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Buying A Horse: How To Find Your Dream Horse

Feb 27, 2008
You have been dreaming of buying a horse of your own for ever, and now that you finally have some money, you can simply go out and buy one, right? Not exactly. A well-trained, sound horse isn't as simple to get hold of as a cute little puppy or a kitten, especially not a good horse. Before you buy a horse, you will need to find a place to keep it. In addition, you should be aware of how much money you will need to spend to keep your horse.

Budget very carefully before you fall madly in love and buy a horse you cannot afford to keep. Having said that, most horseback riders are willing to give up a lot of life's little luxuries to be able to keep our horses and we never regret a single one of them.

Most horses need to be shoed every 6 weeks (even unshod horses need to see the vet every 2 months), they need to receive vaccinations and they need to be fed. You will need to spend a substantial amount on bedding, grooming supplies and equipment as well as tack. However, the most important thing you will need to do is to be sure you will recognise a good horse when you see one (and a bad one too!).

Green Horse, Green Rider
Depending on your own experience, there are lots of horses that you shouldn't buy out there. Some have bad habits like biting, kicking or cribbing (chewing on the edge of a stall door). Others are not well trained yet. Although they may know some of the basics, they are still very green, meaning they may be willing to wear a saddle, but do not know all of the signals that a thoroughly trained horse knows. A green horse and a green rider are the worst possible combination.

Further, some horses may be unsound or unhealthy. A serious problem with hooves or legs can render a horse worthless for riders. Owning a horse that can only handle a slow walk around the ring with a child on its back when you were hoping for an animal that could compete in shows is heartbreaking for a new horse owner.

Check his background, not just his pedigree
Now that you are aware all of the things that could be wrong with a horse, how do you find the perfect horse for you? You should be careful about buying horses at an auction or through the newspaper. A better idea is to ask around at horse shows, competitions or other events. Serious competitors often move up to more challenging or flashier horses as they gain experience. Their old, dependable beginner horses are perfect for people who want a first horse.

Should you find a horse that you are interested in, ask around before you hand over your cash, especially if the horse has competed in horse shows and competitions. Other horse owners will have heard if that horse has a nasty disposition or always balks at the flagpoles. They may even know about health problems the horse had experienced.

Full Vetting
Once you have investigated the horse's background, call in your veterinarian. Your vet will test your prospective horse's eyesight, hearing, heart and teeth. If you aren't sure how old the horse is, the vet can even estimate the animal's age by inspecting his teeth. Most importantly, however, your vet will take a look at the horse's legs and feet. He will be looking for swollen hocks, leg splints or thrush, which is a dangerous hoof infection that often is caused when a horse is left standing in dirty, wet bedding for long periods of time.

Finally, it is time to see if the horse is YOUR dream horse. Tack him up yourself to be sure he doesn't have any unsavoury habits, like refusing to take the bit or kicking and biting. Mount the horse and put him through his paces. Be on the lookout for flaws such as the inability to change leads or the refusal to back up on command. Some of these behaviours can be corrected with the help of a good trainer, but you will want your first horse to be well trained and well behaved. In fact, if possible take your instructor with you to view the horse.

And remember, keeping a horse can cost anything from $4000-10 000 a year!
About the Author
Discover the exclusive equestrian magazine I Want A Horse, based on an easy-to-understand-and-implement strategy enabling techno phobic horse people to earn enough money online to buy the dream horse/equestrian boots/saddle/trailer they always wanted at I want a Horse Equestrian Magazine
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