Last week we looked at the first five steps to finding your perfect horse.
Here are the final five.
6.Don’t Just Test Ride the Horse
When you own a horse, riding is a small part of your interaction with him. Much more time will be spent on peripheral activities, such as grooming and leading him to and from the field.
If you think he’s a good prospect after you’ve ridden him, ask to do these things with the horse.
Also watch him being saddled, to ensure he behaves during the process. If he is already saddled up, be suspicious. Ask them to remove the tack and start again.
7.Take Him to a New Environment
My husband and I became very tired of buying horses that behaved well at home and were obnoxious in new places, including ours!
So when we were looking for his new showjumper, we asked to have him taken to a new environment, where we could pop him over some fences he’d never seen before.
The owner was a bit surprised, but agreed.
This way we got to see how the horse loaded, traveled and unloaded, as well as how well he coped with a strange place and new cross country jumps.
He passed with flying colors and is a wonderful horse with a great temperament. We have owned him for fifteen years now.
If the owner won’t agree to this trial off the property, ask why. At the very least say you want to see him being loaded.
Leasing a horse with the option to buy is a great way to get to know a new horse.
This adds the safety net of allowing you to spend an extended period of time with him before making the decision to buy.
9.Get the Horse Vetted!
It is false economy to skip this process. You will regret it if you don’t have the horse thoroughly checked out once you decide he’s the right one for you in every other respect.
Any agreement to buy has to be subject to passing the vet. No exceptions!
The thoroughness of the vetting will depend on how much the horse costs and how much you are willing to pay. But at least have him checked out for soundness of wind and limb, and take a blood test to ensure he has not been given any medication to mask lameness, or any sedatives to alter his behavior.
Some owners will take offense at the blood test. But tell them you've heard horror stories and, in any case, you're paying for them.
If your prospective horse fails the vet, WALK AWAY!
10.Ask For a Trial Period
It is worth asking for a trial period of two weeks, provided you insure the horse first.
If the owner refuses, this does not necessarily mean there is anything wrong with the animal. But a trustworthy seller will often agree to take the horse back within a stipulated period of time - if the partnership doesn’t work out - provided the horse is returned in the same condition as when he was sold.
Buying a horse is a risky enterprise, but there is much you can do to find your perfect equine partner. And when you do, the time and effort you put into the search will pay off.
Next week we’ll be looking at things to put on your shopping list when looking for a horse.
Horses are my big obsession, and I'm constantly striving to get better, smarter and more in harmony with my equine buddy, Cruz Bay.
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