Now that you’ve decided to get a horse, you may be wondering how to go about finding the best one. Just like any other large purchase and long-term commitment, you need to do a little research and consider what you want from your horse. Here are five tips for finding the best horse for you and guide your buying process.

Make a List of What You Want

The first place to start is a list of what you want from your new horse. Think about the activities that you want to do with your horse, as well as your budget. Take your time on this step, as it is the most important part of finding the best horse for you.

Rely on Experts

When you are buying a horse, you shouldn’t only rely on the person who is selling the horse. Bring along someone that you trust. This may be a friend who owns horses, a veterinarian, or a local expert. Many people are happy to help others who are just starting with horse ownership.

Schedule a Visit

Once you narrow down possible horses for you, schedule visits where the horses are kept. When you arrive, watch how the horse behaves. This is when your expert comes into play. Ask the current owner to do some tasks with the horse, such as loading and unloading in a trailer, putting on a tack, and even feeding. This gives you some idea about how easy the horse is to handle. Also, watch to see if the horse comes to you or seems shy or intimidated. Ask the owner about the horse’s background and history.

Go for a Ride

Riding a horse before you decide to make the purchase is as necessary as test driving a car. See how the horse interacts with you and how comfortable you feel with the horse. Check how responsive the horse is before, during, and after the ride. This will be the foundation of your relationship and is key to finding the best horse for you.

Veterinary Examinations

Some people start the process of buying a horse with a veterinary examination, but the timing is up to you. Whether this is your first or last step, always have the horse checked, including any recent medical history. It may be hard to leave behind a horse that you adore due to medical issues, but it is in your and the horse’s best interests.