Viewing A Horse For Sale

Viewing a potential new horse can be an exciting experience and it is always a good idea to take an experienced advisor along when viewing a horse advertised for sale who can look at the horse totally objectively.  Read our advice about what to check when viewing the horse.

After enquiring about the horse for sale and reviewing the answers given to the questions asked, if the horse sounds like it may be suitable then call the seller and arrange to visit to view the horse.

Arrange a time to view the horse when there will be plenty of time for the viewing as a thorough viewing can take some time. Be sure to obtain detailed directions to where the horse is kept and allow plenty of time to get there so as to arrive on time, or even a little early.

It is always a good idea to take an experienced person such as a riding instructor or trainer along to the viewing. It can be easy to fall in love with a horse and even an experienced horse owner or rider can benefit from having a level headed advisor with them who is familiar with their riding ability when viewing a horse for sale.

If buying an unbroken youngster then consider telling the seller you wish to see the horse being caught, led, handled, loose schooled and maybe lunged if the horse has started lunging, when arranging the viewing. If buying a riding horse then consider telling the seller you wish to to see the horse being caught, tacked up, ridden in a school, on grass and hacked out when arranging the viewing. If the seller is unable to ride the horse at any viewing then ask that they arrange for a rider to be available to show the horse being ridden.

If the horse is already stabled when you arrive this may indicate it is not easily caught, especially if you made it clear on the phone that you wanted to see the horse being caught when you came to view. Check the stable for any indication of vices such as anti-weave bar, chewed stable door, the state of the bedding for signs of box walking. Check the horse has water available as withholding water can dull down a horse.

Check for any signs that the horse has been worked prior to your arrival such as sweat marks.

During the viewing watch the seller catch the horse and tie it up and at this time inspect the horse. Look at the horse carefully from the front, both sides and behind. Check for any scars or lumps and ask about any found. Check the horse's teeth to verify its age. Check the legs for any heat and pick up each of the hooves and check for any abnormalities.

Ask to see the horse walked and then trotted up in-hand in a straight line and observe it from the front and behind to check that it moves straight in the legs, and also that it swings equally on both sides of the pelvis when viewed from behind.

If the horse is a unbacked youngster ask to see it loose in a school in walk, trot, canter and over a jump if appropriate to assess its movement and ability.

If the horse is a riding horse then watch it being tacked up and look for any signs of it being reluctant at being tacked up. Note the condition and fit of the tack used, particularly if it is included or available to purchase separately with the horse.

Ask to see the horse ridden in a school and observe the horse's paces, balance and temperament whilst being ridden. Watch the rider also to see whether the horse appears strong and resistant or calm and amenable to the rider's aids. Watch the horse walk, trot and canter on both reins and ask to see it jumped if it is intended to be jumping if the horse is bought.

Ask to see the horse ridden on grass, maybe in a field, and note any difference in its behaviour as some horses become stronger when ridden outside of a school. Ask to see the horse hacked down the road and note its reaction to passing traffic, objects along the roadside, etc.

If after viewing all this, the horse seems like it may be suitable, then ask to ride the horse and try it first in the safety of the school and if happy then outside of the school.

When viewing the horse, if at any time the horse is deemed unsuitable then tell the seller immediately and don't waste time viewing the horse further.

No matter how much a seller tries to push for a decision on the spot, don't be pushed into making a quick decision. It is often best to think about it carefully, discuss with your advisor on the way home, ring with any further questions that may have occurred afterwards, even ask for another trial ride if it is felt needed, before making a final decision. Once the decision has been made to buy a horse then it is wise to consider having it vetted.

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