Selecting a New Horse

Important factors to consider when buying a horse include use, conformation, temperament, health, and history.
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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

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Written by:

Christy Corp-Minamiji, DVM, practices large animal medicine in Northern California, with particular interests in equine wound management and geriatric equine care. She and her husband have three children, and she writes fiction and creative nonfiction in her spare time.

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