7 Essential Checks Before You Buy a Horse!

7 Essential Checks before you buy a new horse! 

So you've found the horse of your dreams, you’re madly in love, it’s just what you’ve been looking for and ticks all your boxes, you know it’s the perfect horse and you just have to have him now!!! I know the feeling, I’ve been there! But….. try to take a mini step back from the situation and lets just do some basic checks first. I would always strongly advise a pre purchase examination or vetting is carried out but even before you consider that, there are some things you can do yourself that may save you time, money and heartache in the long run:

1. Check the horse matches the passport!

Sounds so simple eh? yet so many of us just accept that the A5 document we’re given is for our horse. Make sure the breed and age match the sellers description, look at the markings page- horses with white are easy to check, but if the horse doesn't have much white then look at the whorls! Marked as an X on the drawing of the horse. If theres any doubt the markings match, get the microchip checked. Check when the new owner page was last updated, and how many owners are recorded in the passport.

Look at the vaccination page- are the vaccinations up to date, do the locations of the vaccinations match what the seller has told you about the horses history?

2. Check the competition record.

If the horse has competed at BE, BSJA or BE check the record, don't take the sellers word for it. If there are any gaps in competitions find out why- it could be a sign the horse has been off work with injury. Likewise, if there is an obvious drop in performance, ask the seller to explain it, again this could be due to injury.

3. Facebook Stalk!

Facebook has changed our lives forever, it is now the go-to place to tell the world whats going on in peoples lives, It’s often the first place people go to to post things about their horses, which can include injury, illness and bad behaviour! If you’re friends with the seller on FB make sure you check their timeline for at least the last 12 months, its often surprising what you can find on there that you haven’t been told. It may also back up any training or competition history the seller has told you about. Been told the horse is bombproof? Check for photos out on hacks, not just in an arena. Good with kids? make sure the pony has been ridden by children.

4. Ask around.

It’s always worth asking around the local Riding Club, Pony Club or Livery Yard. Good horses and ponies usually come with glowing reports from people that know the pony, if people seem reluctant to give a reference this could be a warning sign. Consider asking the seller if you can contact any previous owners of the horse (or do it anyway!) - their details might be found in the passport under the change of ownership pages.

5. Seller Reputation.

Do your research on the seller- find out everything you can about the person you’re buying from. If it’s a breeder, professional yard or dealer check out their online reputation, even ask in local FB groups for advice. This will give you an idea of the kind of person they are and how trustworthy other people view them, ideally get a testimonial from someone that has bought a horse from them before- ask the seller to put you in contact with other people that have bought horses from them before.  Pay attention to what questions the seller asks you- are they showing a genuine interest in where their horse is going?

6. Is he open to a vetting?

Ask whether the horse is open to a vetting- you will learn a lot from this simple question! If the seller makes excuses, in my experience the most common one is they have more people coming to view the horse and a delay for a vetting may result in you losing the horse, walk away! If they say he had a clean vetting last year, ask to see the paperwork (but still make sure you have your own independent pre purchase exam, a lot can happen in 3,6,12 months!).

7. Previous Veterinary History.

Did you know you can ask to see the horses previous veterinary history? You either ask the seller to get their vets to send it directly to you, or you ask them to give permission to their vet to speak with you directly. Vets have to disclose any information they have on the horse, providing the seller has given permission. If the seller doesn't agree, chances are they have something to hide!


Hopefully, once you've done all these checks and your future stead has passed the tests, you should now be thinking about a vetting or pre purchase examination. The difference between a 5 stage vetting and a 2 stage vetting is covered in a previous blog- go check it out now!

Even the most genuine sellers can have horses with veterinary problems they’re not even aware of and unless you get the horse checked by an independent equine vet you may end up with a horse with a veterinary condition that affects the work you want to do.

Ridings Equine Vets offer a Pre Purchase Examination (Vetting) service across Yorkshire. Call us today to talk through your options: 07747771182.

Good Luck! Jenny X