Farm Store | articles | Tips On Selecting Your First Horse

Tips On Selecting Your First Horse

Insights For A Positive Experience

It's a big decision to purchase a horse. With some research and thoughtful consideration, the experience can be a positive one for your family and the horse.

Why a horse?

Your reasons for wanting a horse will help determine the type of horse that's best suited to your family. Enjoyment and companionship are often cited, as is pleasure riding. Many youth are eager to participate in organizations that offer horse-related activities. Match these interests with the horse's training and attributes. Decide if you'll board the horse or keep it at home. If you plan to keep it at home, make sure your property is properly zoned. Attending equine-related events is an easy way to become familiar with horses and their various attributes. Other horse owners can lend helpful insight, too. Most will be happy to share their insight and experiences.

Buying a horse

Generally horses are purchased at auctions or through a private sale. Auctions allow you to compare different horses. Some auctions feature a certain breed or horses to be used in a specific activity. Buying from a private owner gives you more time to look over the horse and research its background. Horses may be registered with one of several registries. A registered horse has accompanying paperwork proving ownership, identity and value. If the horse isn't registered, it's considered to be a "grade" horse and will generally sell for substantially less than a registered horse.

Ask how many previous owners the horse had and determine why it's being sold. You don't want to purchase a problem horse. Inquire about aggressive behaviors, such as biting, bucking, charging or kicking. Remember, though, that boredom, inactivity and loneliness can be the root of some bad habits.

Learn the details

Horse height is measured in hands high (HH). A hand is four inches. Today's average horse is approximately 15 HH from the ground to the withers, which is the high part of the back. A pony is less than 14.2 hands. Horses can be too fat or too thin, but some breeds are naturally lean or sturdy.

The prime age of a horse is typically from about age five to six through age 10 to 12. When considering gender, remember geldings usually are calmer. Mares may become difficult during their heat cycle. Novice horse owners should leave stallions to those with more experience.

Review the horse's pedigree. When evaluating its conformation, look for proper body proportions and structural correctness, as well as desirable breed and sex characteristics.

It's wise to have your own veterinarian check the horse and review its medical history prior to closing the sale. Some illnesses and injuries are not a big concern. Others can persist, cause other health problems or worsen over time. In particular, ask about lameness or colic. Both are serious conditions.

The relationship between a horse and his human family is one of the joys of horse ownership. The animal's disposition, its personality, is usually among the top deciding factors. Only you will know which horse is the right one for your family.

Shop Horse Essentials

Related Products

Grid View
List View
  • Southern States Premium Pellet Bedding 40 lb

    SKU 10001915
    Southern States Premium Pellet Bedding keeps stalls free of dust, ammonia and allergens while releasing a pleasant natural aroma. The fresh unsoiled pellets drop through forks, reducing cleanup time, and are 100% biodegradable for easier disposal.
    to see pricing & availability
  • 12 cc Syringe With 18 Gauge x 1 in Needle

    SKU 11477063
    This 12 cc Syringe features a tri-seal 3 ring self-sealing plunger, tapered plunger shaft and exclusive no-slip thumb rest. Large finger wings provide better control. Other features include clear, durable plastic barrel, positive plunger stop, tri-beveled needle tip and twist luer lock.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Ideal Syringe 3cc With 22 x 3/4 in Needle

    SKU 11403389
    This Ideal Syringe 3cc with 22 x 3/4 in Needle features a needle bevel specifically designed for use in animals and a clear hub that allows visual flash back. Other features include a metal stabilizing insert for durability and a color-coded and rigid pack cap.
    to see pricing & availability
  • First Companion Ivermax Equine Paste Dewormer 1.87%

    SKU 11405212
    First Companion Ivermax Equine Paste Dewormer 1.87% is an effective, broad-spectrum control paste that kills internal parasites, including bots and the arterials stages of Strongylus vulgaris, with a single dose.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Roto Salt Red Trace Mineral Brick 4 lb

    SKU 11300263
    Provide essential salt plus an optimal balance of trace minerals with the Red Trace Mineral Brick. This durable, weather resistant brick allows easy free choice feeding. Ideal for cattle, horses, swine and other large animals.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Zimecterin Gold Paste For Horses

    SKU 11403275
    Zimecterin Gold Paste is a broad-spectrum equine dewormer proven to treat 61 major species and stages of equine parasites, including tapeworm. This powerful formula combines two active ingredients, Ivermectin and Praziquantel, to provide the most comprehensive parasite control available for horses 2 months of age and older.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Red Barn Max Stall Mat 4 ft x 6 ft x 3/4 in

    SKU 10003640
    The Red Barn Max Stall Mat has a unique flat top and large button bottom which allows for true multi-directional drainage and provides superior comfort, traction, cushioning, and durability for animals, work areas and trailers.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Absorbine Veterinary Liniment Gel 12 oz

    SKU 11455298
    Absorbine Veterinary Liniment Gel is a topical analgesic that provides relief of temporary muscular soreness and stiffness in horses. The special formula contains an antiseptic and botanical extracts to help prevent infections and encourage the natural healing process. Stimulates circulation in order to speed healing time.
    to see pricing & availability

Find Your Nearest Southern States Location

Sales & Offers