Oh, good plan to buy a horse!! I just sold my horse and will be looking for a new one myself in January or February. I am very psyched about this, but horse shopping can be very tiring and very frustrating. I show and train, and have shopped for many a horse, and some of the things you’ll run into will boggle your mind! But, as with everything, its an adventure (as my Dad would say and well worth it when your new horse finds you. They always find you…
OK, here’s the best advice I can offer…
- If it’s an option, start taking a weekly lesson now so you’ll be in shape when it comes time to start looking and test riding
2)Try to form a relationship with a trainer in your area so he/she can help you find your new guy. They’re very helpful both in assessing suitability and having friends in the buisness who own sale barns etc…
- If you want to own him/her by the summer, start looking at least in the spring. I saw 27 horses over the course of 6 months before I bought a horse I had as a junior… I thought I’d find a suitable guy in a week!
4)ALWAYS do a pre-purchase exam!!! Even if you are allowed to have a week long trial period, vet checks are a MUST. One never knows what evils are lurking in the legs of a horse. There are a lot of things going on in there that might not seem obvious now but will show up later. Navicular and arthritis both hide out for ages and when they show up, they’re trouble. Its always best to spend the money on the pre-purchase exam, it saves on vet bills later.
If the vet sees something in the flexion test and suggests x-rays, DO IT. Navicular and pre-arthritic conditions will only show up on an xray. Both can cripple and it is always best to be informed.
Request a blood test. I didn’t once and bought a horse who was tranquilized up to his ears. It was a long term tranq and wore off 2 weeks after I bought him… He reared and dislocated my shoulder the next day… Also, pain killers are often used on sale horses to mask all sorts of things, especially on an older horse.
7)Cold-set splints and bowed tendons are nothing to worry about, my jumper had two bowed tendons that did not affect him in the least. If you see any oddities on the legs, ask the vet to be sure
I happen to love mares, but I’m in the minority among my horsey friends… A lot of people don’t want to deal with the heat cycles and Regu-Mate to control them can be costly.
Take a look at its feet, bar shoes, lifts and pads are signs of weakness and should be questioned. Having to put bars, lifts and pads on every 5 - 6 weeks gets costly.
If the vet does find something, ask him/her how it will affect what you want to do with your horse. A horse who can not show the jumpers because of something minor can make a fabulous pleasure horse. Every one of them has something, mostly minor things, and most things (like bowed tendons) are perfectly easy to live with and not a problem.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that you’re buying a companion and a friend, so make sure you two click. When you find the one you click with, you’ll know!
My first horse was an Appendix Quarter Horse (thoroughbred cross) and he was a miracle. I never had to call a vet for him and his feet were great. I work with another Appendix QH who is 27 years old and still going strong. One of the best guys around
That’s the best I can come up with now, and I hope it helps! I hope the vetting stuff doesn’t worry you too much, its all nessisary stuff but worth the trouble. Please feel free to email me with any questions you have, or just to talk horse, I can do it for hours!
“No smoking in bars in California… And pretty soon, no drinking and no talking” ~ Eddie Izzard