When you’re ready to look for your dream horse, here are five things you definitely DON’T want to do:
- Look on the Internet.
Gorgeous pictures of gorgeous horses abound on the internet, and I do love me a gorgeous horse pic. However, if you want to see one of those gorgeous animals in your own backyard (or boarded at a local barn), I highly recommend you first see the horse live and in the flesh and in all its muddy, tangled, ill- (or lovely-) tempered glory.
- Fall head over heels in love.
The last thing you want to do when setting out to add a horse to your family is fall so head-over-heels in love that your heart trumps your brain. A good way to avoid this is to bring along a knowledgeable friend or professional when you go to see the horse in person (as per item #1).
- Forego a vet check (pre-purchase exam).
Never, EVER skip the vet check. You never know, the vet may find something that even the horse’s owner wasn’t aware of. A pre-purchase exam helps determine the horse’s suitability for the things you want to do with the horse. Even if the horse doesn’t show signs of any problems, a good vet can point out things that could cause issues down the road.
- Buy a horse that is completely unsuited to your skill level and/or interests.
Are you interested in dressage? Then don’t go looking at barrel racing horses.
Are you interested in western pleasure? Then a hunter/jumper is probably not your best bet.
Are you a beginner? Then a green horse is NOT for you! By a similar token, DON’T buy a young horse for your kiddo so that they can “grow together.” Remember, green + green = black, blue, and broken.
- Mortgage your childrens’ future.
Okay, so I’m not quite as serious about this one except in the sense of cautioning you not to get in over your financial head. Hopefully nobody would seriously raid their kids’ education fund in order to buy a glorified pet.
Yes, a glorified pet. Because unless you have a rock-solid, bulletproof business plan guaranteed to make you a profit from the purchase of the horse (roflmao), a horse is in many ways a glorified and expensive pet. And that’s okay! Love your horse, dote on your horse, ENJOY everything wonderful about owning and keeping a horse.
Just please don’t financially cripple yourself and your family to do it!
Above all, the best thing to remember is that there will ALWAYS be another stunning, well-bred, perfectly-conformed, in-your-pocket lovebug of a horse out there. Use your head before your heart, and then see if the two agree. Otherwise, you’ll have the perfect recipe for how NOT to buy a horse!