It’s finally happened. After much coercion and hard work, you finally convinced your husband/wife/significant other/parents to let you buy a horse.
Whether it’s your first or your hundred-and-first, the excitement you feel is the same. You become glued to your computer, phone, trainer, and tack store as you search the world over for that perfect specimen of your dreams. You scroll for hours through your favorite horse-y classifieds, keep a continuous watch on the Facebook pages dedicated to selling horses in your area, and never cease bugging your barn mates about whether they’ve seen any promising candidates lately.
Once you do find a few prospects, you’ll find yourself with the almost irrepressible urge to show pictures (and videos when available) to every person you know, in any context.
Having dinner with your parents? Time to break out the photos of that chestnut with the blaze you found yesterday! Out bowling with your coworkers? What better time to pontificate on whether it’s worth taking the risk on that horse with the bowed tendon or if you should just go look at that horse with the not-so-great conformation? Never mind the fact that your coworkers probably don’t know the difference between a hock and fetlock.
It’s just so easy to get swept up in all of the pre-purchase excitement that even basic conversation manners can go right out the window. But as annoyed as your coworkers may become, your incessant horse talk will not be your biggest problem.
Your biggest problem will be you.
When the most exciting moment comes and you step out of your vehicle and into that barn to meet the horse you’re thinking about buying, you may find yourself struck with a sudden and intense case of what I like to call Buyer’s Selective Blindness.
Much like the fabled Selective Hearing common among so many spouses, dogs, and horses, Buyer’s Selective Blindness (or BSB from here on out) makes you fall in love with the horse almost immediately, and yet renders you completely blind to all of its flaws. Before you know it, you’re walking out of that barn with the horse of your dreams. Or so you think…
Once you get the horse home and become more familiar with it, that BSB starts to wear off. And when it does? You might find yourself with the rather unpleasant buyer’s remorse that comes from investing in a horse that doesn’t fit your needs.
What appeared to be your oh-so-perfect horse starts morphing into an ill-conformed, grouchy, constantly lame money pit, and you’re stuck scratching your head, trying to figure out where you went wrong. But have no fear, there is now a cheap, must-have item that can help prevent BSB from ruining your horse search! Even better, you probably have one right now in your home or in your barn!
It’s called a friend, and if you bring a friend with you when you visit the horse, they can act as your secondary impulse control and keep you from taking home something you don’t need.
Friends are often one of the most valuable assets a person has when they start searching for a horse, because all the flaws you don’t see, someone else who isn’t emotionally invested probably will. When you fall in love with that horse because of its color, your friend will be right there by you to remind you the horse has navicular. Your friend could be your trainer, your spouse, your riding buddy, or even one of your parents!
Don’t have a friend who’s knowledgeable about horses? No problem! Just give them a list of what you’re looking for in a horse, and hold them to a solemn oath that they will not allow you to bring home anything that doesn’t match your list.
My friends and family have long since become accustomed to me handing them my own horse wish lists, and I’ve found that nine times out of ten when one of my friends tell me to stay away from a horse, they were right. They’ve saved me from untold amounts of buyer’s remorse, not to mention having to either sell or feed a horse I can’t actually use.
It is my firm belief, after hearing some true buyer horror stories, that all equestrians could use a friend when they’re horse shopping. It’s an easy insurance policy, and all it’ll cost you is travel snacks!
About the Author
Nicole Bosserman grew up riding Western on grumpy quarter horses on her grandparent’s farm before transitioning to English riding when she began attending university. The transition from a family farm to a professional facility is what has become the basis of much of her written work.