Buying a new horse is a big deal for most riders, in particular when the rider is not so experienced. The biggest mistake many riders make when buying a new horse is that they get emotionally involved which the horse they are looking at instead of staying focused on their needs and their own experience as a rider.
What that means is that a lot of riders fall in love with a horse because of its looks rather then the temperament and suitability. I get many e-mails and phone calls from riders after they had an accident of a new horse and generally what they tell me is that the horse looked really quiet and the reason they bought it in the first place was because it had lovely big eyes or it looked like it was neglected and just wanted to have cuddles.
Please remember that you are buying a horse not a dog or a pussycat. If you intend to ride your horse after you bought it you have to make sure that it is suitable for what you want to do with it and more importantly the horse has previous experience and is safe.
Unless you are an experienced rider who can educate a young horse and have done so successfully in the past, don’t go out and buy something that has been sitting in a paddock for 3 years without work or a T/B of the track that has no idea about pleasure riding, dressage or jumping. And if you are a parent please, please, please don’t ever buy into the fairy tale of a young horse and young child can grow up together and become best friends.
The success rate with such a combination is so slim it’s like winning the lottery, after all we wouldn’t dream of asking a 12 year old child to teach a prep class how to read and write. So how can we expect them to educate a young horse? I am sorry if I burst your bubble but this topic is far too important to ignore.
Here are some simple rules you can follow that will help you to find the right horse.
Rule No. 1:
Never buy a horse sight unseen.
If the horse is too far away, find someone you know and trust to go and have a look at the horse and if they like it and think it is suitable then get in the car or jump on a plane and have a look for yourself.
I often hear people say that the horse sounded really nice and it was so cheap. Well let me tell you, there is a reason why horses are cheap!!!!! And just because someone tells you all the good things about a horse doesn’t mean that it will suit you. Remember the seller doesn’t know you and has never seen you ride.
Rule No. 2:
When you look at a horse take someone with you who is more experienced then you. For example ask your riding instructor or a professional who has experience in buying horses. Most people take a friend but if that friend doesn’t have more experience then you have it will be likely that they fall for the big brown eyes too.
Rule No. 3:
Ask for proof of horse’s performance i.e. performance cards, other people who know the horse that you can talk to or videos taken. I always ask what is the worst thing the horse has ever done. If the owner says: “Nothing, he is perfect.” I walk away.