Horse Purchase

First a little background information.

I’ve been saving for quite a while with the hopes of purchasing a horse. My parents owed three horses when I was growing up and I rode all the time. Since I have never actually purchased or owned a horse myself I wanted to ask for some advise before I make that final purchase.

I have located a 9 year old Gelding for sale and will be going to take a look at him hopefully this weekend. Any advise on what I should watch out for?

They’re not Hot Flashes,
They’re Power Surges!

Oh boy. First of all, do NOT buy a horse this weekend. You clearly have a lot more work to do before you get to the purchasing stage…

Wanting a horse and owning/caring for a horse are two very different things. Given that you have limited experience with these animals, I strongly recommend that you 'ho on up a bit and do a lotmore serious research first.

Start here:
The American Quarter Horse Association
and check out their Buyer’s Guide. They have some EXCELLENT info on what to think about when considering looking for a horse - not just what sort of horse to buy or what to look out for, but what YOU want to do with the animal. Are you going to show, compete, race, dressage, jump, mountaineer, pleasure ride, will kids ride the horse too? Do you plan to be professionally trained? What kind of terrain will the horse have to travel? How much land do you have? Can you put in the time and money that a horse requires (riding is only a small part of horse care, trust me)?

Once you decide how much horse you can handle and what breed is right for your needs, you’ll want to go shopping with a real horseperson at your side. Do not try to do this on your own. The American Quarter Horse webpage also gives tips on where/how to find qualified judges of horseflesh…

Please don’t buy a horse this weekend. You’re really not ready.

“Not everybody does it, but everybody should.”

Take a vet with you, or if that is not possible agree to nothing until the horse is vet checked. Seriously! This can save you many expensive bills later.
Aside from health, you need to be looking at how this horse has been trained - do you ride western/english/bareback? How does he handle when you ride and on the ground. Does he pick his feet up? does he trailer well?
Ect, ect, ect…Personality is important for me personally.
Lost of really important things, because you are the one who will have to care for this horse on a daily basis.
Best of luck though!

Thanks for your replies. I do not plan to buy a horse this weekend, but only wanted to go and look to see what’s out there. This horse currently belongs to a friend of my father’s and they suggested I go out and take a look. I do not own land, but my parents do (10 acres with shelter, pasture and indoor stalls) and I plan on boarding with them when I actually have the horse I want. I have also made arrangements to start a refresher course since it has been about 20 years since I’ve riden frequently. I have not really looked at what is out there, but have talked with many people (several current horse owner friends) concerning what I want and what a “Good” horse would cost. I’m figuring to pay around 4K for the horse. I understand that’s it’s going to be alot of work, being an old farm girl, I’ve done my share of shoveling out stalls, halling bales and water and generally working pretty hard. Given my current financial sitsuation, the money shouldn’t be an issue, even if an emergency comes up. I appreciate your concern that I do not rush into anything, I certainly won’t just because it always takes me months to make a big desition like this.

They’re not Hot Flashes,
They’re Power Surges!

As you can see I can not spell! I forgot to do spell check - so I must now apologize for my spelling errors.

Please forgive me.

They’re not Hot Flashes,
They’re Power Surges!

Another good thing to do is find someone that has healthy horses. Talk to them, and maybe help them take care of their’s for a number of months. Do the chores every day. You’ll get a better idea of the work, trouble, and expense a horse will be. Have them come with you to look at prospective horses. The vet bills can be a shocker too. The horse gets injured and you spend thousands for treatment. The horse decides to roll around on the ground. Get the vet, it just twisted it’s intestine, and has to be surgicaly fixed.

My sister-in-law does competition with horses, so is serious about caring for them. She has her’s on a freind’s farm that has horses. They have about ten at the farm. She has to do things to those horses I’d never want to do. Imagine having to clean a horse’s dick, they’re not circumcised so the crude does build up.

They’ve had a foal killed by a neighbor’s loose dog. A horse rubbed up against something and had it’s eye lid ripped half off. Nice vet bill there.
Her favorite horse (pet) in the world poisoned by some guy. He was mad that she wouldn’t sign a statement saying he was a fit father, when the county brought up charges of child abuse. They tried to save that horse for about two days. It looked like it would make it, and just dropped over. This kind of treatment means transporting the horse to a veternary hospital. Another very huge vet bill.

Glad to see your last post. It sounded like an impulse buy here.

Don’t forget to look for a good farrier. (You might consider finding the farrier first, then letting them help select the horse–that way they can’t complain about your choice of horses when the horse starts acting cranky in the cross-ties.)


You have received some good advice (i.e. have the horse vet checked, bring along a knowledgable friend) may I offer another suggestion? Find a good, reputable local stable and take some lessons…even if you already know how to ride you might be surpised with what you can learn with good instruction.

Let your riding instructor know that you wish to purchase a horse in the future and he/she might be able to point you in the right direction.

I bought one of my former horses with out my instructor’s guidance…and I regretted it. I sold him within a year. The horse and I didn’t click.I thought I knew enough to know what I wanted (after being around horses and showing for years) but I was wrong.

Good luck with your search, and remember to look at a lot of horses…don’t rush out and buy the first one you see.


Grr…I meant to add that it isn’t the initial cost of the horse (you say 4k) that is the biggest expense…it is the maintanence. Farrier evey 5-6 weeks, vet (big$$), hay & grain, tack, etc. Be ready for anything. A friend of mine recently had a mare that colicked…$3500 surgery to save her life.


Yes! It did (I was about to plotz!). Ok, Mountain, you’ve got your head on straight and have been given some terrific advice.

Now if I may, a personal comment: if this is going to be strictly a pleasure horse (and it sounds like it is), may I recommend a Quarter Horse, or a Quarter-mix? They’re not only beautifully (and sturdily) built, they’re also generally well-tempered, patient, nearly indefatigable, and are VERY quick learners. I’ve given you the link to the AQHA webpage - they provide excellent info on these beautiful, intelligent animals.

And I’d like to add, I’m TOTALLY jealous. I miss my horse all the time. Living in the Bay Area makes it impossible to own one now, but someday, I’m going to have a little ranch where I’ll raise and train Quarters (one of my lifelong dreams).

Best of luck to you, and keep us posted!

“Not everybody does it, but everybody should.”

Even though I currently own an Arab, I agree with Story Tyler. Quarter Horses rock! I love 'em. when I can afford more horses (limited to one now cause I have to board), I’m getting a few Quarter Horses. My first horse was a QH…I could do anything with her and I was very successful showing her.

ask me about my horse :slight_smile: