My first horse viewing ... HELP!

4 February 2011
I'm going to see my first horse viewing this weekend and hope you can all help me! I am bringing an experienced person with me and know the basics to ask and obviously the most experienced woman I'm bringing will know exactly what she's doing, but I want to go feeling confident with my own questions and know what also to be looking for myself! Any insight you can share, or important things to ask would be wonderful to hear!

Thank you!!

cavalo branco

Well-Known Member
31 October 2007
East Sussex
There are lists of important things to look for!! Just two from me- don't exaggerate your riding ability - too many people overhorse themselves and confidence can easily crumble and check out its veterinary history! It was the last thing I thought of with my first horse and the most important. You can save yourself vetting bills and bonding with the wrong horse by being really careful :rolleyes: Have fun and do lots of looking!!:)


Well-Known Member
20 March 2012
somerset on them ther hills!
Just make sure that anything they can say he/she can do they can prove ie. if they say hacks alone hack him alone, etc. most of it will be common sense stuff - ask them if he has any vices at all even if the ad says vice free - ask them if he has any vices in and out of the stable, any issues under saddle or on the ground, - check he is alright to be touched all over unless they say he has certain dislikes etc. does he tie up? ask if hes ok with and without other horses - whats he like when others are taken away etc. ask about things that they cant show u like shoeing? clipping - does he need sedating ? does he need two people? is he good in all traffic etc. cars, lorrys etc i know some horses wont haev seen motorbikes or certain types of vehicle but just ask.

And obviously look for any lumps bump, sarcoids etc make sure you really look at well dont just be taken in because your excited you miss alot sometimes the first time you look at a horse. just take everything in - if he has marks or bumps ask them to explain them - most of all enjoy it and have fun hope he/she is a lovely character either way.


Well-Known Member
26 August 2011
My advice would be go with your gut.

Write down all of the questions you want to ask as you may forget in the excitement.

Always get the owner to ride the horse first, and don't get on if you don't feel confident too. You can stop the viewing at any time of you dont think the horse is for you.

Ask before hand to see the horse caught and led from the field.

Go back for a second viewing if you are interested. Ask to groom the horse, pick out all feet etc.

I personally have never had a horse vetted, but as this is your first, I would. It may save some heart ache in the future.

Enjoy yourself and remember the first one might not be right, so don't be disheartened. Good luck! xx


Well-Known Member
1 July 2004
The questions you want to ask about the horse, are quite simply what you want to know (and nothing is a stupid question).

The absolutely important ones though are:

Does the horse weave, crib, windsuck, rear or buck, has it been lame in the last 12 months? It doesn't matter if none of those are an issue for you - but ask them.

Absolutely see the horse ridden before you get on it - and if you like what you see then get on it. If you don't, politely decline the ride and say the horse is not for you.

Don't let your 'experienced' person get on before you have ridden. It's really important that you form your own opinion before listening to someone else.

If it's important that the horse hacks well - ensure that you inform the seller prior to viewing that you will want to ride the horse out.

Personally I'd want the horse in and waiting for me - (I don't want to see it brought in from the field etc). However, it's something useful for a second viewing, if it's important to you.

Good luck.


Well-Known Member
12 April 2008
Make sure you have a full vetting and that bloods are pulled. This is very important as you may need to run them at a later stage. They are stored for 6 months.

Take a pair of clippers with you if you will be clipping horse, ask if horse is good to clip, if they say yes then you would like to see horse with the clippers on it. If your horse needs to be traffic proof make sure you see it ridden in traffic. Check horse over thoroughly both legs and back and ask as many questions as you want to.

Go with your gut instinct and good luck.


Well-Known Member
30 October 2012
oxfordshire, uk
I has this last year, ha been out of riding all my teens then got back into lessons and decided to buy a horse.
Went with my mum (very experienced) and she did all the questions! Anyway horse I got wasn't right for me and my vet did a swap so when I went to see Thai one I asked simple questions like;
Will he let me pick his feet up
Does he mount ok
Is he head shy?
Does he have 3 good paces
Does he jump
Is he pushy or slow?
Vet, jabs up to date blacksmith, passport?
What's he done before?
And lastly what's his name?


Well-Known Member
21 June 2005
When I phone up about a horse I have an extensive check list of questions that I ask (I write down the answers) and normally from the answers I get from them I then decide if I am going to view.

I arrange a mutually convenient time and date to view.

I always turn up early and insist on grooming the horse (including picking up its feet and picking them out), and tacking it up. I then ask to see it ridden. If it is o.k then I ride it myself. I then ask to see it being ridden on a busy road to make quite sure that it is traffic proof.

I always take someone with me with instructions to listen to what is said.

I always have the horse vetted and bloods taken.


Well-Known Member
14 August 2009
This was my tick list/check list when horse hunting for daughter.....

Pony’s name.
Contact phone no.
Contact address.
Price (negotiable).
Breed. Breeding
Passport Issue Office
Registration with any societies.
Eye colour.
Aquired marks/bumps.
Veterinary/dental history.
Quiet to do/handle.
Vices, Buck Bolt. Rear. Nap. Crib. Windsuck. Boxwalk Weave.
Feed requirements.
Tack available. Saddle fit. Bit. Rug size.
Hack alone/company In traffic.
Schooling level.
Competed.. Dressage.
Jumps. SJ aff winnings/non WHP XC
Shown. (Classes/level)
Pony Club.


Well-Known Member
28 March 2011
Ask questions but don't talk to much your self let the seller do the talking .
When you arrive and first see the horse check for any signs if been worked already that day .
If its tied/ tacked up when I get there I would ask for the tack to be taken off and it to be let loose in a stable with a bucket of water if it goes straight to drink and looks thirsty that's the end of that for me I would just leave then.
Make a list before you go of your priorities and try to get them in order so you are clear what's the most important for you.
I buy on one viewing but I would advise two if you inexperienced unless you are very sure it's the right horse for you.
You need to cover all the basic questions and you can make a list so it's all clear in your mind use the posts above to help make a list.
Also think about where you will keep your horse and try to assess if it will suit the one you are looking at.


Well-Known Member
27 April 2009
Definately ask what is like to be trimmed/shod. My husband has a lot of clients who have to have their horses doped by the vet for shoeing - cue £160 bill for every shoeing......and lost shoes.


Well-Known Member
29 July 2011
When you hack the horse out, maybe not the first time but definitely on your 2nd viewing, ride alone, not even with the owner on foot. Even if it's up road and back, I made this huge mistake before with my mare she was great hacking with another horse or with someone on foot/bike, but napped like hell when completly alone. Only took 6 months to sort ! !


Well-Known Member
12 September 2010
I think it's really important to go with your gut instinct - it's normally right. If you feel something's not quite right - don't feel 100% confident/happy riding, don't feel the owner is being totally open etc. etc. then walk away.

If you love the feel the horse gives you and feel 'he's the one'. Then within reason, go for it.

But if there are any small, nagging doubts in the back of your mind - even if you can't logically explain what or why, then walk away!


Well-Known Member
20 February 2009
W. Yorks
Ask questions but don't talk to much your self let the seller do the talking .
All of Goldenstar's post is excellent advice but particularly this ^^^^^

Get your experienced friend to talk/listen to the seller while you ride the horse as well and then compare notes - that can be VERY interesting. Somtimes you wonder if they were discussing the same horse.


Well-Known Member
6 March 2010
cant add any more questions but i found it useful to take photos and a little video obviously ask if the seller is ok about it just means you can have a look once you are home to refresh your memory especially if you are looking at other horses as well...hope it goes well....:D


Well-Known Member
22 November 2011
Sunny Scotland
It might sound silly but I would also ask to see the horse caught in and turned out as I know of someone who sold a horse who was quote "perfect in all ways without vice, good to catch, turn out" etc etc etc....

Horse was a complete pain in the a**e to catch even with a bucket of food and would literally take off at a full gallop as soon as you opened the gate to turn out!


Well-Known Member
14 January 2008
Pay attention to the little things at a viewing. Don't be distracted chatting away when the rider gets on, watch the horse as it goes past the gate, watch canter transition on both reins. I have been to viewings with people and they miss the fact the horse snaps when the girth is done up, won't stand still, naps like hell at the gate, runs to canter and is in fact as green as grass (when sold as hunted, show jumped and shown!).

Google the phone number to see if they have other horses for sale. Also google horse's name.


Well-Known Member
6 August 2012
Sunny Perth, Western Australia
100% go with your gut. I believe the horse chooses you, not the other way around.

I have never gone looking for a horse. My two found me. I knew that they were special and I couldn't not have them in my life. Bo for example is a windsucker and he has previously damaged his suspensory... He is not a horse that I would even consider looking at if I had seen him advertised. He is sound and he can still compete, just not as an eventer which is what I really love doing. I always thought my second horse would be an eventer. Instead of passing Bo over and not even thinking about buying him, I have decided to really work hard to improve my dressage. Which will help with my eventing anyway :)

If I was going to start looking for a horse I would find out the following....

Ask yourself what you want to do with the horse? Hacking, Show Horse, Eventing, SJ, Dressage, Pleasure Riding... Make sure it is suitable for the tasks it will be required to do and also that it is suitable for your experience level. Also if it has competed ask about any recent results.

Any previous injuries that may effect performance? Can you have your choice of vet check it?

What are it's teeth like?

Any vices?

Is it good to shoe, worm, float(travel/put in a lorry... not sure what you call it over there), catch, worm? What are it's ground manners like? Does it tie up solid or only to twine?


Why are they selling it?

To me sex, colour, breed aren't as important as all the above. Sure I have breeds I am drawn to however if a horse came along that ticked all my boxes I would not be put off by something trivial. :)

Good luck!
Last edited:

Gem Gill

Active Member
21 October 2012
I asked lots, I caught her, I rode along a busy road, I picked out her feet. I had a. Stage 5 vetting. I fell in love - my mid-life crisis was duly delivered.... I spent a fortune on kitting out with tack... then discovered she was pregnant!!! Now my live out low input horse is in, costing me a small fortune and im not doing all the things I planned I would.
Would I change her? No. Getting up at 0530 am is somehow worth it! I've got us a family member. Even had the conversation with non horsey husband that most people have about wayward teenage daughter... oh well if shes made a mistake we'll support her through it...!
Incidentally this is the only horse I looked at! (In real life did a good amount of internetting) . She is only 5, im the second person on her back and against the odds it works, she's happy, im happy. And baby foalie is happy too, I've given her to the friend whos land mine lives on. It shouldn't be a happy story, but its the best! Go with your gut.. (but remember if foal is a no no request a pd!!)