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Are you ready to buy a horse? 5 Essential Steps Before Considering Buying a Horse

Do you think you're ready to embark on the thrilling journey of horse ownership? Before you take the reins, it's crucial to assess your needs, time, riding skills, potential yards, and most importantly, let go of any preconceived notions. In this guide, we'll walk you through the top 5 things you need to do before considering buying a horse.

Understand what you actually need in your next horse, not just what you want

Before browsing through the stunning array of horses for sale on Horsemart, take a moment to reflect on your riding goals and lifestyle. We all want the horse with the best looks, most famous breeding, and all-round star quality. However, what you really need to consider are factors such as:
  1. Temperament - How much experience do you have in dealing with horses on a daily basis?
    Equestrians often only consider temperament when reviewing ridden work. However, you will spend a lot more time on the ground with your horse than you will on board.
  2. Purpose - What are you hoping to do and achieve with your horse?
    Some horses thrive on work and routine, are you someone who's going to be riding five times a week with a thorough training regime? Conversely, are you going out for a plod a couple of times a week and need a horse that can be relied upon to be level-headed no matter how varied your routine is?
  3. Height & build - how will this mirror your needs?
    Finding a horse that is the right size and shape for you as a person is important. The right horse in relation to size will often mirror that of the riders, respectively. If you are tall and slim and were initially thinking you were after a smaller cob type of horse, you could find you struggle with being disproportionate. If the horse has a short neck but you have long arms, you need a more forward-cut saddle with longer saddle flaps to give you the correct support, however, the horse needs a saddle that's short and straight-cut because of their shape. It seems silly, but how you and your future horse will fit each other is crucial, despite being commonly overlooked. On a sidenote, remember a horse cannot comortably carry more than 15-20% of their bodyweight.

Decide if you're ready for the commitment of owning a horse

Owning a horse is not just a hobby, it's a lifestyle commitment. Evaluate your daily routine, financial capacity, and emotional readiness for the responsibility. Horses require time, effort, and resources for proper care. Assess whether you can dedicate the necessary time and resources to ensure your horse lives a happy and healthy life. If the financial and emotional readiness is there but time isn't, look into the alternative livery options to give you the necessary support.

Honestly assess your level of riding

Your riding skills play a pivotal role in determining the most suitable horse for you. Be honest about your experience and comfort level in the saddle. Equestrians over-horsing themselves is a common problem within the industry and leads to horses being mislabelled and deemed unsuitable. If you compete at showjumping or dressage at Newcomers or Elementary level, respectively, it doesn't mean that by going and buying a horse that's capable of competing in Grand Prix classes, you are suddenly at that level. Similarly, if you're buying your first horse after learning at a riding school for a long time, you aren't suddenly ready to go and buy a young horse to produce. Self-reflection is tough, but you and the horse both lose out if you don't.

Find somewhere to keep your horse

Securing suitable accommodation for your future horse is paramount and should be done before you start looking. If you aren't lucky enough to have the perfect facilities at your own property, then choosing a livery yard is definitely a step you should take before going through the process of buying a horse.
Firstly, start by working out how far you're prepared to travel to the yard, then look for places within that radius. Once you've narrowed down your search, you need to ensure any potential yard meets the necessary standards for equine welfare. Secondly, consider factors such as adequate stabling, proper fencing, and quality of grazing. Thirdly, evaluate the facilities that are available at the yard, such as whether it has a riding arena, the equipment that comes with it, and the hacking routes. The importance of this final point should be weighed up against your purpose for buying a horse. To start your search, you can view livery yards with available spaces by clicking here.

Forget about any predispositions

It's easy to fall in love with a specific look or breed but true compatibility goes beyond appearances. Be open-minded and focus on finding a horse that matches your goals and experience. Remember, age is just a number, specific colours don't give the horse more ability, breeding doesn't guarantee performance, and gender doesn't ensure a good temperament. The perfect horse for you might not fit the stereotypical image you had in mind but that doesn't matter! Compatibility is the key to having fun and being successful as a partnership.
Before making the exciting leap into horse ownership, take the time to reflect on your needs, commitment level, riding skills and yard options; embrace a mindset free from biases. By following these five essential steps, you'll be well-prepared to start your journey in finding the perfect equine partner that aligns with your goals and aspirations. Once you've done the above and feel you're 100% ready, explore the diverse listings on, and may your pathway into horse ownership be as fulfilling as the bond you'll share with your new four-legged friend.

Team Horsemart
Published on 01-02-2024