Finding the Right Horse
One of the most important decisions you have to make before you even start looking, is deciding what your riding goals are. Then you can start thinking about what type of horse you are going to look for. When I say type, I am not referring to color or breed. I am talking about the amount of training the horse has had, the age, the number of years it realistically has left to compete if that is your goal and so on. Also your physical age (not your chronological age) and condition. Do you need a smooth gaited horse to protect your back, a horse that’s easy to move forward and to stop? Are you strong and fit and want a horse with lots of suspension and go? Know what you are looking for!
Next, your purchasing budget. Do your research and see if the type of horse you have in mind is within’ your price range. If it isn’t, you may need to adjust your ideal type a bit. If you can afford a few months of training, you could find a horse that is a bit more green than you originally planned on. Or, if you are capable enough to do your own training, you could simply adjust your competition time frame. Age is another criteria you can work with depending on your riding goals. For instance, if you are going to be a pleasure rider, going out on the trail on weekends maybe a couple of arena rides during the week, you may be able to get a slightly older horse that will last a long time with light duty. Just things to think about.
Here is a list of things you should have in order before you buy your horse:
1. Have a clear picture of what your goals are as a rider/horse owner. KNOW your abilities and your physical limitations.
2. Take a hard look at your daily schedule and figure out how much time you have to devote to this horse and be prepared to pay for help to cover the days you can’t make it out to the barn.
3. Have a horse budget in place that includes (if it applies) board, training, show fees, trailering, shoeing, equipment & supplies unexpected vet bills etc. There is always etc. with horses. Plan on it!
4. If you are purchasing independently, bring a knowledgeable horse friend with you for a second opinion.
5. Research veterinarians and farriers if you don’t already have one so you have these key players in place before you buy your horse. You don’t want to be searching for either of these professionals in an emergency situation. Ask your own veterinarian to perform the pre-purchase exam or one that comes highly recommended by people who are experienced in this area.
6. If you don’t own your own farm, research the facilities in your area. Make sure you are comfortable with their boarding & feeding program, the arena footing, trails and turn-outs. You should feel confident that the space your horse will be living in is safe and clean and that he will be well cared for.
7. Have an experienced hauler lined up to transport your horse.
As horse lovers, we have all fantasized about our dream horse. When I was a little girl, my fantasy horse was a tall dapple grey stallion with a long flowing mane a tail. Now picture your fantasy horse and blend him with the list of goals and needs that you have been working on, and see what you come up with. THAT is the horse you are ready to look for. Best of luck to you! Let me know how it goes!