Buying A New Horse

When buying a new horse, there are various considerations to address before taking the leap. Making this big step should not be taken lightly, as horse ownership comes with many different logistical issues. We’ve broken down some of the dos and don’ts when purchasing a new horse, so you can make your decision in an informed manner beforehand.

Get Information About Their Current Diet

Finding out what your horse’s diet has been is key to horse ownership success and gives you some clues as to any possible diseases they have had and how easily they hold their weight. Initially, you’ll want to keep the horse’s diet and management as similar as what the horse is used to as possible as changing the diet is a risk factor for digestive upsets. When purchasing your horse, you may want to ask if you are able to take or purchase a bale of its current hay to make the change to your hay as gradually as possible. It is also worth purchasing the same feed it is currently eating initially, even if you intend to change to a different horse feed later on.

Laminitis in horses is far more common when a horse is overweight and so if your new horse is carrying too much weight you will need to reduce their energy intake. There are lots of low calorie horse feeds available some of which are independently approved by the Laminitis Trust as being suitable for those prone to laminitis. You should always ask the current owners if the horse has had laminitis as it is much easier to implement a diet to reduce the risk of it occurring again than inadvertently giving the horse laminitis through using the wrong horse feed.

Horses that are underweight can experience fatigue much more quickly and may actually be kept underweight to keep them calmer when people come to try them. If you buy an underweight horse do be aware that their behaviour may change as they put on condition and start to feel better in themselves. If you have bought a competition horse do bear in mind that the horse may not be working as hard when it is first getting to know you. This can affect the number of calories required. If you do need to decrease the feed intake, you may need to use a balancer or supplement to provide essential nutrients and ensure the diet is balanced.

Be Proactive About Gastric Ulcers

Gastric ulcers are a very common problem especially in horses that have been competing or racing in their past.  It is worth asking if the horse has had them in the past as they can also be an indication of another issue – the pain of a musculoskeletal problem can result in the secondary problem of ulcers. Adding a small amount of alfalfa is one way of reducing the risk of gastric ulcers especially if fed 20 minutes before the horse is ridden.

New Horse Check List

Buying a new horse is an exciting process and there will be lots of tack and equipment that you require too. The following list highlights some of the basic items you will need and it is important you research the different options for all of these to ensure they are right for your horse.

1. Bridle Always choose one that compliments the horse’s head, so they are secure and comfortable.

2.  Bit – To be inserted into the mouth when riding.

3. Martingale/Breastplate or Neck Strap – Not all horses require theses, but they are useful for jumping or hacking.

4. Saddle – These comes in many forms, with brand new leather saddles starting from £800.

5. Girth – From string to nylon and synthetic, to leather, and from plain to shaped, or even ones with stud guards.

6. Stirrup Leathers – Make sure you choose stirrups the right length for you, so you are comfortable.

7. Stirrup Irons –Make sure they are the right size for your feet.

8. Numnah/Saddlecloth – Ideally you want at least two.

9. Protective Boots – depending on their way of going, some horses may not need boots, although most that jump will need at least one set.

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