By Nicole Ponte

At some point or another in most equestrians’ lives, the desire to buy a “cheap” horse arises. For some, it’s to train and quickly resell, for others it’s a way to get a big bang for a small buck. However, problems often occur after selecting said horse.

When I decided to get a “cheap” Thoroughbred off the track, I unknowingly made many mistakes and witnessed others make similar ones. If you decide to get your own “cheap” horse, heed my warning and do not make the same mistakes I did.

Not Consulting Outside Help

As much as we like to think we stay objective, it is hard not to impose personal bias in the selection. That horse may have a nasty buck and be ring sour, but he has gorgeous dapples that will look great in the show ring and make him a star. Right? Wrong! Having outside eyes will help prevent making questionable decisions. Choose someone whose opinion you trust, such as a trainer or experienced horseman. That way, when you get pulled into La La Land, they can snap you back to reality.

Not Doing Proper Research

With so many free online resources available, there is no reason not to research every possible detail you can before the purchase. Looking into the bloodlines of a horse can reveal a lot of information in terms of ability, soundness, and temperament. Find out what training the horse has had and if he has any undesirable traits. While you can re-school a horse, it can be a long and frustrating process if a habit is deeply ingrained. Know the horse fully before you commit to a sale.

Expecting Too Much

A “cheap” horse is often inexpensive due to lack of experience or issues attached to them. Do not let your hopes soar thinking you can get an instant Big Eq horse with a fraction of the price tag. There will be a lot of work between taking them home and laying down winning rounds in the show ring.

Assuming Too Little

While you cannot let yourself expect too much, do not let yourself assume too little either. A talented horse can come at a lower price due to owners truly wanting to find them a good home. Sometimes the horse’s potential is not fully realized before the sale and a lower price is set. Keep an open mind. You never know what talent you might find!

Not Establishing a Price Point

While “cheap” might be $1,000 to some, to others it can mean something completely different. Establish what you want to spend early on. Are you willing to splurge a bit for a horse with better breeding? Or do you wish to spend less and have a horse who might need a bit of extra spit shine to rise to his full potential? Make sure you begin your horse search with a set price range in mind.

Happy horse shopping!