I know it probably sounds weird to use the term "shop around" when talking about horses, but I don't mean it in a sense of looking for the best deal you can get.
Obviously, we are almost all on budgets. Finding prospects within your budget is, of course, a priority.
With word of mouth, all the internet horse selling sites, as well as things like craigslist, it's very easy to find horses for sale. Your budget and what exactly you are looking for will determine how easy it is to find the perfect match.
Besides your list of non-negotiable things about the horse you want to buy, you should also consider the distance you are willing to travel to look at horses. Since we can now send pictures and videos so easily, you can get a good idea of what a horse is like before you actually meet it in person. Meaning, if you found a horse that was a little farther away than you had hoped to go, but looked good in the video, you might find it worth the drive.
You should try a bunch of horses before you buy one. Before you make that commitment and spend that money, you want to make sure this really is the horse for you. We hope to give our horses forever homes right? Impulsive buying does not lead to forever homes.
I recommend to my customers that they have their list of non-negotiables and then they decide the distance they are willing to travel. After that, they can come up with a prospect list of horses you want to go meet in person.
It is so very easy to convince yourself that the very first horse you see is perfect for you, just because you are so excited to be a horse owner! Remember though, you don't want to just own a horse. You want to own one you can actually enjoy and be successful with.
By trying a bunch of horses, you find out what type of horse is available in your price range. You also can meet all the horses, work with them on the ground, and under saddle. Then you can compare what you like and dislike about each of them. You might not know you even like a certain trait in a horse if you have never met a horse that has that trait.
Horse shopping is an adventure and a learning experience. Please, even if you try a whole bunch and think you have found your dream horse, still have your trainer or instructor come and check them out. Remember, you pay them because they know more about this than you do, so be sure to take advantage of their knowledge.
Don't be in a rush. There are so many horses out there, and it is worth taking the time to find the right one. Both for your sake and the horses!