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excerpt from  Horse for Sale, How to Buy a Horse or Sell the One You Have
  1998 Cherry Hill

How To Think Like A Horse
How to Think Like A Horse by Cherry Hill
Horse For Sale by Cherry Hill
Making Not Breaking by Cherry Hill
Horse Handling and Grooming by Cherry Hill

     Buying a horse can be an exciting and successful adventure or a nerve-wracking catastrophe. The more familiar you are with the process of buying and selling horses, the better your chances will be to end up with the "right horse". Invest the time necessary to become familiar with all aspects of selection, testing, and purchasing horses. Don't be in a rush. If you approach the selection process in a hurry, you might make an enthusiastic and impulsive but possibly unwise purchase. Plan to take from one month to one year to find your ideal horse. Understandably, if you are currently horseless, one year sounds like a very long time but you can fill the void and become more knowledgeable about what you want by taking lessons.

    The first thing you must determine is why you want a horse? What do you want to use him for specifically? Will the horse be a trustworthy trail companion or a spectacular show jumper? A ranch partner or a broodmare? Your first-time training project or a solid mentor to teach you how to ride? Make a list of the attributes a horse must have. This will help determine your priorities.

   Whether you are an experienced horseman or a novice, it is always good to get an objective professional's opinion when you are buying a horse. Whether or not you use an agent to help you select your horse, you should always have at least a basic veterinary pre-purchase exam performed. When you ask for professional advice, pay for it and then listen to it! When your instructor or veterinarian cautions you about a horse, it is for a reason. Conversely, if you are given the "go-ahead" to buy and then you get cold feet, you may not find as good a horse again. When procuring advice, it is best to hire an objective professional rather than solicit recommendations from enthusiastic but equally inexperienced friends. Select a well-respected professional that has no vested interest in the horse sale.

    Don't buy a rehabilitation case unless that is specifically the reason you are horse shopping. It is surprising how many people accept poor health, poor condition, vices, bad habits, and unsoundness in hopes of fixing the problems!

    The classic "bad match" is the green horse/green rider combination. Uninformed parents sometimes buy a young horse for a young rider thinking they can "grow up and learn together". Nothing could be further from the truth. A novice rider of any age needs a well-seasoned, dependable mount.

    When a very beautiful, spirited horse catches your eye, it may be difficult to look at other, less flashy prospects with objectivity because the beautiful horse has captured your heart. When such a horse is young, untrained, or poorly trained and you are inexperienced, it would be more prudent to follow your head rather than your heart. Although you may end up with an older and plainer (but perhaps wiser) horse than you originally dreamed of, the pleasant and safe riding will result in a positive experience. Later, when you are more familiar with training principles, you may be ready to progress to a less trained, more spirited horse.

    Stay focused. Keep in mind that you are selecting a horse for a particular reason or performance event. There are many decisions and compromises lying ahead, so it helps if you set your priorities clearly at the outset.

    If the overall purpose of the horse is to teach you how to ride rather than to carry you to the winner's circle in the show ring, the selection process will emphasize different traits. If the horse is intended to be a long-term project rather than a stepping stone, you may need to invest more time, effort, and money in your purchase.

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