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Buying your first horse should be a dream come true. Afterall, how many of us grew up dreaming of our very own pony? But unfortunately, it is a difficult and often stressful experience. And if you buy the wrong horse, your dreams of horse ownership can be shattered and turned into a daily night-mare. (Excuse the pun!)
My first horse
Some of you may know that I come from a non-horsey family. While they were always super supportive of my horsey desires, paying for lessons and driving me around, I never had a pony growing up. This was for 2 main reasons. Firstly, they weren’t sure if we could afford a pony. And secondly, (and wisely) my parents knew they didn’t have a clue about horses and didn’t want to take on something they couldn’t look after!
I was at University studying Equine Science when I finally found myself in a position to seriously consider being able to buy my first horse. But even then, it was a very careful, well thought out decision. As horses are a long term and expensive commitment. I never wanted to be in a position where I had a horse I couldn’t look after to the level I wanted to due to lack of finances or ability.
So many people who fall in love with horses also come from a non-horsey background and unfortunately, it is an industry which is really difficult to break into if you don’t already know what you are doing. I have known so many people who rode for years at riding schools or sharing/loaning horses who finally decided to buy their own and it all went wrong! In most of these cases, they either underestimated the cost and time involved in owning their own horse or bought a horse who wasn’t suitable for them.
With the horse industry being as closed with information as it is, it can be really difficult to find help with buying your first horse. I was lucky enough to have some super helpful experienced horsey friends who helped me every step of the way, meaning I ended up with my perfect horse with a hassle-free journey to horse ownership. But for many people setting out to buy their first horse, it really isn’t that simple!
Step by step guide to buying your first horse
I wanted to do something about this and I simplified the horse buying process into 4 easy steps.
Step 1: Where to start?
Before you even start looking for your perfect horse, you need to think about the realities and practicalities of owning a horse. You need to think about your budget and your ability to look after a horse. After this you can start thinking about what type of horse you want.
Step 2: Where to look?
Once you have an idea of what you want, you need to look for one. There are loads of great places to look for horses such as Facebook and Horse & Hound. But word of mouth is also a good way to discover horses for sale.
When your looking at adverts, your also going to be talking to sellers. You should ask them questions about the horse to find out things what may not be in the advert. This will help you decide if you should go and view the horse.
Step 3: The Viewing
Every viewing is different. But typically you will be able to have a good look at the horse and see it move. Before seeing them tacked up and ridden. After this you should be given the opportunity to ride the horse.
As exciting as it is to be viewing horses, it is important to stay on the ball. Don’t put yourself in a situation which seems dangerous. If the horse doesn’t seem safe or what you are looking for, don’t ride them. Also keep an eye out for any signs that the horse had been exercised before you got there or has been sedated.
Step 4: So you think you’ve found your horse
If you have found a horse, then you need to think about some of the more complex things. Like are you going to have them vetted? Are you planning on insuring them? How are you going to transport them and do you have somewhere ready to keep them?
After writing this simple guide, I found that I was getting a lot more questions about each step and I thought I could do a lot more. So I expanded on these 4 steps and included other things to think about once you bring your horse home, creating my first book! This book is available on Amazon as both a paperback and kindle (it’s even free if you have kindle unlimited!) You can read the reviews here.