First Steps to Buying a Horse

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“Welcome to the family Leo!”

There is nothing better than buying a horse. But before you can go out an buy all of the “welcome home” carrots you have to find your horse. The horse shopping process can be a long and hard one. I’ve seen many riders try countless number of horses before they find “the one.” Below are my tips and tricks for finding your next family member.

Finding Your Prince Charming

On EquineNow alone there are 85,000+ horse ads. That’s a lot of horses to choose from. Before you start clicking, figure out what you’re actually looking for. Is it a hunter? A reiner? A Quarter Horse? A Bay?

Click on the image below to access the “Oh No There’s Flowers – Find Your Prince(ss) Charming” worksheet. It will help you narrow your search and let you know exactly what you’re looking for.

Find Your Prince(ss) Charming Worksheet - First Steps to Buying a Horse, Oh No There's Flowers

Set Your Budget

This horse budget is way to accurate - First Steps to Buying a Horse, Oh No There's Flowers
Courtesy of OTTB Connect

Okay, s0 that old piece of advice was right-  the cheapest part of buying a horse is buying a horse. You are going to spend WAY more to own the horse than you will on the purchase price. Which makes setting your budget an important part of the horse buying process.

There are lots of different Horse Care Budget forms on the internet. I like this one from the Horse Channel. Be COMPLETELY honest and generous with your estimations. It would be the worst if you had to cheap out on something because of a budget miscalculation!

Once you know your monthly/yearly horse budget set your horse shopping budget. If you are working with a trainer, most ask for a commission of the purchase price (i.e. 5-10% of the purchase price). Don’t forget to factor this into your budget. My best advice is to be honest with your dream horse wish list and what you actually have to spend.

The Next StepsBringing home your Prince(ss) Charming - First Steps to Buying a Horse, Oh No There's Flowers

You’ve found the horse, you’ve run the numbers, you are getting the horse! Below are some things you should NEVER forget to do before signing on the dotted line.

  1. A vet check
    • It does not matter if your horse is worth $100 or $100,000, have a reputable vet check them over. At the very least they can tell you issues to watch out for and give you a better understanding of your new horse. I did a vet check with Leo even though nothing short of a death certificate would have made me not buy him. I found out about a few health issues to watch out for and now Leo and I are more prepared for the future.
  2. Ask for all available paperwork 
    • It is 100% appropriate for you to ask for any relevant vet/farrier records, registration papers, race/show records, Coggins and rabies, brand inspection, etc.
  3. Read the fine print of the sales agreement
    • Read it, read it again, then read it again! Be entirely comfortable with the terms of sale before taking the horse off the property. Watch out for things like buyback clauses, no-auction clauses, rights to see the horse. You would be surprised what people sneak in there!
  4. See/Ride the horse a second time under no expectation to buy
    • If possible, always see the horse a second time. Make sure the first time was not a fluke. Plus, with the initial shopping jitters out of the way, you may get a different feel of the horse.
  5. Double check the numbers one more time
    • Pull out that budget one more time and take a good look!




Sale Papers

If you are buying a horse like I did, from a friend to a friend, it is still extremely important to have a bill of sale. The bill will be proof of a willing exchange of money/goods between two parties. I googled a generic bill of sale and printed it out. I am NOT a lawyer, but for my purposes this bill of sale has worked just fine.

After speaking with friends who have bought horses from training and sale facilities, the facilities themselves will usually provide the sale paperwork. Again, read the paperwork carefully and be sure you are confident in what you are signing.

Buying Leo was the most exciting thing I have done in my life. I was giggling like a lunatic signing the sale papers. As always please share this post on Facebook, Pintrest, and with family and friends. Congratulations to you and your new horse and…

Happy Trails!

Signature - Oh No There's Flowers
Don’t go just yet! Let’s get real for a second. As with all my posts I do not pretend to know everything and I am by no means a licensed lawyer, vet, farrier, etc. I have done extensive research on all of my posts and incorporate my own experiences into everything I write. If you have a question or a comment please do not hesitate to contact me!
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