Owning a horse is a big responsibility and commitment of time and money, but it is very rewarding as well.
What we hope to provide in this article is a solid guide to preparing for and purchasing your first horse. we are going to talk about what to consider before looking at horses, where to look, and who to buy from, how to evaluate a horse for soundness, temperament, and suitability, what to expect in the sale process, and what to do after you buy your first horse as well as the tricks sometimes used that an inexperienced horse person needs to aware of.
the first step in this process is knowing what type of horse you want. This will depend on what kind of riding you plan on doing with that horse, what your current skill level is, and what personality traits you enjoy in a horse.
What Kind of Horse Do You Need?
Now that you are thinking about buying your own horse, the first step is to decide what you want! Horses are different than dogs, to find a dog you could go to the shelter and pick out the cutest one, but using that criterion with a horse could spell disaster.
What Do You Want to Do?
The first factor to consider is what are you planning on doing with your new horse? If you just love trail riding, most horses can do that physically, but if you are aiming to compete successfully in any specific discipline, you will need to find a horse that has the athletic ability to do what you ask. If you find a horse that is well suited to your chosen discipline the training process will generally be easier as well.
If you are unsure what breeds are best suited for your discipline, just ask. Go to a horse show and talk to people there, or read magazines written for that discipline. You can also go to online forums and post a question. People love to talk about their horses and will be more than happy to share what breed their horse is and what they enjoy doing with him/her.
What Is Your Current Skill Level?
This is an important one, but also something that many people do not give enough thought to when looking for a horse. I know many novice riders who have fallen in love with a young horse or a spirited horse with known training issues.
Be warned, because if you are a novice handling a horse with either a lack of training or training issues, you are very likely to get hurt, and it can be very frightening and frustrating to deal with a young or problem horse before you have the skills to do so.
What type of ride do you like?
Do you enjoy a steady Eddie who is the same horse every day and who you can trust completely, or do you like the extra spunk of a hot-blooded breed and are unfazed by the occasional spook or exuberant buck? Personality plays a big role in this as well, if you tend to be a nervous, anxious person you want to find a horse who is calm and unfazed by your emotions so that you can relax when you’re with your horse. If you tend to be very quiet and meek, you don’t want to choose a horse who is pushy and in your face, or you will be constantly struggling with setting boundaries. The best way to learn more about what type of horse you like is to interact with a lot of horses. Take lessons and ride different horses. Observe other people riding and note the behavior of their horses.
Leasing a Horse
If you still have uncertainty about what you want in a horse, or which direction you plan on going with your riding, then leasing might be a good option for you. There are many types of leases that can be done with horses. In some cases, it is for a specified term and the person who leases the horse is responsible for all care just as if they were an owner. In other cases, the lease may be done month-by-month, with the leasee paying a set fee for the right to work with or ride the horse. Leasing can give you a taste of horse ownership and allow you to become more familiar with the riding and what you want in a horse without the commitment of buying. The downside is that you don’t own the horse, so you probably won’t have full control over his/her training and care. Also, if you end up falling in love with the horse, it is the owner’s decision whether or not they will sell him/her to you. To find a horse for lease, talk to your trainer or others in the area. Sometimes trainers will offer partial leases on their school horses or will know of owners in their barn who are looking to lease out their horse.