Horses For Sale - Tips For Buying a First Horse


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You've taken your child to numerous riding lessons, thinking/hoping/praying they'd get the 'horse bug' out of their system. But no, it only increased over time, their 'pester power' has worn you down and you're now looking for a first horse for sale.

If you're new to horses yourself, then you have a steep learning curve ahead!

The first thing to do is ask for advice, ideally at a Pony Club your child will be attending. Their instructors will be glad to help you avoid the pitfalls many stumble into when buying a first horse.

Top Horse has a great range of beginners' horses for sale, and you can also check out the first and second ponies for sale section. If you find any that seem suitable, you can email links to the instructor to see what she or he thinks.

Don't be tempted to go looking at horses without taking someone horsey with you! Following are the basic rules when it comes to looking at first horses for sale.

Take an experienced horse person with you.

Someone with extensive horse experience will be able to tell at a glance whether the horse you are considering is suitable as a beginner's horse. You will need a quiet horse, one that's often described as 'bombproof'...an unusual term which means the horse is very quiet. Of course, no horse is infallable...after all, they are prey animals with a 'flight before fight' instinct. But many horses, especially older ones, are less likely to spook, rear or bolt and your child will have a more enjoyable time discovering the joys of horse ownership. Sadly, occasionally unscrupulous sellers will drug a horse they have for sale but there will be tell tale signs your experienced horse person will spot.

Buy an older horse.

A horse over 10 years old is ideal...even 15+ years. Older mounts make ideal first horses as they tend to be quieter and have a more even temperament. Don't let age put off...older horses can live healthy, productive lives into their 20's and occasionally beyond.

Never be tempted to buy a young horse aged less than seven as a first mount. This is possibly the greatest pitfall novice horse owners fall into, imagining young horses are better value. Such horses are 'green' meaning they still have a lot of training ahead, something that can only be done by an experienced horseperson. Sadly, many young horses have been bought by beginner riders, which usually results in the horse learning bad habits which could affect his usefulness for the rest of his life, while the rider can lose confidence.

Another misconception is thinking a young horse/novice rider can learn together but this rarely happens. An older horse can teach a rider many things and in fact, research has shown riders not only learn more quickly on older mounts, they find the experience more enjoyable.

Never buy a stallion or colt as a first horse!

Stallions and colts are never suitable for novice riders. A few are occasionally listed as first horses, but their hormones will always rule. Ungelded horses should only be managed by experienced handlers, otherwise they can be dangerous. Stallions also require secure fencing, so they don't attempt to go over, through or under to reach mares.

Buying at auction is a gamble. Buying at auction is a gamble.

Don't buy at an auction.

There may be lots of suitable first horses for sale at an auction, but it takes a knowledgeable person to pick them out, and even then it's a gamble. An auction might seem a cheap way to buy a horse, but it's not worth the risks. The horse might turn out to be lame or sick, requiring vet treatment and your 'cheap' purchase might turn out be an expensive one.

Don't buy on impulse. Put all notion of 'love at first sight' out of your mind and stick with any advice your experienced horse advisor is offering. You may have your heart set on a certain colour or breed, but you need an older, quiet horse irrespective of colour or anything else. Some breeds make great first horses, including Welsh and New Forest ponies, or bigger breeds like Australian Stock Horses. Other horses are no particular breed...take a look in the Top Horse horses for sale section...there's all-rounder horses, schoolmaster/beginner horses for sale and Pony Club horses for sale.

Buy the right size horse. You need to buy the right size horse to suit your height and build. Don't fall into the trap of buying a bigger horse to 'grow' into as chances are you won't feel comfortable riding him. Ditto a horse you are too tall for. It will be hard to apply the correct leg aids in either situation. As a rough guide, a rider and tack shouldn't weight more than 20% of the horse's weight.

Mare or gelding?

This really depends on the individual horse. A gelding (castrated male) is ideally the best choice for a first horse as they don't have fluctuating hormone levels. Mares can be moody when they come into season, but again...all mares are different and some are more affected than others.

(Note: Don't consider buying a mare just so you can put her in foal down the track, this is best left to experienced horse breeders).

If you take an experienced horse person with you when looking at first horses for sale, you really can't go wrong. Don't rush into a purchase...take your time to see what's available, keep checking the Top Horse horses for sale section for new and updated listings, and you'll soon find the pony or horse of your dreams, one able to help you achieve your equestrian ambitions, whatever they may be!

RELATED ARTICLES:

• Questions to Ask Before Buying a Horse

• How to Buy Horses For Sale

• Your First Horse

• Caring For Older Horses

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