1. What is the horses' gender?
Stallion, mare or gelding. A stallion is an unaltered or intact male. They tend to be a bit more spirited and
are not generally for beginning riders. Mares and geldings, or castrated males, are often gentler and more
ideal for beginning riders.
2. Is he registered and do you have the papers?
You want to buy horses that are registered and from sellers that have their papers in order and in their name
or with a bill of sale showing they purchased, and did not steal, the horse.
3. How old is this horse?
Beginners generally want to look for horses between 10 and 18 as they are more experienced than younger horses
in dealing with beginning riders. Don't exclude younger horses, however. Sometimes an 8 or 9 year old horse
simply clicks with you.
4. What condition is he in?
This is one you should be able to observe for yourself and will probably want to observe yourself rather than
relying on a verbal answer. You want a horse that is fit, but not thin. You want to be able to feel the ribs
through the coat, not see them. It should be a well-riden horse, not left out to pasture to become wild and
5. Does the horse have any special needs or a history of health problems?
The answer to this should be NO!
6. What sort of personality does it have?
You are looking to hear words like gentle, patient and calm or willing. Avoid horses or ask more questions
about horses described as spirited as the definition of a "spirited" horse can vary wildly. You also want to
avoid a lazy horse. Gentle and willing are the two key words you want to hear.
7. How tall is the horse?
Though height doesn't affect their personality, generally, a short individual or younger person may prefer a
smaller horse as opposed to a tall horse.
8. How much, and what kind, of experience does the horse have?
You want a horse that has a lot of experience and training in what you want to do. If you want to eventually go
trail riding then you'll want a horse that has a lot of experience working with novice trail riders.
9. Who has trained the horse?
This doesn't matter normally, unless you want to double check the owner's opinion of the horses'
10. Is the horse trail and road safe?
You want to make sure that your horse will be alright around loud noises and other horses, especially if you
plan to go out with other riders.
11. What kind of background does the horse have?
Look for horses that are used to handling all sorts of riders of every experience level. A bonus is a horse
that has ridden on lots of different terrains.
12. Does the horse have any vices?
The answer should be NO!
13. Do you have any trouble getting him to load and trailer, stand tied or
behave when being bathed?
The answer should be NO!
14. Has he suffered any major injuries?
Though an injured may be old and healed, if they were severe that could cause problems as the horse
15. Has he been kept in a stall or pasture?
You will want to know this, not because it makes a difference in attitude, but so that you can give the horse a
chance to adapt if you are planning to the opposite; ie., pasture a horse that used to be stabled.
16. Is the horse comfortable around a variety of other animals?
If you have other horses, cows or dogs, you want to try and find a horse that has experience around these other
17. When was the last Coggins test performed? If has been more than six months
will the owner have another run?
This is very important! The Coggins test checks for a very serious and contagious disease called Equine
Infection Anemia or Swamp Fever.
18. Has a vet exam been performed?
Make sure that the vet has examined and given the horse a clean certificate of healthy before you purchase the
horse. You don't want to buy a thousand dollar problem.
19. Is there someone that I can watch tack and ride the horse?
Be sure someone tacks up the horse while you're watching and rides the horse so you can observe how it really
is with a rider.
20. Can I ride the horse?
Check the horse out for yourself before committing to the purchase. You don't want to buy the horse, get it
home and find out it won't work with you.
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