Trivia Challenge: Are You a Savvy Horse Buyer?

Answer the questions, then check at bottom for the key. For more fun and educational information about horses and horsemanship, read H&R’s ‘The Ride’ newsletter. (Not getting it? Sign up below—it’s free!)

1. True or false: If the horse you’re acquiring is free or inexpensive, you don’t really need to arrange a pre-purchase exam (vet check).

T / F

2. When you weigh a prospect’s energy needs against your riding schedule, you’re making sure…

A) he has enough stamina to stand up to vigorous riding.

B) your feeding program will sustain him adequately.

C) he’ll stay sane on the amount of riding you’ll give him.

3. True or false: If trail riding is your main goal, an experienced pleasure horse should fit your needs well, even if he doesn’t have trail experience.

T / F

4. What’s the most important gait to assess when you’re trying out a prospect?

A) The walk.

B) The jog or trot.

C) The lope.

HOW’D YOU DO? (Answers below.)

1. F is correct. A vet check is advisable regardless of the horse’s asking price. That’s because you can get just as attached to an inexpensive horse as you can to a costly one, plus any later vet care for a condition you didn’t find out about in advance will cost just as much as it would for a pricey horse.

2. C is correct. Find out what kind of a riding schedule the horse is currently on. If it’s more time than you can give, you could discover—after you bring him home—that a nice, quiet horse turns into a nervous, high-powered wreck.

3. F is correct. Relevant experience is key. So make sure the horse has been successfully doing what you want to do with him.

4. C is correct. Riding the horse at the lope is critical not just to see how he lopes, but also as a measure of his overall training, willingness, and temperament. Most horses will at least walk and trot fairly willingly. It’s when you ask them to lope that chinks in their training or any latent naughtiness issues are likely to come out. And if you can’t lope him with assurance, you won’t feel confident riding him in general.

[MORE MUST-KNOW do’s and don’ts of horse shopping.]

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