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What You Need To Know Before You Buy Your First Horse

Updated on June 12, 2011
The Horses love Him, He loves the Horses
The Horses love Him, He loves the Horses

I'm going to begin by saying that you can never know everything about horses, but you can know a lot. If you are looking at buying a horse in the near future of the far away future, there are many important things to know. These things are very important to keeping your horse healthy and happy, which ideally keeps you happy! Below I have a long list (Bear with me) of simple yet important things you need to fill your brain with before you bring home your first horse.

Owning a horse is a huge commitment, and requires serious thought. It should never be an impule buy. You will know when youy are ready for this challenge. You need to accept that horses live a long time, and it is a long commitment to keep one.

The Long Check-list of what you need to know

Know how to check for Disease and Injury: Disease in horses can sometimes go on forever, and nobody knows. Disease can also kill a horse. I'ts always better to be safe then sorry. Know how to check for disease properly, and what to do when something is wrong. You also need to know how to prevent Disease and Injury.

Know the kinds of Disease and Injury: There are so many horse diseases, and types of injuries. It is best you know them all, so you know the symptoms, etc. If we take a disease like collic, and you have no clue what it is, then it could be apparent in your horse and kill your horse...

Know what to do in case of an emergency: Im going to lay this out easy. If it is a horse-health related emergency, call a vet! If it is any kind of people injury or emergency call 9-1-1!

Know how to Groom a horse: Everyone needs to know how to groom a horse. That is the basic knowledge of horse ownership. You need to know all the tools, and how they work. You also need to own tools if you own a horse.

Know where to check when grooming: Basically, you need to check every body part of the horse where the saddle goes to make sure it is clean and dirt clump free. If there is something under a saddle that bothers the horse and irritates it, chances are your ride won't be so good.

Know how to tack-up: Know where to put all the buckles and 'thingies' on a saddle. You should know all the tricks and tips of tacking up, so your safe and everyone ends up happy.

Know about horse feed: Horse feed is important. There are all diffirent types of food. Chances are your horse is probably going to need more than plain hay, so you should know what is best for your specific horse.

Giving your horse a treat
Giving your horse a treat

Know how to Ride a Horse...And ride very well: You need to have all the tips and tricks of riding pretty much down to own a horse. If you barely know how to ride, then your horse will get the better of you and may become 'ruined'.

Be comfortable with all Gaits: You need to be very comfortable at a walk, trot and lope (canter). It would also be preferable if you were comfortable riding your horse at a gallop.

Know what to do in a Riding Emergency: You need to know the 'emergency stop', and what to do if your horse freaks out. You also need to know what to do if you fall off and get hurt. Saftey is number one!

Know Horse Body Language: You really need to be able to tell if your horse is sad, happy, angry, and confused. You can tell by ears and body motions. When you can tell their body language, you can tell how their feeling and how to make them better.

Think like a horse: Pretend to think like your horse, and then you can do everything better! If you think like a horse, you can understand your horse more.

Bareback Riding is Fun, and Strengthens Trust!
Bareback Riding is Fun, and Strengthens Trust!

Trust your horse, and have it trust you back: You and your horse will probably form a significant bond. You will form trust. The horse will more than likely love you and be protective over you. But if you feel like you and the horse arent connecting, then its okay to try again.

Know 'horse' people: Don't be afraid to get contacts and friends who love horses, and know about them in the end. It will always help you out in the long-run. You also need to know a vet, farrier, etc.

Have a proper place to put a horse: Most first time owners will board a horse, which is great. Some people also board at friends houses. If you want to put a horse in your backyard it has to be zoned, and you have to provide proper shelter and care every day.

Be financially able to own a horse: Before you own a horse, you have to be financially able to own a horse. Horses cost thousands to keep a year, and in the long run it costs even more. You have to be 100% sure your financially able to own a horse before you even start thinking about buying one.

Some horses are 'crazy', you never know what they will do!
Some horses are 'crazy', you never know what they will do!

To Buy And Not To Buy

I would always recommend an older, calm horse to a beginner, one that has been there and done that. One that goes, ties, and dosent need any training. You also want an 'easy keeper'. One that dosent require special foods, or has special needs. Here are some horses you don't want to buy.

1) Never buy a Foal. They may be cute and cuddly, but trust me, they grow out of that fast. They are a pain in the ankle to train, unless you have a trainer. Some foals can be resistant and hard to train.

2) Don't buy a Green Horse. A green Horse is a horse in training. They have a lot of polishing off, and bad habits. They are not at all recommended for the beginner.

3) Don't buy at an auction. The horses are not as they seem. Some could have been given calming drugs.

4) Never buy a horse from a picture on the internet. Chances are they are lying, and the horse is crazy or unrideable. Always ride and see a horse before you buy.

And remember, no impulse buys!

When Buying

Buying a horse is complicated. End of Story.

Plan of Action: You see a horse you like, now go visit it! Take friends, trainers, your vet, your family, and any expert you can find.

**Before you go se any horse, make sure you can take care of one**

First, see the horse, and have them judge it. Ask to groom it and ride it. If you cant groom and ride, give up on that horse- the owners may be hiding something from you.

Second, Take a couple days to think about the horse... Did you make a connection? Do you really want this horse?

Third, see the horse again. Make sure you L-O-V-E that horse, and that horse is perfect for you.

Fourth, Discuss with the seller about buying the horse. You need to know when to take it home. Collect every paper the horse has.

Fifth, Once you have it to wherever you want it, ten give it a check-up. Give it some time to get used to its surrounding before you ride it, etc. Try walking it around the area, get it used to its new life.

Sixth, enjoy your new best friend!



Do you own, or want to own a horse?

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    • amanda5577 profile image

      Amanda 3 years ago from Michigan

      One thing I would like to mention is that it is important to find a veterinarian or farrier prior to purchasing a new horse. It is good to make sure that there are resources available so that your horse can be properly taken care of. In addition, if you are a new owner, a veterinarian may be able to give you some advice on what to look for when examining the horse you are interested in. Great article, thanks for posting!

    • profile image

      layrissa 5 years ago


    • profile image

      little chey 5 years ago

      I bought my first horse week after mothers day I can ask him to do anything and he will but when I have someone hold him so I can clean hooves or groom he acts like a butthead

    • Angela Brummer profile image

      Angela Brummer 6 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      I look back now and shake my head having made many of the mistakes you spoke of. I bought a colt, 10 months old, He turned 4 in april, as we speak $5,700 later in boarding fee's he is being trained. He is doing well in training, but what if he hadn't I would have waisted $7,200 from the purchase and the boarding. Yikes that would have purchase a much better trained and older dependable horse. I love him and it will all turn out alright in the end, cross my fingers!

    • profile image

      Cami 6 years ago

      Thanks there is a lot of information here that helps me i and 2 pages filled with all this information!! I have been wanting a horse for a while!:) Do any of you have a cheap horse? But if you do i don't have a horse trailer so if i did by any horse the owner would have to bring it to my house! :) But like i said this information helped me a lot with what i have to do before i get a horse and i need to do lots of researched!:) thanks again!! :)

    • profile image

      brianna 6 years ago

      i have a very important question for you guys what's the thing called on the back of the horse for you can ride it

    • SeamlessDestiny03 profile image

      SeamlessDestiny03 6 years ago from Chi-city

      I can't say I agree 100% with everything listed. Although everything here is something to be considered, I just wanted to add :)

      I want to point out the very first part of this: You should ALWAYS have a vet look over your horse unless you want to take a gamble. A pre-purchase exam can make or break a deal! I saved my horse from going to auction and didn't have that ability but on previous prospects, the vet found things no one can without technology. If you plan to have a show career, its always best to go the vet route. Most people do not have enough medical knowledge when purchasing to make the decision on their own. With my guy now, I didn't have a chance but I also come from a veterinary background so it didn't matter to me as much.

      There is nothing wrong with buying a green horse your first time out. This all depends on your experience, not horse ownership level. We had a trail horse for about a year, but I would say my first 'real' horse was a green OTTB. We made a great team. I did lesson on him, but most of our training I did myself. Some green horses are very quiet and they are usually much less expensive than a completely trained horse- though this depends on discipline.

      Also, I don't feel you need to be a very seasoned rider to own a horse. That's why some horses are beginner friendly, for you to learn on! The most important part of horse ownership, IMO, is finances and knowledge.

      And lastly, you should never 100% trust your horse. My horse is my life and we are very bonded. I do trust him, but I never let my guard down. Even the most quiet horse can spook. You always need to remember that when you get on, no matter how experienced you are or what kind of horse you have.

      Otherwise, good work!

    • profile image

      horsemad 6 years ago

      i'm getting a horse in a few months and this website really helped me out and i know what type of horse i would need.

      my cousin bought this skewbald horse a while back and she is afraid to ride in the field because the pony gets over exited but the pony got a bit of training and is better in the field now but my cousin is still afraid to get up on her.

      so i say it doesn't matter how cheep the horse is or how unpatient you are about getting a horse you should check the horse over propaly and if you can get the horse on a few weeks trial DO.

      i just can't wait to get a horse because i have been having lessons for 2 years now.

      hopefully i'll find the perfect companion xxxxxx

    • profile image

      109 6 years ago

      I really find this useful especially because i will be getting one this summer i might board it but might rent a house with a small barn and large pastures and im going to ride western

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Your hub has lots of useful advice for someone who is considering buying a horse, FishAreFriends. Thanks for sharing the information.

    • SamboRambo profile image

      Samuel E. Richardson 7 years ago from Salt Lake City, Utah

      Thank you -- it does help.

    • FishAreFriends profile image

      FishAreFriends 7 years ago from Colorado

      SamboRambo, It depends on a lot, here is what I think:

      A horse should be able to walk on the street, with protective shoes. Walking on the pavement may hurt them if they don't have protective shoes. So without protective shoes it could be abusive.

      Horses can pull a lot of weight. When on the streets they shouldn't go up more than a 4% grade, and pull for more than 4 hours.

      Many Draft breeds, like Clydesdales, are in fact bred for pulling carts. Most draft breeds are able to and good at pulling carts, not just Clydesdales. Other horses can be used for pulling, but aren't very common and not prefferend among cart drivers.

      Pulling a cart can be dangerous for the horse and passenger. Accidents happen in the road sometimes. The horses should be trained very well and they should not be 'spooky'. The car drivers should be more careful around the carts and horses. Unfortunately, accidents still happen, and it is very sad when they do.

      Pulling a cart does not hurt most horses in the right conditions, so I wouldn't call it abuse. Although, I do think that it is a bit more dangerous than other horse activities.

      I hope this helps you!

    • SamboRambo profile image

      Samuel E. Richardson 7 years ago from Salt Lake City, Utah

      I've seen horses (and not just Clydesdales) used for pulling carts for tourists through the streets of Salt Lake City. I'm wondering if this is abuse. Someone needs to ease my mind on that.

    • FishAreFriends profile image

      FishAreFriends 7 years ago from Colorado

      Great advice!

    • albertacowpoke profile image

      albertacowpoke 7 years ago from Redwater, Alberta

      With horse ownership comes responsibility. One of the things I tell those people that want to buy a horse, that it's not an ATV or a bicycle you can park whenever you feel like it.

      While most horses do well on pasture and a good mix hay for winter, even the winters up here in Alberta, horses are individuals and need to be treated as such. When within a herd, they have a pecking order and if not careful, the bottom on the pecking order may go without being fed.

      There are many good books out there to give people some of the basics. Your advice to consult other horse people is valid. Even old dogs can learn new tricks. Many of the things I learned about horses came from other horsemen.

      Happy horse ownership, great article, you hit the high points.

    • FishAreFriends profile image

      FishAreFriends 7 years ago from Colorado

      Thats cool! Thanks for the comments! I'm glad you think this is useful.

    • lobonorth profile image

      lobonorth 7 years ago

      My mom always had a horse or two and I never really thought about what was involved. We lived in the country and had a couple of fields and a stable. We were surrounded by farms so it was easy to arrange for some hay or anything else that was needed. However, like everything else, I guess there is a lot of thought involved particularly when it is a new endeavor. Useful and instructive for anyone thinking about taking the big step or a long gallop.

    • jdavis88 profile image

      Joseph Davis 7 years ago from Florida

      Great hub. Don't own now, but did up until a couple years ago. I wish I had seen a list like this before I bought my first horse... Live and learn.


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