A Beginner’s Guide to Buying a Horse

A Beginner’s Guide to Buying a Horse

Whether you want to raise a horse as a hobby or the beginning of a farm or racing career, owning one has many rewards; there’s nothing quite like buying your first horse. However, you must approach the purchasing process ethically and responsibly.

Buying the wrong horse can set you back financially and emotionally. This guide will outline how to find a reputable horse breeder and what you can expect during the process.

How Will You Use Your Horse?

The first step is to know what you want out of your horse. Do you want to start a farm and have a working horse? Is your purpose more of a hobby for riding? Do you want a competitive horse? There are many versatile approaches to horse ownership.

While there’s no wrong answer, proper care is key to any type of horse owner. How you train your horse will determine what it is good at, so you need to have this determined.

Preparation and Research for Your Horse

Improving Your Experience With Horses

Preparation is the next key step. If you have plenty of experience with horses, from riding to healthcare, then you’re likely ready to buy a horse. If you’ve only ridden a horse once or twice, you may want to do some more research on proper care and ownership, alongside brushing up on riding skills. Knowing what you’re getting into not only eliminates surprises for you but also issues for your horse.

Choosing the Breed of Your Horse

Choosing the right breed for your needs is crucial. The breed will determine not only the cost of the horse but also its skills. Hunting and jumping are traits typically better suited for Thoroughbreds, Crossbreds, or Warmbloods. Saddle riding is great for breeds like Arabians.

The breed isn’t as important for a leisure or hobby horse for general riding, but you’ll need to know what to look for in temperament. The breeder will know more about their horses and can direct you to the right horse for your needs.

How Much Do Horses Cost?

As stated previously, a horse’s cost will depend on the breed and whether it is registered. The range of cost is quite wide, anywhere from $100-$10,000. Typically, a hobby horse will cost somewhere in the middle from $3,000-$5,000. These are average estimates, however. Horses can cost more depending on breed and other factors.

Understanding the Difference Between a Horse and a Pony

There aren’t many differences between a horse and a pony outside of size. Ponies are, of course, much smaller than an average horse and therefore will have smaller weight limits in terms of riding.

A pony may be a better option if you’re looking to get your kids involved, as their smaller size may be less intimidating for them. There is no wrong choice here depending on your needs.

A Good Horse Breeder Makes a Good Horse

Research breeders in your area and even outside of it for the best options. Meet with several of them until you are satisfied with their breeding practices and facilities. Some things to note are the health of the horses, whether the breeder is comfortable showing what happens behind the scenes, and the relative cleanliness of the facilities.

Prepare questions for the breeder and ensure that they are communicative and have proper contracts for purchase. If the breeder does not want in-person visits to their facilities, this could be a major red flag for unsafe breeding or handling practices.

What Do You Need to Prepare for a Horse?

Prepare your property for a horse. If you don’t have permanent stalls, even portable horse stalls can suffice until a proper facility is built. A barn with horse stalls offers a great shelter for your horses in inclement weather.

You’ll want to ensure you have hay, cleaning materials, horse food, a proper vet on call, riding supplies, handling supplies, enrichment supplies, a horse trailer for your vehicle, and more. There are many local horse supply stores as well as online shopping for more elusive products and supplies.

Bringing Your Horse Home: The Next Steps

The actual purchase will be the most exciting part of the journey! This is where you’ll look over a contract for purchasing the horse, and bring your horse home. You’ll need a horse trailer to escort it to your property, and then the official bonding process can begin.

Knowing who your vet will be is very important, as you’ll want to bring your horse in for a checkup at the vet first thing. It will likely be in your contract to do so, but it’s important regardless, as any health issues that come up will want to be addressed immediately. You may need to hire a horse trainer for assistance if your horse needs further training or you want to compete with it. 

It takes a lot of work, money, and research to buy a horse or pony. However, the reward is worth it. You’ll have a companion for decades who can work with you on many tasks—even if tasks are only hobby-related. It is a great learning experience for all ages and can change your life. However, proper research and care are required for the most reward as with most things in life.


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