You can never have too many horses or so they say, but when deciding to spend your hard-earned money on a new horse what should you be asking? When buying a horse, it’s always best practice to get a thorough vet check. However, before you pick up the phone and book the consult with your vet, here are a few simple questions you could ask to help narrow the search down for your new best friend.
- How long have they owned the horse?
- Where did they purchase him or her?
- The reason for selling
- Does he/she have any vices such as biting, wind sucking, kicking etc
- Is there any history of injuries or illness’s such as colic, lameness, wounds etc
- Especially for ponies, has the horse foundered before?
- Is the horse undergoing any long-term medical treatments?
- How well educated is the horse? Is it green broke or a schoolmaster? Dose this align with what you, as the buyer, are looking for?
- Does he/she walk straight on the float?
- What type of transport have they been on? (Straight load, angle load, trucks?)
- Can you catch them easily in the paddock/stable?
- Is he/she well behaved for the farrier?
- Do they tie up?
- Have they been taught to lunge?
- What is the overall temperament of the horse?
- What level of rider does the horse require?
- Which discipline is it best suited for?
- How often do they get ridden and how hard?
- What are they like to take out?
- What competitions have they been to? Any notable performances?
- Check what feed the horse is currently getting and any supplements they maybe on, do they maintain weight easily or are they fussy eaters?
- Ask when they last had their feet done
- Do they need shoes?
- How often do they see the farrier?
- Any history of laminitis or other hoof problems?
- Are they paddocked with other horses?
- Are the comfortable on their own in a paddock/stable? Or do they require a companion?
- Have they ever been stabled?
- Have they ever been rugged?
- Check the horse’s pedigree to see if its registered or microchipped
- If it’s a mare, ask about her breeding history. If you are looking to use her for breeding, incorporating a reproductive check in the vet check is advised. This will check for any fluids and confirm the overall condition of the reproductive organs are healthy and capable of breeding.
- Has the horse had its teeth done?
- Are their vaccinations up to date?
- When was it last wormed?
- Has the horse been Hendra Vaccinated? Is it coming from or entering a known Hendra zone?
- Can the owner provide any references for the horse? That is, somebody else who may know the horse and support that what the owner has said about the horse (mainly he/she’s temperament and training)?
These are just a few examples of questions to ask when buying a horse, you might have more to add and ones that are more specific to your needs and wants. The more information you gather the more you can pass on to your veterinarian when they are doing the pre purchase examination for you.
Remember nothing bad ever came from asking questions!
Written by Selena P.