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When buying a horse or pony, Trading Standards advise the following:

  • If you are buying a horse from a horse dealer you have legal rights. The animal must be of satisfactory quality, fit for their purpose and as described. With a veteran horse you must expect more wear and tear so it is important that you check out its suitability and condition.
  • If you are buying from a private seller you have fewer rights but the horse must be as described. So it is even more important to get it checked out.
  • If the horse or pony is to be ridden by a child, make sure the horse is child friendly and the child has had an opportunity to ride it.
  • Take along an experienced rider when viewing the animal. Ensure that the horse does everything that you want it to do after purchase, and that there are no adverse effects.
  • Get a vet to examine the animal before committing yourself to purchase.
  • Do not be pressured into buying a horse without a pre-purchase vetting, despite any claims that the horse may otherwise be sold.
  • Ensure that any microchip identification matches both the horse and its passport.
  • Ask to see the horse’s passport and contact any previous owner if a horse dealer is selling the animal. Ask the previous owner about the horse’s suitable for the job you want it to do and its general health. Think twice about buying if you cannot make any checks on the history of the animal.
  • Do not overestimate your own ability or level of experience. Make sure your requirements and experience are clearly explained to the seller in order that they can assist you to select a horse that will be suitable for you.
  • Make sure you get a written receipt and if possible pay some of the amount by credit card.

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Buying a new horse? Compare insurance prices at horseandhound.co.uk/insurance