People buy horses all year long but at Christmas time in particular sales tend to go up. After all what better gift to give then a best friend for someone who needs one, an outlet for a child trying to figure out their favorite pass time or a chance to compete at the next level for your favorite athlete/ showman? Well that all depends on making the right choice because that best friend may turn out to be a nemesis, that outlet may turn out to be your responsibility, and that upgrade may be too much. There are questions you can ask and steps you can take to help make sure this doesn’t happen. No, there is never a guarantee that all will be merry and bright but following these suggestions from trainers, veterinarians and experienced horse buyers will help.
Decide the what?
What are you looking for? What are the highest aspirations you have for yourself and this horse?
These questions should be the first you think about before you even start your search. What you decide here will determine the budget you need to plan, the breed and the temperament of the horse you are searching for.
Once you decide what you want to do, make sure you understand what to look for to make that happen. If you want an easy-going trail horse than a high energy (hot) breed will have you constantly shortening your reins. If you want to compete at a high-level energetic sport than the “couch potato” type horse is going to wear you out trying to push them constantly into a level, they just aren’t interested in participating in. While we’ve all seen that un-stereotypical horse compete and do well in very stereotypical disciplines don’t expect a horse you fall in love with to be the super horse that can do anything at any level. It’s an anomaly not a normality. Learning about breeds and watching things like behavior and energy will help you find the right match.
This is a tough one, we know. You want a bond with your horse, after all, you are getting ready to trust this animal like a partner. Many buyers see a horse, fall in love, buy the horse only to realize they now have an animal they love but can’t do what they want with it or worse end up in a dangerous situation. You need to trust your horse, but the foundation of this relationship is in the horse’s ability to meet your needs on a much different level than just emotional. Emotions by themselves have left a lot of horses in a pasture or barn never getting to be ridden or fulfill their purpose and a lot of riders never getting to ride.
Let’s wrap it up
Remember the list you made before you started your search? It’s time to put it to good use not that you have a potential resident for your barn and life. It will be especially important in the Pre-Purchase Exam (PPE) to tell the vet and the seller your highest goal for this horse. The PPE will be based on these plans because the exam will focus most closely on the areas taxed the hardest by the activities and goals you want to achieve.
Don’t skip the PPE. Seriously, we can’t see inside an animal to make sure things are all working properly. That miss in their step may just be because they were worked hard or just came out of a show, but it could also be because something is wrong that your eyes can’t see. Veterinarians have the tools to see these things and give you the information to make the right determination based on your goals.
Put a bow on it
The foundation is there. This horse has been examined, he or she is the right breed, the right gender, has the ability, the skill. You love the color, you’ve kicked the tires, (seriously though, don’t kick your horse) and you're ready to purchase. If a registered horse is important to you or your plans, verify they are registered. A horse that “can be registered” can’t always be registered and most often sales are final.
And place it in the manger
Once you’ve made your purchase you can let the emotions flow! Finding the right horse is challenging. We help our clients look at horses to find the one that fits their needs. We have amazing vets that collaborate with us and we are always ready to answer questions.
Spring Lane Ranch breeds and sells Paso Fino, Saddlebreds and Hackney Ponies with three highly notable trainers on staff to talk to you about the breeds and each horse’s ability and skill level from pleasure to competition. Schedule a time to come out and visit to see our breeding program, boarding and training facility.