promotion image of download ymail app
Riley asked in PetsHorses · 2 months ago

I’m 15 and need helping finding a horse?

I’m 15 and am starting to look for a horse.  I have been riding for four years but I’m no means a great rider.  I’m probably and advanced or intermediate beginner and am looking for a horse to help me learn some more.  I have been leasing a horse for a year but he’s older.  He can only walk the trails now and honestly I don’t think he has much longer.  He’s 27.  I love him but want to start looking for my own horse.  I really don’t know where to start looking and was wondering if anyone has any advice.


I’ve seen sites like equine now I just don’t know how trust worthy they are.

Update 2:

I also may not be that great a rider but I know how to care for a horse and all of that.

6 Answers

  • 2 months ago

    If your asking about what breed to start with then in my opinion you can never go wrong with a level headed quarter horse, they are generally good solid even tempered horses and the training for them can start at an earlier age then some other breeds so you get more years out of them. (But I’m totally bias) 

    As far as knowing who and what to trust; it’s hard to know just by going off a persons appearance, and interactions with people that you might not fully trust is probably unavoidable unless you are looking at more expensive horses. You defiantly should do your shopping with an older and more experienced horse person (and a parent or legal adult you trust.) The best way to not get ripped off is to know what you want and know what you are looking for. You want to go into a meeting with a potential horse and owner and know how to look for red flags and the right questions to ask. 

    The best horse I’ve ever bought was from a man that seemed rough and had the horse on a rundown property, but in the end he had bought a great horse for his kids and just didn’t know the care that went into it, so when they decided they would rather have dirt bikes he decided to sale it. That being said, I’ve also gone to some nice barns to look at a horse and been shown a drugged horse or a horse that had been worked before I got there so I was calmer (and same can be said about the run down places). If you do go to a boarding barn then make sure to talk to the staff or other boarders about the horse and get their opinion on it. If you are buying from a boarder then you might even go to the barn manager and ask their opinion on the horse for a beginner. Tell them what you want the horse for (trail and pleasure ridding) and how the horse was described to you by the owner and make sure the story’s line up. Staff is always better to ask then other boarders, but if I’m chatting with a boarder then I’ll usually bring it up. 

    You probably won’t want to go older then 9 or 10, because of the number of rideable years the horse will have left. Most horse slow down quite a bit in their twenties (the horse you are leasing is definitely older then the norm. Rule of thumb I assume a horse will be ready to slow down at 19-20 and ready for retirement by twent-four, they might go longer then that or they might need to be retired sooner, but you don’t want to get a 16 year old and think they will last into their late twenties and then they end up slowing down at 19 and retiring by 24. 

    And I always prefer horses that are easy keepers. You can usually tell by looking at the horse and asking to see pictures of it from the past year or two. As far as cost in the long run and health goes, horses that are able to keep and put on weight do better. 

    Make sure the information in the horses description and pictures are accurate and use the right wording, and make sure the person selling you the horse knows what they are talking about. If they don’t then they might not know enough to give an accurate description or assessment of the horse, and if they have been the one working with it then they might have not known what they were doing and taught it bad habits. 

    If you take lessons, or used to, then try reaching out to your instructor and asking if they could help find a good horse for you, or they could go with you to look at some. They already know your ridding style and abilities so it might help. 

    If you find one you like and think is the right horse for you, then you might ask about a lease to own agreement. If the horse is somewhere that would allow you to pay the owner for two or three months to come and ride as if you had a lease (before you buy), then that could help. 

    One of the barns I work at will let a serious potential buyer take lessons on the horse and pay a monthly nonrefundable lease agreement for four months before they decided to buy or not.  

    If you can’t do that then make sure you cover the bases when looking at a horse that you really might buy. 

    Go see it on multiple occasions. Ride it more then once to make sure it’s consistent and what you want. Watch someone else ride it also, so you can see how it acts and moves. Make sure you see the horse being saddled and caught from the field, and it is always a good idea for you to catch and saddle it yourself before you agree to buy. 

    Mess with it’s hooves and legs if you plan to have it shoed. And I’m sure you already know this but didn’t go off their word, definitely have YOUR vet come out and do a full check on it to make sure their are no problems. Even if they say their vet gave it a clean bill. It’s not unheard of for people to lie about an issue and sale a horse when an expensive medical problem comes up. 

    And make sure it will load onto a trailer! 

    Ask questions about its health history (how many times/if it has coliced before, how serious it was, if it has ever had a problem with abscesses or lameness that might flare up. Ask if they have ever had to have the vet come out for an injury or illness, ask about its diet and any supplements that the horse is on, ask if it had had any surgery’s, or if it has had any teeth problems or any of the necessary teeth removed (Specific teeth will come in as a horse ages that sometimes have to be removed for the horses comfort or safety. It can mean more vet bills if they haven’t came in yet.) I always tell people that it’s better to ask to many questions then to not ask enough. 

    Confirmation isn’t everything in a horse (attitude and personality definitely goes a long way), but know what the conformation for the breed that you are looking at is and if  a severe off balance can lead to health problems later in life (like early arthritis). 

    It’s always best if the owner can tell you the age the horse was started at and the method it was trained with - and how they correct it if they weren’t the ones to train it. (Again starting to train and ride a horse to early can damage bones and cause arthritis early on, and training might cause behavioral problems depending on who’s doing it. And it can help you to know how to better ride and correct the horse.)

    Know what you are willing to deal with and what is an absolute deal breaker before you go to look at a horse and stick to that list. It’s easy to get caught up in the horse and forgive qualities that you really don’t want. You might regret overlooking them later. If you’re like me, then you could love any horse that you get to know, that doesn’t make it the right horse for you in the long run.

    Don’t buy from an auction, rescue, or a kill lot. It’s horrible to say, but normally the horses that have ended up in those places are there for a reason. It’s a good place to be lied too about a horse experience, ability, temperament, age, and health, and it is easy to be shown a drugged up horse. Chances are that the horses in those environments aren’t appropriate for a beginner-intermediate rider to get as their first horse. Let a more experienced rider and trainers save those. 

    I almost alway do once I am 100% sure I want a horse and have gone through all the other things I’ve listed, is show up on short notice and ask to catch the horse form the paddock, saddle and ride the horse myself one last time. (Do everything yourself. Don’t let anyone else go and interact with the horse for you. You need to make sure that you are able to interact with the horse like you would be doing at your barn, and it’s a good way to make sure the horse isn’t being drugged - if their was ever any question.)

    I always make it clear that I am a serious buyer and am leaning towards their horse as to not offend anyone with the short notice (especially if it is on a persons privately owned property). If they don’t have a problem with it and the horse performs as well as he did the other times then I buy it. If they act fishy and don’t allow me to interact with the horse then I assume that their was something else going on that I wasn’t made  aware of and keep looking.

    If they let me around the horse and let me ride it and I think the horse is acting like a different horse and might have been drugged, or if I’m noticing behaviors that might have been covered up by someone else helping to ready the horse, then I will back out. (That’s another reason to have someone there that knows horses to look at them with you. They can give you advice and their opinion about the ride and what might be causing the behaviors). 

    Be sure to not buy the first one you see, even if it is perfect, you can always come back to it later. Try to think of something that you might want to do with it in the future. (Like events, shows or more serious trail ridding). If you want to be involved in any of those then keep that in mind when looking for your horse. You want one that can grow with you as your interests do. 

    And if you get to the point with a horse and are getting ready to buy it then don’t be afraid to back out of the deal if something isn’t setting right with you. Horse people can be pushy, don’t let the seller push you into buying. It’s your decision, it’s your money, and your the one that will be taking the horse home for the rest of its life. You shouldn’t buy a horse in a day, I usually take weeks of looking at one horse before I buy it. And even then it will take months to find that one horse that I’m looking for.

    *I’m not saying any of this to sound negative, and of course drugged horses aren’t the normal standard, but you should always be aware of the possibility, and being a young rider that is still growing in ability you will draw attention to yourself and people might be more likely to try to sale you the horse that they want to get rid of for more then it’s worth (know the appropriate price for the horse your looking at).

    Sorry that was so long. Good luck and have fun! You’ll get to ride and try out a bunch of horse while your looking! It’s always exciting to be looking for a new horse. Make sure to have fun with it!! 

    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
  • 2 months ago

    Either find a local horse person and offer them twenty bucks to help you find a horse, or look on craigslist.

    • ...Show all comments
    • G2 months agoReport

      While there can be some good horses most sellers on Craigslist are just horse flippers getting them from auctions cheap and trying to sell them for more. They often lie about the horse.

    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
  • Amber
    Lv 5
    2 months ago

    At 15 you have a full time job? Because that's what it will take. Can you afford a large vet bill if this horse was to get very sick? Do you have any idea what a large vet bill for a horse can be? You have that money ready? I'm taking thousands. Or do you have the money for health insurance each month? 

    I think you need more time. Otherwise your parents will ending up paying for this. 

    • ...Show all comments
    • Amber
      Lv 5
      2 months agoReport

      You can't assume her experience will be plan sailing just because yours was. Plus she may be in a different financial situation to you.

    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    First of all, Riley, DON'T attempt to search for a horse by yourself !!  That is the single biggest mistake that would be horse buyers/owners make, particularly when it's their first time, or, if they are like you, they are very young. I'm a horse owner and professional myself, have been in the business for over a quarter century, and I know what I'm talking about. You need to get someone experienced to help you find a horse, like maybe your coach or trainer.

    Second, you need to understand that finding the right horse for your needs takes TIME, and it takes patience. You need to make sure that you're in this for the long haul. It can take upwards of a year, and sometimes more, to find a horse that fits your needs.

    Third- Don't rely on your local newspaper as a source of ads for horses We had a former boarder where I live who did this once, and she ended up buying a horse that not only was a total witch to ride and handle (the mare was a kicker and had a tendency to buck when ridden, often without warning-especially if she happened to be coming into or out of season) but also had a severe predisposition to incurable lameness due to having a club foot. And this happened because she and her parents responded to a newspaper ad, and the girl fell in love with this horse, despite her obvious problems. The situation didn't end well, as you might imagine. Eventually, the horse got to be so lame and was in so much pain that the girl had no choice except to call the vet and have the mare put down. She wasn't much older than you are now, Riley- and the horse was only about 8 or 9 years old, which was even more sad. But she was a backyard horse, the result of an accidental breeding that should never have happened to start with. My advice to you is to profit by this story and don't buy the same passel of trouble for yourself and your parents, because you'll really regret it in the end.

    The girl in this story, who is now out of college and working, never bought another horse after this first one died. I think the experience probably soured her on horse ownership, which is unfortunate. But the reality is and was that she brought the situation on herself, through her own ignorance. And another warning to you, especially if the horse you're considering buying is a mare (a female). Make SURE that you have your vet do a breeding soundness exam before any sale is contracted. NOT because you necessarily will breed the mare at any point- you likely won't- but because you need to know in advance if she has any issues with her reproductive tract that may interfere with her being a good riding horse for you. The little mare in the story above was actually diagnosed with an endocrine disorder called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS. That's why she was such a witch to ride and handle a lot of the time- one of the things that PCOS does is make mares aggressive and mean. It disrupts the hormonal balance in the mare's body, and causes her to produce far more male hormones than female ones. Most mares with PCOS generally have a hard time conceiving if they are bred- or, if they do manage to get pregnant, they miscarry.  Even worse, PCOS is hereditary- this mare had it because her mother had it. In this case, the owners were able to manage the mare's behavior by giving her hormones to keep her out of estrus for a while, but eventually, it simply got to be too much- and worse, the medication was expensive. DON'T let something like this happen to YOU, Riley. Be SMART and not SORRY.

    (PCOS also affects human women, too, but not in the same manner. In people, it's treatable and manageable with medication.)

    The best place to look for a horse to buy is online at sites that specialize in horse sales, such as Dream Horse, for example. DO NOT use Craig's List, or Ebay.  Neither of those are safe or reputable. Or you can ask your trainer to help locate a suitable horse for you. Be aware, however, that you may need to pay the trainer a finder's fee in the event any sale goes forward because of his or her recommendation.

    Fourth- One of the things you need to understand about the horse business, and especially when it comes to buying and selling horses, is that sellers will LIE about all kinds of things They're not in business to protect you or your interests- they're in it to make a quick buck, and it doesn't matter to them if you get hurt or even killed. You can never trust a seller, even if you know them and have known them for years.. They'll lie about a horse's age, level of training, personality, and on and on and on. They also will hide-or try to hide-health problems, especially things like lameness or a history of colic. That is why you NEVER, EVER, EVER, buy or sign a check for ANY HORSE sight UNSEEN !!!!!!  You ALWAYS must try the horse out, more than once, and you need to have your trainer or coach ride the animal as well. You also need to arrange for a PRE PURCHASE EXAM by YOUR VET, NOT THE SELLER'S VET, before ANY sale is agreed upon or contracted. Even if a given horse passes the pre-purchase, and everything seems okay, you still need to make arrangements for a trial period with the seller. During the trial period, take the horse to your farm (or the place you'll be boarding at) and ride the animal there several times. Take the horse out on trails, and do whatever other activities you're interested in, and pay attention to how the animal responds to what you are asking of him or her. Make note of any issues that come up on the ground, too, such as stable vices like cribbing, stall walking, kicking, weaving, or any other vice. If the horse is touchy or difficult to groom, saddle,or bridle, that's a red flag. Being hard to catch is another potential red flag, and may be grounds for returning the animal.

    Lastly- If you are buying a horse on terms, then make sure you get a bill of sale and/or a contract from the seller, before YOU LEAVE the seller's property. All financial arrangements should be listed in this document, as well as any other special considerations for the sale, such as the dates of a trial period. You, your parents, and the seller all need to sign the bill of sale or contract, and each of you should get a copy of it.

    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
  • What do you think of the answers? You can sign in to give your opinion on the answer.
  • 2 months ago

    You're a CHILD. You can't buy a horse. Your parents have to. And I REALLY doubt they want to and/or can afford to buy one and house one and care for one.

    • Riley2 months agoReport

      I have a job and would pay for one myself and they are behind me and can help me if I need it.  I’m aware of the responsibility and how much they cost

    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
  • Eva
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    You may want to continue to lease for a while, just finding something that meets your needs a bit better. Something in it's mid to late teens and schooled in whatever discipline you want to pursue. Look at other lesson barns in your area. Since it won't be long until you will be going off to college, it might not be the right time to buy, especially if you don't have the ability to keep your horse at home. Boarding is expensive.

    • Riley2 months agoReport

      The lease horse was perfect for me at the start and just recently started to get like he is now. Where I would plan on boarding isn’t very expensive. Im more looking to get ready for a horse and wouldn’t commit unless the horse fits.I appreciate you taking time to reply and get what you are saying:)

    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
Still have questions? Get answers by asking now.