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THINKING ABOUT BUYING A HORSE? – Katy shares her advice, guiding you through the many questions and pitfalls.

Buying a horse? 

With the longer lighter evenings and warmer weather riding after work or school is a lot more welcoming. Spring is also a favourite time of year for most horse lovers to think about buying a new horse, whether it be a first horse or a new project for the spring and summer months, Katy Thomas of Newfield Livery is already witnessing a big boom in her local area near Sheffield of people looking for that new horse or pony, with many visiting her yard asking for advice. For a first time buyer the process can be confusing and even daunting with so many factors that have to be considered, such as “What should I be looking for”, “Where should I start looking” , “Am I ready to own my own horse” and lots more.

To assist you Katy Thomas has used her experience in putting together some great advice that will guide you through the maze of questions and potential pit falls when you start your search for buying a horse or pony.
Buying a horse katy Olly

Do you really know what you looking for when buying a horse? 

I know the beautiful 16.2hh Dutch warm-blood looks great when stood in the stable, but is he really what would suit you at this time in your riding career? If it’s your first horse, then probably not, maybe the kind eyed cob is more suited to you for now. 

I would highly recommend to all that are considering buying a horse or pony to write down a complete list of things that you want from your new horse… Be realistic! For example: Do you want to do lots of hacking? Do you want to try your first jumping or dressage competition? Do you want something that is forward going or quite laid back and easy? 

Sit down with your instructor and a more experienced horsey friend and get their feedback, you will be amazed as to how their advice will help you in your understanding of what is right for you as a person as well as a rider, again write down clear bullet points as this will help you to remember all their advice when you start your search.

So how and where do you start your search? 
  1. You have probably been told to "go online" or buy "a horse magazine" and whilst this is correct, it’s also very vague…. What sites? What magazines? Who can you trust? 
  2. Different websites and different magazines often attract different types of sellers. They can also be very confusing and at first quite difficult to navigate through the hundreds of advertised horses.
  3. So you need to find a website that is aimed at what you're looking for. Websites such as the Pony club website and Horse Mart are mostly aimed at amateur riders and definitely worth a look.
  4. Remember you can get over excited and even confused when faced with 100’s of horses’, so always use the option drop down menu’s which will help you narrow your search and remeber to stick to your original list of priorities and not shop with your heart.  
  5. You can also visit a dealer producer. Some people are put of by dealers and prefer to buy from a private seller, although I understand this, I personally wouldn't be so quick to discourage people from dealers. Yes, these people are there to make money, but many of them are very reputable business people who want to help you find the right horse. Buying from a dealer can often save you time and money because you are able to view more than one horse in a day and often if they don't have anything for you on the day you visit, they will be more than happy to keep an eye out or speak to other contacts who can help you. 
Keep asking for help and advice - Getting it right is critical!

Buying horse katy team
I would strongly advise any inexperienced buyers that they ask for help, both when looking for a horse and when going to view them. I help a lot of the riders at my yard when searching for a new horse and have helped choose 70% of all the horses now at my yard. Ask your current riding instructor or a more experienced horsey friend to go along to the viewing with you. Not only is it great to have the support but they will also have a lot of good questions and  notice a lot of things about the horse and how it is kept that the inexperienced eye would miss. For example: Why does this horse have a grill up? 

When asking for help….. It is really important that you listen to the advice and help they give.Yes the white pony with a ribbon in its mane may look really, really cute and be "the one" but if your experienced horsey friend says it’s not right because of this and that, then it probably isn’t!

Vetting the horse:

Once your have decided on a horse that you like, I strongly advise to get the horse vetted. You can choose from a 3* or a 5* vetting and this will help to rule out any potential physically problems with your future horse. Some horses can have underlying physical and emotional problems that even the most experienced eye won't see so a vetting is a great way to cover your self. Vetting can also impact on you insurance cover, and come sometimes make it cheaper and easier to obtain.

So your search is well under way in buying the right horse. Now what? 

Once your search for the right horse is close, it is important to find somewhere to keep it. Ask around at local livery yards and when you find a yard you like RESERVE THE BOX! A lot of people find a stable, go away and buy a horse to then find the yard they had dreamed of keeping their new horse is now full. 
A livery yard is a business. If you don't reserve a box for your new horse, many yard owners will just fill them. Finding the perfect livery yard for you and your horse can be difficult and stressful in its own right….. ‘But help on that subject would be a whole new article in its own right.

Now you have found the horse and have the stable waiting. Still lots more to do... 

Now you need to know what the horse eats and what bedding it prefers. You need to buy all this before the horse arrives. Including food bowls, hay nets, rugs. The list goes make sure you have covered everything he will require to settle in immediately. Also remember that unless you are already using a farrier, vet and dentist, you will need to have these in place, these are all key services that your horse will have to have immediate access to. Get recommendations from other people and do your home work.   

Do you insure your horse?

In a word: YES! I would definitely recommend insuring all horses. Vet bills can be pricey and since horses can be very accident prone it is certainly something I do with all the horses I own. Good tip: Insure you horse before it arrives home. Once the horse leaves the sellers yard it is your responsibility. Horse’s can be injured when traveling so it’s a good idea to cover your self. 

How do you get the horse home? 

Usually the person selling the horse will bring him or her to you, but sometimes they won't have transport. So be prepared that you will need to have your own transport even it means asking a friend or useing an equine transportation service. They are easy to find on Google. 

So now you have your horse home. What now?

Once your horse is home, the big responsibility and new life change can hit new owners hard. I have been told it’s a bit like being parents to a new born child. 
Try not to stress or worry, hopefully you will be on a good livery yard where there are lots of other horse owners who can help you out, making the initial early days a little easier. Remember there are lots of people and services out there to help, such as instructors and coaches for you and your horse,  joining a local riding club or pony club which will hold both training days and competitions for you and your horse to get involved in. The help is endless; you just need to spend a little time searching for the right help….. The best advice is to always get a personal testimonial and recommendation.   

My personal experiences:

I see the buying and selling world of horses from all angles having owned ponies and horses since I was 10. At first my family and I were very green, but were given loads of support and help over the years by experienced people who had been through the ups and downs of buying. Our experince soon grew and as we became more and more independent with our buying decisions. However this said we still always ask experienced friends and coaches for their opinions on horses that I am looking to purchase. Over the years I have got to know many dealers and producers that I trust which means finding a horse is a little easier and quicker for me.

I really enjoy helping other people find and buy the right horse or pony and have helped a lot riders find that perfect partnership. Here are some of my success stories: 

Buying a horse Ellie  and  WOODY
Ellie and Woody 
Woody was Ellies first pony and together they have grown into a great partnership. He was a fab first pony for Ellie and he taught her a lot. Once Woody had taught Ellie all he could she was able to move on to a bigger and sportier "model". So together we found Corrie… and already they are building that special bond. 

Buying a horse Ava and DJ2
Ava and DJ
Another great success was Ava who bought my pony DJ. It was love at first sight for these two.
After a great 18 months together of winning lots of red rosettes Ava outgrew DJ and it was time for her to move on. 

Buying horse AVA  AND  CONKER
She came back to me for a new horse and fortunately I had an amazing 16hh ISH called Conker waiting for her. They are now out competing together and are having great success in wining lots of prizes.


Read more about Katy, her yard and her riding Click here
Richard buys a sportst horse, read all about his experience Click here
Buyers check list to assess personality and behaviour Do's and Don'ts Click here