These Are The Questions You Should Be Asking When Buying A Horse!

child riding horse in meadow

Buying a horse is such an exciting and amazing thing. You are looking for a partner to share an amazing bond with. As a former trainer, I have sold and purchased many horses for myself and for clients. This is a list of questions I ask EVERY person I purchase from. I have sent this list to many people. Some respond right away and with enthusiasm and others never respond or act “put out” by the list of questions. I prefer dealing with people who want to be forthcoming about their horses and are looking for the best home possible for them. I explain to them that I understand that there’s no perfect horse. I just like to be as informed as possible.

When reading this list, keep in mind that a lot of horses have minor soundness problems or are “servicably sound” which means they need maintnence, but can still perform what you’d like with ease and comfort. This is very common for show horses due to the stress that’s on their joints and that’s alright with me (it may not be with you and that’s OK too). I am not looking for the perfect answer, just an honest one so I can choose whether or not to move forward with looking at the horse.

There are questions like the one supplements. Personally, I have all of my show horses on a supplement for their stomachs, vitamin/mineral and joint. Unless a horse is grazing 24/7 on a grass pasture with no stress from showing, they are out of their natural environment and therefor have outside stress that I like to address. If a person tells me they have their horse on supplements I think that’s amazing! Also questions like if the horse cribs or not. I know many people with amazing horses that DO crib. I just think it should think the buyer should be informed and be left to make that decision based on their personal preference.

In the list I also ask what a horse does when they spook, I don’t ask if they spook. The majority of horses have spooked while being ridden, this will tell you what kind of spook it is – is it a spin, run and leave you in the dirt or is it a just splatter out his front legs and get startled…these are things you should know! If the person responds and says the horse has never spooked, in most situations I find that hard to believe. Of course I have known some horses that I have never seen spook which is amazing. You’ll just have to judge the situation for what it is and see if you really trust that person.

Below is the list of questions. I referred to the horse as “he”, but obviously this list also applies to mares! It is not breed, age, or discipline specific so of course I’m sure you’ll want to add questions of your own depending on what you plan on doing with the horse you are looking at!


Horse Purchase Questions:

horse purchasing questions image snapshot


Click Here To Download the Easy Horse Purchasing Form with fields for seller’s to fill out and send back to you.  Remember this is not a witch hunt, this is just a way to be as informed as possible when making your decision to purchase a horse. I always suggest contacting a professional that you trust and having their assistance in your search, but not everyone requires this. I also encourage Sellers to fill out the answers to these questions in advance and send them to prospective buyers. If there are any “deal breakers” in the answers, this will eliminate a lot of wasted time talking on the phone or having people try your horse. For buyers, just remember…all horses have issues (and so do all riders), the question is can you live with the ones this horse has! Share this on Facebook if you’d like to have these questions handy next time you or one of your friends purchase a horse!

Written By Mariam Weinstein

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    I am happy that you gave us your list of questions to ask when we are thinking about buying a horse. I especially like question number 25. I am a beginner horse rider, so I would need to find a horse that is good with newbies like me. Lusitano horses are my favorite, so I will look for that breed in my search!

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