Buying a horse: Horse & Hound’s ultimate step-by-step guide

Welcome to part one of H&H’s ultimate guide to buying a horse, which is packed with useful advice for first-timers and experienced horse owners

  • Buying a horse is a serious long-term commitment and one that can be expensive, both in terms of time and financial investment. So if you’re thinking about taking the plunge, Horse&Hounds ultimate guide to buying a horse is here to help you avoid the common pitfalls and increase the likelihood of you finding your ideal partner at the first attempt.

    From which questions to ask to help you decide if a particular horse is suitable for you, to what to do when you go to view horses for sale — 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 can be 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 – and have plans in place to cover any days you can’t manage.
    • If you’re adding to your existing 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.
    • Looking to buy horse? Take a look at these horses for sale adverts on Horse & Hound, powered by Whickr

    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 for everyone who wants to ride.
    • 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 keep referring back to them when considering horses for sale. It’s easy to get carried away when you’re trying horses so always refer back to the list.

    Next step: Choosing horses to view

    Ultimate guide to buying a horse

    Search horses for sale

    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.

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