1. Purchasing your horse: We recommend that you consult a professional BEFORE purchasing your horse. They can help you     determine many things about the horse.  A pre-purchase vet check is also recommended. Things you need to know  BEFORE buying your horse in order to help you and the consultant determine the best fit for you.

  • A. Purpose of the horse: trail, show, dressage, jumping, cattle work, western, English, for beginner, children, what                         discipline is needed.
  • B. Skill Level: BE HONEST, beginner, intermediate, expert, take an evaluation to help you determine your skill level.
  • C. Conformation: does the horse have the conformation to meet the requirement you have for what you are using the horse for.  A Shetland pony won’t be much good at jumping 6 foot fences!!  Is the horse balanced from head to tail, are the legs straight and strong, does he move with athletic skill, deep chest, slope of the shoulders and hind quarters.  HS Book on Conformation
  • D. Breeding: Quality proven lines can make a difference. Do you want a horse that is gaited or trotting horse?   Breeding will influence the smoothness, athletic, common sense, temperament, personality.
  • E. Temperament: Are the eyes quiet and intelligent?  Is there good width between the ears and even width with the eyes? Is the horse flighty or nervous at new things being introduced? What does the horse do when he is scared?  Does he “spook in place” when scared?  What is the background of the horse? Check out the swirls.
  • F. Preferred Gait: Are you looking for a gaited horse, 4-beat gait, fox trot, running walk, single foot, or a trotting horse.
  • G. Breed: What is the particular breed of horse bred to do? For example – Thoroughbreds for jumping, quarter horse for               working cattle, Peruvians for comfortable trails. It is important to choose the breed that most often carry the                                   characteristics for what you want to do. 
  • H. Health Check: checking here for soundness in movement, bright eyes, no soreness or other obvious problem. 
  • I. Gender: Mare, Stallion, Gelding. What is the best for you. While all can be wonderful, each has their own pros/cons.  Mares can be very sweet except during their heat cycles. Stallions need to be handled properly to avoid becoming overly aggressive. Often left alone but do better with a pasture mate, such as a gelding or pregnant mare.  Geldings are generally more even in temperament and easier to work with.
  • J. Age: are you willing to put the time, effort and money into raising a foal, or are you looking for a young horse ready to train, or do you want a fully trained horse. Each can have their issues.  Will the horse outlive you? Are you ready to make a long time commitment to a horse or are you looking for a horse for a few years. Will the age make a difference to you?
  • K. Affording a horse:  Costs to consider – boarding, feed, vet, farrier, worming, shots, equipment

Horsesense Horsemanship Purchasing Your Horse