Preparing to Buy a Horse

The decision to buy a horse is a big one, and like all major decisions, it should be made with a great deal of thought, consideration, and planning.

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If you’ve loved horses for as long as you can remember, having one of your own may be the realization of a lifelong goal. As a child, and even as an adult, you may have spent countless hours dreaming about the “perfect” horse, but in reality there’s just no such thing. Fortunately, you don’t need a flawless horse to be happy and successful as an equestrian–all you need is a good horse that fits you well.

Riding is a team sport, pairing horse and human. Neither is more critical than the other. As with any other team sport, successful riding depends on a number of factors, including mutual respect, cooperation, and compatibility. While you’re building your own two-member team, remember that no matter how new you are to riding, you’re not starting from scratch. Half of your team is already established, and that half is you. Your physical and mental characteristics dictate the physical and mental characteristics of the ideal teammate.

As you work through the process of choosing and buying a horse, you’ll need to consider dozens of factors. Ultimately, you should always come back to the most important consideration: whether the horse is a good fit for you. No matter how “perfect” a horse may seem, he’s not the right one if he’s the wrong teammate for you.

To ensure you end up buying the right horse, it’s wise to do your homework and plan your purchase carefully and as far in advance as possible. When you approach the process in logical steps, you’re more likely to be happy with the result. Satisfaction comes from knowing not only exactly what you want but also exactly what you need and then searching until you find it. You should never allow yourself to settle for an unsafe or unsuitable horse

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Written by:

Rallie McAllister, MD, grew up on a horse farm in Tennessee, and has raised and trained horses all of her life. She now lives in Lexington, Ky., on a horse farm with her husband and three sons. In addition to her practice of emergency and corporate medicine, she is a syndicated columnist (Your Health by Dr. Rallie McAllister), and the author of four health-realted books, including Riding For Life, published by Eclipse Press and available at or by calling 800/582-5604.””allie McAllister

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