your veterinary will be able to advise girlfriend on an larger horse’s future for irreversible health and soundness. If a equine is still sound and energetic at, say, period 15, there’s a great chance he has many an excellent years left. Some very first time steed owners dream of purchase a young steed so they deserve to learn together, but that’s normally a recipe for disaster. There’s (yet another) old saying that when equivalent horses and riders, “Green and also green equates to black and blue.” as soon as an inexperienced steed person buys a young, inexperienced horse, the equine usually runs roughshod end them and becomes spoiled and also dangerous.

Age vs. Experience

By itself, period is not constantly a trusted indicator of training and experience. You desire a equine who has actually been there, done that, well-trained and an extremely experienced under saddle. There room older steeds out over there who have been “pasture puffs” and have little riding history. First time horse owners must steer clean of any type of horse that is advertised as “needs finishing” or “green.” choose a equine that is at this time doing precisely what you want him come do. Because that example, if you liketrail riding, pick a steed that is a really experienced trail horse. Likewise, if you desire a present horse, pick a equine that is currently competing (and winning!) at the level you want to compete.

Gelding or Mare

You notification that “stallion” is not amongst the choices in the header that this section. Buying your first horse is among those times once it’s precise to say “never”: A stallion is never ever an appropriate selection for a first-time steed owner. Although over there are plenty of quiet mares out there that never present signs of being in season, many horse owners choose geldings, since as a general rule, they have tendency to be much more reliable and also less moody.

Should ns Care around Color?

In a word, no! there is one often-quoted saying that “a good horse doesn’t have actually a poor color,” and with a couple of small exceptions, it’s rather true. You may have actually your heart set on a specific color, such as a palomino or black and also white pinto, however this form of thinking will shrink the list of potential horses and may offer to to exclude, a horse that would certainly otherwise be perfect for you. Once the steed is in ~ home and you’ve collapse in love through him, you’ll think his color(whatever it is) is beautiful! friend should choose temperament and experience before beauty–every time!

Where deserve to I discover the right Horse?

You may challenge a long and an overwhelming search to find your very first horse. Everyone wants to own a horse who is well trained, so they seldom come ~ above the market. Instead, they have tendency to be passed down from child to child within a family, or among families the take lessons from an instructor. Your possibilities of detect the right horse are much, much greater in a private revenue than v an auction–here’s why.

Your instructor have to be integrally associated in your horse-buying process. Before doing anything, consult with your instructor around what her horse-buying criteria and your budget plan should be. Her instructor may even know that a equine for revenue right currently that’s perfect because that you! If not, you might want to begin your search by browsing the divide ads on her own–you can uncover them at major Internet listings sites and likewise in the ago of free publications at your regional feed and also tack stores.

There space so many ads–how have the right to you narrow under the list? begin with geography–eliminate the horses that are more than a day’s drive from your home, since you will desire to go and also see the equine in person before buying. Next, sort by age, gender and also breed. Finally, review the message of the ads and also eliminate the following:

Pregnant mares. friend won’t be able to ride before and also after the pregnancy, plus elevating a foal is no a job for novice steed people. Password words incorporate “in foal.”Horses not suitable for a beginner. If the ad says the horse needs an intermediate or progressed rider, believe it and move on.Hyper horses. password words for this include: “spirited,” “has a lot of go,” “barrel prospect,” “gymkhana prospect,” “endurance prospect,” “needs solid rider,” “needs quiet rider.”Horses the aren’t well-trained enough for you. Code words incorporate “great X prospect” or “in training for X” (where X = what you want to execute with the horse). See likewise “loads the potential,” “well started,” “needs finishing,” “ready to start,” “still growing,” and “will mature to X.”Horses that have actually health or soundness difficulties mentioned in the ad. Exception:a horse described as “serviceably sound” may work because that you, however only her veterinarian deserve to tell you for certain.

Now, What carry out You desire to check out in an Ad?

Horses with a an excellent temperament. password words come look for encompass “bombproof,” “quiet,” “steady,” and “calm.” In search functions that have a range of 1-10 where 10 is the many spirited, you desire to look because that something close come a 1 and also no an ext than a 5. Keep in mind that most horse sellers exaggerate, therefore if they to speak he’s one 8, he’s most likely really a 10–too much equine for a first-time horse buyer.Horses that room well-trained. Look because that a “proven youth horse” that “anyone have the right to ride.” Sellers might exaggerate, but at the very least you can start with steeds advertised together being safe.

Choose ads for horses that you think could be suitable, and also run castle by her instructor. Based upon the instructor’s comments, you can aid narrow her search and develop much more specific criteria, then construct a perform of horses to call and inquire about. Similar to buying a supplied car, buying a horse entails a degree of creative thinking in interpreting the message of one ad. Our “Equine heralding Translation Guide,” while meant to be funny, likewise includes more than a kernel that truth.

When friend have identified ads because that suitable-sounding equines that her instructor has actually approved, girlfriend can start calling about them and asking questions, utilizing our cost-free horse purchase checklist. Trust her instincts–if girlfriend don’t like the answer to her questions, the owner is unresponsive, or doesn’t answer her questions fully and openly, don’t waste your time by going the end to look in ~ the horse. Don’t it is in intimidated by the fact that you room a very first time horse buyer–any seller who treats girlfriend rudely or speak condescendingly come you is not someone from whom you desire to buy a horse.

Going to Look at Horses: 20 Dos and also Don’ts

Once you have actually called and inquired about all that the equines in the ads you have actually selected, walk over your notes v your instructor and eliminate any horses that your instructor does no approve. Girlfriend can continue to usage our horse-buyingchecklist together a device for assessing the steeds that you watch in person. Here are a couple of tips come sharpen your horse-buying an abilities and etiquette.

Don’t count too greatly on email–it’s often faster to do a contact then ask prolonged questions in email.Don’t begin calling about or looking at steeds in person until friend are all set to buy. Couple of things are much more irritating come a steed seller than a tires kicker.Don’t even inquire about a steed unless there’s a possibility you can buy it.Don’t look at horses that are priced an ext than 20% over your horse-buying budget, unless you have great reason to believe that the seller will negotiate the price come fit within her budget.Don’t shot to negotiate the price prior to you have even seen the horse. Wait until you have actually thoroughly tried out the horse, climate negotiate.Do call and make one appointment with the owner prior to coming the end to look in ~ a horse, and try to it is in on time. If you will certainly be late or must cancel or postpone the appointment, speak to the owner as soon as friend know. Obtaining a equine ready to present to prospective buyers deserve to be hard work, and the owner deserves your courtesy.Do make certain you have an excellent directions to the horse’s location. Mapquest can be somewhat unreliable in landscape areas, for this reason get back-up directions from the horse’s owner.Do acquire the owner’s cell phone number so girlfriend can call if you get lost.Do leave non-horsey friends and family members in ~ home, including your kids.Don’t carry your dog, even if he’s on a leash.Do make certain you wear ideal clothing, and that means jeans (or breeches) and boots. You have to bring and wear your safety and security helmet. For safety’s sake, never wear shorts, flip-flops or sandals.Do look approximately the facility. Watch what is in the trash can be ~ (tubes of calm paste?) and also what problem the other equines are in.Do have the horse’s owner ride the horse before you journey the horse. If you don’t like the horse after see the owner drive it, there’s no obligation for you come ride it.Don’t be fear of offending the owner if you decision the horse isn’t right for you. As shortly as you are certain of this, you can simply politely inform the owner the you don’t think it’s a good match and also say your good-byes. This will save both her time and the owner’s.If the horse shows up suitable, do perform every one of the tasks noted above under “Beauty is together Beauty Does” as soon as you go the end to look in ~ the horse. If friend can’t perform these tasks with this horse, it’s time to relocate on.Do carry your video camera or regular camera and also take plenty of photos and also video.Do take notes about what friend observed before you forget.Do have your instructor come out in person and pre-approve the horse before you purchase.Do speak over the horse’s price with your instructor to make sure that that or she feel the horse is priced fairly (and if not, what a fair price would certainly be).Do hear to her instructor! If the or she states a equine is unsuitable, be prepared to relocate on, no matter exactly how beautiful the steed is or how much you desire it.

Negotiating the Price

Do not be affected by the seller that tells you that another prospective purchaser is make an offer, coming out to view the steed or otherwise tries to push you into making a decision prior to you space ready. If one more purchaser does in reality buy the horse prior to you make an offer, you will find another horse. Counsel anyone accompanying you to look in ~ the horse not to talk about price or her horse-buying budget. Likewise counsel anyone accompanying you not to be too many enthusiastic around the horse in prior of the seller — save that discussion for the van ride home. Make certain that anyone accompanying girlfriend understands in breakthrough that you will certainly not buy any type of horse till your instructor has actually approved it.

Once you have established what friend think is a suitable horse, have actually your instructor come out to evaluate the horse. You need to expect your instructor to fee you for the time that the or she security in feather at steeds for you to buy. You space seeking his or her expert opinion, and also that opinion is worth paying for. Be sure to ask up front just how much this organization will expense so the there space no surprises. If your instructor does not provide of the horse, execute not purchase it, no matter exactly how much you may want it – your instructor is a trained professional and also you should trust his or she opinion.

You have the right to expect most horse sellers come negotiate top top the asking price. A lot prefer buying a used car, how much the seller is willing to negotiate depends upon market conditions (how most likely is it the they have the right to sell the horse conveniently at full price), how long the horse has been for sale, the seller’s personal financial circumstances, and, come a certain degree, just how much the seller likes you and also thinks you will administer a good home for your horse. Prior to you make any offers, ask her instructor what lock think a fair price is. If the horse is relatively priced up front, you may not also want to negotiate. Save in mind that you room not in ~ a swap meet – friend don’t desire to humiliation the seller by providing a price the is ridiculously short (more 보다 20% much less than what they room asking). If the seller i will not ~ negotiate top top the price, possibly they would agree to deliver the steed or administer some other concession that would be helpful, such as sending the horse’s winter blanket along with him. Only in unusual situations is any kind of tack contained in a equine sale, although many sellers do incorporate a halter (some states even legally require equines to be sold with a halter).

Sales Commissions

Your instructor may charge a buyer’s board of directors on any type of horses that he or she selects because that you, and also this charge may be in enhancement to, or in lieu of, any kind of fees that he or she charges to look at horses for you. Be sure to ask up front how much the commission will be. Commission rates for buyers generally run native 10-20% of the acquisition price and are generally paid through the buyers. Note that a solitary horse sale may involve two commissions – one come the seller’s instructor (paid by the seller) and also one to the buyer’s instructor (paid by the buyer).

After you have actually selected a horse, if your instructor walk not desire to charge you for his or her aid in buying her horse, consider presenting him or her v a pretty token of her appreciation, such together a gift certificate come a tack shop or restaurant, or even some homemade cookies.

DO no Buy a equine without a Vet Check!

Once you and also your instructor have determined a an ideal horse, you must make arrangements v the seller to have actually the steed checked through a veterinarian. Choose a veterinary who has actually not seen the horse before (ask her instructor for a recommendation). Both you and also your instructor have to be present for the vet inspect to listen the vet’s comments firsthand. Hardly ever will a vet bald “pass” or “fail” a equine on a vet check. Instead, they will certainly relate their observations to you and also you will be responsible for making a decision based upon those observations. Your vet will check the horse’s soundness and also general health, and may introduce further experimentation or X-rays because that a an ext complete evaluation. Since it is fairly common because that sellers to provide painkillers, sedatives and other drugs that can mask lameness or improve performance, we very recommend having your vet draw blood at the moment of the exam. Your vet deserve to store the blood earlier at the clinic and also test that for miscellaneous substances if the horse’s behavior or soundness alters abruptly after your purchase. A common vet check will expense $200-500 (more if X-rays or more tests space recommended), but it is the best means to make sure that you execute not buy high value or heartbreaking health or soundness problems, so fine worth the price even if it costs much more than the acquisition price that the horse.

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Get it in Writing!

After you have actually negotiated the acquisition price, go into into a horse purchase contract through the seller. Your purchase contract should plainly state the terms of your purchase, including any kind of representations and warranties the the seller has made about the horse. We market a variety of purchase develops that you deserve to download and also complete.

We great you the very best of lucky in detect a steed to come to be a member of her family!