PURCHASING A HORSE…

Ask the Right Questions to Find Your Dream Horse 

There has never been a better time to buy your dream horse. Many great horses are available, but with the volume of horses on the market, how do you find the right horse? The wrong horse at the right price is still the wrong horse. Follow this four-step guide to ensure that you find your ideal mount.

 

Step One—Figure Out What You Really Want 

The basic elements of size, height, color and sex are excellent starting points for your search, but the most important question you can ask is, “What do I really, really want?”

• Do you need a horse with gaits that are very easy to sit? 
• Are you looking for a Class A show horse or a trail prospect? 
• If you don’t have access to an exercise rider on a daily basis, is a certain level of training a requirement?
• Is building a special relationship with a horse that has a great temperament your goal? 

Often people don’t think through their specific requirements and therefore are easily impressed by powerful gaits or a horse’s charisma only to buy the horse and be unable to ride it.

Step Two - Set a Realistic Budget 

After you define what you are truly looking for, determine your budget up front before you begin shopping. Be sure to factor in additional costs like pre-purchase exam, sales tax, transportation and new tack if you need it. Ask what the terms are and be sure you have the funds available to make the purchase when you find the right horse.

Don’t forget to factor in your trainer’s commission or fee into your budget. While many sellers are negotiable, be sure to ask about flexibility in the price. This will help you determine realistically which horses to look at. Just because the supply is good right now, don’t expect a good horse to be a give-away. Ultimately, you get what you pay for.

Step Three - Ask the Right Questions

Once you know what you want and how much you can spend, you are ready to begin your search. 

  • As you search the Internet for your dream horse, you will have the opportunity to watch video clips and read descriptions about hundreds of horses. From these items you can determine which horses are worth exploring in more detail.

  • Once you have identified some prospects, it is time to speak with someone that really knows the horses. While it may be tempting to send all of your questions via email, an actual conversation can help you save time and increase the likelihood of making a good match.

  • In addition to the basic questions of size, sex, age, etc., here are several questions that can tell you a lot about the horse and whether or not he or she meets your most important needs:

1. How long has the horse been under saddle? How much training has the horse had? Who has done the training? 

2. If the horse is young, has the horse ever been off of the farm? How did he/she react? 

3. Has the horse shown and if so how did he/she perform? 

4. Describe the horse’s temperament. Would he/she be good for an amateur or is he/she more suited to a professional at this time? 

5. What medical issues has the horse had? Has the horse ever been unsound? 

6. Is the horse on any supplements, regular medication or receiving special shoeing? 7. Are there x-rays available on this horse? 8. What is the exact price? Is there any flexibility?

  • Be sure to ask questions about your specific needs. Is the horse easy to sit? What type of potential does the horse have? Does he need to be lunged everyday before he is ridden?

  • The person selling the horse should also ask you questions. This indicates that they are trying to make a good match for their horse. “We always try to ask the questions that help match horses to potential buyers,” stresses Lesa of RBS.

Among the questions that RBS asks potential buyers:

1. What age/sex/breed/height are you looking for? 

2. What discipline do you want to do with the horse? What level do you want to achieve? 

3. How much riding experience do you have? How much experience do you have working with young horses? 

4. Are you a professional trainer yourself? If not, are you planning on seeking the help and guidance of a professional trainer with your new horse?

5. Will your trainer be assisting you with the purchase of the horse?

6. Are you planning to try the horse in person or will you be buying from videos/photos? 

7. In what price range are you looking?

“It is extremely important to us that we match our horses with the right owners,” Lesa states. “Our reputation depends on happy buyers.”

 

Step Four - Going Deeper

Once you have identified true prospects via the Internet and over the phone, it’s time to watch a DVD. This will generally be longer than the clips that are posted on websites, plus the quality is usually better. If the horse is showing, also ask to see a ride of one whole test.  

  • If you will be visiting prospects, make a checklist of what you’d you like to see and who you want to go with you. Are you taking a friend and/or your trainer? If the horse has a certain level of training, be sure to watch demonstrations of the movements. For example, if the horse is at Third Level, watch lead changes, half-pass and collected and extended gaits. If the horse is jumping, try him over fences. Don’t forget to observe the horse being handled in and out of his stall, loading onto a trailer, or performing other tasks that rate highly on your list of desirables.

  • Once you are satisfied that a horse meets your dream horse checklist, you can schedule a pre-purchase exam, a topic so important that it requires its own future article.

  • Whether you are searching for a schoolmaster, an international prospect or a broodmare as the foundation for your breeding program, identifying what you want and asking the right questions is the key to finding your perfect horse.

 

 

After you define what you are truly looking for, determine your budget up front before you begin shopping. Be sure to factor in additional costs like pre-purchase exam, sales tax, transportation and new tack if you need it. Ask what the terms are and be sure you have the funds available to make the purchase when you find the right horse.

Don’t forget to factor in your trainer’s commission or fee into your budget. While many sellers are negotiable, be sure to ask about flexibility in the price. This will help you determine realistically which horses to look at. Just because the supply is good right now, don’t expect a good horse to be a give-away. Ultimately, you get what you pay for.

RBS CONSULTING

RBS CONSULTING

With over 30 years’ experience help find the best match for you

Whether you are looking for a family friend or show horse, or something in between

  • Commission:

    • Purchasing: 5%, or minimum $100

    • Sales: 10%, or minimum $400 (advertising as charged)

 

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     4885 Rocky Branch Rd, Bethalto, IL 62010
 

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