It’s fun to ride a horse or pony for the first time. But it’s important to learn about the responsibilities, costs, and care a horse needs before getting one because the wrong horse can ruin the fun of horseback riding or driving and may be dangerous. Learn how to avoid the most common mistakes first-time horse buyers make.
1. Buying an Untrained Horse
Many people who know a lot about horses will tell you that they see this all the time. Beginner riders often choose horses that haven’t been trained because they are cheaper or because they want to. Don’t buy a horse that you want to train yourself or send to a trainer. It can take months to train. If it’s not done right, it can be dangerous. Young or inexperienced horses are not trustworthy. Beginners will be safer and have a better time if they get a horse they can ride as soon as it gets off the cart.
2. Horses That Are Too Old
Older horses are great for starting riders. Westend61/Getty Images
A horse that is older and has been around the world makes a great first horse. Beginners in their late teens and early twenties might still be afraid of horses. But many healthy horses and sound can be worked until they are very old. A quiet hack or drive may be good for both the horse and the person who rides or drives it.
3. Getting a young horse for their kids to ride as they grow up.
This is a romantic idea, but in fact, young horses and young people who are just starting to ride or drive them are not a safe combination. Buy your kids a grown, well-trained horse that they can saddle or harness the day you bring it home. Buy a horse that knows how to handle itself when scary things happen, because a young horse just starting won’t know how. Kids will learn and have fun more safely on an older, well-trained horse or dog.
4. How to Buy at Auction
Finding a good horse at a sale takes a sharp eye. At an auction, horses can look calm because they are so confused that they “freeze.” Horses can be given drugs to make them look healthy or calm. With drugs, it’s easy to hide things like heaves and limps.
5. Buying on the Spot
Don’t buy a horse based on how it looks. Check out the horse, try it again, and ask a lot of questions. Go home for a few days and think about it. Look at horses other than the ones you’re crazy about and compare them. Make sure that you have picked the horse that is best for you.
6. Not Wanting to Try It Out
Don’t be afraid to ask for a trial time from the seller. Most people who own horses privately want them to go to good homes and are sure they know who can take care of them. Some dealers may agree to a trial time or help you find another horse if the one you are looking at doesn’t work out. Just ask. And if they say “no,” ask them why. There could be a good explanation.
7. Buying “Too Much Horse”
You might picture yourself in a cross-country race jumping over five-foot concrete culverts. But the truth is that you have only been riding for six months. The kind of horse that is needed for high-performance games might not be the best one for learning safely. Buy a horse that fits your skill level and level of health, not a horse that fits a dream that might not come true for five years or might even go away.
8. Getting a horse to breed Horse With Foal On Grassy Field
Do you want to buy a horse so that you can have a baby from it? Before you do that, you should go to a market where horses are sold to be killed or turned into meat. Pay attention to how many of them look like they were made in a backyard. Think about how you would feel if this happened to a horse you brought into the world. Horses should be bred because they have great traits that they can pass on to their offspring. It’s not a great quality that you like or think would have a cute kid.
9. How to Buy a Horse of a Certain Color
Even though it makes sense to want a horse with a unique coat pattern like a Paint, Palomino, or Appaloosa, it isn’t smart to buy a horse just because of its color. If you can choose from several horses that are all smart and well-trained, buy the one with the color you like best. But don’t choose based on color if the dog’s mind and training aren’t right. The old saying about getting a car is that “You don’t drive the paint.” You don’t ride or drive the color of a horse.
10. Not Taking into Account How Much Time and Money Horse Care Takes
When your horse is being groomed is the best time to look for lice. Getty Images/Alan Crowhurst
Taking care of a horse is a big job. When you want to get away for the weekend, your horse won’t stop eating and drinking. The bills don’t stop coming in just because you want to spend the money on something else or can’t work. Tell the truth about how much time and money you can spend on a horse. It’s okay to say that you love horses but would rather spend $30 once in a while on a trail ride or riding lesson and let someone else deal with all the other costs and work.
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