Questions You Should Always Ask When Buying a Horse

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Whether you’re buying your next show horse or are buying a horse as a companion for your herd back home, there are some questions that you should always ask when inquiring about a horse for sale. This list will get you started in the process of developing your questions for the horse’s owner.

How Old Is the Horse?

A horse’s age can have a major impact on your decision of whether or not to buy him. Ask the seller for the horse’s age, and ask them if they can provide paperwork that validates that age. It’s always a good idea to check the horse’s teeth, too – if you don’t know how to age a horse by his teeth, ask the vet to do so for you.

How Would You Describe the Horse’s Temperament?

Before you even show up to see a horse for sale, asking about a horse’s temperament can give you an idea of whether or not he’s right for you. The seller should be able to tell you about the horse’s temperament, and they should also be able to judge whether the horse requires an experienced or confident rider.

When Was the Horse Last Ridden?

If you’re looking for a horse to compete with or ride, it’s helpful to know when the horse was last ridden. A horse who hasn’t been ridden in months will require more preparation time and a more gradual introduction back into work than a horse who is being currently ridden will.

What Is the Horse Currently Being Fed?

A horse’s diet can influence his behavior and energy level. If you’re looking at a horse who is receiving very little grain, realize that increasing his grain may result in a horse that behaves very differently. Similarly, if a horse is very thin, then once he has proper nutrition he may become more energetic.

Why Are You Selling the Horse?

Understanding the reason that a horse is being sold can be helpful in determining whether he might be a good match for you. Owners sell horses for a variety of reasons, from outgrowing the horse to changing disciplines to wanting to compete at a level higher than the horse can handle.

What Are the Horse’s Strengths?

Ask the seller what they would describe to be the horse’s strengths. If the strengths match up with what you are looking for in a horse, this could indicate that the horse might be a good match for your goals.

Does the Horse Have Any Behavioral Issues?

Ask specifically about any behavioral issues a horse may have. Are you ready to take on a horse who rears, kicks, or bites?

Does the Horse Have Any Physical Issues?

A seller should be willing to disclose any significant physical issues that a horse has. However, not all sellers disclose all issues, so following up with a pre-purchase exam is always a good idea.

Are You Willing to Let the Horse Go On a Trial?

Trials are a great way to get a sense of whether the horse might work out for you, but not all sellers allow trials. It never hurts to ask for a trial, though.

When looking at horses for sale and buying a horse, consider asking the above questions to get the information that you need.

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