Buying a horse is many a horse lovers dream but it’s important to do a lot of preparation before finally deciding on the right horse for you.

Horses come in all shapes and sizes and vary hugely in temperament. If you’re a beginner you may prefer a well-mannered good all-rounder. However, if you’ve ridden all your life or compete you’ll most likely prefer a horse with huge potential that you can bring on.

There won’t be a shortage of horses for sale and it can appear an overwhelming task to choose the right one. Below are some tips in order to help when buying a horse:

1. Do Your Research

Before you embark on purchasing a horse it’s important to do your research carefully. The first thing to do is to work out if you can afford it. Horses are incredibly expensive animals to own. You need to consider, livery costs, shoeing, feeding, vets bills, dentistry and that’s just the basics.

It’s also important to ask yourself, do I have time to look after a horse? The horse will need to be looked after in the morning and in the evening and you need to make time to ride it also. Perhaps you could find someone who would like to share the cost and workload in return for free riding.

2. What Type of Horse

So, you’ve worked out that you can afford a horse and you have enough time to devote to it. The next thing to consider is, what type of horse would suit you. Some of the questions you should ask yourself are:

  • Is it just you that will be riding the horse or will other members of your family ride it too?
  • What size of horse would suit you best and what build? Are you looking for a thoroughbred, Arab or Cob
  • Do you want a horse that is green and hasn’t done much or are you looking for an experienced horse that has no vices, e.g. easy to catch, load, good in traffic, doesn’t buck or rear?
  • Do you want a young horse with less experience or an older horse who has been about a bit and learnt the ropes.

3. Where Do I Find A Horse For Sale?

Horses are advertised in many different locations. You could look in your local paper, specialist equine publications, online equestrian directories or ask at your local riding school or livery yards.

4. Find Out The Horse’s History

It’s a good idea if you can to find out a horse’s history. If it’s possible to speak to previous owners that is advisable. Alternatively, if the horse regularly competes in the local area or is a member of the local pony club, ask around and see what people know about the horse you are interested in.

5. Visit The Horse

When you find the horse that’s the right fit for you, agree with the seller to come and visit it on a number of different occasions. Try and visit the horse in a variety of environments, at home, out on the roads, at a competition. You’ll find horses behave differently when they are in certain situations.

6. Ask Questions

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Buying a horse is a big purchase and you need to make sure you have covered all bases. By asking questions you will get to know the owners as well as the horse and your gut instinct will tell you whether the answers you receive are genuine or not.

7. Get The Horse Vetted

The best and most valuable piece of advice you can follow is get the horse vetted. Just like you would be unlikely to buy a house without a survey, so it should follow that you shouldn’t buy a horse without getting it vetted. Many illnesses or other problems with a horses health may not be obvious to the untrained eye. They could cost you dear and you would be much better advised to invest in a vet check prior to purchase rather than find out about a costly issue further down the line.

8. Decide What To Pay

There’s no regulation in place that governs what a horse is worth so proceed with caution. Don’t just naturally assume that the asking price is what the horse is worth. What credentials does the horse have? How can the owners justify the asking price? Don’t be afraid to question this and negotiate.

DO NOT pay for a horse over the internet that you haven’t seen and checked out.

9. Update Your Horse Passport

It is your duty as the new owner of a horse to contact the passport issuer within 30 days and update the passport ownership details. More information can be found on the government website. (

10. Too Good To Be True?

Buyer Beware! If it looks too good to be true it probably is. The best thing you can do is to walk away. If you get a bad feeling about something, trust your gut instinct, don’t be tempted to talk yourself into something you’re not comfortable about. A horse is a big purchase that comes with a lot of commitment, make sure you are 100% happy with your purchase.

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