Buying a Horse

Buying a horse is an enjoyable time but it can be stressful if you approach it without thought and planning. Check out Kim's latest infographic which gives you 6 tips on buying a horse.  We've also included a fuller descriptive list of the tips below. Let us know what you think and do share your experiences - good and bad - in the comments below!


buying a horse


Here's our full list of top tips for you to think about when buying a horse..

  1. Make a list of the things you want from your new horse (within budget), including needs and abilities. Thoroughbred might sound great but if you’ll be on grass livery and only looking to hack and do the occasional fun ride, a native type may be better.
  2. Write a check-list of questions you want to ask the seller. It can be easy to get caught up in the moment and forget the important issues, so make sure you have the answers you need before making a decision.
  3. Take an experienced person with you, just make sure they know exactly what you’re looking for.
  4. Watch how the horse behaves in the stable, when tied up, and being groomed, rugged and turned out. Ask the seller if you can have a go too, so you know exactly what you’ll be dealing with. Don’t be afraid to query any signs of stable vices (look out for cribbing, box walking, weaving) and see how he behaves around other horses, too.
  5. Ask the seller to ride the horse. If they seem reluctant to do so, it could indicate a problem. When it comes to your turn, don’t take any chances and wear a body protector.
  6. Never Assume! (you know the old saying!) Ask to see the horse loaded (even better, have a go yourself) and see his reaction to clippers. Make sure you find a road and ride the horse in traffic, even if it means going out of your way. And it’s not unreasonable to ask to come back on a day when the horse is being shod, to see how he behaves with the farrier.
  7. Ride the horse in the school and on the roads/in the countryside, with and without other horses. It may mean more than one trip to the yard when trying a prospective horse, but a good seller will not mind you coming back as many times as you feel is necessary, to make sure the horse is right for you.
  8. Look out for sweat marks, signs of dehydration etc. It can indicate the horse has been subdued for your arrival! If you’re in any doubt, question the seller - if they cannot offer a reasonable explanation, it could indicate a problem.
  9. A full five-stage vetting is recommended – it may seem like an added expense on top of everything else, but it’s worth its weight in gold if it saves you years of vet’s bills because of an underlying health problem.
  10. Insurance is a must, but the timing of this is also paramount. Make sure your new horse is insured from the moment it leaves the seller’s yard – anything can happen before it reaches its new home, so don’t take any chances. Consider this if taking the horse for a trial period,too. Remember, the seller will expect the horse to be given proper care and have it returned in the same condition!

What do you think of Kim's tips? Let us know in the comments below, we'd love to hear about your experiences and advice for other riders!



Kim Horton

Co-Founder of EQUUS and a keen equestrian, when Kim's not at her desk she's with her horse, Waldo.


  • Jan posted on July 21 2014 at 12:07 PM

    Hi Kim,
    Looks great. Will let you know re boot fitting.
    By the way: 10. Remember, the seller will expect the horse to be given proper (CARE ?) and have it returned in the same condition!

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