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Top 5 Mistakes To Avoid When Buying A Horse

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Buying your first horse isn’t as easy as you may think. You can choose from an endless variety of horses if you’re in the market for one. These days, you can get overwhelmed by loads of information available. Besides, your emotions may get the better of you instead of helping you make a rational decision about which horse will best suit your needs and preferences.

Whether this is your first horse purchase or you’re getting one for a member of the family, there are several factors to consider. If you do not choose well when buying your horse, you may put your own safety at risk.

When searching for your first horse, it’s crucial to avoid making the following mistakes:

1. Buying Without Veterinary Pre-Purchase Examination (PPE)

Soon after introducing a new horse into the house, he develops lameness, changes his personality in an unattractive way, or shows signs of another health problem. Sometimes it’s just a coincidence how things happen at the same time. In other cases, though, the issue is one that a competent veterinarian would have spotted before buying.

A PPE is recommended to ensure the health of your new horse. It establishes the baseline for the horse’s health at a given period. The veterinarian will provide potential buyers with as much information about the horse they are considering buying. Consider reading this pre-purchase exam checklist to help identify and minimize risks and protect your new horse investment.

Local or systemic medicines disguise health or behavioural problems in horses. Make sure the vet doesn’t know the seller because most will refuse to undertake the exam if they do. Ensure your presence at the test to know what is covered. Let the seller in on the discussion, as they are the best source of information about the horse’s training, competition, and health.

Thomas Koch/

Thomas Koch/

2. Buying From Questionable Sellers

The term ‘horse trader’ has a bad connotation for a reason. Unfortunately, many people are looking to take advantage of buyers who aren’t well informed yet have good intentions. Regrettably, dishonest brokers may sell horses with prices ranging from a few hundred to several million dollars.

To avoid this from happening, conduct some research before meeting the seller. Contact prior buyers to get their feedback, too. Moreover, check the seller’s references and request specifics from them.

If something seems odd, you shouldn't ignore your suspicions. There’s no reason a vendor shouldn’t let you take it for a ride before you buy. If you get the impression that the seller is being dishonest or unethical, it’s best to listen to your instincts and back away.

3. Choosing The Wrong Breed

You can find a breed that makes your heart race, whether it’s the mighty Clydesdale or the striking American Paint Horse. However, don’t let your emotions rule your intellect when choosing a horse. As a first-time horse owner, you shouldn’t get a high-strung horse like a juvenile mustang or a fiery Friesian.

The process of learning to ride and control a horse is different from that of spending time with a friend’s well-trained horse. You should get an older, more gentle, trained horse if this is your first time having a horse. It’s understandable to feel let down if the horse of your dreams isn’t immediately available, but ensure to pick one that’s within your capabilities. In time, you’ll be ready to move on to more advanced horse breeds, expanding your experience and self-assurance.

4. Not Asking For Help

You could spend your entire life reading everything published about purchasing horses, but if you don’t talk to someone with actual experience with the process, you’ll lose out on crucial information.
Find a guide to help you, or consult with a professional horse trader or advisor regarding your purchase. Invite several of your riding companions to accompany you when you go to look at horses. They can identify aspects of your riding style that may not be compatible with the horse you are considering purchasing.

5. Not Examining Legal Documents

At the time of purchase, you can help avoid problems by carefully looking over the required documents and the transfer form. You should verify if the horse you are buying is the same horse on the paperwork, if the seller is the registered owner of the horse, and if the registered owner has completed the transfer procedures. In addition, it is usual for the owner listed on the registration documents to be different from the seller. This is because the ownership of horses frequently changes hands without updating the documentation to reflect the new owner’s name. Thus, you will need a transfer document signed by the horse’s registered owner to register the horse in your name.


Owning a horse is a big commitment of time, money, and emotion that should not be made lightly. So, whether it’s your first horse or your tenth, buying one is always an exciting and memorable experience. Keep in mind the mistakes to avoid in this article so you can choose a horse that will be your companion for many years.

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