Successful Online Horse Shopping

Online Horse Shopping


Horse shopping via computer is a fabulous way to begin your quest for your new equine companion. It saves time, energy, and can be done in your pajamas! While buying a horse isn’t as simple as “click-click” and a package is heading to your doorstep, there are real advantages to utilizing the web. It offers an array of horses for your viewing pleasure and a respectable first look at those that pique your interest. It also reduces wasted trips seeing horses that don’t fit your needs. If you’re new to the concept of online shopping, or even if you’ve utilized this resource before, start with a strategy to ensure your online experience is positive and successful.

1. Make a wish list.
Be specific about your must haves and don’t wants. Age, gender, height, temperament, conformation, location, discipline, training, and experience can be specified using filter selections on most equines-for-sale sites. There are literally thousands of horses to view. Sticking to your list will protect you from feeling overwhelmed or spending countless hours trying to view them all.

2. Know what you’re seeing.
If you’re not comfortable with your knowledge of conformation, breeds, disciplines, or equine behavior, enlist the help of an educated horseperson to help you sift through ads that you find appealing. What looks like a terrific find to you may have lameness or behavioral issues that only an expert will catch.

3. Speak with the owner/seller.
Ask about the horse’s history, behavior, experience, health, lifestyle (to see if the horse will fit your housing situation you’ll provide for example), and reason for being sold. Request more photos and videos if the ones posted aren’t satisfactory or recent. See if the seller thinks the horse would be suitable for your level of experience and your future plans for him. Most sellers want to see their horses thrive in a good home and will answer these questions honestly. Unfortunately there are also those for whom the sale is all that’s important and will tell you what you want to hear.

4. Visit the horse is person.
If you find your dream horse, go see it even if it is hours or days away. If going to see the horse is impractical or you feel extremely confident about buying it, do it on a trial basis (you will likely have to assume all responsibility for the horse) or at the very least have a contract with a return clause. If you find a horse you are serious about, having a pre-purchase exam performed before the horse heads your way, or even before you make the trip to see it. That way you will know if it’s healthy, sound, and suitable for the intended work. You will also gain more insight into his behavior (how he responds to being poked and prodded by a stranger), so you can make a more informed decision should you decide to purchase.

While shopping, be aware that there are unscrupulous sellers. Horses can be misrepresented intentionally or because of unintentional ignorance. Be suspicious of ads with:

    • Horses represented differently than the way they are being marketed. (If it’s a kids horse, a kid should be shown riding it, not an experienced adult.) 
    • A registered horse without papers available for viewing.
    • Nonexistent, limited, or ambiguous photos and/or videos.
    • Soundness guarantees. (The only way to guarantee a horse is sound is by hiring your own veterinarian to do a thorough pre-purchase exam.)
    • All encompassing terms like “bomb-proof,” or “safe for anyone to ride.”

No matter where you find him, buying a horse is an important decision. A mistake can end up being costly and heartbreaking. Take advantage of this unbeatable resource with care and diligence. Your next horse may be waiting for you online.

Liked this article? Here are others you’ll love:
How to Be a Savvy Horse Shopper
Horse Shopping Step-by-Step
Be Smart When Horse Shopping


  1. My horse said, she does not need any thing for Christmas….unless it was new shoes, a halter with lots of bling, and sparkles for her mane and tail, and a her saddle pad is getting old, so perhaps a hot pink would look good on her….gee, I better shop smart. Yep, she is getting a carrot and peppermints. Some peoples horses!!

  2. I enlisted the help of my well respected riding instructor my second time around. I am so glad I did. I went in with wants, NEEDS, and must haves. Never compromise. That horse IS out there. I wanted a beginner safe, sound, shorter (14.3 max) AQHA and got him in my budget. There were some things that I did compromise on, but nothing major or important. He’s my dream horse!

  3. This is great advise but of the 56 horses for sale that I sent emails for more information on I only heard back from 2 owners. The first told me that she had sold the horse. The second called me 4 months later to tell me the horse was for sale again as they did not want to feed it thru the winter. Maybe the next article could be on how to be a responsible seller.


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