Buying a Horse? Read This First!


Thinking about buying a horse? Whether you’re a first-time horse owner or already have a full barn, horse shopping can feel overwhelming. These tips will help keep you on the right track to finding the perfect partner.

woman buying a horse

We’ve put together a list of all the best posts to read throughout the process, from before you begin to after you’ve brought your new horse home. Plus, read below for more Q&As.

Buying a Horse – Q&A

How much does it cost to buy a horse?

Horses can range in price from $0 (for an injured or senior horse) to well over $100,000 (for a top show horse). Typically most novice horse owners can find suitable mounts for between $2,000-$8,000, depending on their location and needs.

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Where to buy a horse?

The best place to begin your search is usually online. Most rural classifieds have a “Horses for Sale” section, and there are also many equine-specific sites. Here are a few of the most popular:

How should a beginner buy a horse?

Without experience, it can be very easy to make expensive mistakes! The best advice is to contract a local riding instructor or trainer to help you find the right horse.

What to look for when buying a horse?

Temperament and suitability should be your top priorities. It can be easy to get caught up in breed, color, size, or even gender, but the most important factor is that the horse is safe and capable of its job. Remember, inexperienced riders and inexperienced horses don’t mix!

Is buying a horse a good investment?

No, never (or at least, very rarely). Unless the horse is destined for a high-end show or breeding career, the cost of stabling, feeding, training, vet and farrier bills will far exceed any profit that can be made.

Is it expensive to own a horse?

Yes! We have a series of posts that go over average monthly expenses to give you a better idea of the reality of horse ownership. See How Much Does It Cost To Own a Horse?

What breed of horse is best for beginners?

While there is no one-size-fits-all breed, stock horses and ponies can make great mounts for novice riders (see Types of Horses for more information).

What is the best age of horse to buy?

Since older horses (age 10+) are often quieter, more forgiving, and better trained, they can be a wise choice. Many horses are still being ridden well into their early 20’s so don’t assume they won’t suit your needs.

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How much space does a horse need?

2 acres per horse–or 2 acres for the first horse and another acre for each additional horse–is ideal, but horses are kept on smaller acreage every day (see How Many Horses Per Acre? 5 Things To Consider).

Why you shouldn’t get a horse?

Horses are a big responsibility. It can be physically, emotionally, and financially draining, which is not ideal for everyone. But that doesn’t mean you can’t ride! Check out How to Be an Equestrian Without a Horse of Your Own.

How does leasing a horse work?

Leasing (or half-leasing) is a great alternative to buying a horse. You can get more tips about leasing in How to Afford a Horse on a Budget.

What’s your experience buying a horse? Any tips to share?

buying first horse

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