Viewing horse - questions to ask

Sheep

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My partner and I are looking to extend our horsey family - we currently have 2, one fully retired and one might as well be. We are on the lookout for Mr Perfect basically, a nice, generous all rounder with potential to event.

We have a viewing lined up for next weekend. I have already had a long conversation with the breeder and have covered the usual bases - what has the horse done, what kind of riders has he had, any illness/injury, how is he with farrier/vet/loading/hacking/clipping etc, and we will go over this again next week. But, oh clever folks of HHO, is there anything else we should be mindful of or any important questions we should be sure to ask?

Also - from sellers perspective- any tips? Its quite a while since my OH bought his mare and I bought my boy totally through word of mouth, so anything you as a seller would expect from prospective buyer, would love to have your input too!

Thanks all!
 
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The yard, home or coal face.....
I like to throw in:
What do you like best about x nag
Then later on, do tell me something that really irritates/annoys you about x nag.
Also, were there any problems you had to work with when you 1st got or backed x nag?

Apart from the usual questions. The last one can sometimes help pinpoint a trigger when moving them to a new home. Good luck x
 

Green Bean

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I know you have said illness/injury, but don’t forget about melanoma and sarcoids. What sort of work is the horse currently in, any time off? Up to date with dentist, vaccinations, physio? Anything that he needs sedation for? Has he undergone any previous vettings, and if so what were the results? You don’t say location, but if in Ireland (or UK for that matter) I would want references (dressage sheets, results web pages if not affiliated) for any activities the horse may have done. If Horse has hunted, was he any good?
 

Sheep

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I like to throw in:
What do you like best about x nag
Then later on, do tell me something that really irritates/annoys you about x nag.
Also, were there any problems you had to work with when you 1st got or backed x nag?

Apart from the usual questions. The last one can sometimes help pinpoint a trigger when moving them to a new home. Good luck x
Ohh those are brilliant. Thank you!
 

Sheep

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I know you have said illness/injury, but don’t forget about melanoma and sarcoids. What sort of work is the horse currently in, any time off? Up to date with dentist, vaccinations, physio? Anything that he needs sedation for? Has he undergone any previous vettings, and if so what were the results? You don’t say location, but if in Ireland (or UK for that matter) I would want references (dressage sheets, results web pages if not affiliated) for any activities the horse may have done. If Horse has hunted, was he any good?
Brilliant thank you!!
 

SusieT

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Anything he's prone to stopping at? Does he need to wear a fly rug or any special rugs or tack? (Gives away issues they manage but have 'forgotten;). Who would they use for farrier/teaching and can you contact for a reference?
Don't forget to try in at least home and away situation and over everything you want him to do! Easy to see a nice horse in work and think it will definitely do then discover it hates ditches/pink jumps/ etc. away from home.
 

Sheep

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Anything he's prone to stopping at? Does he need to wear a fly rug or any special rugs or tack? (Gives away issues they manage but have 'forgotten;). Who would they use for farrier/teaching and can you contact for a reference?
Don't forget to try in at least home and away situation and over everything you want him to do! Easy to see a nice horse in work and think it will definitely do then discover it hates ditches/pink jumps/ etc. away from home.
Thank you so much, these are great. The tack question is genius!
 

SpringArising

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- What's the reason he [has certain bit/wears martingale]
- What is he fed on and is he a good doer or not?
- What's he like if he needs to be stabled over winter?
- Does he get on with mares and geldings?
- Can he be left alone in the field?
- Is there any traffic he doesn't like?
 

AdorableAlice

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You can glean a lot by simply looking at the other horses on the premises. I went trying horses with a friend recently. Private seller with a few other horses on the yard. All on straw apart from the one we tried which was on paper. Of course the horse could simply eat straw, but I also noticed that there was a small bale of prepacked haylage by the box and not by the others. I asked about wind issues and very reluctantly the vendor admitted the horse has to be managed carefully. Would the vetting highlight it ? maybe if galloped hard enough, but if it didn't you could easily get it home and have it coughing within days.

Being observant can give a lot away.
 

Chuffy99

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Well if vices or sarcoids were not declared, another interesting question is ‘is it possible to see the horses veterinary history’, have asked and seen and been asked and provided
 

Celtic Fringe

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When I bought my old cob I asked to see him ridden on the road on his own, and then passed the front gate to the yard to check he did not nap. It was an absolute essential for me that he could be ridden out solo.
 

Palindrome

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Is he homebred? If not, where/when they bought him? If homebred, do they have any foal pictures, own the dam, siblings, etc... (more for the souvenir if you buy the horse).
When was he gelded? has he had any teeth pulled?
 

Littlebear

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Look on FB to see if you can find the seller. That could tell you lots. While you are trying the horse get your friend to chat to the seller. She could pick up some useful information very casually.
This is a good one actually I viewed a horse a few years back they said could be a little nervous out hacking and a quick flick through Facebook and I found it had been hit by a car out on a hack!
 
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Ask about general personality & manners - huge for me! As in does it enjoy being fussed over & groomed? Polite to lead through gates & handle in a stable? Is it crabby when food is around?
 

Farmer Chalk

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My question would be “why are you sellling him?”

we had a nightmare recently trying to buy a horse.....travelled the country and rode at least 30 horses....selected five individually over the period and all five failed their respective vetting....
was surprised by supposed well known yards selling horses of poor quality but at an inflated price....
we were so dillusioned that we ending up buying an unbacked untested youngster....

if a horse is so good why are they selling? You just need to find out the real answer and test their responses.... Everyting is now on line if the horse has competed at BD,BE etc...
 

ihatework

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There are lots of great questions here but if you hit a seller with them all in one go they might run a mile 😂

Think about what you need from a horse, the stable and work routine you can offer and base the bulk of your questions around that.

There is no such thing as a perfect horse so there will be things you may need to compromise on.

When I’m viewing a horse I generally ask the following:
How long owned & reason for sale
Registered name
Which vet(s) registered with and has the horse ever been seen for non routine stuff?
Is the horse insured and are there any exclusions?
Any stable or ridden vices?
Any allergies or special management?
Good to show/clip/load/catch/hack.

I’ll do a bit of internet stalking before I travel and if going any distance I need decent photos and videos.

I also make it clear to the seller I never expect perfection but I like to know the bad bits up front so I can make an informed decision!
 

Sheep

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There are lots of great questions here but if you hit a seller with them all in one go they might run a mile 😂

Think about what you need from a horse, the stable and work routine you can offer and base the bulk of your questions around that.

There is no such thing as a perfect horse so there will be things you may need to compromise on.

When I’m viewing a horse I generally ask the following:
How long owned & reason for sale
Registered name
Which vet(s) registered with and has the horse ever been seen for non routine stuff?
Is the horse insured and are there any exclusions?
Any stable or ridden vices?
Any allergies or special management?
Good to show/clip/load/catch/hack.

I’ll do a bit of internet stalking before I travel and if going any distance I need decent photos and videos.

I also make it clear to the seller I never expect perfection but I like to know the bad bits up front so I can make an informed decision!
You mean I shouldn't consolidate this all into a document and ask the seller to prepare an hour long presentation??

Just kidding. The good thing is that I've covered probably 75% of this already (had a fairly lengthy phone call, seller was more than happy to chat away) so the other suggestions help fill the gaps. Your post pretty much summarises nicely what everyone has suggested vs what I know already which is really helpful :)
 
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Slopping along on a loose rein somewhere in Devon
Take a level-headed friend: essential, two pairs of eyes are better than one and you may need someone there to stop you making a silly decision!

Get there 20 mins early, and if can, "case" the joint from a distance. Look around you, do the other horses on the yard look well cared for? What's the grazing like: if its sparse and poor then you may notice a difference when you bring the horse back to your own yard if there's more grass there!! Also it will tell you if this is a bit of a dodgy dealer set-up; look around for tatt and litter around the place and a general air of unkemptness about everything.

Get there early enough to see if the horse is being led back from lunging; and when you look at the horse feel underneath the belly to see if there's damp or sweat there, indicators that the horse has been lunged to get the fizz out of it before the viewing! Also have a feel around in the girth area and a general look around for lumps and bumps. I travelled a 3hr round trip to see a horse that had a lump the size of a golfball right where the girth would go; the owner swore she'd "never noticed it". Yeah, right.

IF there's a farrier on the yard working when you're there, sidle up to him and ask about the horse you're viewing, what its like to shoe. Also look at its feet, if the feet (particularly the hind feet) look like they've been hammered on in a hurry, then it just might have been the case that they were!!

Ask to see the horse trotted up on both reins, both 20m & 10 metre circles; notice if its circled more on one rein than another - I went to see a horse which was blatently stiffer on one side, where the seller was having it trotted up twice as many circles on its "good" side, and thought we wouldn't notice!!

Don't be rushed: if you feel you're being rushed then there could be something to hide!!

Finally:

A: accept nothing
B: believe nothing
C: check everything
D: Don't get on without seeing it ridden first. If no rider available then walk away.

Good luck
 
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