It isnt like going down to the candy store and picking out what you want. Neither is it like going to a pet store and buying the gold fish or the pretty little kitten that catches your eye. Buying a horse is serious business and you need to be aware of it before you go out and get one. Getting a horse is just the first step to a lot of care, expense and time. So lets first take a look at what all can go wrong with a horse so you get a clear picture of what youre in for.

First of all, horses eat a lot and you also need to be prepared to spend a lot on their grooming, bedding and tack. Besides this, you also need to have them shooed and make sure they get their vaccinations. But what is most important is how to buy yourself a good horse. For that, lets do a process of elimination. Dont buy a bad tempered horse as chances are hell always be that way. Some bite, crib, kick or chew the edge of the stall. Some are not trained and though they might just be okay on the basics, they would still be green broke which means that though they might let you put on the saddle, they would not be able to follow the signals a well-trained horse should know! Check the horses health as well. If the legs and hooves arent strong, all the horse could perhaps manage would be a slow walk around a ring carrying a child and not a fast gallop on a race track as you had fondly imagined.

After all that, its time to look at the positive side. You need to find the horse just right for you – so how do you do that? Be cautious when you are buying one through the newspaper or at an auction. It would be better if you were to frequent horse events or shows and ask around there. Here, you might get a good horse where the owner who is very competitive has just graduated to a flashier, faster horse and the old horse could still be very dependable and great as a first horse for you. Once you kind of decide on a horse, dont be impulsive. Ask around a bit about shows, events or competitions that it has entered. Many tend to observe horses and will tell you if it has a bad temper or tends to balk at the popular jump at shows – the chicken coop. Maybe the grapevine could even tell you whether the horse is healthy or not. Dont be in a hurry to hand over your cash.

Then its time for the vet. Let him test the horses hearing, teeth, eyesight and heart. He can even tell you how old the horse is, approximately. He will also inspect the horses hooves and legs, looking for leg splints, swollen hocks or thrush. Now thrush, a hoof infection, can be dangerous and usually occurs when a horse stands in wet, dirty bedding for a long time.

Then, last but not least, you have to make sure the horse is a good fit as far as you are concerned. You could tack him up just so you know if he has any bad habits, then mount him and go through the paces. Keep an eye open for flaws like not obeying commands or not being able to change leads. True, some habits can be corrected by a trainer but theres nothing like getting a trained well-behaved horse for the first time.