Purchasing a new horse can be exciting! A new neigh-whinny to love on, a new horse to ride, maybe a pony for your kids (or you)... the options are endless. You need pre-purchase health checks, money orders/cash/checks, farrier visit... the list goes on and on! But where do you start?
Figure out why you're getting the horse.
Now this may seem redundant, but you really need to know. Will it be for Dressage? Trails? Pasture companion? Project horse?
You need to know what the job, or not job, of the equine you're purchasing will be. This will make it easier to put out an ad or narrow down your searches
Figure out the basics and price range.
First things first. How much are you willing to spend? Browse around and see how much the horses are going for in your area to make your price range a little more flexible (if you can!).
Now, focus on the equine. Do you have a specific breed in mind? Mare? Gelding? Donkey? Mule? Draft? Pony? Getting this settled before making an ad/browsing will make things 100% easier!
Know your limits and know what kind of horse you will need. Beginner, intermediate, advanced... be honest with yourself.
If you already have horses, make sure you know if the horse you're planning on getting can be at the top of the herd, or needs to be at the bottom. This will save unnecessary headaches in the future!
Post your ad/reply to sales ads
Make sure that you post what you want in the horse. Include all the details you see fit. Age, height, sex, etc. Include it all!
Make your intent clear. Don't post for an all-purpose horse when you really want a hunter/jumper. Sure, it may get you more horses to look at, but it'll save you and the seller more time.
Make sure that your budget is very clear. You don't want people posting their horse that is 3 times out of your budget (which may happen anyway...).
When replying, make sure to offer to contact them or give them a way to contact you.
Post your riding abilities. Don't go into how you did lessons when you were five, didn't ride again till you were 30, and are 50 and looking for your own horse. That takes too much time to read. Be honest. State whether you are a beginner, intermediate, advanced, newbie, etc.
State whether or not you will be working with a trainer as well.
Visit the equine several times
Make sure you visit the equine at least twice.
You want to make sure that you try the horse out for what you're intending it for. Unless of course it is a project horse, or you're going to be training it more than what the horse is at.
Don't be afraid to ask several questions while you're there. Ask, ask, ask away. Get all the information you want. A seller should either supply the information, or be willing to supply the information.
Try to gauge the horse's personality while visiting. If you and the horse don't click right away, it's OKAY. You don't have to. It may take time to form a bond, but if you're clashing from the get go, you might want to pass on the horse.
Take your time.
Don't rush buying that very first horse you meet. Meet quite a few horses. Branch out, and really "live" the horse buying experience.
Don't be afraid to turn down a seller. Sure, the horse may be in your price range, but if it's not the right age or experience level, pass. NO MATTER what the seller says. Don't buy a horse out of guilt. You are NOT wasting their time if you and the horse do not mesh well.
Post in several places, and if you don't have any hits, post again.
Trust your gut.
Really. It's the best thing you can trust. If that little voice is telling you no, then don't buy the equine. DON'T do it.
If that little voice tells you that maybe that project horse has potential, then think about it. You never know what diamonds are hiding behind the stall door.
Get the pre-purchase exam.
Don't let anyone talk you out of it. Not the seller, your family, your friends... GET IT DONE.
If there's any issues or concerns, do not be afraid to pull x-rays. It's better to spend the x-ray money now, then in the future when the horse comes up lame.
If the seller tries to talk you out of it, don't even bother. Just walk away and say you are no longer interested in the equine. Don't risk it!
If the owner is selling without a Coggins, make sure you get it pulled before even thinking about taking the horse home. ( In some places it's illegal to sell without a Coggins!)
Don't forget to check the teeth and ask how long has it been since the last dental check!
Make sure you have the line of payment set up.
If you are doing payments, be timely and make sure you are ready every time. Do not be late. This is a horse, not your phone.
If you are paying in cash, make sure that you have it all ready to go when you pick up the horse.
Be honest and open when communicating about the money transaction with the seller! Better safe than sorry!
There are several websites out there for you to use, such as EquineNow, HorseClicks, Equine, Dream Horse, etc. Don't be afraid to post ads there or check those out too!
Remember to have fun and enjoy your purchasing experience!!! Your new pony/horse/mule/etc. will be waiting for you!!