Selecting a New Horse
Important factors to consider when buying a horse include use, as well as conformation, temperament, health, and history.
She was a girl’s dream horse–coppery palomino coat, white stockings, flashy blaze. She was also 15 years old, and a retired, unregistered broodmare with a bucking habit. When my parents finally agreed to buy my first horse, we did everything you’re not supposed to do. We picked exactly the wrong horse, didn’t have a veterinarian perform even a cursory physical exam, and bought her despite a known behavioral problem. We got lucky. I owned, rode, and loved my beautiful, ornery mare for more than 20 years until she died at age 36. However, the successful purchase of a new horse should rely on more than dumb luck.
Selecting a new horse challenges even experienced horse owners; the many considerations can be overwhelming. Often, the problem is not a lack of information but an overload. However, all of the data should point to answering one question: What is this horse’s suitability for his intended use?
To answer this question, a prospective buyer needs the tools to evaluate:
- Horse/rider match
- Physical health/fitness
- Genetic or breed predispositions
- Performance history
- Medical history
- Financial cost
The key points are at the top and bottom of this list: Is this horse a good match for this rider? And do the requirements for purchasing and maintaining this horse fit with buyer’s the long-term
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