Buying a horse: final questions, payment and when you get your new horse home

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

  • Part five: the pre-purchase vetting

    So you’ve found a horse that you love from the many horses for sale you’ve considered, he’s passed the vetting and you’re ready to hand over his purchase price. We’re here to make sure you don’t fall at the last hurdle.

    Here are some important questions and considerations you shouldn’t forget:

    • If you haven’t already done so, ask to see his passport — it is illegal for a horse to be sold without one. Check the description, age and other details matches the horse in question.
    • Speak to your insurance company to find out how much the horse will cost to insure and whether they will be putting any exclusions on the policy based on the vet’s pre-purchase report.
    • When agreeing the final contract with the seller, you might like to ask for a trial period — this would allow you some time with the horse to see if you are a good pairing. However, many sellers will not allow this, so don’t be surprised if your request is turned down. Dealers typically put in place terms for any trial, so make sure you understand the “small print”.
    • When agreeing on a final price, it is perfectly acceptable to negotiate. Most sellers will expect this unless they state “no offers” on the advert.
    • You could ask if the seller would include any of the horse’s tack and rugs in the sale — this would save you time and money once you get him home.
    • Once you’ve come to a verbal agreement on the terms of sale, ask to have it in writing.
    • Always ask for a written receipt and ask the seller to write what the horse is suitable for (e.g. a schoolmaster, a child’s first pony).
    • Once you have purchased the horse, get him insured immediately for your own peace of mind. Take a look through our top tips on chosing the right insurance policy.

    Congratulations! You’ve bought yourself a horse. How exciting. Now you just need to take him home, get him settled into his new life and it’s time to start learning about each other. Remember that any yard change is likely to unsettle a horse, so it is worth trying to keep his routine similar to what he was used to at his previous yard while he gets to know you as his new owner.

    • Let him settle in. Moving from one yard to another is a big change and one that he’ll take time to come accustomed to.
    • Don’t expect too much too soon — set yourself small goals to start with and give you and your horse the necessary praise when you achieve them.
    • Remember taking small steps and building solid foundations will help ensure you have a good future. If you rush at the start, chances are you’ll have to go back and start again at some point in the future — do it properly once.
    • Don’t try anything new with him — yet. The seller will have explained to you what the horse is used to and what he has achieved, so, for the first few months stick to what he knows in terms of exercise, feeding and turnout time.
    • Spend time getting to know him on the ground. Your new horse needs to trust you, just as much as you need to trust him, so take plenty of time on the ground building your trust and understanding
    • If you find you’re facing problems you didn’t expect and don’t feel able to cope with, seek expert advice from your trainer or yard manager.
    • If things are going wrong, don’t be afraid to get in touch with the seller. As they know the horse better than you, they may be able to offer you helpful advice to help resolve any problems you are experiencing before they get out of hand.

    We hope our guide has helped you to find your perfect horse and establish a good early relationship with him, which will set you up for bigger and better things in the future.

    Ultimate guide to buying a horse

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