Horse Buying Advice

We do not sell horses so there is no pressure to buy a horse from us.  If you decide you want your own horse, we will go with you to look and advise.  There is no charge for this service for our regular students within a reasonable travel distance.  Long distance assistance is 75 cents per mile from our location. If you are not one of our clients and want assistance, the price varies depending on the circumstances.  It will be an hourly charge for our time.

Buying a horse is like buying a used car!  Buyer beware.

Buying a horse is not an easy endeavor for the average person.  There are many people out there who will tell you anything to sell you the horse.  There are a lot who will drug the horse when you come to try it out.  It is always a good idea to have an experienced horse person with you or to check out the reputation of the person who is selling the horse. 

The old adage of “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth” is not a good one!  There are many “free” horses out there with serious medical issues or mental issues.  When you have to spend thousands retraining a “free” horse, it is no longer a good deal.  An older horse may be a good acquisition in some circumstances.

Trainers who sell horses are not always a good choice either.  While some are quite reputable, many will sell you a horse that you will need to keep with them for further training at $500 a month or more. This is fine as long as you know it up front. The other pitfall with buying from a trainer is they may be making thousands on the transaction.  For instance, they will buy one for $2,000 and turn around and sell it to you for $6,000 or more.  The average commission for a sale is 10 to 20 percent if your trainer is acting as agent.  If a trainer buys a horse at a low price and puts many months of training into it before he sells it, then he is entitled to a markup to the horses current value on the open market. This is not the same as just turning it around for a huge profit. Let me state again, this is not all trainers but you need to be aware and keep your eyes open.

Buying a young horse for a beginner is not a good idea.  They will not grow together, they will grow apart and you will end up with a horse that needs retraining.  You should not consider buying a horse for your child until they are able to canter or lope proficiently.  The means no hands flying or banging the bit in the horse’s mouth and legs banging the horse with each stride.  A good lesson horse has learned to ignore bad cues and an unbalanced rider.  A young horse will be thoroughly confused and pick up bad habits in response to a poor rider.  This is what creates a horse that pulls on its rider, carries its nose in the air trying to avoid the riders hands, and a multitude of other issues. Before you purchase a horse that is under your supervision, you should have a working knowledge of the severity of bits, saddle fit and general care.  Horses need regular hoof care (every 6 to 8 weeks depending on the horse).  No hoof, no horse is a valuable saying.

Training a horse is not a matter of jumping on and taking off.  A trainer needs years of experience with many horses.  When looking for a trainer, talk to their clients.  If it is a new trainer, find out who they worked with before striking out on their own.  Training a horse from start to finish takes many months.  When buying a young horse for training, be aware that you will be spending a lot of money until that horse is useful to you.

Most horses with bad habits picked them up from bad riders or uneducated riders.  If you buy a finished horse and it starts to develop bad habits, take a look in the mirror.  It might be you.  If you can’t figure out what you are doing to the horse, consult with a reputable trainer or teacher.  They will be able to see things that you cannot see.

All horses are different, just like people.  What bothers one may not bother another.  Some are sensitive to their surroundings while others are quite trusting and nonchalant.  Horses are sensitive to their riders.  If you are nervous, you may make the horse nervous.  Some horses are more sensitive than others. Some horses have a high energy level.  There are many variables!

Last but not least! Horses ARE NOT dogs.  They do not think or act or react like a dog.  The only similarity is that they both like treats!