Tips on How to Buy a Horse

A beginner’s guide on how to choose, care for and buy a horse.


| November/December 2013



Stallion

A stallion horse rears up in a field with autumn trees in the background.

Photo By Fotolia/Viktoria Makarova

There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man. — Winston Churchill

Have you been watching your neighbors’ horses grazing in pastures, dreaming of someday owning your own steed? Maybe you rode as a kid, and recent thoughts creep through your mind of grabbing hold of the mane of a mare, swinging up onto her back, bareback, and cutting the throttle loose. For many folks with horse experience, there’s something about the smell of a horse as you bury your face in its fur that conjures up the same earthy and soul-renewing feelings as the smell of freshly mown grass.

But before you succumb to your horse hankerings and start searching for animals on the bulletin board at your local feed store, make sure you’re completely ready for horse ownership.

Choosing a horse

First things first, before you purchase a horse, know what you would like to do with it once you find the perfect mount and get her home. Do you dream of lazy trail rides, or would you rather chase foxhounds through fields and over streams and fallen logs? Do you want a workhorse to help with field and timber chores? Do you want to work cattle or learn to rope calves? Do you fancy the top hats and tails of dressage riding? Or do you simply want a pasture pet with which you can feed and share your innermost thoughts and feelings?

Horseback activities and uses can be as diverse as the breeds themselves. If you simply want to keep a horse as a pet, or rescue an equine that has fallen victim to the economic times, breed won’t matter as much. But for other uses, working (Belgian, Clydesdale, Percheron and Shire), riding (American Quarter Horse, Missouri Fox Trotter, Morgan, Tennessee Walker), racing (Thoroughbred, though this depends on distance and type of race), and on down in size to a pony (Hackney, Shetland, Welsh) and the tiny miniature horse, the choice is yours. Do a little research and see which horse will fit your needs best. You can find the Grit guide to 16 noteworthy breeds in the article Horses of Different Colors.

Finding a horse buddy

Before you start, I highly recommend making friends with an experienced horse person who can give you advice. There’s a lot more to owning a horse than just shutting the pasture gate behind it, and a simple question, answered by someone in the know, can save you a ton of heartache and vet bills.

ukiks
7/28/2014 5:30:50 AM

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danielbell
4/19/2014 6:08:41 AM

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suef
2/10/2014 9:36:54 AM

congradulations.. this is the best written article on being a new horse owner. Having a mentor, or someone who has had a horse for a long time, was the best info you could give. Horse trainers are wonderful, however, knowing someone who has had a horse is much safer as horse trainers do it for money, friends don't. Good job!






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