Buying a horse is a serious long-term commitment and is both time and financially expensive. So if you’re thinking about taking the plunge and aren’t sure where to start H&Hs ultimate guide to buying a horse‘ is here to help.

From which questions to ask, to what to do when you go to have a look at the horse — we’ve got the expert advice you need to make sure it’s as hassle-free as possible…

Before you begin

Looking for the perfect horse can be time consuming, so before you start your search consider the following…

  • If this is your first horse, do you have the time for such a big commitment? Having a horse is exhausting, as well as rewarding, so make sure you’ve got the time and energy to look after your four-legged friend every day of the year.
  • If you’re adding to your herd then think realistically if you have the time to commit to an extra horse.
  • Be sure that you have the perfect home in mind. If you’re already at a livery yard then check there is enough space for an addition before you go hunting for a new ride. If you’re a new owner do your research into local livery yards before you make any decisions.
  • Horses aren’t just a big commitment to your time, but also to your purse-strings. Don’t go head first into buying your own horse until you’re sure you can afford it. You will also need to take into consideration the large variety of costs that come with horses such as insurance, vet bills and shoeing. Take a look through our guide that’ll give you more of an idea on how much it costs to keep a horse. Think it’s a bit pricey? There are other options to have horses involved in your life, like sharing.

Now you have the important basics organised, it’s time to consider what type of horse you are looking for. Being clear about this will shorten the searching process.

When working out what horse you’d like to buy, ask yourself:

  • Is the horse likely to be ridden by other members of your family? Think, it’s got to be suitable.
  • Do you have the time, patience and skill to bring on an inexperienced horse?
  • Is it important you see regular improvements in you and your horse? If so, make sure you look for a horse with potential to improve.
  • Are you looking for a horse that knows the ropes? If so, make sure the horses you’re looking at viewing are a little bit older and have the relevant experience.
  • Do you want to compete and if so, right away? Choose your horse accordingly.
  • What are the deal breakers for you? These could be anything from price or build, to age; write a list of things you aren’t willing to budge on – and stick to them!
  • What are you willing to compromise on? Again, write a list and don’t be tempted to add things on.

Write down the answers to these questions and take them with you when viewing a horse. It’s easy to get carried away when you’re viewing horses for sale so always refer back to the list.

Prepare yourself for a journey that, unless you’re really lucky, could easily last a few months. You may have to travel, have deliberations and be let down, but it’ll all be worth it in the end if you find your perfect equine partner.

Ultimate guide to buying a horse

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