January 2022 – Courtesy of The Northwest Horse Source – Kim Roe –
Most people acquire a horse by buying one. The process often involves hours on the phone, scrolling the internet, and viewing videos. The goal is to find the best possible horse for whatever purpose you have in mind, and there can be many pitfalls. The purchase price of a horse is in many ways the cheapest part of owning one. If you end up with a horse that’s unsuitable or unusable to you, you’re suddenly in the horse sales business. Below I offer seven strategies to help you find your dream horse.
- Get help (and listen when advice is offered). Enlist a knowledgeable friend or family member and a professional to go through the process with you. If you don’t have a regular trainer, hire one you respect to help with your horse search. Write down what you want, what you don’t want, and the realities of your riding abilities. Then, ask your friend and trainer to help keep you on track.
- Feel the love, but don’t get swept off your feet. We fall in love with horses for all kinds of reasons. Perhaps it’s their color, size, or rarity. Perhaps it’s because they can move faster, jump higher, or extend better than any horse we’ve ever seen, or it’s those Olympic gold medal bloodlines, or maybe it’s just that pretty face.
It’s common to see a talented horse and want to buy it. But talent is much less important than whether the horse is a good fit for you. If the horse is more athletic than you are capable of riding, or greener than you’re capable of training, progress in your chosen discipline will be slower than on a horse whose talent who suits your abilities.
Another general rule is buy a horse that looks a bit like you. Tall and leggy riders need tall and leggy horses and the opposite is also true. Don’t discount the comfort you feel when you try out a horse.
- Sales barns are convenient but expensive. Looking for a horse at a sales barn gives you the opportunity to look at and try a number of horses in the same place. Reputable sales barns can make the process of buying a horse go much faster and easier than trying to find a horse on your own.
Many people involved in horse sales have a good eye for what makes a good match and can steer you towards it, but there’s a lot of markup on the horse’s price when someone consigns a horse to a sales barn. The goal of a sales barn is to make money on the sale of horses and to move them along as quickly as possible, whereas buying a horse directly from his owner might involve less pressure and click to read more