The Road To Buying A Cutting Horse: A Guide, 1.
Otherwise known as, "Buying a Cutting Horse on a Budget"
^^^ #notaneasytask #irecommendbeingamillionaire
I used the all-knowing Facebook to find my new horse. Specifically, a group targeted for Buyers/Sellers in my area. I actually think this worked in my favour. Sure it was annoying wading through all the responses of horses that were NOWHERE close to what I was looking for. BUT, I was able to find a lot of "backyard gems". Most of the horses I looked at, were from people contacting me saying they had a backup horse, or a horse that wasn't really being used, and they were kind of thinking of selling it but hadn't really put them up for sale yet. These horses, generally, were from great homes, and had great owners, that just wanted to see the best for their horses after they sold them. Of course, it meant that each one of the horses had a slight issue, or something that didn't fall into my criteria, but it also meant figuring out exactly what I wanted.
I had talked to trainers, and basically, any horse coming from a training barn was WAY out of my budget. It's just the burden of the beast, trainers need to make a commission to survive, and horses already in training, mean that they are ready to go but also have had a lot of money poured into them recently. Those horses were just not going to be my next horse.
So, the guide...
First things first,
1. Know What You're Looking For
Put some time, and serious thought, into what you are looking for before you start looking. You may never find a horse that 100% fits your criteria, but this way you have a group of guidelines when responding to ads, and trying horses out.
For Me, it was...
1. Something I could cut on
2. Something I enjoyed being around
3. Something that will last me awhile
4. Something I could also do "stuff" with
Obviously, these are guidelines - they are things that can bend and shape depending on the horses i'm looking at, but they were helpful especially when narrowing down the horses I looked at.
2. Responding to an Ad
When responding to an ad, or someone contacting you, request the following things:
- With Tack
- Without Tack
- Dry Work
- Walk, Trot, Lope, Stop, Turn-around's etc.
- Flag Work
- Cow Work
- Video from Show
- Photo of Papers
- Take it from me, if the "owner's" name isn't on the papers/age is different from what they told you/breeder is different, and they don't have the transfers ready to go, dingdingding, definite potential red flag for a variety of reasons
Info to Ask
- Show Record
- What the Horse is Like
- To be around & to show (hauling, loping, stalling)
- Record of Injury
- Is the Horse at Home? / Or with a Trainer?
- Who Trained the Horse?
- Record of Training
It's definitely a real possibility that the Seller may not have all of the above photos and videos ready, but the more you get, the better you can judge and "know" the horse you potentially may go and try. For me, personally, the more information the better.
Also, as far as getting some information about the horse, having an idea of the horse you are going to try is always nice. A Seller that has a lot of history/information about the horse's background, and mentality, is probably a seller that really knows the horse they are selling. Of course, a seller is trying to sell a horse, I definitely understand that, but the seller may also be able to help guide you if this horse is a right fit for you. If you are looking for a dead calm horse, and the seller says that the horse can be hot and requires a bit of loping - potentially not for you.
There were a couple horses that I had to drive hours to go try - I sure was happy that they were advertised properly when I arrived there.
However, you've already followed Step 1: Know What You're Looking For, so you should be able to use your criteria to narrow down, and work through the ads. Now, go make a time to see these bad-boys in real life!
Next Up - Trying Horses!