Are you considering buying a horse? There are so many elements to consider before adding a four-legged friend to your life, such as the animal’s health, training needs, and your own budget. Having the right guidance and awareness can make the process of finding—and bonding with—the perfect horse much smoother.

Start With an Honest Assessment of Your Riding Level

As any experienced equestrian will tell you, choosing the right horse is a huge commitment that involves assessing your own skill level and experience. Are you just beginning to learn how to ride? Do you have experience with horses but are new to owning them? Or are you an expert rider ready for an advanced mount? Anticipate what kind of riding you’d like to do now, and where you plan on taking your skills in the future. Matching that knowledge with the exact horse can be daunting, but identifying the most applicable criteria upfront can help narrow down suitable candidates considerably.

Learn About Different Horse Breeds.

Before you start looking for the perfect horse, it’s important to understand the different breeds available. Knowing which types are best suited for your needs and experience level will help immensely with your decision-making. Take the time to research individual breeds — look into their specific characteristics, including their disposition, size, temperament and conformation. Understanding what qualities separate one breed from another ensures you make an informed purchase that both fits your budget and satisfies your ambitions.

Find a Reputable Horse Dealer or Breeder.

When you’re trying to purchase a horse, it’s essential to find a reputable seller with good customer service and support. Ask around in your local area or online for people’s recommendations, and if possible, visit the racing circuit or shows for further advice on buying horses. It’s also important to ensure the horse is healthy and has received the appropriate vaccinations. If you’re unclear about any documentation regarding the health of the animal, ask questions from a qualified professional.

Take the Time to Get to Know the Horse You’re Buying.

Taking the time to get to know a horse before you buy is crucial. Spend some time spending D-I-Y grooming and walking exercise with them, and watch how the horse shows its spirit when you interact. Does the horse greet you eagerly or does it shy away? These interactions can tell you a lot about the person’s character and what kind of relationship you could have in the future.

Get the Horse Vet Checked and Insured Before You Buy It.

Before you choose a horse, it’s important to do all the necessary paperwork. The first step is getting the horse vet checked, so that you can be sure of its health and avoid any future issues or illnesses. Furthermore, if you plan on taking your horse to competitions and other events, you have to make sure the animal is insured. The best time to get insurance is when the animal is still healthy – that way you don’t have any unpleasant surprises waiting for you down the road.