#TBT: Top 5 Mistakes People Make When Buying a New Horse

Think you’ve found your dream horse? Before you write the check, review Callie Rae King’s “don’t do this!” checklist.

Pixabay/Scott Warburton/CC

From Callie:

I have been doing some work lately around the topic of buying horses, so I decided to compile this little list of the biggest mistakes people make when selecting and purchasing a new horse. Of course, I have never been guilty of any of these… Just kidding — many of these actually come from my own experiences.

1. “He is so pretty – the perfect color!”

Winston Churchill may have said that “the outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man,” but this statement may prove quite false if your new beauty turns out to be a beast. When you are smitten by a sleek, well-put together horse it can become easier to overlook warning signs of bad behavior or potential unsoundness.

2. “I know he’s young and green, but we’ll grow together…”

A young or green horse is often less expensive and easier to find than an older, well-trained horse, but can be a source of frustration and anxiety for a new or timid rider. This is especially true for young riders, who are rarely well matched with a young or inexperienced horse. The old adage of green plus green equals black and blue has been proven time and again.

Most inexperienced riders, unless they are very committed to spending a lot of time on the ground and getting help along the way, will have more fun and be able to increase their skills and confidence more quickly on an experienced, been there done that kind of horse.

3. “How athletic he is! Rearing and jumping like that!”

A spirited, powerful horse in motion is a captivating sight; but remember that unless you have the skill, confidence and patience to handle such a horse, it may be a buying decision that you regret.

4. “He’s free, so I can afford another one….”

I have found that the free horses often turn out to be the most expensive. There are certainly many exceptions, but do look a gift horse in the mouth, and look at his hocks, knees, stifles, pasterns, and tendons as well!

5. “He will look great when my trainer rides him at a show!”

Surprisingly, I actually hear this one a lot. Some people really do enjoy keeping horses for a trainer or other experienced rider to campaign, and that’s great. But for most of us, horse ownership is about a lot more than the showing, and we want a horse we can enjoy riding and handling too! Don’t choose a horse for just how great he looks with your trainer astride unless that is truly what you are looking for.

Sometimes we are never quite sure what draws us to a particular horse, but they all teach us something, even the ones we are not so well matched with. In the long run we can usually look back and laugh at our mistakes made in the impulse of the moment, however I have found that the best way to consider a potential new horse is to use a combination of logic and listening to your gut.

Do you have any horse buying mistakes to add to this list? Let us know in the Facebook comments.

About Callie: I own and operate a small boarding and training facility in Chester County, Pa., where I love working with young horses and so-called “problem horses.” I enjoy learning from every horse I get to work with and always finding better ways to train and to teach my students. Writing is another passion for me, and I write two blogs. The first is CRK Training Blog, where I feature riding and training tips and interview other trainers and horse industry experts. The second blog is Happy Horse Reviews, where I share my thoughts on a variety of equestrian products. Thanks for taking the time to read my article!

Callie King

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