3 Tips for the Novice Horse Buyer

For those who are inexperienced with the horse buying business, they quickly learn that buying a horse is rarely a clean and simple task. It often takes months of research and looking around to find something suitable for yourself within your price range and meets all your expectations physically and health-wise. Unfortunately, like any other industry, the equine industry can be deceptive, particularly when novice buyers are involved. Too many buyers are soured by their experience in buying a horse and often end in lawsuits and distaste for the industry. However, horse buyers can avoid disputes if they proceed cautiously and seek assistance from an experienced trainer and equine law professional.

Below are three tips to aid in a successful purchase:

  1. Evaluate the Horse Carefully
    Today, majority of ads are found online and are not limited to horse sale websites, Craigslist, and Facebook. Oftentimes, buyers jump at a purchase after falling in love with a horse via a photo or video, especially if the price is right. However, it's important to do some serious investigation first that might lead to several facts that could change your mind. If the horse is out of state and you cannot get out to visit the horse, you might want to consider hiring a local, experienced, and respectable equine professional out to evaluate the horse for you. If the horse is local, take a trainer or experienced horseperson out with you to ride and inspect the horse.
  2. Get a Veterinary Pre-Purchase Exam
    While many injuries and lamenesses can be seen in plain sight to an experienced horseperson, like a bowed tendon, they are not always visible to the eye, particularly to the inexperienced. It's important to get a veterinary pre-purchase exam done to ensure the horse is in good health and can hold up to your expectations and needs. It's important to choose a vet that does not have a relationship with the current owner of the horse. Try and be present during the actual exam. Many people forgo pre-purchase exams if the horse is under a certain amount of money, but in reality it's better to get an exam no matter what, as the horse could end up costing a large sum in the long run if something is medically wrong.
  3. Use a Written Contract
    It's important to get everything in writing, from the horse's show competition history to its disposition. A buyer/seller agreement should be written out as well and reviewed by someone experienced in equine law, for both your and the seller's sake.

While purchasing a horse can be stressful, it's also an exciting time in your life. By taking the precautionary steps listed above, you can try to ensure that this is the horse you are looking for and avoid being "ripped off" by a dishonest seller. Be sure to contact an equine law professional if you have any questions or doubts concerning your purchase of a horse.

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