Horse ownership is unlike anything else. People nurture a special connection with their horses that combines pride and ambition with fierce and unyielding companionship. Whilst your horse is a possession under the eyes of the law, you’ll treat it more like a member of the family, but first you must know how to choose the right one for you.
Take lessons beforehand
You may be absolutely certain that you want to buy a horse, but have you ever done workouts for horse riding or even ridden one before? This may sound like a silly question, yet you’d be surprised how many people get a horse without any riding experience. Book some lessons first, establish that you enjoy them, then decide how you want to proceed.
Take an expert along
They don’t need to be a horse whisperer, just someone who knows horses and can provide valuable insight. Even if you’ve researched what to look for in a horse, it really is important to get a second opinion from a seasoned owner that isn’t the one trying to sell to you. If you don’t know anyone with this background, you could contact a horse riding school and see if they can help.
Get the full picture
Before you visit, ask the seller to save the saddling up for when you’re there. This way you can see how the horse behaves between being brought out of the stable or field and getting tacked up. If the horse is agitated or stubborn during the process, it’s worth enquiring why it behaves this way.
Ask the seller to ride the horse
Once they’ve shown that the horse is relaxed and obedient, ask to see a test ride. After the seller has demonstrated the horse’s behaviour whilst on the move, your experienced friend can have a go and give you feedback. Then, if you wish, you can give it a whirl.
Don’t lose your head
You’re bound to become giddy when buying a horse as it really is very exciting. However, as with any serious purchase, you need to stay in control and assess everything before making a commitment. If you’re buying for a child and they fall in love with one just because it looks perfect, make sure to trust your own judgement, even if they’re giving you puppy dog eyes.
How old is the horse? Are there registration papers? What’s the reason for selling? Does it have any quirks or preferences? Curiosity is a virtue in this situation so find out as much as you deem fit.
Check with the vet
Ask the seller if you can have the contact details of the horse’s vet. Don’t be afraid that this may seem rude or untrusting; horse ownership is a serious undertaking, so you owe it to the animal to understand everything about it before assuming responsibility for its wellbeing.
Seal the deal!
When you’re absolutely positive that you’ve found the right one, it’s time to become a horse owner. From quietly walking along rural roads to galloping through sunlit meadows, you’ll find that riding is an experience beyond words. Invest in a Ridersmate and the pair of you will remain safe on every ride for many, many years to come.
Image credit: Winsconsin Department of Natural Resources on Flickr