Buying a horse is like finding a best friend. The first one you look at may not be the right one for you. Horses are beautiful creatures with their own personalities. Some like to run as much as they can. Some are jittery, nervous creatures that like to prance all day long. Others are gentle, good with kids, and calm in hectic situations.
You want to find a horse that matches your personality, the horse that feels like an extension of yourself. There are plenty of good places to look, such as the internet and horse classifieds. No matter where you're looking, there are a few guidelines you should follow when making your decision.
First off, remember that not everybody selling a horse is an honest seller, so make sure you ask the seller plenty of questions regarding the history of the horse, the age, how he is with people, loading into trailers, and the Ferrier. See if the owner has contact information for people that have worked with the horse, such as trainers and veterinarians. These people can give you a second opinion if you need it. If you don't know much about horses than take a friend or acquaintance with you that does know. He will be invaluable to you.
When you go to see the horse look at it from a distance and see if it looks healthy standing there and how it holds itself. Is its head held high and proud, or slumped over, as if aged or in pain? Does it look good to you? If so, keep going. One you are near the horse, ask the seller to show you its hooves, its hair, the inside of its mouth.
You want to make sure everything looks good, but you also want to see how the horse reacts to the touch of the owner. Does he shy away from it? Does he panic when he touches him in certain areas, or is he calm no matter where he touches him? Watch for his reaction. You want to know what he'll do before you buy him, not after.
And last, after you and the owner check him out and make sure everything looks good physically, walk him around and see how he handles the movement. Does he limp? Does anything seem out of place? If not, great. Now you can ride him. Definitely ride him before you buy him. You want to know how he feels beneath you and how he reacts to a stranger, you, on top of him.
If, after all that evaluation, you aren't satisfied with the horse, walk away. Keep looking until you do find one. The moment you decide he's not for you, whether it's at the beginning of the evaluation or the end, is the moment to leave. You'll find your horse. Just keep shopping in the horse classified, online, or wherever. When you finally buy a horse, you'll be sure to be thrilled with the purchase.
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