Horse Showing

Buying Big

June 8, 2011

Tempting horses are for sale everywhere at the big shows. Here’s what you should know before you break out the checkbook.

By Sarah Elder for The American Quarter Horse Journal

halter horses lined up

There are many good horses for sale. Choose the one that best fits your needs. Journal photo.

Research

So you have looked through all of the Internet ads for horses, talked to friends and called up trainers, when someone suggests driving to a show to look for horses for sale. Sounds like a good idea. More than 10,000 horses will be at the Ohio State Fairgrounds in October – surely something loping around up there is for sale. Actually, the prospects sound better than a year-end clearance at Nieman’s.  

Before you start your truck up and pull out of the drive, there are some things to consider.

If you are a serious buyer, get online and request a catalog from the horse show’s big sale and earmark the horses that fit your needs and purpose. Research the horses you like on www.aqhamembers.com, search the Internet for the horse’s or owner’s name for state prizes, and call friends who live in the state or show in the same circuit. Most large sale agencies even recommend calling the owner prior to the sale to ask questions to either rule out or consider the horse.

Choosing a horse could be one of the most-important decisions you make. To make the right decisions, get your copy of AQHA’s Buying and Owning Your First Horse report!

Questions

At the show, you should visit the sale barn and check the horse out in his stall.

Of course, wait until the owner is there before you go in the stall or touch the horse. Ask questions. Consider making arrangements with the owner or agent to watch the horse move or ridden, look at any blemishes, bumps or conformation issues. Ask more questions.

If you are looking at horses outside of the sale that are marketed by a free agent or by owner, the same recommendations apply. Ask questions – lots of questions. Visit the horse in the stall, do your research, watch the horse under saddle or competing. However, often times with a free agent, you can spend more time with the horse, ride the horse and sometimes even see the horse compete.

AQHA’s Buying and Owning Your First Horse has great information about developing a meaningful relationship with your new horse and getting the most out of horse ownership. Download your copy today!

Buying Tips

  • Know what you want – before you start your search, decide what discipline and purpose your new horse should have.
  • Research – Do your research at home, or stop by the AQHA booth at the show and ask for a horse record printout.
  • Ask questions – ask every question that would be a concern for you prior to buying the horse. If you ask it, answers will come and probably even more valuable information.
  • Decide on a budget – Don’t look at a $30,000 green working hunter horse when you have $8,500 to spend and have never hopped over a fence.
  • Don’t buy pretty; buy what you need – We often want to buy something that emotionally we attach to rather than what we actually need to have a successful relationship with the horse.