• bluecatequestrian

Buying a Horse - Exciting or Scary?!

Buying a horse can be a daunting prospect to say the least, but it should be fun - so I thought I would create blog post to help make the process run as smoothly as possible!!

Welcome to the Blue Cat Equestrian 'Guide to Buying a Horse'......

Having bought my own horses in the past, and helped others to find their perfect partner in crime I have a few tips and tricks up my sleeve. These are a few of the things I think are most important:

1 - Before you even start looking...

  • Start by jotting down what sort of horse you want - age, sex, height, breed, experience etc.

  • Decide on your budget. There is no point looking at horses which are out of your price range.

  • Make a list of things which are essential and not negotiable in your new horse - this could be as simple as age range or height. It could also include aspects such as ridden behaviour e.g. the horse must be excellent cantering at the back of a group.

  • Make a list of things which are an absolute no-go. There may be some things which you feel you couldn't work with - this could be something like a stable vice or a particular ridden behaviour.

  • Set a limit on how far you are happy to travel to view a hose - within reason, I don't mind travelling if I think the horse could be perfect. You will only have a make the journey a few times so I think its worth it. My horse, Winnie, was over 4 hours away from me and the best decision I ever made! Equally, some people prefer to stay local.

  • Decide if you would like to buy from a dealer or a private seller (or maybe you don't mind). There is cons and pros of both - for example, private owners have often owned the horse for longer and therefore know them better but with dealers you usually have more comeback if the horse ends up not being as expected.

  • Ensure you have somewhere to keep your horse - spaces on livery yards are often few and far between - you don't want to find your perfect horse and then realise there is no space at any local yards. If possible have a box reserved.

2 - When you start contacting sellers....

  • Ask questions....lots of them. All the questions you can think of! To help you I have created the Blue Cat Equestrian 'Buying a Horse Checklist'. You can find a link to this at the bottom of the page. This document is basically a HUGE list of questions - I'm sure it's not exhaustive but it's certainly a good starting point. It does seem long, but if a seller is genuine and wants to find the right home for their horse, they will be happy to answer any questions you have!

  • Ensure the horse has a valid passport - this is now a legal requirement!

  • Beware of scams - I would never part with any money before seeing the horse. It is not common practice for people to ask for a deposit before viewing.

3 - When you visit the horse

  • Consider taking someone with you - I always find it useful to have a second set of eyes and hands.

  • When you get there ask when the horse was last exercised - if he has been lunged for an hour just before you got there, there is probably a reason!!

  • Observe the horse in a variety of situations on the ground and ridden - for example, being caught from the field, in the stable, grooming, tacking up, loading, in traffic, hacking, in the arena, being ridden alone/company. Its always a bit of a red flag if you get there and the horse is already tacked up and ready to go!

  • Try and visit the horse more than once - I usually suggest a minimum of 3 visits. Some people offer a trail period where you can take the horse home for a week or so to help ensure the horse is right for you.

  • Don't be rushed into any decisions - in the past I have heard sellers say things like 'you should probably make a decision now as we have other people coming to see him later and he will probably be sold' - This may, or may not be true, but you still shouldn't rush into making a decision.

4 - If you decide to purchase the horse

  • You may need to leave a deposit to secure the horse - this is quite common and is usually around 10% of the horses value.

  • Decide if you want to get the horse vetted. This is personally preference, however, most insurance companies will want to see an up-to date 5 stage vetting if you are insuring your horse for over £5000

  • If you are planning to insure the horse, do so before you officially own the horse so he/she is covered from the get go.

  • Get a sales contract/receipt. I always make sure there are two copies and both are signed by both parties.

5 - Once your horse is home

  • Remember horses like routine - moving home can be a big shock to them and their behaviour may change. Give them time to settle in.

  • If you are swapping your horse to a new feed, make sure you do this slowly. Feed companies will be able to advise you on this.

  • Don't be afraid to ask for help - yard staff, instructors, friends, family.

Hopefully you have found this helpful, if you would like more information I suggested having a look at The British Horse Society Website which offers a fantastic article on buying horses:

If you are currently looking for a horse, or hoping to look for one in the future, feel free to drop me a message to see how I can help. I am happy to offer advice, talk to sellers, view horses with you and, once you have decided on your perfect partner, help with the all important setting in process!

Claire :)

The Blue Cat Equestrian Buying a Horse Checklist:

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