There are two main ways to buy a horse, either from a private home or from a dealer. Most people find a horse to look at via a number of routes including on line, social media and via word of mouth. The process remains largely the same whether you are buying from a private individual or a dealer but crucially, your rights at law differ if something goes wrong.
Finding the right horse or pony to buy can be a time consuming and frustrating process for both buyers and sellers but if you prepare well and do your research, you can minimise the number of wasted trips. Here are some handy tips.
Good research on the internet and pre visit questions with the seller will help reduce the amount of false starts and can save you viewing a horse that is unsuitable. Here is a list of questions that you can easily ask on the phone or by email:-
There is no such thing as a set of right answer to these questions; it all depends on what you are looking for and what your particular circumstances are. A horse that dislikes large vehicles on the road may not be a problem based on your location. A horse that won’t travel on a trailer may not be a worry as you own a lorry. Equally, these questions may throw up some absolute deal breakers. Better to know before you get in the car to go and view and certainly before you part with your hard earned money. It can be helpful asking these questions by email as then you have a written record if you later need to either refer to or rely on it.
You will have more protection at law if you buy from a dealer as it is a commercial sale and governed by consumer regulations but if you are buying privately then the age old saying, ‘caveat emptor’, which means, ‘buyer beware’, holds true. Buying the wrong horse is a horrible experience and can be a difficult situation to manage and sometimes impossible to reverse. Many horses that are unwanted begin a difficult and often unhappy journey through no fault of their own so it is important that you take your responsibilities very seriously. If this is your first horse, speak to a knowledgeable instructor about the real time and cost involved in owning a horse. And always take someone with you who is experienced and whose advice you trust when you go and look at a horse. Buying the wrong horse is an expensive mistake and at the centre of it is the welfare of the animal. Trying to resolve health or behavioural issues and re-sell an unsuitable horse is both time consuming and expensive.