Whether you're a long time rider or someone who has taken a few lessons and fallen in love with the sport, at some point will come the time to buy your first horse. This is an exciting experience but it's also one that can't be rushed. It takes time and patience to scour the many advertisements, visit various farms and ranches, and test ride each and every prospect. However, with help from an expert like your trainer or a trusted equestrian friend, you'll learn how to buy a horse with confidence.
To begin, you'll need an honest assessment of your riding skills. Your trainer should be your go-to person for this, and he or she will know what type of horse will suit you best. If you over or underestimate your ability you may not find the horse that best matches your skill level. The combination of a spirited horse and an inexperienced rider can not only be frustrating but it can also be dangerous. You'll need to be completely forthright about your abilities in order to find your perfect equine match.
Secondly, a strict budget needs to be established. This not only includes the cost of the horse but also the fees required to maintain your new horse in a comfortable and healthy environment. Boarding costs, tack, feed, vet fees, and farrier bills all need to be calculated into your budget to ensure that you're not overspending. Owning a horse is an expensive endeavor and if your budget doesn't allow for all of the fees required you may need to reassess your current ability to buy and maintain your new horse.
Once you've determined your skill level and budget it's time to begin meeting various horses. Auctions and private sales are the most popular ways to find your horse, but make sure that you have one or more times to ride each prospect, and always bring your own saddle when you do so. Ask your trainer or an experienced equestrian to accompany you so they can offer up their opinions and assessments. While it's very easy to instantly fall in love with a horse, be sure that you try several horses before making a final decision. When you've reached that point and are ready to make an offer be sure to have the horse evaluated by a vet and a farrier before any money changes hands. If either of these professionals raises any concerns, carefully consider whether you have the time and the money to address any health issues that could arise in the future.
Learning how to buy a horse might seem complicated, but with diligent research and the help of trusted professionals you'll be well on your way to finding the perfect horse for you. Make sure that you're careful and thorough in your search, know your budget, try each and every horse at least twice and listen carefully to what the professionals say. Following these steps will help ensure that you find the perfect horse for you and a riding relationship that will last for years to come.