Buying A Horse For The First Time
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Deciding to buy your first horse or pony is a really exciting time, but they do represent a huge commitment and can be expensive to buy and keep. It should never be a decision made lightly or on impulse, for children in particular it can often be a short term whim and some time spent at a local riding school can be enough to test whether the interest is long term or not before buying
It’s a similar process to buying a car, most of us would not buy the first one out of the paper, we may well compare prices at different dealers, ask around for opinions on models, ensure the vehicle had all the right paperwork, a valid MOT etc. We will have decided what sort of vehicle we need and for what purpose and after the initial purchase we know we will have to spend more money keeping it in a road worthy condition, same applies to buying and keeping horses and ponies
The main factors to be considered before buying a horse are:-
Your long term plans
You will need enough money, time and resources to be a good, responsible horse owner and some careful consideration before purchasing could save money and a lot of heartache
Before Buying A Horse Or Pony Checklist
1) What do you want from it? A happy hacker? companion ? show jumper?
2) Prepare a list of questions for when viewing potential horses – ask about the animal’s ability, temperament, health issues, worming and vaccinations, etc
3) Be aware of conditions like sweet itch, sarcoids, ringbone, etc ask the seller – by law they should tell you beforehand if there are pre-existing health issues – get a written statement to confirm what is said
4) Never buy on impulse – auctions and sales are not for the inexperienced where the heart may rule the head
5) Always take an experienced horseperson with you when viewing
6) Make several visits and see the horse in as many different circumstances as possible, see it ridden and ride it if appropriate
7) Ask for a trial period
8) Establish what, if any tack, comes included in the sale – get it all in writing
9) Never buy without the passport – this must be handed over at the time of sale, double check that the details match the animal
10) Arrange for a pre-purchase vet examination – yes it costs money but could save you hundreds if not thousands
11) Establish whether the seller is a dealer or selling as a private individual. Your legal rights are greater when buying from a dealer, it is not unknown for unscrupulous dealers to pose as private sellers
12) Ask around at livery yards, local sales etc about the horse and the person selling
13) If possible, pay with a credit card – you will have some protection from the credit card issuer if there are problems
14) Keep in mind that although the perfect horse does not exist, a little pre-planning could save you cash and heartache
Getting A Horse On Loan
This can often be a sensible way of checking whether having a horse is really the best thing for you, the costs are reduced but it can be a potential minefield of problems for the borrower and loaner.
The same considerations for buying a horse should also be given before taking one on loan. Do you have the facilities, time and money necessary to give the animal the happy, healthy life it deserves?
First and foremost get a written Equine Loan Agreement Form set up that all parties are happy with, get it properly signed and witnessed. This should clearly define the role and responsibilities of everyone concerned; there are plenty of templates available on line (you are welcome to download ours and use it), which can be amended to suit your needs, some typical questions should always include
Where is the horse to be kept?
What is it to be used for?
Who pays for the vet? insurance? etc
What tack comes with it?
Who else will be riding the horse?
What is the length of the loan?
Some horse rescue and welfare groups loan out horses and ponies. Be prepared for them to carry out suitability checks on you and your facilities.
If you have any thoughts that you would like to share please feel free to use the comments box