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How to Pick Out Your First Horse

Updated on June 29, 2011

Buying Your First Horse

Buying your first horse is complicated. It may take more than one horse to find the horse perfect for you. But, in time you will find your special friend. It may take you through twists and turns, but don't give up! Have fun along the way, and enjoy.

I wrote this hub so it is easier for first time owners to pick out a horse. Some of them don't know what to look for and need help. So here it goes!

Are You Ready?

Before you own your first horse you need to be ready! You need to know as much as you can, for you and your horses total hapiness. It is very important that you buy a horse with money and knowledge. Click the link below for a list of what you need to know.

How Do I Find a Horse for Sale?

Finding a horse for sale can be complicated. There are many ways to do it. The two main ways are to know a firend or use the internet. You can also go to festivals and shows, where horses are for sale.

Know Someone: The more horse-people you know, the closer you are to finding a horse for sale. Get close to boarding centers and organizations to get a horse. Talk to friends with horses- chances are they know someone who wants to sell a horse.

Use The Internet: On the internet you can find horse rescues, horse breeders, and horses for sale website. If you want a website I reccomend dreamhorse, equinenow, and horseclicks. Before you pick out a horse you like and the owner to contact follow basic add rules:

  • Make sure the Horse's add has no spelling or grammar letters.
  • Make sure that the horse is trained in your discipline, and it is not green or untrained.
  • Make sure The Horse is Below Five on the calmness scale.
  • Make sure to not judge the horse by color.
  • Make sure the horse's location is not out of the 25-mile range.

If you find a horse that you think is okay then you can move on the the next step.

Contact the owner!
Contact the owner!

Contact the Owner

When you see a horse you like you must contact the owner. You can contact by e-mail, phone, or letter. Make sure to add a few things in your letter including:

  • Your Name
  • Your Phone number and/or e-mail adress
  • Your age and expirience with horses
  • Your Discipline and what you would use the horse for

You should also ask lots and lots of questions such as if the horse is vaccinated, if it requires shoes, if it has has or now had health issues, if it has any issues with grooming, etc.

When you have ask questions and sent the letter, then you can calmly wait for a reply. If the reply seems alraight go ahead and set up a date to go see and ride the horse. This is a must-do for buying a horse. If you can't see the horse in person give up.

Make sure the date is good and you don't have a strict schedule that day, then go aahead and move on to the next step.

Seeing the Horse

When you go see a horse there is alot to do and alot of people to bring. This is the most important part of choosing a horse. Be very careful with it, and make sure everything goes how you want it to go. Bring many people to the Horse, and show them it. Try to bring:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Horse Experts
  • Your Vet

When you see the horse make sure you can:

  • Catch the horse
  • Groom the horse
  • Tack up The horse
  • Lead the horse
  • Ride the horse at a walk, trot, and lope (Make sure the Horse is responsive and follows commands)
  • Unsaddle the Horse

Now, take the horse away from the barn, and walk it back- make sure it is not barn sour. See if it has manners, and it walks back to its home.

You can also test it's spookiness. All horses will be wary around new things (instinct), but some freak out. Test plastic bags in the wind, and items going around it's body. Introduce it to something new.

Make Sure you do everything, and the owner lets you do it. If you cannot- don't buy it. If the Horse has any bad habits- don't buy it.

If you like it the first time, you might want to plan a suprise visit. Horses have good and bad days, so you may want to see it again. It's best to plan a suprise visit. Also, some sick owners might give their horses calming medicines before your ride.

After all this, you may be ready to move to the next step.


If the horse is perfect, then feel free to consult the people you brought and buy the horse for an acceptable horse. Make sure to aquire all the vet papers and any other information.

After you bought the horse you can take it home, but taking a horse home and acclimating it to its surroundings is another story.


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    • profile image

      Samantha 5 years ago

      I like horse that can jump and is good at dressage.

    • profile image

      Thebestintheworld 5 years ago

      I like hourses. :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

    • profile image

      Derdriu 6 years ago

      FishAreFriends: What a concise, informative and practical summary of how to go about selecting your first horse! It is helpful the way in which you identify what to do, what not to do, and why. It also is useful the way in which you warn that leading up to the purchase is only half the battle. You will have to start all over in acclimating the equine friend to unaccustomed surroundings.

      Thank you, voted up, etc.,


    • albertacowpoke profile image

      albertacowpoke 6 years ago from Redwater, Alberta

      I have a beautiful quarter horse gelding. He along with another of my geldings used to live with each other as long as they were youngsters. The were both studs and got along fine. When I decided I no longer needed studs, as I was getting on in age, I had both of them gelded. Once they had healed up and I gave them about 60 days to sort out their hormone level , lol, I let them out with the herd. Bad mistake, the two that were buddies for a good ten years now decided to determine who should be the herd boss and control the mares. At great risk I was able to remove one of them. If you want to lose weight, try that. haha.

      In any case it took a good two months before I could place them both out there, even then there was a short struggle.

      Bottom line was that I made an assumption and it kicked me in the butt.

    • Charlu profile image

      Charlu 6 years ago from Florida

      Awesome story cowpoke. I've bought more horses than I've sold and always wanted with each one a little more umph shall we say until I got older and started breaking easier (use to do barrels) I think new owners should spend more time with the seller as to how the horse is trained. I (like you) have horses with a soft mouth and are very leggy (which I love) but for someone who doesn't know the horse could be dangerous. As you said a seller who wants to keep a good reputation in the business will make a good match, unfortunately there are others who just want the money. Again cowpoke awesome comments and tips. We've started you another hub Fisharefriends

    • albertacowpoke profile image

      albertacowpoke 6 years ago from Redwater, Alberta

      Any time, if it helps.

    • FishAreFriends profile image

      FishAreFriends 6 years ago from Colorado

      Funny story!

      It is so important to match the horse to the rider. If you don't, you might have a mess on your hands. It is good to have sellers like you, who make sure the horse goes to a good home and the buyer is happy.

      Expirience is so important.

      Thank you for your amazing advice and comments.

    • albertacowpoke profile image

      albertacowpoke 6 years ago from Redwater, Alberta

      There are a lot of things to think about when purchasing a horse. In some ways it's a lot more difficult than taking a car for a test drive, except you can't kick the tires or look under the hood.

      Sellers, who have a reputation to maintain will ensure that the horse matches the rider. Some horse are also more aggressive than others and should only go to experience riders. Those high in the natural pecking order of the herd may want to take on a new rider.

      This reminds me of a story a few years ago when I was selling some three and four year olds. A couple came to the city to check out a mare of mine. She was professionally trained but could have an attitude if you let her get away with it. She was trained for Western riding and pushing cattle. She was generally ridden with a snaffle bit on a lose reign and responded well to leg pressure and your position in the saddle.

      The woman was looking for a horse for her husband and professed to be all knowing about horses (choke). I saddled the horse for them and then rode her for a couple of figure 8s in the round pen.

      After that I offered for the husband to ride he was a little green but did ok. Next I rode the horse about 1/2 mile from the barn yard and walked it back.

      The I offered the woman to ride her. To say the least the fun started, which scared the hell out of me. As soon as she got on she started pulling the reign and Miss mare was not pleased and just started running with her, obviously away from the bit.

      When she came back she said I think the horse is too much for my husband. I said, yep , maybe too much for you too.

      You meet some funny people in the horse industry.

    • Charlu profile image

      Charlu 6 years ago from Florida

      Great idea Cowpoke I wasn't even thinking about that. Nice of you to add the recommendations FishareFriends Take Care

    • FishAreFriends profile image

      FishAreFriends 6 years ago from Colorado

      I added those tips to my hub, Thanks! :)

    • FishAreFriends profile image

      FishAreFriends 6 years ago from Colorado

      Thanks, albertacowpoke. I think that that would be good. I also want to reccomend taking out of it's natural environment, and intoducing it to new things. Some horses act great where they live where everything is 'the usual', but in other places there may be new things, to provoke spookiness

    • albertacowpoke profile image

      albertacowpoke 6 years ago from Redwater, Alberta

      Good report. I would also recommend you ride the horse inside an enclosure for the first time. Once your comfortable that you can handle the horse, take it for a ride away from home and make sure it's not barn sour. Also make sure when you return to make sure the horse will walk.

    • FishAreFriends profile image

      FishAreFriends 6 years ago from Colorado

      A second visit would be good, Charlu. Some horses have good and bad days, so you never know! I think the horse economy is pretty bad here, too. I have lived in Nebraska and California- let me tell you that colorado (at least my part of it) must be one of the most horse-oriented states. Thanks for the comment.

      By the way, your horse is very cute!

    • Charlu profile image

      Charlu 6 years ago from Florida

      Wow It must be a lot different in Colorado because here in Florida people are literally giving horses away due to the economy and not being able to afford them.

      Great informational hub I would just add to never buy a horse the first time you see it and ride it. Making a surprise visit the second time assures the horse wasn't medicated before you got there.

      I also bought a problem colt when he was 8 months old His picture is my avatar and the best horse I've ever owned Voted useful and up