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10 – Do’s and Don’ts for Horse Buyers

10 – Do’s and Don’ts for Horse Buyers

We all know that there are a lot of horses for sale today. Some are great and some not so great. Sellers are largely very honest in their dealings but it seems everyone knows of someone who made a bad decision or wasted time seeing a misrepresented horse.

The 3 objectives of the top ten list are to help you, one, not waste time and money or a sellers time seeing and or trying the wrong horse.  Two, ensure the experience and process remains pleasant for everyone and three make sure you are the buyer the seller selects to own the horse if they are considering more than one offer.


There are undoubtedly other tips and I encourage you to add your comments.

  • Do talk to the owner/agent honestly about your needs, abilities, contingencies, time frames, and shop within your budget.
  • Don’t lie either by omission or otherwise about your purchasing intentions, budget, skills, and riding abilities or other issues you know they really should know.
  • Do be respectful of the seller’s time.
  • Don’t be a demon buyer, window shopper, video collector, or use the professional and horse for “FREE Lessons.
  • Do schedule an appointment
  • Don’t drop in unannounced and be put out that the seller doesn’t drop everything for you.
  • Do reconfirm your appointment the day before.
  • Don’t leave the owner/agent waiting and wondering if you are still coming.
  • Do be on time and call again when you are 30 minutes away or as soon as you know you will be late.
  • Don’t leave the horse braided standing in cross-ties for an hour and the owner wondering, while you take a detour for lunch or decide to sleep in.
  • Do upon arrival, start the conversation with a compliment and thank the seller/staff up front for their work preparing the horse for you to view and or ride. (If you had great service, an unexpected small tip to the working student/groom is a great gesture).
  • Don’t come onto any farm with a chip on your shoulder looking for fault in the horse, the facility, the fencing, the footing, etc. (check any attitude at the door)
  • Do be friendly and open, SMILE and have fun with the process.
  • Don’t think of a buying a horse as the time for you work on the perfection of a poker face.
  • Do, ask questions. If you are interested and suspect an issue be sensitive and diplomatic but ask.
  • Don’t use the test ride as an opportunity to be a training critic, riding critic, or play amateur lameness veterinarian if you decide the horse isn’t for you. (save it for the car then forget it)
  • Do give truthful answers to questions you are asked.
  • See Don’t number #1 above
  • Do Tell the seller your next steps, a time-line and follow-though by being good to your word.
  • Don’t say “you need to think about it” if you know the horse isn’t right, or tell them you really like the horse and will call if you aren’t going to, or lead the seller on; or expect them to hold the horse for you without a contract and deposit pending an agreed next step.
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