Congratulations! First-time horse ownership, much like first-time home ownership, is an exciting time. You feel invested and exhilarated…and possibly a little overwhelmed. And that’s just from the shopping and looking! As you’ve probably gathered, horse shopping is a journey. Here are a few tips to help you bring home a great equine partner.


  1. Do your research.

Check out the horse’s competition records, if they have any, and also the owner and rider. You want to make sure you are purchasing from a reputable person. Reputation is everything in the horse industry – a reputable professional will be honest about a horse’s background, including behavior and soundness.


  1. Get a pre-purchase exam.

But keep in mind that the PPE is just a snapshot in time. A vet can’t – and won’t – make any guarantees of future soundness. The PPE gives you a glimpse of any existing concerns and can be used as a basis for developments down the road. Don’t be afraid to ask for a drug test as part of the PPE! Again, a reputable professional won’t mind, as they have nothing to hide.


  1. Have a sales contract.

Make sure you and the seller have a written agreement regarding the purchase price, transfer of any and all registration paperwork, and any other details that your attorney advises.


  1. READ the sales contract!

Pay particular attention to anything that says “right of first refusal” or “horse is sold as-is.”


  1. Request a trial period.

The best way to know what you are getting is to take the horse home for a week or so and see how things go. Be prepared – some professionals won’t do a trial period, as they worry about what could happen to the horse outside their control. Don’t be offended if the seller says no to your request, or if they have you sign a lengthy and detailed trial agreement.


Horses have long been one of our passions at rb LEGAL.  We know horses. We know law. And we know equine law. Our equine law attorneys strengthen equine and all animal-related businesses by bringing our personal experience, industry relevance, and legal knowledge to assist our clients. We look forward to helping you with your equine ventures.