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How to Purchase an Equid & What to Expect

  1. When looking for a new equid, it’s buyer beware! Read the advertisement very carefully and make a note of what is not said. Be sure to ask lots of questions about the equid’s history. It is recommended to get a pre-sale veterinary inspection. If you intend to pay a deposit, make sure you have a contract stating you get the deposit back if the equid doesn’t pass veterinary inspection.
  2. When planning to visit the equid, take someone else with you. If you have an expert or professional, all the better. They will see more than the ordinary equid owner will and will ask lots of relevant questions. If no professional is available to go with you, get a list of important questions to ask before you go.
  3. If at all possible, see the equid while turned out. Unless they are an untrained or unhandled horse, you should try to spend that time with them. Catch them and lead them in. Groom them yourself. Tie them up and handle their legs and pick their feet out. Getting a good feel for this possible new equid for you is especially important. Making sure that the equid is safe and content being handled in these basic ways.
  4. Have the owner walk and trot them up for you on hard ground. Watch their action and see their conformation. Look for lumps, bumps and scars- ask questions about them!  Also ask for a few tight turns on that hard ground, checking for soundness.
  5. Watch how the equid feels about being tacked up. Do they move away from the saddle or bridle? Is the equid reluctant to be tacked up? Tack avoidance behaviors show the equid may well not be so happy to be ridden or may possibly have health issues that need to be addressed.
  6. Have the vendor ride the equid first! Don’t mount a strange equid without seeing them ridden first. Cover all the environments you want to ride in – in the arena, out in an open field and road work with traffic, etc.
  7. Only ride this new equid if you feel it is safe to do so. Ask if the equid has any behaviors you should know about before getting on, like moving away from the mounting block before you’re fully on them, or always trying to go to the arena gate.
  8. Cover all the bases. Ask lots of questions about their history, management, find out their strengths and weaknesses. Are they good for the vet, farrier, loading and traveling etc.? Ask if they are easily frightened and if they do well away from their herd.
  9. If all the above has gone well, without incident, and you are happy to continue, then discuss price flexibility. Agree to a price so long as the equid passes a veterinary pre-sale exam.
  10. Don’t feel pressured to purchase the equid the day you meet it. It’s important to feel comfortable with the purchase rather than making a regrettable impromptu decision.