If you’re looking at baby horses for sale, it can be tempting to want them all! Unfortunately, there are many reasons why buying a foal might not be a good idea.
In this post I’ll help you decide why you shouldn’t and should be shopping for a baby horse!
10 Reasons Not to Buy a Foal
- Baby horses require years of training. From ages 0-3 they need everything from basic groundwork, (leading, trailering, tieing, standing for the farrier) to being started under saddle. And all of these skills take consistent work! Unless you have a lot of experience with young horses, it’s always advisable to get the help of a pro.
- You won’t be riding for 3 years. Most horses first have a rider on their back between 2-4 years of age, but that doesn’t mean you can just hop on and go. It’s important that their growing bodies and joints don’t undergo unnecessary stress, so that means no long rides, jumping, or advanced movements.
- You won’t know if it’s a personality match. Some feisty foals turn into quiet adult horses, while others keep getting sassier. When you’re looking at baby horses for sale, it can be hard to predict their future temperament.
- The vet bills can add up. Young horses should have routine health checks, vaccinations, and deworming, plus may need additional procedures such as gelding (for colts) or removing their wolf teeth.
- You won’t know their mature height or build. You can get a general idea of their expected size based on their bloodlines, but there are always exceptions! You’ll need to be prepared that the horse you end up with may not have the body structure you want.
- You may want to change disciplines. If you buy a baby horse for a particular purpose, your riding goals could change over the next 5 years.
- Injuries may make them unsound for riding. Young horses love to run and play, but that makes them prone to injury. A run-in with a fence or a trip in a ditch could mean your future prospect ends up as a pasture ornament for the next 25 years.
- Optimal nutrition is expensive. While hay and grass contain a lot of valuable nutrients, it’s important that growing horses have all their needs met with a supplemented diet. Over the years, this feed can really add up.
- Your finances may change. Just because you can afford a horse now doesn’t mean your financial path will always stay the same. Having enough savings to get through a difficult time and still provide quality care is important.
- Unstarted, young horses are harder to sell. If you do have a change in plans, it can be difficult to sell a horse that isn’t rideable (for all of the above reasons!).
5 Reasons to Buy a Foal
- Baby horses can be substantially cheaper than mature horses. It may make financial sense if you’re looking for a high-end prospect with impeccable bloodlines; just be sure to factor in the cost of care and training over the first few years.
- You’ll have a strong bond. By the time you’re riding, you and your horse can have a close relationship built on trust. But only if you do things right!
- Train your way. Not everyone agrees on the best way to start young horses. Buying a foal ensures it’s only exposed to the training methods of your choice.
- Less surprises. Because you’ve been there from the beginning, you’re less likely to encounter unexpected behaviour under saddle. You’ll already know their comfort level in different circumstances and how they may react.
- An unforgettable experience. Despite all the potential drawbacks to buying a foal, it can be an incredible adventure for the lucky few that can make it work.
Where to Find Baby Horses for Sale
- Your local online classifieds or Facebook groups.
- A breeding stable
- A sales barn or trainer
Unless you have a great deal of experience, buying from a reputable breeding program may be your best bet for finding a healthy, sound foal that suits your needs. Look for stables that have stallions with successful show careers and mares that are well cared for. They should also be able to show you good examples of the horses they’ve produced in the past.
Tip: If you’re checking out very young foals, be aware that newborn horse hooves can be strange looking!
Are you looking at baby horses for sale? Share your experiences below.