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Get the Right Horse the First Time Around



featured-Dennis-AuslamWhether you are a first time horse buyer, or a seasoned horse enthusiast, finding the right horse can be a time- consuming job and involve hidden dangers and hazards. This can be especially true for the first time buyer.

One of the most common mistakes by first time buyers is a purchase based on emotions. Locating the right horse for your needs is more than color and looks. There are many points to think about regarding both the horse’s and rider’s ability. My advice is to seek professional assistance when purchasing a horse. Go to someone you trust or someone with a good reputation. They will help you keep the emotion out of the purchase and guide you to a horse that will meet your riding level and skill level. This is the most important part of your horse purchase. A professional will help you evaluate your riding skills and then know exactly what to look for in a horse, thereby saving you a lot of time and probably a lot of money. They will be able to help you locate that perfect horse, based on what you need, and even test-drive it for you.

At our stable, we take the time to look into what the rider’s ability level is and work hard to find the horse that fits that level. We are very conscientious of matching the skill level of the horse to the skill level of the rider. A less experienced rider is going to need a safe, older and more experienced mount that will be able to help them learn and enjoy the whole horse experience.

Through the years I have heard way too many stories about parents buying a young horse for a young rider and stating they can learn together. This is absolutely wrong and nothing could be worse for an inexperienced rider. The young horse does not have enough training to compensate for the lack of skills a novice rider has. This is a dangerous situation in the making.

When we are looking for a horse for someone, we evaluate the individual’s skill level on one of our horses first.  This then gives us a strong idea of what we are looking for in a horse for this rider. We also like to bring the horse you are considering, or that we have located for you, into our stable and do a complete test-drive on it. We check everything including how well the horse behaves in the stall, during saddling and grooming, what kind of ground manners the horse has and what its true riding levels are. We then evaluate if this is the right horse for the buyer.

Other factors are the horse’s conformation and mindset based upon the desired disciplines the buyer is looking to use the horse for. The faults and problems of a poor horse can be disguised or may not be noticed by an inexperienced buyer doing a quick inspection and a one time trial ride. By using a professional in your horse search, you may save money in the long run.

It costs just as much to feed and keep the right horse as it does the wrong horse, but time and money spent training the wrong horse could’ve easily been saved by enlisting the help of a professional up front. Also, many buyers who wound up with the wrong horse end up selling and starting all over. Be upfront with your professional regarding your budget and what you need and are looking for. Often times a professional can negotiate a better price on th horse than you could, saving you money again.

Always use a reputable vet to check the horse before buying. Based on your budget and what you’re looking for in regards to discipline and function, a horse with minor flaws may be ok. However, the horse you select should not have faults that are dangerous to it or to you. It should be sound and willing enough to perform the functions you require.

Last, but certainly not least, I always suggest that a first-time horse buyer take lessons before they purchase a horse to make sure this is what they really desire to do. A horse is a big responsibility and expense. You will learn more about riding and the necessary skills involved. In my program you will also learn and research feeding, horse care and keeping a horse in optimum health. If you have any questions on buying a horse, or are looking for your perfect equine companion, please feel free to call. Happy Horse Hunting!

[Written by Dennis Auslam & published in Performance Horse Digest, Volume 1, Issue 4.]


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