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Buying Your First Horse – 10 Tips

By Kaylee Addison

Buying a horse can seem like a daunting task for a beginner rider. Before you start you should find a riding stable in your area and take a few lessons on a variety of horses. This will give you a better idea of what to look for. Try to narrow down the breed, size and temperament that best suits you. When looking through the ads for horses for sale you may think you’ve found the perfect match. But how do you know for sure? Here is a list of tips to guide you through the process:

1. Plan a budget. Decide what you can realistically spend, and don’t forget things like shipping costs, commissions etc. Also make sure you budget for the monthly expenses of keeping a horse. Having an emergency vet fund is wise.

2. Ask questions! Don’t be afraid to find out as much as you can. Ask about previous experiences, bad habits etc.

3. Get a pre-purchase exam done by a reputable vet. This is priceless! If there are several vets in the area, call first to find out their rates and availability.

4. Knowing the basics of conformation and movement can help you make a good decision. Some soundness problems might not show up until later in life or after hard work.

5. If you can’t see the horse in person before buying, have a reliable professional do it for you. Ideally you should focus on horses in your area that you can test ride several times.

6. Ask a knowledgeable friend for help. A second set of eyes might catch something you missed, and the moral support will help too.

7. Be honest about your level of experience. The seller can help you decide if the horse is a suitable match. Watch the horse being ridden, and make sure you feel comfortable before getting on.

8. Regularly check the online classifieds, and don’t forget that word of mouth can be a great way to find a horse. Check out locals stables and shows.

9. Be realistic! Don’t expect the “perfect” horse. All horses have their quirks, so be flexible. Safety should be the top priority.

10. Keep your options open. Check out other breeds you might not have considered or even a pony.

Enjoy the search! It can sometimes take a long time to find a good match, but a good horse is always worth the wait.

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