Screening Questions You Should Ask When Buying a Horse
There are some very important preliminary questions you should always ask when buying a horse.
These questions should be asked right up front and should be considered your screening questions. If at all possible, you should ask these questions initially on the phone prior to seeing the horse. If you have an agent/trainer helping you locate a horse, have them ask these questions of the seller. These questions can save all involved a lot of time and you do not want to be known as a “tire kicker”.
1. Ask the age of the horse and if papers are available that will indicate the date of birth.
2. Though you are going to do your "due diligence" with a pre-purchase exam, make sure you ask about the horse's health history. Depending on what you are told and what you can live with, you may choose to stop there. Most horses have had some issues in the past, but by asking what issues there have been, the seller is obligated to tell you. Additionally, you can have your vet address that issue when he is performing the pre-purchase exam.
3. How long has the seller had the horse?
4. Why is the horse being sold?
5. What has the horse been used for?
6. Ask about its experience and training, including how long it has been under saddle and in training.
7. What vices does it have? (weaving, cribbing, kicking, etc...)
8. Does it trailer, clip and tie, and does it have good ground manners?
9. What level of discipline is the horse experienced at?
10. What history does the seller know about the horse?
11. Is the horse registered with a breed or discipline association?
12. Does the horse have a show record and is it available for you to see?
Remember something! It is always easy to buy a horse and much more difficult to sell one. It is your money and your investment. There is always another horse out there, so do not be afraid to ask these questions so you can make an educated decision to see this horse or pass it by.
Bridget Brandon is owner of ValueMyHorse Appraisal Services, an equine valuation, consulting and expert witness services company specializing in hunter/jumper, dressage, eventing and breeding. Bridget is a senior appraiser certified through the ASEA and is USPAP certified. She has 30 years in showing, breeding and importing warmbloods. She has been an appraiser for 12 years and serves as an expert witness and expert advisor on equine related legal disputes. She is a graduate of Southern Methodist University. She spent 20 years in the advertising and marketing field for Bank of America and Verizon. Bridget also hold her Property and Casualty insurance license and sells equine related insurance coverage for horses, equine related events, and farm and ranches.
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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.