The search for the next dressage star is most certainly fun but buying a young horse can also be a frustrating, stressful process. It’s easy to imagine the perfect horse but not so easy to find it on your budget. As riders we understand we’re in one of the most expensive sports (I think Formula 1 tops it!) but it doesn’t make us love it any less.

It’s easy to say we’re looking for good confirmation, uphill paces, good temperament, healthy body, quick learner and a decent size. Everyone may be looking for that perfect horse with all of the above – but in reality it would be a very lucky find! I’ve put together a quick list of what to consider (other than the perfect list) when thinking about buying a young horse.

Tips For Buying a Young Horse

  1. Be open minded. – Even though you may start the hunt looking for a 5 year old 17 hand gelding, you may come home with a 3 year old 16.2 mare if it’s the right thing for you.
  2. Rely on your feeling. – It can have the best breeding in the world and the biggest paces but if you don’t get along the partnership won’t be a happy or sustainable one for either of you.
  3. Always take a video camera. – Watch the horse being ridden, film it and get someone to film you riding it. This is invaluable footage. If you go ride it a second time, get it filmed again. If you already see progression in the partnership from the first film to the second film you’re on the right path.
  4. Ride your favorites again. – If you can, ride it more than once just to be sure. Everyday you may feel different as will the horse. It’s good to double check what you felt the first time was right.
  5. Know what you will compromise on. – Eventually you may need to compromise, whether it is on size or how big the paces are. Know which one you’re ready to drop if you have to and which are non-negotiable.
  6. Do not compromise on health. – If for some reason the partnership doesn’t work out, the horse will need to be commercial. If he’s not sound/healthy, this is 100% times more complicated.