The first thing you should do before deciding to buy a horse is to take regular riding lessons with a reputable riding instructor. Your riding instructor will not only teach you the skills involved in riding horses, but he or she can serve as your horse expert during the buying process. You should continue taking lessons after purchasing the horse for a while until you get comfortable in the saddle.
Where will your horse live and how much are you willing to pay for it? The least expensive option is pasture boarding. The horse lives outside and eats grass from the pasture. Full board costs more, but the horse is kept inside, is fed hay and grain, and the stall is cleaned. If you are going to keep the horse on your own property, then you must invest in safe fencing. Other considerations are shelter, the cost of hay and grain, and pasture management.
You have your initial expenses of the purchase price, buying the horse trailer, tack and gear, and paying for a pre-purchase vet exam. Other regular expenses include veterinary and farrier care. Horses feet are always growing and a farrier will need to trim or shoe their feet every six to eight weeks. Horses require vaccinations twice a year and their teeth need to be filed at least once a year. Bedding, supplements, and grooming supplies are necessary. There is also the time commitment of regularly exercising your horse.
When you are ready to see a horse that you are interested in purchasing, bring a horse expert along. Ideally, this could be your riding instructor, but it can also be another experienced horse owner. Request that the horse not be saddled up before you arrive. You want to see how the horse behaves while being led around, groomed, and tacked up.
Ask the seller of the horse to ride the horse first. Watch how the horse moves and behaves. If the seller does not look comfortable riding the horse, chances are that is not the horse for you to purchase. Next, ask your horse expert to ride the horse. If this goes well, then it is time for you to experience riding the horse yourself.
When you do find a horse that is a good match for you, always get a pre-purchase vet exam from a veterinarian of your choosing. It is recommended that you have the vet draw blood at the time of the exam. It is possible that the seller has medicated the horse to mask lameness or enhance performance. Having the blood work in storage, the vet can test it if the horse’s behavior changes after you purchase it. Ask the seller about the history of the horse. Ask if there are registration papers on the horse. Find out any previous owners, if possible. Always ask the seller for their regular farrier and vet’s contact information. Call them, explain who you are, and find out about any health issues for that horse.
Once everything falls into place, you will become a first-time horse owner. Congratulations to you and good luck!
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