For most horse people, few things are as exciting as purchasing a horse. Unfortunately for some, buying a horse can be a difficult experience — emotions cloud the buyer’s judgment, sellers misrepresent, and your new horse may feel more like an adversary than a partner. To avoid a bad purchase, buyers should keep in mind the following:
Use a Contract: Even if not required in your state, it is always a good idea to have a written sales contract, signed by both parties, stating the rights and duties of the buyer and seller. The contract allows the parties to have a written record of the horse that was agreed upon.
Get a Pre-purchase Veterinary Exam: Always get a pre-purchase veterinary exam performed by your vet. It is also a good idea to give the horse a drug test during the exam.
Verify: Confirm the horse’s registration number and show record with the applicable breed association or equine organization.
Obtain a Second Opinion: Buying a horse is incredibly exciting. Try to take an experienced horse professional with you when looking at a horse. An objective horse professional will be able to tell you if the horse you’re looking at is a good fit.
Take a Break: After looking at a horse, try to look at other horses or take a short break from shopping altogether to give yourself time to reflect on whether a particular horse is right for you. If the seller consents, videotape the horse and watch the video a few days after you visited the horse. Doing so will allow you to look at the horse again, without time constraints or pressure from the seller.
Kimbrell J. Hines is an active equestrian and an attorney with Williams Parker in Sarasota, Florida. She obtained her law degree and bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida, where she competed for the University of Florida Equestrian Team. She also has a Master of Science in human resource management from the University of Tennessee. Kimbrell may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (941) 552-5547.