Tips for Taking a Horse On Trial


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When you’re buying a horse, you will probably look at many horses for sale. When you think you’ve found the right horse for you, it is always a good idea to take the horse home on a trial period. A trial period will give you time to decide if you and the horse for sale are a good match for each other. But in order for a trial period to be successful, there are some things you need to know.

Arranging a Trial Period

When arranging a trial period, both the buyer and the seller need to be in agreement and understanding. The seller should draw up a clear contract that explains the length of the trial, outlines any activities that you are not allowed to do with the horse during that time (such as taking him off of the agistment property), and designates who will be financially responsible in the event that the horse is injured or becomes sick while in your care. Both the buyer and the seller should sign the contract, and each should retain a copy before the trial begins.

Respect the Owner’s Interests

While the horse is on trial, remember that he is still owned by another person. If the owner has asked that you use specific tack while riding, then be sure that you do so every time. Some owners might ask that the horse is given a few days to settle into his new environment before being ridden. An owner may also provide specific dietary guidelines. Whatever the owner requests, be sure that you follow their directions. Once you own the horse you can make adjustments to his care, but during the trial you need to respect his owner’s wishes.

Trying the Horse

During the trial you should gradually expose the horse to the types of situations that you expect him to perform in. Riding the horse during a lesson is a great way to gauge his reactions to your riding style, and your trainer will be able to provide feedback on how well the horse seems to be performing. You should make an effort to try out the different behaviors expected of your discipline – if the horse is a jumper, then jump him over a variety of fences. If he is a barrel racer, then run a few barrels.

Working Through Problems

If you encounter a potential issue with the horse, try to work through it with your trainer. Remember that the horse is not yet used to your riding style, so he will need time to adjust. If you cannot work through the issue, contact the horse’s owner and see if they have encountered the problem before. They may know a simple solution, or at least be able to explain the behavior.

When the trial comes to an end, you will need to make a decision on whether you buy the horse or return him to his owner. Trials are an important part of looking at horses for sale, and can hope to ensure that you and your new horse are a good match.

TOPHORSE–browse horses for sale or place an ad to sell horses

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