When I started looking for a horse I read many sites up and down to gather information on what would be the best horse for me. The outcome was that I really got the one that I wanted with the behaviour and knowledge that I wanted. Lately I’ve seen a lot of horse riders surrounding me buying horses that simply isn’t what they should buy. We all know that horses come with different breeds, looks, characters, and behaviour. Some people really think they can change the horse, and then they realise after a year that their knowledge wasn’t enough to do so and they end up selling the horse again. So here are my 10 tips when buying your first horse.
First time trying out Mr.Grumpy.
1. Take your time
It took me about 6 months to find the right one. I was searching many sites online and talked to a bunch of people in my surroundings to be able to find the one that was right for me. So please take your time and don’t buy the first one you see just because you think there is no other one. There is a bunch of horses out there, so take your time slowly and make sure the horse is the right fit. In the end my instructor found Mr.Grumpy for me as she was informed by the stable he now stands at that he was for sale.
2. Bring someone with you with loads of knowledge of horses
This point is extremely important. If its your first horse and you’ve never gone together with someone buying one before, make sure you bring someone with you with a lot of knowledge. They can first hand see if the horse is healthy, if he walks well and overall if you are a fit together. I brought my instructor with me and she straight away saw that we were good together.
3. Test the horse several times
I tried out Mr.Grumpy twice and went to a competition to check him out before I bought him. Especially if you are trying out several different horses in the same time period you should test the horse several times to make sure you are making the right decision. For all you know the owner could have lunged the horse before you came to make sure it was calm when you got there. An extra tips on this one is to show up 10-5 minutes to early to have a look around and check out if they are doing something with the horse before you arrive. Unfortunately some stables do drugs their horses before people come to test them, therefore its also important to try it twice to make sure its the right fit.
Checking him out at a competition.
4. Age and Character
The general saying is that you shouldn’t buy a young horse if you’re a novice rider. The more knowledge you have the younger you can go. The reason for this is because if you have big strong horse that doesn’t listen to you when you ride him it can be fatale. If you don’t have the knowledge to ride in a horse or teach him things, then make sure you get one that already has the knowledge. Otherwise you will have to get a hell lot of lessons to make sure you both learn the right things. The same goes for character, don’t buy a super hot/forward horse if you are a bit afraid, or a horse that bucks a lot if you don’t know how to deal with it.
I was looking for a horse that already had the knowledge I didn’t possess, that was calm, and wouldn’t buck me off the second I did something wrong. Hence why I ended up with a 14 year old horse that till now hasn’t done anything to throw me off. And the best thing, he has thought me so much. Don’t be afraid to choose something a bit older if it means you will learn a lot. It will give you some much back compared to one you will fall off every lesson.
5. Don’t go for looks and price
We all know it, horses are beautiful creatures, and its easy to fall in love with them. However, just because a horse is beautiful doesn’t mean you should buy it. For all you know you might be bucked off for the next 10 times you ride it because he is too hot for you. So don’t let the looks fool you, there will be a beautiful horse out there with the right character for you. Same goes for the price of the horse, just because it costs 15000 euro doesn’t mean its an amazing horse, the seller decides the price, so make sure that if you don’t have the knowledge concerning the price a horse should be, bring someone with you who does.
6. Don’t believe the great stories
One thing I learned when looking for a horse was that many sellers make great stories, I think their even worse then car salesman. “no, this horse never ever bucks”, “a kid can ride him”, “yes, he can do a pirouette “. Don’t believe this before you have tested the horse yourself. They want to sell the horse as much as you want to buy it.
First time lunging Mr.Grumpy.
7. Don’t go for good papers
For some people its important that their horses have good papers as its make them feel more privileged. Here in the Netherlands the stallion Jazz is really well know and has been breed with a lot. For some reason people seem to automatically think that every horse with him as father is great. Unfortunately thats not how it works. If you can’t see if the horse is a good walker by yourself, bring someone with you that can. By the way, there are great horses out there without papers too!
8. If you don’t have enough money, save some more
Unfortunately horses are expensive. Some people think that they can have a budget of 3000 euro and have a walking wonder that at the same time behaves like a god. Unfortunately most horses that walk wonders that doesn’t have something wrong with it doesn’t come in that price range. If you notice that the horses you want don’t come in your price range, go ahead and save some more. A good friend of mine bought one for 2500 with good papers and crossed her fingers the horse would be great. 6 months in the horse has been operated 3 times and she had to buy a new one. Of course you can be really lucky, but the chances are slim.
9. A horse costs much more then just buying it
Before I got Mr.Grumpy I set up a budget to make sure I had enough money for everything, however I blew it fast. Lucky for me I had some money left over, but having a horse is far more expensive than buying a horse. Make sure to set up a budget of the monthly costs so you won’t be surprised when you finally have one. Make sure you have enough money for vet checks, tack hauls, food, stabling, shoes and your own product.
10. Get a thorough vet check
I cannot express enough how important this is! Make sure you get the horse trough a thorough vet check before you buy it. You don’t want to end up with a horse that has kissing spine or other serious injuries because you didn’t check it when you bought it. A one time vet check can save you a lot of dollars in the future so make sure you get one. Make sure that you get to decide which vet check him, as some sellers have their own vets who they make deals with on beforehand to not tell you everything they should.
First day owning Mr.Grumpy
And last, but not least, have fun with it. Hope some of these tips will help you, good luck!