10 Horse buying mistakes to avoid
1. Getting hung up on color
I think I could write this one down for the top three mistakes it gets made so much. Unless you’re buying a horse to breed for particular color genetics having a certain color will not help you to reach your riding goals or your equine relationship goals. It’s time to start looking at all the ads in black and white 😉
2. Thinking the right gender means the right attitude
Hormone imbalances can cause both mare and geldings to be uncomfortable, unpredictable, and unsafe. Buying a certain gender is by no means a sure-fire way to avoid having to deal with hormonal inconsistencies. Geldings can act like stallions. Mares can be so well balanced they are gender-neutral. And any horse’s hormones can change based on their environment, stress, herd, nutrition, and care practices.
3. Shopping without clear goals in mind
It’s pretty easy to get lost in the world of horse shopping especially if you’re not sure what you’re looking for. Take the time to get a clear vision of what you plan to do with your future horse and the personality traits that are important to you. If you want to fast track this process without worry that you’ve missed adding important details to your wish list I recommend you take my Horse Buying Masterclass.
4. Buying on potential
Just because a horse could do something does not mean that it will successfully do it. One of the biggest reasons that I see horses being sold is because owners bought them based on potential that didn’t pan out. If you have an event or activity that is high on your list of priorities buy a horse that is already proven to be capable and happy doing it.
5. Buying out of desperation
Settling for an unsuitable horse because your sick of looking never pans out! You’ll end up either selling the mismatched horse and starting the process over or worse yet you’ll end up keeping it forever and struggle with both of you being disappointed and unhappy with your relationship. More horse goes up for sale every day, hang in there, keep searching, the right one will come along.
6. Skipping the vet check or having an inadequate vet check done
Getting a pre-purchase exam can save you from getting a horse that is unable to do the things that you’re hoping to do or getting one that you are unable to maintain. Finding your dream horse and then finding out there is something majorly wrong and having to start the search all over is very frustrating but it’s still better than buying a horse with issues that go diagnosed at the time of purchase.
7. Not listening to your gut
When it comes to buying the right horse one’s instincts are usually spot on. If you find the perfect horse but you’re just not feelin’ it don’t be afraid to walk away. For the horse that doesn’t quite meet all the criteria but your gut says they’re the one I like to use the three-day rule: if you’re still thinking about the horse and its still available three days after you meet it then it’s worth going back for a second look.
8. Being afraid to offer less than the asking price
For a lot of sellers, the most important thing is knowing their horse is going to an exceptional home. Offering less doesn’t have to be awkward or insulting and you won’t know unless you ask.
9. Passing up horses that are too far away
Everyone has to have limits as to how far they are willing to travel for a horse but you also want to be realistic about it. Rather than ruling out horses that are further away than you planned to go you’d be better off asking lots of additional questions and getting good videos to determine if they are worth the extra time to go see. If the perfect horse is an hour further than you wanted to go, does that hour really make a difference in the big scheme of things?
10. Buying at first sight - Impulse buying never really works out
Meet the horse, test ride it, get clear on how you feel about how things went. Then if you like the horse go back again for a prepurchase exam with a vet. It’s also good to ask about any trial periods or buy back options although not all sellers are comfortable with those as they can have a lot of grey areas in the case that the horse gets injured or devalued in some way after the sale.
I know how overwhelming the shopping process can be and how important it is to find just the right match. I hope these tips will help you along your horse buying journey. If you’d like further guidance or to fast track your buying process click here to enroll in the Horse Buying Masterclass!