A Beginner’s Guide to Buying Your First Horse

The dream of owning one’s own horse is one of the most common fantasies, reaching from childhood right on up to adulthood. It is an idea that people cherish, wistfully toy with, and sometimes even get to fulfill. They will buy their first horse and the magical bond between man and animal will be a bright spot in their lives. The clean, healthy, outdoor atmosphere of owning a horse will nourish their bodies, and the beauty and unique personality of their elegant equine friend will nourish their hearts. Okay, you want to stop the romance right there if you really want to buy your first horse. Some real practical decisions will have to made before anything is done.

First up, how are you going to lodge the horse? Will you rent a space at a nearby stable, or will you keep the horse at your own place? Either way is fine as long as you make sure that the area is clean, safe, and healthy for the animal. Make sure that the stall has room for them to lie down comfortably, and that there are no sharp edges or low beams for them to injure themselves on. And do not forget that lodging the horse includes feeding. You need to make sure that the horse will be able to access plenty of fresh water, hay, and carefully regulated pellet feed or grain. Monitoring your horse’s food is an important issue, since you will need to make sure they are getting proper nutrition. In addition, veterinary care, shoeing and hoof care, medicines and parasite treatments, and a working horse trailer are also part of basic upkeep and lodging of a horse, so you need to really assess how much you are willing to invest before you go ahead and buy a horse.

Speaking of investments, consider that keeping a horse means you need to invest a lot of time as well. Unless you want to hire someone else to do it, you should ride your horse regularly and make sure they have some outdoor free time in a pasture if possible. A bored horse is not a happy horse, and a bored horse is often an unhealthy horse due to lack of exercise. Time investment into riding is not the whole story either. Again, unless you want to hire someone to do it, you need make time in your day to feed them, groom them, clean their hooves, muck out the manure from their stalls, and take care of their living areas. This really can take a big chunk out of your day, so be prepared for a significant investment of time as well as funds.

Also, horses are extremely social animals. In the wild, their natural state is to be part of a big herd. Consequently, you should not buy just a horse, but should ideally buy horses plural. Either you buy more than one horse, or you lodge them in a stable with other horses. A third option is possibly obtaining a non-horse companion of some kind, such as a goat. Whatever you do, your horse should not be totally alone at any time of day. Doing this to any horse is really rather cruel because it is completely against their nature, and it will make them paranoid and scared. You definitely need to solve this problem before you bring your horse home.

Once you have solved these logistical problems, then you come to the issue of choosing which specific horse to buy. To do this, you need to start with the rider. What is your riding expertise? Do you need riding lessons? What are physical capabilities? What kind of riding will you be doing—trail riding, jumping, showing? A wise purchase will be calibrated according to these needs. Perhaps most importantly, do not choose a horse that is too hard to handle, and never choose a horse that intimidates you. Horses have different personalities, and some are easygoing and some are not. Unless you are an experienced rider and know how to train horses, choose a horse who has already been well-trained and is easy to handle. Also, keep in mind that young horses tend to be more rambunctious, and so they are often more difficult to control. You may want to choose an older horse for your first one. Do your homework and ask a lot of questions of the owner or other people who are familiar with the horse’s disposition. In the end, in order to fully decide whether or not a horse is right for you, have a ride and see how it goes.

What remains are shopping tips and ways to avoid being more or less swindled by a horse owner. Always have a vet check out the horse and see what kind of physical shape the animal is in. You want to know exactly what you are getting into with the horse, and if the horse will need lots of extra medical care or not. Do not simply take the owner’s word that a horse is sound because an owner may not even be aware of a problem the horse has or, unfortunately, may even lie to you in order to make the sale. Try not to be hasty about the purchase. Feel free to shop around fully and get a feel for appropriate price ranges and the like. The internet is an excellent resource for this purpose. As with all major purchases, be an educated and cautious buyer.

Once you bring your dream horse home, you can start the original romance right back up again. Spending time around these magnificent animals is a beautiful, fun, and often hilarious way to spend your time, while getting great exercise to boot. Whether you eventually want to compete in competition or simply want to mosey around on trails, the same ideal applies; the best partnership between rider and horse is one of a close friendship that is based on trust. In this era of motorized vehicles, horses have become a luxury, but they were once part of everyday life and travel, and the family horse was often a loved and necessary member of the family. And now even though you have a car, you will probably find that your horse becomes a necessary part of your family too.