Buying a horse (where or how)

GatoMessi

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Oct 2, 2021
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Hi there again. I am not looking to buy a horse now but eventually - hopefully next year.

I am sure many of you have bought horses, but

1) Where did you buy them from? (Advertising? From Riding Schools? From friends/families...etc)
2) If you have bought them via advertising, how do you know this horse was right for you?
3) Most importantly, were they (majority of them) honest from there description? Ever come across from dishonest advertisement?
 

Doodle92

Well-Known Member
Apr 6, 2021
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Horse shopping is the worst! Many many untrue ads. First horse I went to see bucked off the rider at viewing and knocked her out. “He has never done that before”. One “has done dressage” was actually a walk trot made up test in their arena. One was so thin and had 3 half pads under saddle that I ended up in tears.

Go in with open eyes. Take a professional with you (instructor or even an experienced friend). Do not get on the horse before someone else has ridden it. I went through ad sites daily and also put up wanted ads and asked everyone I knew.

When you find the right horse tho you just know. As soon as I saw Robin I knew he was for me. Within 2 mins of riding him I knew he was coming home. His ad and everything I was told about him (good and bad) was 100% accurate. So there are trustable sellers out there who want the best for the horse. Be prepared for the seller to ask you questions rather than a seller that just wants the horse sold. Trust your gut. If you don’t like the seller or the situation then walk away. Don’t agree to buy on first viewing. Go back again and ride again. Make sure you try the horse in every thing you want to do. I went back the second time to check he would hack out as my previous horse wouldn’t and it was something I wanted to do.

Then get the horse vetted. Always get them vetted! Even if the horse is cheep. And make sure it is not vetted by the owners vet. It has to be a different vet.
 
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Trewsers

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Oct 13, 2004
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Hi there again. I am not looking to buy a horse now but eventually - hopefully next year.

I am sure many of you have bought horses, but

1) Where did you buy them from? (Advertising? From Riding Schools? From friends/families...etc)
2) If you have bought them via advertising, how do you know this horse was right for you?
3) Most importantly, were they (majority of them) honest from there description? Ever come across from dishonest advertisement?
I bought my first horse from my riding instructor who boarded on the same yard as me. She was selling on behalf of someone else. I did kiss a few frogs before finding her and she wasn't ideal to be honest - connies are not an ideal first pony, they are clever, sharp and will give you the run around if you don't have the confidence to keep up with them!
Whenever I went to view potentials I took the riding instructor with me. It was good because she saved me from a mistake more than once.
Second horse came from a well known charity - she is perfect in every way! Charities are great because they have nothing to hide and want you to be a great fit together. Though mine is not a ridden, she is a companion.
Third horse came via word of mouth. Someone local knew mr trews wanted something to ride (his own horse was pts a long time ago and he'd not the heart to buy another until a few years back). Lovely lady had nothing to hide and wanted to find a good home for her boy. He came to us for a quieter life than what he was used to which suits us all just fine.
I am NOT looking forward to searching for another one for myself. I am older, wiser and more wary than I was 18 years ago lol This time I'm going to be awful to please..........and I will try and cover every eventuality. The best thing I can hope for is another through word of mouth and not an advert from a stranger.
Sorry if that's no help! lol Am sure you'll get plenty of replies.
Oh, and one other thing - novice means many things to many people. It's actually pretty meaningless in an advert in my opinion. Because it can mean anything from not suitable for a jelly legged nervous person (who can actually ride when they put their mind to it!) to an eventer with a big personality that just wouldn't be right for a first time owner. Open to lots of interpretation!
 

carthorse

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Jan 6, 2006
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Look at ads very carefully and if there are photos or video does what you see tie up with what they say? Is video edited so you see the horse in each pace but don't see the transitions? You're looking for what they don't say or show as much as what they do. Make a list of questions that are important to you and if they aren't covered in the advert ask them before you visit - if they're evasive then that says enough.

When you visit make sure you see him handled and tacked up and watch how they are around the horse - relaxed and trusting or are they always keeping a close eye on him as though they expect something to happen? See him ridden in all paces on both reins before you decide if you want to ride - there's no shame in saying no thanks at this point if you know he's not for you. As well as watching the horse watch the rider, are they confident and relaxed? How quickly and to how small an aid does the horse respond? How good is the rider - a horse may give you a lovely ride when regularly ridden by a good rider, but may turn into a very different ride when regularly ridden by someone less skilled. If you go ahead and ride remember the idea is to get a feel rather than show off, it doesn't hurt to see what happens if you get a bit unbalanced or make a faff of something - that alone will tell you a lot about the horse. If you feel you're riding at your limit then probably best to walk away unless you'll have a lot of help, changing home and rider usually brings up some bumpy times so better that you feel you have some leeway. On a personal level how do you feel about the horse - if it was to fail a vet would you not be bothered, a bit upset, or gutted? If not bothered then keep looking. And always have a horse vetted by your choice of vet, if the seller tries to talk you out of a vetting, into a lower level vetting, or into using their vet then be very wary indeed or better yet walk away.

If you can get a horse word of mouth that's great as you'll often be able to find out a bit more. Still follow the same procedure though, and still have a vetting - with the best will in the world there can be problems that an owner doesn't know about.

Normally I would say visit more than once and take someone knowledgeable with you for at least one visit. However in the current (UK) market this may not be an option since as well as being expensive at the moment decent horses are selling very fast.
 

Trewsers

Well-Known Member
Oct 13, 2004
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Look at ads very carefully and if there are photos or video does what you see tie up with what they say? Is video edited so you see the horse in each pace but don't see the transitions? You're looking for what they don't say or show as much as what they do. Make a list of questions that are important to you and if they aren't covered in the advert ask them before you visit - if they're evasive then that says enough.

When you visit make sure you see him handled and tacked up and watch how they are around the horse - relaxed and trusting or are they always keeping a close eye on him as though they expect something to happen? See him ridden in all paces on both reins before you decide if you want to ride - there's no shame in saying no thanks at this point if you know he's not for you. As well as watching the horse watch the rider, are they confident and relaxed? How quickly and to how small an aid does the horse respond? How good is the rider - a horse may give you a lovely ride when regularly ridden by a good rider, but may turn into a very different ride when regularly ridden by someone less skilled. If you go ahead and ride remember the idea is to get a feel rather than show off, it doesn't hurt to see what happens if you get a bit unbalanced or make a faff of something - that alone will tell you a lot about the horse. If you feel you're riding at your limit then probably best to walk away unless you'll have a lot of help, changing home and rider usually brings up some bumpy times so better that you feel you have some leeway. On a personal level how do you feel about the horse - if it was to fail a vet would you not be bothered, a bit upset, or gutted? If not bothered then keep looking. And always have a horse vetted by your choice of vet, if the seller tries to talk you out of a vetting, into a lower level vetting, or into using their vet then be very wary indeed or better yet walk away.

If you can get a horse word of mouth that's great as you'll often be able to find out a bit more. Still follow the same procedure though, and still have a vetting - with the best will in the world there can be problems that an owner doesn't know about.

Normally I would say visit more than once and take someone knowledgeable with you for at least one visit. However in the current (UK) market this may not be an option since as well as being expensive at the moment decent horses are selling very fast.
That's great advice, specially the bit about how relaxed and trusting the owner is around the horse. When we went to see Zi the first time, they were so laid back and relaxed about him. They introduced us to him and then basically stood in the sidelines letting mr trews talk to him and have a first ride. When I got on board they didn't even stop their nattering between themselves, they must have been pretty sure he was going to behave! There was no holding of breath or waiting for the balloon to pop, you could just tell.
 

Huggy

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Nov 11, 2018
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Really, I'd be best at telling you what NOT to do! I bought both of mine privately. They were both the first I looked at. I didn't have them vetted (first one was only 4 so I took a chance, 2nd one was so cheap, the vetting would have cost more than him). I went on my own, rode the first, got him and 26 years later said goodbye. Second, couldn't ride him as he'd been a field ornament for 2years, so no tack - fell for him anyway, and 3 years on we ride out 3/4 times a week and he's stuck with me for good. Everyone above has given really valid advice - good luck when you start looking.
 

Jane&Ziggy

Jane&Sid these days!
Apr 30, 2010
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I bought a horse from a dealer this year. I went to see several and had the one before Sid (who I bought) vetted. He failed and the vet made it clear she thought that the dealer knew he was lame on a circle. So I would say always, always have your horse vetted.

I saw Sid in the stable, tacked him up myself, rode him, really liked him and thought he was a good match for me - I was clear about what I wanted. The dealer was in a rush as horses are selling very fast at the moment. I was not sure, as I posted videos on here for help and views from people I know and have known for years and trust, and they were not sure about his way of going behind. Because of the recent failed vetting I was cautious. But fortunately for me I managed to get my RI, whom I trust implicitly, to see and ride him the following day. She loved him, thought his stiffness was just that - stiffness - and said she thought he would be great for me. I bought him, and he is. So I would say, if you can, get someone experienced whom you trust to try and ride the horse as well as you.

It's hard because good horses get snapped up. But it can be done!
 

Jessey

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Dec 20, 2004
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As above really. Don’t take anything you’re told at face value, always judge for yourself and if the seller isn’t willing to demonstrate something there’s probably a good reason for it. And absolutely 100% for definite you need a second professional/experienced opinion before you buy.

Horses are selling fast and for strong money just now in the uk, be prepared for the long haul to find your match and don’t forget to budget for all the extras - vetting, transport, vet stuff on arrival like vaccinations, teeth etc. and then buying tack or having what was sold with the horse checked for fit, and all the other gear you’ll need for horse and stable - you can easily spend another grand on top of the cost of the horse.
 

GatoMessi

Member
Oct 2, 2021
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I am not surprised the findings as most of the adverts I've seen were "too good to be true", but once again, thank you for all of your postings.
 
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Jane&Ziggy

Jane&Sid these days!
Apr 30, 2010
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@Jessey is right about the extras. I paid the asking price for Sid, £6,500. The vetting cost me £300 (plus £150 for the aborted failed vetting). I don't have transport, so the dealer delivered him to me, but I lived no more than 20 minutes away and she agreed to do it for nothing because I had bought him so quickly (he was sold and gone within 48 hours of his ad going up) but that could easily have been another £100. My existing saddle fitted him by a miracle, but if he had needed a different one that would have been another few hundred.

In case you're interested in how it went, here's a link to my thread on buying Sid. https://www.newrider.com/threads/adios-mike-hello-sid-updated-sid-going-forward-to-vetting.256374/

Please do keep us posted and let us know if you need any help with horse shopping!
 
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GatoMessi

Member
Oct 2, 2021
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@Jessey is right about the extras. I paid the asking price for Sid, £6,500. The vetting cost me £300 (plus £150 for the aborted failed vetting). I don't have transport, so the dealer delivered him to me, but I lived no more than 20 minutes away and she agreed to do it for nothing because I had bought him so quickly (he was sold and gone within 48 hours of his ad going up) but that could easily have been another £100. My existing saddle fitted him by a miracle, but if he had needed a different one that would have been another few hundred.

In case you're interested in how it went, here's a link to my thread on buying Sid. https://www.newrider.com/threads/adios-mike-hello-sid-updated-sid-going-forward-to-vetting.256374/

Please do keep us posted and let us know if you need any help with horse shopping!
Thank you... don't worry about "extras" as I know what to expect in the "running cost".

By the way lovely Piebald (Sid) you have.
 
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GaryB

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Mar 23, 2015
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I rode as many horses as I could at riding schools and centres and soon found what I liked. I then made a list of must haves, and desirable features to get a list of what I wanted. My list looked a bit like this

Gelding
16.2hh+
Age 6 to 12
able to jump 90cm
not a grey

I managed most of the things on my list (but ended up with a grey)

I also found there were a few horse that matched my list, were exactly as the advert described them, but I just didn't like them!
 
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GatoMessi

Member
Oct 2, 2021
38
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I rode as many horses as I could at riding schools and centres and soon found what I liked. I then made a list of must haves, and desirable features to get a list of what I wanted. My list looked a bit like this

Gelding
16.2hh+
Age 6 to 12
able to jump 90cm
not a grey

I managed most of the things on my list (but ended up with a grey)

I also found there were a few horse that matched my list, were exactly as the advert described them, but I just didn't like them!
lol I have had ridden 5 different horses from my local Equestrian centre, and only 2 of them that I like. One of them is a Grey lol And the other is a mare.

3 of the others are lazy cobs!!! They are great for completely beginners though.
 
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