Thinking of buying a horse? A few things to consider

As much as we love horses, we know that not everyone should own one. Not even every horse lover should actually own a horse. Horses are a huge time commitment, as well as a huge emotional and financial commitment. Horse ownership is certainly not for the faint of heart (or light of wallet)!  So before going out and buying that horse make sure you are aware of the huge impact it will have on your life.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of dishonest horse sellers and traders out there, so it is very important that you do your homework extensively before buying a horse! Check out this article on the 10 rules for buying a horse.

Some things to consider before buying a horse

When buying a horse, we are always told about their strengths, but what about their weaknesses?

Just like us, they all have their weaknesses or areas where they are not as strong as other horses. Shouldn’t it be standard that the weaknesses are listed too, and not just hinted at, but laid out for us so that we can understand exactly what we are getting into? Buying a horse is no small thing for most, and ethics would suggest that their weaknesses should be just as clear as their benefits and talents.

Adverts, for the most part, list all the positive attributes of the horse- and we’re not saying that they’re not sincere, but wouldn’t it be both to the horse’s and owner’s benefits for them to paint a full picture so the buyer would know what the horse’s weaker areas are too?As we know horses like people are not perfect in all aspects…some are better in certain areas than others. Even the very well-trained or balanced horses are sure to have small quirks or weakness somewhere.

Make sure when you are looking at your potential horse , that you ask the owner what the horses weaknesses are.

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Wouldn’t it be helpful to know the full picture beforehand so we can best match that horse to its future owner or rider?

When we are only sold the best features of the horse, we are getting only half the story, and often hopes and expectations can be dashed by not knowing about the horse’s weak areas before the purchase of the horse.

Wouldn’t honesty and ethical practices on the part of the sellers cause so much less frustration and false expectations from the beginning? These practices would benefit both you and the horse hugely.

Going in with a full picture of the horse will mean you will have realistic expectations and avoid a lot of unnecessary suffering for both you and the horse. You are then in an informed position to decide if the horse is suited to you and if its quirks or weak areas are areas that you are happy to work with. It’s about being given an honest choice and not a sugar-coated dream.

Weakness and strengths can be subjective

All horses have weaknesses of some kind or another, and if the seller can’t tell you any weaknesses, beware – I would take this as a red flag. Perhaps there are other things they are not telling you either.

Make sure your horse is built for the task you have in mind for him.

For example, some horses will never be as agile as others, no matter how much training you put into them. If at the top of your list is agility you will be disappointed somewhere along the line…

Weaknesses and strengths are also subjective to some degree. For example, a horse that learns very fast (and this means they learn EVERYTHING very fast- good and bad behaviors) may be a huge plus for some people and a huge challenge for others.

Buy a horse from an honest and ethical seller

Of course, many traits, vices, or weaknesses can be fixed, improved, or managed but it’s always beneficial to know what they are.

It’s extremely helpful to know what behaviors the horse will present with when put under pressure or put into stressful situations, how the horse handles adrenaline and how quickly he can come back to a calm state of mind. Most sellers who know about the horse they are selling would be able to provide this information. I would ask this question on any horse I purchase.

I think we should encourage ethical horse-trading – both people and horses’ wellbeing and qualities of life are affected for years to come due to their buying choices. The least sellers can do is practice honesty in offering buyers a real choice and a way ahead in working with the horse to iron out any issues it may have, instead of the frustration of finding out over time and having one’s expectations dashed.

➡ The more honest and ethical sellers out there, the more the horse benefits. 

Don’t take anything at face value

    • If the seller says the horse can be ridden by a 5 year old child, then say you want to see it! Don’t just take his word for it. Anything they say the horse can do ( that you want it to do) make sure they show you. Watch out for excuses and don’t be fooled by them!
    • If possible do a bit of research on the seller, and find out about their previous sales – see if the customers were happy and felt they had been given the full story on the horse before buying it.
    • Be aware of “salesman tactics”  and trying to pressure you into a sale. For example “there is someone else very interested in the horse, so you must decide today”


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