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6 tips for buying a horse

Consider previous training, medical background, behavior, breed, shelter, and supplies when selecting a horse.
Purchasing a young horse will requiremore training costs than an older,well-trained horse.

There are no set rules for buying a horse. It can be purchased through a private owner, a sale barn, or the Internet. Remember, a horse can look ideal on the Internet, but you can't see its temperament on a screen. If you're interested in a horse that is listed on the Internet, go and see it in person prior to the purchase. Talk to other horse owners if you plan to buy a horse for the first time. They've been through the process and know what to look for. Here are six tips to consider before buying a horse.

1. Match the age and training of the horse with the skill of the rider.

An inexperienced, first-time owner should ideally buy a well-trained, older horse, whereas a more experienced owner may enjoy training a younger animal. Colts and kids are not a good fit. Hiring an experienced trainer may be helpful for the beginner. It is important to be able to handle the horse and feel safe. If you buy a horse that is broke, factor in the training savings. Likewise, if you buy an untrained horse, add training expenses.

2. Have a veterinarian check the horse.

Obtain all medical records for the horse and ask the vet to review them. All vaccinations should be included in the documents. If the horse is young or hard to handle, have an experienced handler available when the vet does the physical examination. Ask the vet about feeds and supplements.

3. Watch how the horse behaves around people and other horses.

When you go to see the horse, observe its behavior from afar. If the horse acts up with people or other horses, it is likely it will act up when you own it, as well. If it's possible, ask if you can keep the horse for a few days before making a final decision.

4. Consider the breed.

It is important to think about how you will be using the horse. Some breeds are known to be better for trail riding, racing, jumping, barrel racing, roping, or various other activities. For example, if you want a hunter/jumper horse, a horse trained for barrel racing is not appropriate. Ask if the horse is registered. Check its pedigree.

5. Prepare adequate shelter for the horse.

Ask yourself if the horse will live outdoors or have a stall. Be sure to get the fences and housing ready before bringing your horse home. If the horse is to be outside, be sure there is shelter from the elements such as a sturdy shed. Lighter colored horses, in particular, can be sensitive to the sun and can sunburn.

6. Have proper supplies for the horse.

Find a local merchant and/or nearby farmer that can sell you food, hay, and basic supplies. Make sure the hay you buy is the right type for horses. Ask your veterinarian which hay is best.

A few of the basics you will need to get started include a lead rope, halter, grooming tools, hoof pick, fly spray, tack (such as a bridle and saddle), riding gloves, and a safety helmet. Check out these four Internet sites, which specialize in horse supplies:

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