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What to ask/look for when buying a horse? Lease to own anyone?

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  • #21
    Around here even at the better rescues the horses almost always have issues that make them unsaleable on the open market.

    If you like stock horses you can have the blood tests run for the various metabolic problems during your PPE.

    I have yet to see a horse go through the local rescues that I've really wanted.

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    • #22
      Consider upping your budget a little. It's going to be tough to get a purchase, a PPE and shipping for $2500. You cannot skip a basic PPE and shipping is going to depend on location. I would change the budget to $2500 PLUS the PPE and shipping just to give yourself some room in the budget. I can tell you as a seller, I am not moved if the buyer says she expects me to eat the PPE or shipping. Of course, I would never sell a riding horse to anyone without a PPE.....it is not worth it to me as a seller. And definitely take blood at the PPE as recommended by Scribbler and make sure the BOS states whatever meds have been given to the horse, so that if something new comes up after the horse arrives at your place, you have some recourse. Most vets will hold the blood for months at no cost to you.

      I am not a big fan of rescues. Flame suit on. I find that many rescues have been ill treated at some point that treatment resulted in mental and physical issues.
      Where Norwegian Fjords Rule
      http://www.ironwood-farm.com

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      • #23
        I think you've received some very sound advice. I'll add just a couple of points.

        One is to be careful of sellers who move a lot of horses. You'll figure out who they are by how many horses they have for sale at the same time, and often by an extensive presence on social media. The dealers that sell relatively inexpensive horses often try to make a profit off the horses as quickly as possible--they won't know much about the horse's history, and they're likely to just put 30 to 60 days of "training" into them just to be able to put a video together and make a semi-plausible claim about what the horse "knows." If you know a lot about horses (or have a savvy trainer you trust), you might find a diamond in the rough, but if you'll mostly be looking on your own, you're probably better off avoiding them.

        Do ask about previous medical issues that the horse might have had, and when you have the PPE done, try to get the vet to verify the horse's age (at least approximately) as well as the usual once over.

        I'd also echo those who have said that you should buy a horse that is already doing what you want to do, and from a seller who will let you try the horse doing that. So, ask to go out on a trail with the horse, for example, if at all possible.

        Good luck.
        "The formula 'Two and two make five' is not without its attractions." --Dostoevsky

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        • #24
          When looking at videos of wtc, pay attention to how the horse does upward and downward transitions from each gait. If they don’t show the transitions...maybe they are trying to save time or maybe they are showing a nappy horse or one that doesn’t like being rated. Look for clean legs that are nice and tight. Get your vet to show you photos of what a perfect leg looks like. Look for good solid feet. Get your farrier to show you what to look for. The horse should be doing what you want it to do as far as level of work and experience.

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          • #25
            Around here you are unlikely to find a sound broke adult horse currently in work for $2500.

            You can find aged horses, green horses, and pasture puffs of uncertain history. You can find horses advertised as trail horses but often that's a code word for permanently green broke. If you go up country from here you probably could find good using ranch horses for that price but shopping at a distance is risky and ests up $$ as well.

            If I were working with that kind of budget I would prioritise looking for a free lease and hope to find one where the owner was happy to leave the horse to you indefinitely. For instance a college girl who has realized her immediate future won't fit a horse but can't bear to sell her unicorn.

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            • #26
              Absolutely get someone involved. Even if they don't know anything about horses they can grab you by the back of your jacket. They can pull you to a safer location, maybe an arm's length away. That gives you a moment to figure out where you are in the decision-making process. Did you miss anything? Is something not right with the seller? Are you falling head-over-heels in love?

              Our BO is one of the best anywhere to help you find the right horse. I've watched a number of people screw up bigtime because they think they know so much. The best one was new to the barn, a real PITA, She bought her new horse up north somewhere and was at the pre-purchase exam. The vet pointed out that the horse was off/lame but she bought it anyway, as-is, no x-rays, no nerve blocks, nothing. She arrived at our barn and put him down 3 months later. Navicular. She went shopping by herself and brought another one back. I don't recall the problems but she was asked to leave the barn a few months later. We heard she bought a third horse in less than a year.

              I was riding a nice school horse but she wouldn't sell him to me. He was about 20 and develop a cough in the spring and fall. I wouldn't have him long enough. We got lucky the day we went to the big sale barn and my beautiful Paint gelding stepped off a trailer from Iowa. She had turned down a dozen we looked at.

              I really wanted a big Paint gelding. She said I would buy whatever worked best, even if it was a tiny grade bay mare. That's the best piece of advice she gave me.
              "With hardly any other living being can a human connect as closely over so many years as a rider can with her horse." Isabell Werth, Four Legs Move My Soul. 2019

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              • #27
                My last search, I thought long and hard about what I wanted in a horse and put things into columns.
                First one being, absolute musts! The things I would absolutely not negotiate on.
                Secondly was things I would prefer, but may have wiggle room to let slide by.
                Then I put my "unicorn status" wants; things like colour.

                I also told myself I wouldn't buy the first horse I saw, even if it was unicorn status, and I would at least look at other options. I wasn't even seriously looking at the time when my exact unicorn showed up. A trainer friend of mine had bought her to restart.
                I really fell in love with her mind- she was bright and sensitive to me (and my anxiety) but didn't feed into it. After about 5 min of working out the kinks she was just perfect. She was actually younger and way greener than I wanted but already had so much good life experience getting out and seeing things without being overused.
                I'm just comfortable being on and around her and that is huge, my previous horse I had a love/hate relationship with due to him being an absolute sweetheart but also a giant idiot.

                I don't think I've ever bought a horse where I didn't somehow know a connection to it. Literally any time I've gone to look at random people's sale horses, they turned out bad.
                I was looking for a beginner safe confidence builder and even after messaging asking questions, showed to 1) a chronic bucker 2)the rudest 20yr old jerk I didn't even bother getting on to try because leading and saddling was such a nightmare.

                If you're not in a rush then wait it out for the absolute most perfect horse that you connect with. The type that gets you excited to go the barn. I've ridden horses that ticked all the boxes but just had something missing. If my current mount didn't belong to my friend I probably wouldn't have even tried her due to age alone. If word gets out that you're looking for a horse maybe you can even snag that perfect partner before they get listed so reach out to any horsey contacts you know and ask if they may know of someone selling what you're looking for.

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                • #28
                  Originally posted by Bugs's Mom View Post
                  Hej I can certainly talk to the lady I am taking lessons from! I do have two very experienced rider friends that could help. One is more knowledgeable than the other, the less knowledgeable one of course has more free time. Both are far more experienced than I am so that helps. Both also helped me shape my previous horse into the amazing horse he became. I do plan to take one of them with me when looking at horses and will likely revisit horses if I find more than one that checks the boxes.
                  If you are planning to try any horse you buy more than once (which is a good idea), you might consider taking the less experienced friend with you on the first visit and ask the more experienced friend to accompany you on the second visit. You'll have more first visits than second visits so you'll be asking the more experienced friend with less time for fewer favors.

                  For reasons mentioned above, it is usually a good idea to involve your trainer as they are (or should be) the person that is best informed as to your riding abilities. One item to be aware of is, that many/most trainers expect to be paid a commission and/or be paid for their time if they are assisting a client in helping to find a horse. You may want to discuss rates and fees up front lest you be surprised with a bill from the trainer after the fact.

                  Don't buy a lame horse. That goes without saying, but you need to decide what "lame" means to you. Obviously you won't buy a horse that is lame while jogging in hand, but what about positive flexions? Will you radiograph any joints that flex positively to rule out issues? Or will you simply walk away from a horse that flexes positive? These are rhetorical questions, but ones worth mulling over. Studies have shown that flexions are not great predictors of future lameness but some people won't touch a horse with a positive flexion no matter how mild.

                  For budgeting purposes it might be a good idea to call your personal vet and inquire about the costs of a PPE. The cost of a PPE will vary depending on what you want done. The bare minimum usually includes a clinical exam and a lameness evaluation. Pulling blood will be extra as will any radiographs. If the horse is out of the area, you may not be able to use your personal vet, but at least you'll have a baseline as to what you can expect the PPE to run. When selecting a vet to perform the PPE, look for one that has experience in your intended discipline.

                  You might want to google articles on PPE's especially ones published by the AAEP. It will help to inform you on what to expect during the PPE.

                  Here is a COTH article to get you started: https://www.chronofhorse.com/article...-purchase-exam

                  I'm going to echo some earlier comments above. 2.5K as a total budget for horse, PPE, shipping, etc. seems rather "light". Let's consider some numbers. A "rough" shipping rate is $1 a mile for the round trip. If you find a horse 150 miles away, that is $300 for shipping. Let's say the PPE is $350 and you pay your trainer $250 for her assistance in helping you evaluate prospects, your "horse" budget is 1.4K. Let's say you vet horse #1 and the PPE uncovers things that cause you to take a "pass", your horse budget is now $1,050. You decide to vet horse #2. You really, really like this one, but he flexes positive on his front left. The vet recommends $150 in radiographs to rule out any obvious issues. Now your horse budget is $900. You can see where this is leading. Just some food for thought.

                  You've received some great advice so far. Best of luck in your search!!

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                  • #29
                    When I was looking at horses, because my target age was horses in their teens (which fit my budget) I could afford a good $300 PPE, but not x-rays. The vet told me that the big things I was worried about, such as navicular, would have likely showed up already in a 14 year old horse, and the other things, such as arthritis, would show up in the lameness exam. I was searching for a trail horse, so I wasn't worried about a little arthritis. Now, if I wanted a competition horse, things would be different. I actually spent $300 on a great exam for a $900 horse. My husband laughed, but. hey, it worked. He's sound and good. (Appys are cheaper, lol). I was well under budget, which gave me more to spend on the other horse I bought.

                    You mentioned trail riding and a little dressage. Do you mean dressage tests, or doing dressage at home to keep your horse more flexible and responsive? If it's the latter, that sounds like me. First thing I taught my new horse was a half-halt. I think it's helpful for any horse to know. I am getting her to western side pass first, and then we'll work on leg yields.

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                    • Original Poster

                      #30
                      Thank you all for your advice!

                      I do have some flexibility in the budget to account for shipping over $300 and PPE is not included in the $2500. I will be doing a basic PPE. Since I just want to do dressage at home to maintain flexion and the basics I will likely not do radio-graphs. I will however have blood drawn, but only plan to do a PPE if I am certain I want to buy the horse and that will be the tipping point for me.

                      I plan to have my wonderful BF come with me for a "doesn't sound right" opinion. He is an amazing people reader and doesn't know much about horses so he asks "why" constantly, which makes me take a step back and think when I have to explain things to him. I will also bring the barn friends out and will likely use the less experienced friend for first visits as suggested and reserve the busier more experienced friend for final decision visits. Both are opinionated and I don't always share those opinions, which is why my BF will also be involved to weed through the clutter with me.

                      I do have some connections to trainers through my friends that I already have plans in place to reach out to once the time is officially here. I also have no problem getting a green horse and would actually prefer that. I know in my budget I will get two of the following: sound, sane or fully trained. I am willing to work on the raining for a sound and sane horse, my last horse was very green when I got him. He was however sound and sane which made training him easier.

                      Looks aren't a big deal to me, I had my pretty unicorn in my first horse (my avitar) so plain is perfectly fine with me. I am targeting OTTbs but am willing to consider any other non-gaited horses outside of TBs, draft crosses included (I am 5'8" and all leg). I also will consider a mule (they are on my horse "bucket list") but do want something 16h +. That is my really strongly prefer to bottom of the must have column. I actually like bays, the more traditional/plain the better this time around.

                      I don't mind shoeing a horse constantly but don't want one that is already arthritic. I am looking for one around 5-8 years old which are available for my price range within my current distance. However, as many have mentioned there may be things I am not reading between the lines on these horses.
                      Brain Surgeon "Milo" 2013 -
                      Lovebug "Bugs" 2006-2019

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                      • #31
                        Hmm, would you consider a off the track TB with some training?

                        16 hand bays just screams TB to me, lol! There are lots of really nice off the track TB rescues and you could really do some good for a good horse. I live further South than you and Ocala, Florida has a few rescues that specialize in TBs. I saw them when I was doing my search (and considered a few, but they were too tall for me). Please let me know and I will find their websites again. As a bonus, I know a really great vet in that area that did a PPE for me. I would use her again in a heartbeat. Too bad she is too far South to be our horses' vet.

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                        • Original Poster

                          #32
                          Originally posted by Moonlitoaks View Post
                          Hmm, would you consider a off the track TB with some training?

                          16 hand bays just screams TB to me, lol! There are lots of really nice off the track TB rescues and you could really do some good for a good horse. I live further South than you and Ocala, Florida has a few rescues that specialize in TBs. I saw them when I was doing my search (and considered a few, but they were too tall for me). Please let me know and I will find their websites again. As a bonus, I know a really great vet in that area that did a PPE for me. I would use her again in a heartbeat. Too bad she is too far South to be our horses' vet.
                          If they are OTTB they will have to have some post track training for it to be safe for me to get them. I am not naive enough to think I can restart an OTTB. I can work with one that has had some retraining but can't take it on myself from the start. Ocala is a haul BUT if I could line up several horses I would consider making the trip down. My budget would be lower to account for the travel expenses and I would need to look at a lot of horses to justify the trip.
                          Last edited by Bugs's Mom; Dec. 31, 2019, 11:58 AM. Reason: typo
                          Brain Surgeon "Milo" 2013 -
                          Lovebug "Bugs" 2006-2019

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                          • #33
                            Okay. Florida Trac was the place I saw while searching for horses. They do retraining and include details in the ads.

                            I did not ride any horses there, though. Maybe someone else on here has experience with these folks?

                            Florida Trac, anyone?

                            https://fltrac.org/adopt-a-horse/

                            This website looks like they screen post track rescues and rehoming organizations. Florida Trac is listed. Maybe they have one closer to you.

                            https://www.thoroughbredaftercare.or...organizations/

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                            • #34
                              The other place I saw might take some research. I'll post here if I find it. Might have been a private trainer selling off the track TBs. Seemed legit and he had quite a few.

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #35
                                Originally posted by Moonlitoaks View Post
                                Okay. Florida Trac was the place I saw while searching for horses. They do retraining and include details in the ads.

                                I did not ride any horses there, though. Maybe someone else on here has experience with these folks?

                                Florida Trac, anyone?

                                https://fltrac.org/adopt-a-horse/

                                This website looks like they screen post track rescues and rehoming organizations. Florida Trac is listed. Maybe they have one closer to you.

                                https://www.thoroughbredaftercare.or...organizations/
                                Thank you!!! There are 3 near me! One I have been watching off and on already
                                Brain Surgeon "Milo" 2013 -
                                Lovebug "Bugs" 2006-2019

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                                • #36
                                  You are very welcome. Good luck!

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    Much like you I had never truly shopped before. I bought my heart horse after riding him a handful of times and falling in love.

                                    My biggest piece of advice is to trust your gut and dont be pressured into riding a horse or liking it more than you really do. When I was trying horses, if I did W/T/C and I didn't like it much, I didn't jump it. And I didn't keep riding it. What's the point?

                                    I did a few laps, and if I thought it was uncomfortable or couldn't imagine myself riding or showing it, I politely said I think that's enough for this one. The sale trainer would usually ask if I wanted to jump around anyway and I'd politely decline. My trainer loved it - said I knew what I liked and didn't like and it sped up the process.

                                    Trust yourself

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #38
                                      Originally posted by KnockedOut View Post
                                      Much like you I had never truly shopped before. I bought my heart horse after riding him a handful of times and falling in love.

                                      My biggest piece of advice is to trust your gut and dont be pressured into riding a horse or liking it more than you really do. When I was trying horses, if I did W/T/C and I didn't like it much, I didn't jump it. And I didn't keep riding it. What's the point?

                                      I did a few laps, and if I thought it was uncomfortable or couldn't imagine myself riding or showing it, I politely said I think that's enough for this one. The sale trainer would usually ask if I wanted to jump around anyway and I'd politely decline. My trainer loved it - said I knew what I liked and didn't like and it sped up the process.

                                      Trust yourself
                                      Thank you! I know the lesson horses I have been on have yet to excite me so I feel confident I will know when it is the right one. If I don't get excited about the horse then I will move on and let the right person find that horse. As another poster recommended, I do not plan to buy one that I cannot see myself being excited about going to see. They pick us as much as we pick them, we just have to listen to them.
                                      Brain Surgeon "Milo" 2013 -
                                      Lovebug "Bugs" 2006-2019

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                                      • #39
                                        Sometimes you just know in your gut that this is the horse for you. My once in a lifetime horse, Woodrow, was found in a newspaper ad. I went to look at him at night and when they pulled him out of the stall, that was it. I just knew. I rode him down the driveway asked for a halt, turned around went back to the barn and bought him. My gut told me it was the one and I owned him for over 20 years until he passed away at the ripe old age of 31.

                                        Comment


                                        • #40
                                          When I was looking for a horse years ago, I told myself not to buy the first horse I looked at, after a two year period when I was horseless. I tried a big 5 year old Paint gelding, liked him a lot, but since he was the dreaded "first" one, I passed on him.

                                          I went on to try 12 other horses, always coming back to the photo I'd taken of the first guy. By that time, while he was still for sale, he'd been shipped 10 hours away to his owner's home. I had to rent a horse trailer and drive all that way and back to get him.

                                          He lived 16 more years, and is still my favorite horse of all time.

                                          Think of your lists as "guidelines". You never know when fate has other plans.

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