How to Buy a horse - what to look for

When you’re buying a new horse, there’s a lot to think about. Not only do you have to consider general horse health.  You also need to make sure that the horse is a good fit for you. The temperament, experience, and skill are important.


It’s important to find a horse who is a good match for you in terms of his personality. Are you looking for a horse that likes to work and has the drive to succeed in the show ring? Or are you looking for a horse with a more laid-back approach to life who is content to stroll along the trails each day?

Think carefully about the types of horses that you get along well with, and look at what they have in common in terms of their personality.

Interaction with Other Horses

Your new horse will need to fit into your existing setup. If the horse will be turned out with others, then you’ll need a horse who can get along with the turnout groups that you have. Mixed turnout groups can get tricky; if you have a group of all mares, then it’s best to look for another mare. The same is true of geldings.

Determining just how well a new horse will get along with your other horses can be tricky. A trial period is often the best way to make sure that the horse is a good fit.

General Horse Health

General horse health is usually the most important factor when buying a horse. You can alter turnout groups and learn to work with a horse with a different personality, but there’s little you can do to change a horse’s health history. When evaluating a horse’s health, consider the following.

Health History

Try your best to get a sense of the horse’s health history. If a horse has a history of frequent lameness or other serious health issues, like kissing spine or tying up, these can be warning signs of what you may encounter with the horse in the future.

Unfortunately some sellers don’t willingly disclose all of the details of a horse’s health history, so you may need to focus on the issues that are present. This is one of the reasons why a pre-purchase exam by a veterinarian may be a good idea.


Soundness is a huge factor when buying a horse for riding. There are countless issues that can cause lameness in a horse – some of them fixable, some of them not. If a horse has a known soundness issue, then it’s advisable to consult with a veterinarian to determine whether the issue may alter or end the horse’s riding career. 


You may encounter a horse for sale who has had laminitis in the past. Laminitis can be a debilitating condition, but if caught and treated early, many horses can go on to have riding careers. However, a horse who has had laminitis will always need attentive care, especially in terms of diet and grass pastures. It’s best to discuss the issue with your vet to determine whether the horse is a good choice for your situation. You can read more about laminitis here at the Abler blog the Abler Blog.

Dental Health

When evaluating a new horse, don’t forget to address his dental health. A horse’s teeth can reveal important information about him, including his age and whether the horse cribs or chews wood. A pre-purchase examination will include an evaluation of the horse’s dental health.

There are many factors to consider when buying a new horse, and your vet and trainer should be able to help you through the process. If you’re concerned about general horse health, a pre-purchase examination can help to provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision about whether or not to purchase the horse. Lastly, for all your horse health care when buying a new horse, check out for the most affordable, high-quality equine health care products. Visit: