Buying a horse

Buying a Horse

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Buying a horse is lots of fun, but it can sometimes be difficult to find exactly the right horse for you. Many people have an expert – maybe a riding instructor or teacher – come along with them to give them helpful tips . However, if you do not have an expert along with you, here are some pointers on purchasing a horse to get you facing in the right direction so that you do not make a mistake and buy the wrong horse.

Price

How much money do you want to spend on buying a horse? If you are around my age, your parents will more than likely be buying the horse for you. You do not need to go over the top in price when buying a horse – what really matters is quality.

The price of a horse can be determined by a lot of factors:

  • the breed (a Thoroughbred will cost way more than a Welsh Cob);
  • the size (smaller is normally cheaper);
  • the conformation (if it looks perfect, it costs money!)
  • the age (horses under 4 and horses over 16 are cheaper as between the aforementioned ages they are in the competative prime of their lives)
  • the horse’s temperament (this actually depends on what the owner or buyer thinks of the horses manners)
  • the horse’s performance and capabilities (a grand prix level horse will cost a lot more than a Welsh Mountain Pony)
  • and the level to which the horse has been trained (a horse that you could ride straight to the Olympics is going to cost more than an average hacker).


Suitability

You will want to buy a horse that is right for you, not only in area of riding, but in temperament as well. If you are a beginner or nervous rider, a calm, gentle, slightly older horse would be
best for you. If you are a rider of intermediate level, something slightly more spirited and younger would be good. Finally, if you are a bold, experienced rider, you can buy a more highly-strung, fast, young horse.

Appearance and statistics

Though it is said that a good horse is never a bad colour, if you have your heart set on one particular coat, there is no reason trying to buy a horse with that coat. But do not only buy a horse because of its color – if you do, you are looking for severe trouble.

Gender is also rather important when buying a horse. As a generalization, mares tend to be much grumpier and temperamental than geldings. Geldings are widely considered best because they are generally calm, obedient and gentle. Stallions are mostly highly-strung, difficult to control and need experienced riders.

Size is another factor which must be considered. If you are really short or a child, you might be better off with a pony or small horse. If you are at an average height, there are thousands of horses you could get. However, if you are tall, get a horse with legs as long as yours!

Time available

The amount of time you have available to look after and ride your horse is a massively
important factor when buying a horse. There would be no point in owning a Westphalian show-jumper who’s ready to go
flying onto the international scene if you only ride twice a week. A horse like that needs to be ridden every single day,
otherwise it will become unhappy and start getting into trouble. If you only ride one to three times per week than
you would be best off with an older, quieter hacker.

By contrast, if you are an aspiring dressage rider who owns a twenty-year-old Cob with a leg that goes lame if you ride it more than three times per week, you need to get a horse more suited to you. If you have the time to ride every single day, then you can afford to buy a highly-strung or very fit horse because you will have the time to exercise it properly. So, first assess yourself before you even think about buying a horse!

Area of horse-riding

It would be senseless to buy a Pony of the Americas if you are a twenty-year-old show-jumper that is ready to go to the World Championships, just as it is silly to buy a Thoroughbred racehorse if you are a ten-year-old child who does gymkhanas! Your area of riding is a very important factor in the buying of a horse. Below is a list of the various horse breeds which are suited to each area of horse-riding.

Show-jumping:


Dressage:


Cross-Country:


Three-day eventing:


Endurance:


Western horse-riding sports and purposes:

  • the Morgan
  • the Quarter Horse
  • the Saddlebred
  • the Missouri Fox Trotter
  • the Tennessee Walking Horse
  • the Mustang
  • the Peruvian Paso
  • the Palomino
  • the Appaloosa
  • the Paint Horse
  • the Akhal-Teke
  • the Australian Stock Horse


Take a look at the rest of the articles in this series:
Where to buy a horse
Trying a horse
Vetting a horse



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