Horse Shopping on the Negative

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When you go horse shopping, what do you emphasize most about your candidates--their positives, or their negatives?

I recently had the chance to work with a professional horse buyer while preparing an article on the subject of buying, for an upcoming issue of Horse & Rider. This pro makes his living by buying horses on others' behalf, charging for the use of his experience, his keen eye, and his long list of seller contacts. He provided all kinds of great tips for my article, but one comment in particular really stuck in my mind. Here it is:

"Most people shop on the negative, and that's how they miss good horses. They focus on some little thing that they see as a potential problem or that doesn't fit their fantasy picture, and then use it as their excuse to walk away."

I'd never really thought about it those terms, but I've witnessed plenty of evidence to prove his point. "Your horse is cute, but you say he's 15.3, and I really want something 15.2." "He'd be perfect for my daughter, except for the fact that he's sorrel. He doesn't match her outfits." "I just wish he didn't have that shorter sock in front. If it matched the other three, I'd buy him." "We like your filly except for her mane. It looks a little thin."

This isn't to say that we aren't each entitled to hold out for our dream horse. But in today's era of on-line horse emporiums, with thousands and thousands to look at behind the protective veil of a computer screen, has it become all that much easier to just look and kick the tires, than to know a good horse when we see one?

Ready to look for the right horse for you? Go to, the premier classifieds site of the Equine Network, to search for the perfect horse!