Questions to Ask Before Purchasing a Horse


Before You Buy

Once you have found a horse that you would like to buy, there are some questions you should ask before you go, look at it and buy it.

Obviously, there are hundreds of questions you can ask and there will be some points that are particular to your situation. Success in buying a horse is mainly due to the use of your common sense, asking questions applicable to you and your circumstances. Keep in mind that there is no perfect horse. Each horse will have its own faults. You must establish with which group of faults you can live personally and which can not.

horse in field

The following are some questions to ask when buying a horse for the first time:

  • Ask the owner/trainer why the horse is for sale. If it were such a perfect horse, it would not normally be for sale.


  • Advertising should have mentioned age, sex and height. If not, ask these questions and what does the horse breed?


  • Ask about the horse’s temperament. Find out if he is calm, strong, difficult, excitable, playful, nervous, fighter, etc. Are you easily scared? Is she? Do you kick or bite? How is it in the barn and on the grass? Is he a bully, or can he go out with other horses? Does he/she fight with other horses to be the dominant horse? How much training has the horse had and when?
  • Do you have a vice? Vices such as weaving, stitching, wind sucking, the tearing of the carpet and the rhythm of the stable are really undesirable characteristics in a horse and should be reflected in the price that is requested.
  • Discover how yours is in traffic. If you are likely to travel on the roads, it is very important to make sure that the horse is safe and accustomed to the vehicles.
  • Ask how the horse is to trim, fit, catch, cut and load in the trailer. How often does the farrier stand up and always check the helmets?
  • Try to establish as much of the horse’s history as possible. What kind of work have you been doing? Have you participated in any competition? Have you won something? Has it been cross-country? Will it cross the water and jump the ditches? Have you demonstrated the jump? How is your work flat?
  • If the horse is a mare, ask her how she is when she is in season. Do you need a red flag tied to your tail on trail rides?
  • Ask if he has been hunting. If so, how does it behave, how strong is it and what type of bit is mounted? Will it be the first or the last? Are you educated? Can you open and close doors in it?
  • Find out what type of piece the horse is mounted on.
  • Ask if the horse has ever had a serious illness or injury, and whether or not it has significant scars. If you want to follow a race in the ring, you do not want a horse with scars on the knees, etc.
  • Find out if the horse has ever had colic. If so, have you had cramps more than once? Some horses are prone to colic, and it is important to know if this is the case.
  • Ask what kind of food the horse is in and how much it normally feeds.

Horse Eating

Success in buying a horse is largely due to the use of your common sense, and asking the right questions to find out if it is a horse you would like to buy and with which you can deal.