Setting out to buy a horse
Setting out to buy a horse, especially for the first time, can be an exciting prospect; however, it can also become a very frustrating business indeed.
You have your dream horse in your mind’s eye, and the search begins. If you are fortunate, you find what you are looking for, and if you are very fortunate, it might not even take very long. But, far more likely, you will travel the length and breadth of the countryside looking at horses that don’t remotely resemble the equine paragon in the advert you answered. Then finally – bingo! – You find a suitable horse, and decide to take the plunge. The seller looks you straight in the eye and says that the horse has never had a days illness or lameness in its life and may even offer to take the horse back if you are not happy with it. So far, so good, but…
Barely a month goes by without us hearing the above history from a worried new owner who is now having problems. Unfortunately, some of them are about to have a very painful, and possibly expensive lesson in the many pitfalls of buying a horse. Whether you are buying a horse for £500 or £25,000, doing so without some form of pre-purchase examination is a very risky business. At the time, it may seem that you are saving money, but it can cost you dearly in the long run.
Things to remember
No matter how experienced you are, it is worth taking someone knowledgeable along with you when you go to see and ride the horse – Another pair of eyes on the ground is invaluable, and your advisor may well stop you getting carried away and going for something unsuitable.
You are about to part with your hard earned cash so what are your various options?
Would you buy a house without a survey?
Buying any horse is a risk – and a vet can help you objectively assess some of that risk factor and give an unbiased opinion as to the horse’s physical suitability for the intended purpose. The perfect horse has never been foaled. All horses collect lumps, bumps and battle scars – some quicker than others! The art of horse vetting is assessing what will affect that suitability or a possible future sale by you.
Temperament is not included in a vetting – that’s someone else’s pigeon! One word of caution on the subject of temperament – beware of the thin horse with the docile, quiet nature – feeding and increased health can have a dramatic effect and you might suddenly find yourself bouncing around the countryside on a raving lunatic with your adrenalin levels through the roof!