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Buying at the sales

  • Register, pick up a catalogue and make a note of possible candidates
  • There’s plenty of opportunity to view and even try before you bid – but look at the vet search, too
  • Have a budget and stick to it. Remember there’s commission to pay, plus a second vetting (optional) and transporter fees
  • Don’t expect to pick up star quality for peanuts – while lots of horses are selling cheaply at the moment, there’s always money about for the best stock
  • Remember the extras: at Cavan there is a 6% commission payable by the purchaser, and vet and transporting fees will cost another £250- £300

What to look for and what to avoid

  • Good conformation, clean limbs, straight movement and signs of general good health, including a bright eye
  • With cob youngsters, have a look at the breeding if possible to gauge what height they are likely to make when mature
  • Follow your instinct – if warning bells ring in the way a horse looks or goes, avoid it

This is an extract from a feature about buying horses in the raw. See the current issue of Horse & Hound (10 February, 2011) to find out more

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