For most horse people, few things are as exciting as purchasing a horse. Unfortunately for some, buying a horse can be a difficult experience- emotions cloud the buyer’s judgment, sellers misrepresent, and your new horse may feel more like an adversary than a partner. To avoid a bad purchase, buyers should keep in mind the following:
- Use a Contract: Even if not required in your state, it is always a good idea to have a written sales contract signed by both parties stating the rights and duties of the buyer and seller. The contract allows the parties to have a written record of the horse that was agreed upon.
- Get a Pre-Purchase Veterinary Exam: Always get a pre-purchase veterinary exam performed by your vet. It is also a good idea to drug test the horse during the pre-purchase.
- Verify: Confirm the horse’s registration number and show record with the applicable breed association or equine organization.
- Obtain a Second Opinion: Buying a horse is incredibly exciting. Try to take an experienced horse professional with you when looking at a horse. An objective horse professional will be able to tell you if the horse you’re looking at is a good fit.
- Take a Break: After looking at a horse, try to go look at other horses or take a short break from shopping altogether to give yourself time to reflect on whether a particular horse is right for you. If the seller consents, videotape the horse and watch the video a few days after you visited the horse. Doing so will allow you to look at the horse again without time constraints or pressure from the seller.