The horse shopping experience is exactly what you make of it. Exciting and fun if you are prepared properly or overwhelming and full of confusion if you are not. It is HIGHLY recommend to get professional help if you are unsure of the process. They will be able to get you on the right track and hopefully find some good leads to potentially fitting horses. Those of you that are not able to get professional help you really have to start by taking a step back and assessing what your needs and wants are. Ask your self the questions below to help prioritize your checklist.
- How much horse experience do you have?
- What kind of horseman are you? Ex. Timid, aggressive, passive. etc..
- What style of riding will you be doing?
- What type of horse do you need? (Trail horse, show horse, work horse?
- How often do you plan on working with the horse. (some horses need ridden daily but other will do fine once a year)
- What size of horse fits your needs?
- Breed? If there is a specific criteria you need to meet
- How much maintenance are you okay with doing? (This includes the kind of feeding program you will have as well as any injections, medications or etc.
- How far are you willing to travel for horse shopping?
- What kind of trial period? (Will you be test riding really quick or keeping the horses for a extended period of time?)
These general questions will help you narrow your search for finding the correct horse for you.
While looking at a horse make sure and take notice of their body condition and confirmation, by looking at that you will be able to estimate how much maintenance they will need. The disposition of a horse is a major key in horse buying, making sure the horses and rider will be able to work together. With a timid owner you may need more of a been there and done that type of horse, one that is very level headed and easy to handle not needing as much guidance. Aggressive or very disciplined owners are typically able to handle more horse, which means a horse that may be more hot headed or could be very quiet just very athletic and ready to go. Matching the horse and owner is very important, making it easier to form a bond between each other that will tremendously help the owning and riding experience. Previous training of the horse is also a major thing to look at, now keep in mind that every person rides differently so you may not always have perfect ride the first time around but see if you and the horse are able to adapt to each other. There is such a broad range of training experience a horse can have so its up to the prospective buy to make the decision, wanting a horse that has been just started or barely handled versus a horse that is completely finished and dead broke.
The key is to not get ahead of yourself and really figure out what you need and want. Horse buying can be an experience in its self so by doing your research and knowing want you want will help to assure you have a good experience and get what you are looking for. Its very easy to get overwhelmed so make sure you keep your priorities in line and take any advice that is given. Remember that there is always more to learn no matter how much you may already know!