Menomin Morgan
Horse Farm

Morgan horses for show, sport and pleasure

Selecting a Horse for purchase or lease

There are 6 different points to consider when buying or leasing a horse for either yourself or a loved one.

1.Honestly assess your riding and horsemanship ability and match your ability with the horse's training.
How well do you ride, do you know?   What seat do you ride? Do you know?
(Do you understand the different riding seats?  If you do not understand the different riding seats, then you are a beginner.  Beginners should consider riding lessons before purchasing a horse).
A beginner rider or driver should start with a well-trained and experienced horse.  A more advanced rider may want to consider a less experienced horse or even an untrained horse.  You must have patience, know-how, and time to train a horse. Even if you are an experienced horseman, if you lack patience or the time to invest to train a horse, then you may be happier over the long term with a trained horse. 
Yes, a young untrained horse will cost less than a comparable quality trained horse for the initial investment.  If you enjoy training animals and have the time to invest, the young un-trained horse may be a good investment for you.   Also, if you desire to buy a national or international quality horse, the time to buy that individual for the average buyer is while the individual is still untrained or only green (partially trained).

If you are simply looking for a horse to enjoy for pleasure or show at the local level you are well advised to purchase an older animal that is already trained for the activity that you want. 

2.What do you want to do with your horse?
Do you want a horse only as a pet, a trail horse, do you want to show, do you want to do everything with your horse?  Do you want to ride, to drive, or to do both?
If you want to show or compete with your new mount, you probably want to begin with a horse that is capable of competing at the level to which you desire to compete.  There are several levels of showing from the local 4-H level show to the world Championship level, and of course several levels in between.  Beginners can compete at shows, provided they have a horse that is show experienced and forgiving to the typical beginner mistakes.
If you ride, then you may want to begin by searching for a horse that is trained to style of riding that you prefer.    If you like to ride multiple seats or riding styles, then select a horse that is capable of riding those seats, or one that is willing to learn.
If you want to drive at some point, then you will want to look for a horse that is trained to drive.
IF you think that you want to eventually breed your horse, then you don't want to begin with a gelding!
Normally when considering comparable quality horses, the horse with more training and a proven performance record will cost more.
3.   Match your temperament with the horse's temperament
Do not confuse level of training with temperament.  They are different.  Consider the temperament of the horse and how that will match with the rider or driver's temperament.  The horse  rider combination is a one-to-one team (in many ways, similar to a marriage).  This team is based upon a matching of temperaments as well as skill and training.
Horse's temperaments vary, just as people's temperaments vary.   If you are an easy-going person, then you probably want an easy-going horse.  However, if you like new events and some excitement, then you probably want to consider a horse with an energetic personality, as you will quickly be bored with the low-keyed easy-going horse personality.  There are many personalities: some horses are laid-back, some are bold and like adventure, some like a constant flow of new learning, some are nervous and need a steady & quiet rider, some thrive on excitement, some are submissive and others will challenge authority (giving in only to the people that they sense are in charge  similar to many teenagers). 

The key to picking the right horse personality is first understanding yourself or the rider you are buying for, and then spend a bit of time with the horse to see how you interact with each other. 

The financial investment is just starting with the purchase of a horse. 
The old adage 'it costs as much to keep a nag as it does to keep a star' is very true.  There are normal costs associated with any horse (see # 5 below), but a sick or un-sound horse will have additional costs to get it well and/or to keep it usable over its lifetime.  The added cost burden of an un-sound or sick horse can easily offset the difference in price for the purchase of a healthy horse.  We recommend all buyers to get a pre-purchase veterinary exam for any equine purchase. This is an expense that the buyer pays for.  Consider it an insurance policy against making a costly mistake.  This is especially true for a novice horseman or a novice horse buyer.

5.Understand the financial cost of owning a horse
A horse is a serious investment.     Every horse requires the obvious daily feed and water, regular interval de-worming, scheduled routine blacksmith care, and annual preventative vaccinations.   Any horse that you purchase should have up to date vaccinations, worming, and have obvious routine blacksmith care. 

Owners also needs to consider how they would pay for:
·The horse's shelter
(a home barn and a horse-proof pasture, or board at someone else's facility),
·The veterinary bills for the normal care and also for the potential of an emergency should their horse become sick or injured,
·Purchase, repairs and replacement of equipment (bridles, saddle, saddle blanket,etc)
·Purchase and replacement of the normal supplies used (fly spray, brushes, pails, etc)
·Stable repairs.

Be cognizant of the investment that you are about to make, as this is a financial investment that also becomes an emotional investment for most people.  

Some farms also lease horses over periods of time.  An on farm lease is less expensive than a purchase and can be the first step to the purchase of the horse.  This option also gives a person time to decide if this horse is right for them, as well as to understand the costs involved with keeping a horse in their area of the country.

If this article has confused you, then seek experienced help with your selection, such as your instructor or other experienced horsemen.

Menomin Meadow Farm,  207-457-2268   
Lessons, Sales,  Purchase consultation.

This page was last updated on: January 31, 2012
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