Everything you NEED to know about purchasing your first horse!
We know that feeling of purchasing a horse all too well. The excitement building in your belly, the what if’s, the imagination running wild, the plans, goals, hopes and dreams.
Buying your first horse is a huge milestone in any equestrian's life, a commitment that takes not only your time but also your money and soul.. (only joking, we wouldn't have it any other way).
Before embarking on this journey, it is crucial to gather knowledge about yourself as a rider, your first horse criteria, assess your personal circumstances, and understand the responsibilities and commitment that comes with horse ownership.
In this article, we will explore essential factors to consider when looking to purchase your first horse! Let’s jump in;
Experience, Skill Level & A Support Person:
Assess your level of experience and riding skills honestly. If you are a beginner, it is advisable to seek guidance from a knowledgeable professional or instructor to find a suitable horse that matches your abilities. Novice riders may have a good idea of the criteria they would like, however should look to aim for a calm, well-trained, and forgiving horse that can help build confidence and provide a safe learning experience.
In this process, it is easy to think we have more skills and experience than we do, it is better to stay on the cautious but also realistic side of your view.
We recommend working with a professional trainer, coach or someone you trust that has extensive experience with horses and knows you and your abilities as a rider. They can assist you to create a criteria based on what is going to be the best for you.
Purpose and Discipline:
Consider the purpose for which you intend to use the horse. Whether it is trail riding, dressage, jumping, eventing or any other discipline, different horses possess varying aptitudes and temperaments. Determine your goals and select a breed and horse that aligns with your chosen discipline and goals. Again, an equestrian professional will be able to assist you in determining what this is, for you.
Temperament and Trainability:
A horse's temperament is a vital consideration when purchasing your first horse. Horses can have varying personalities, from docile and easy-going to spirited and energetic. Assess your own criteria and find a horse that complements your personality, confidence and riding ability. Spend time interacting with the horse to gauge compatibility and observe its behavior in various situations.
Age and Training:
Consider the age and level of training that suits your needs. Younger horses require more experience and expertise to develop into well-trained partners, while older horses may have more mileage and experience. A well-trained, seasoned horse can be an excellent choice for a novice rider, while a younger horse may be preferable for someone with adequate experience and support.
Health and Veterinary Considerations:
We recommend the horse undergoes a pre-purchase veterinary examination by a qualified veterinarian. This examination should include a thorough assessment of the horse's overall health, soundness, and any pre-existing medical conditions. Review the horse's medical history, vaccination records, dentistry and farrier records to understand it’s personal needs. Every horse is different and this can vary significantly.
Quick question list:
- Does this horse require any supplements, joint maintenance or specific medications?
- Does this horse require specific work by the farrier?
- Has this horse had any injuries? Including unsoundness, minor or significant injuries
- When was the last time this horse seen the dentist, farrier and vet & what were the outcomes of these visits?
- Has this horse ever had laminitis?
- Has this horse ever had an episode of colic?
- Is there anything else you think would be relevant to the health and wellness of this horse?
Horse ownership involves significant financial commitments beyond the initial purchase. Consider expenses such as boarding/agistment or stabling fees, feed, hay, veterinary care, farrier services, and training. Additionally, factor in equipment costs, such as saddles, bridles, grooming supplies, and riding attire. Budgeting and financial planning are crucial to ensure that you can afford the ongoing costs of horse ownership.
Facilities and Boarding:
Evaluate the facilities and boarding options available to you. If you plan to keep the horse at your own property, ensure you have adequate space, shelter, and appropriate fencing. If boarding at a stable, research the facility's reputation, amenities, and the level of care provided. Ensure the boarding arrangement aligns with your horse's needs and your personal preferences.
Purchasing your first horse is an exciting endeavor, but it requires careful thought and consideration. Assess your experience, riding goals, and personal circumstances to find a horse that matches your needs and abilities. Take the time to evaluate temperament, training, health, and financial aspects before making a decision. Seek guidance from experienced equestrians, trainers, and veterinarians to ensure a successful and fulfilling partnership with your first horse.
Remember, responsible horse ownership involves ongoing commitment, care, and dedication to your equine companion. We wish the very best for the journey ahead and hope this article was helpful in starting you on your journey to horse ownership!