New horse prospect... advice please?

Hi! I’m new here, and would like any advice I can get, positive or negative!

So im looking to buy this horse, 5 years old, throroughbred(never been to the track) so no passport or registry papers, but the lady I know whose selling him got him from a previous owner who just left him in a barren field for 6 months with barely any water and dead shrubs, so she started caring for him and he got colic twice, because of the feed she put him on which contained corn apparently, she ended up fixing the diet and he hasn’t gotten colic since. I’ll attach photos, so yes he is still skinny, but getting better, he’s barefoot, and hooves needs to be done so they are cracked, this was from my first viewing. She started working him already after the 6 months, he is backed and very smooth, the greatest personality, no bad vices at all. But ofcourse I’ll insist on a trial period to see if he’s right for me, I’d like any advice on his conformation, feed or supplements I must look at, or if there’s something that sounds quite not right…

sorry for the essay, I’d just like to give as much as possible details. Btw the previous owner has been dealt with regarding his negligence(I’m told)

oh and it was hard to take a decent photo of him from the side as he just followed me around.

Thanks for any and all advice you can give!





Well there is not a lot of advice that can be given. Pictures at the best of times, are a poor representation of what a horse actually IS, and these pictures are not adequate for even an opinion of any sort to come to the forefront. I think you are aware of this fact already. Since he is not registered, you have no idea of his family, so no one can give you any ideas about how his close relations have worked out for others. He’s a bay horse. He is not abysmally thin, he just looks not in fit condition, which no one would think he would be in fit condition, since he hasn’t done much yet. It appears he is kind, has a nice disposition, which is important. You may or may not be able to take the horse on trial, from a seller’s point of view with a green horse, a trail period is asking a lot. When you take him to a new farm, away from what he is accustomed to, he is likely to be at his “worst”, and may take longer than the trial period to settle in, and show his true self. As a buyer of a green horse who is capable of working with, riding and training a green horse, expecting a “trial period”, or what you might learn from a “trial period” is questionable. Have you ridden the horse at the seller’s farm? Have you watched the seller ride the horse? How did that go?

As far as feeding goes, basic nutrition information is available from many sources, your vet can direct you in this respect. Unless there are health issues that come to light that require specific “supplements”, basic nutrition is simple. Good quality hay, water, mineral and salt source. If it is true that corn has been an issue with this horse (it may or may not be), one should perhaps stay away from that, if you are going to feed a grain. Most horses do not require grain unless in heavy work.

It seems that this horse has had little training or riding. Are you a rider who has experience riding and training green horses in the past? Or is this your first one? If so, you will need input from a coach or mentor who can help you with basic skills and goals.

If you like the horse, if he speaks to you, and if he looks like the type of horse that you were looking for, has the level of training that you were looking for, and if he is sound enough and in your price range, you can buy the horse. In 6 months or a year, you will know if it was a good decision for both you and the horse.

Good luck with the horse, and welcome to COTH.


Welcome to COTH!

Agree with everything @NancyM said & also curious what you intend for this horse to do.
If you are looking for a show horse - of any discipline - it would be helpful to know how he goes U/S for the frame required. If you feel your eye is good enough to determine that, great.
If not, do you have an educated friend or Pro who can evaluate movement?
If you are looking for a trail horse that is a whole 'nother set of issues.

At just 5yo & w/o any sort of registration, he is an “alleged” TB.
Assuming he is a gelding that is a minor issue, at best.
My Show Hunter was sold to me by a Trainer from Arlington racetrack but never tattooed as he failed his 2yo Speed Test. He was 6 then & had worked for them as a Pony until they had a Pro try him O/F & he showed talent…
We went on to do well at B & a few A shows - lots of Champs & Reserves - then Event & do some Dressage (schooling 3rd), so breeding doesn’t matter depending on what you intend.

He looks to be in decent shape now, so go ahead with your trial & decide after.
If you have a vet, you might ask for a onceover - not a full PPE - unless you are planning on using him for something that requires total fitness.
Will you get any input from a Pro/Trainer during this trial or are yoiu making the decision yourself?
Again, if he is suitable for what you have in mind & the price is right, IIWM, I’d go ahead.

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It’s like dating…sometimes you fall in love and information doesn’t matter. So I’d agree with previous posters…talk to a vet give it a try


Cute horse. Agree with all of the above, and I echo the questions re: what you want to do with him, your level of evaluating, riding, and training experience when it comes to green horses, and your access to care and training expertise (coach, trainer, instructor, etc). I absolutely don’t mean to be snarky but your use of the terminology “getting colic” indicates that you may not have a ton of experience yet. Which is fine! But do yourself a solid and make sure you have a great support team around you before jumping into ownership of a young greenie. Good luck!


Thankyou so much for your responses, I really appreciate the time and effort you took to write them!

Im a very happy go lucky rider, I ride 4 times a week minimum, but purely for enjoyment, I enjoy doing abit of everything but I’m not very interested in showing, one of my trainer’s clients are interested to half bait him from me because she does compete but still very entry level. My trainer herself is also interested in using him for her students for natural horsemanship, so he will for sure get further training. He’s not entirely green, he was used in lessons before his 6 months in the field, and the last couple of weeks after his colic was sorted out.
I did ride him just basics, trot, canter, small jumps, and it went well. The owner didn’t ride him first as she’s highly preggers. So I know that’s a big chance I took which is my own stupidity.

i will definitely get a vet to come give him the once over! The owner agreed to a two month trial period.
ive never been a thoroughbred person as I like the stocky horses, my legs are really long so I tend to struggle on skinny horses, but it wasn’t too bad on him, but will hopefully be even better when he puts on more muscle.

i will definitely ask the owner of the sire and dam’s details to get as much information as possible, he is microchipped however, so will need to get that detail too… what sounded dodge to me was… he’s microchipped… but not registered…

again thanks for all the input you gave me, I’m mulling it all, it’s a lot to think about, as this will be my first horse. I have full and half baited horses before though but it’s a lot different to own!!

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It might just be the photo angle, but his right hind fetlock looks low. I’d have the vet check that out if you move forward with him.

If you are in a supported situation with a trainer and more experienced riders to help you out, you should do fine.

Just remember that as horses get healthier and fitter they also get more spirited so beware!


The microchip should tell you all you need to know.
Again: GELDING, so it really does not matter what breed, especially since you are not interested in doing Breed shows.
As for not being registered - some people microchip for ID only. Unless you are in UK, France,Australia (& more) microchip is not required for racing TBs.
Jockey Club began requiring chips in 2017, so not long enough ago to affect this horse.

I do question the way your Trainer seems to want to market him to the client interested in showing.
AND to make use of him for herself as well, How do you benefit from this? Shared board (from lessor)? Reduced training fees from Trainer?
Since you mentioned jumping - will this lessor be showing Hunters? Jumpers? Or?
What you DO NOT need is a shareboarder/lessor who will make more use of your horse than healthy for him & allow for injury that could affect use. Put simply: Do you want him to become a Showing Machine?

I am not a huge fan of NH, so won’t speak to that, but unless you are aware of what this training will consist of & use it yourself that could lead to issues also.

Yes, it is a lot different to own.
You become solely responsible for the horse’s welfare - shoeing, vet care, feed program - the whole ball of manure.
Don’t fall into the trap of allowing a Pro/Trainer to take over decisions.
Educate yourself.


Yes, good points.

The horse needs to be for you. And trained for what you want. Having trainers help is good, having a person sharing costs is good.

But add up the costs and ask the question, what do you get out of the deal?

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So the lessor will pay half stabling, ferrier and vaccinations, she does jumping and cross country and dressage but she has a dressage pony, he won’t be over worked at all as she still has other pony, she’s outgrown her jumping pony, like I said she’s still very entry level competing so she’s also not a die hard want to go to Olympic type of person, mine will basically be her second horse to show not her primary. Which I think is great experience for him.

My trainer will cover the feed entirely for the natural horsemanship training(basically she does everything with my horse then her students do what she shows them with their own) so I feel that I will benefit with stabling, feed and training, aswell as excercise when I’m unable to ride, my trainer is also including 1 lesson a week for me so I do benefit quite abit out of this and am in a financial position to comfortably cover the costs of all those things on my own however with this deal I can put the difference aside for emergencies.

The risk to let someone else ride him at shows and he gets injured is a major deterrent but then again the same thing could happen to me riding him. The lessor and I are very similar riders, very soft hands, gentle leg aids, so I’m not worried that we will confuse his training.

thanks I really appreciate your points it’s given me a lot to consider, and think about, view points I havnt thought of before!

@Scribbler btw thanks for the spirited comment! At the moment I ride a very strong quarter horse x boerperd, 18 years old but he thinks he’s a 2 year old… So I’m really hoping this one won’t be as hard! But I’ll go into it prepared and with an open mind!

Where do you board this horse that does not include feed in the cost of boarding?
Unless it is a self-care facility or private barn this is a new one on me.
Does feed (Trainer’s paying for) include hay?
Honestly, it costs me around $2K to feed my 3 - TWH, Hackney Pony & mini - FOR A YEAR. so roughly $200/month.
I feed orchard grass/timothy hay & whole oats, supplement with a probiotic & BOSS.
Treats are Dollar Tree gingersnaps.:smiley:

You say feed will be paid “for the NH training” what about the rest of the time?
Or was that a punctuation lapse & you meant to say “trainer will cover the feed entirely.”

When you say he will be “exercised” when you can’t ride are you meaning this is when lessor will ride?
What if her schedule does not allow this?
How often do you think horse needs to work?
Or is Trainer doing Training Rides?

Not trying to be nitpicky, but these kind of arrangements really need to be put on paper, in the form of a contract signed by everyone involved, so there’s no “That’s not what I said” problems later.
Sounds like you will need 2 contracts: one for the Trainer & one for your lessor.
Search Lease Contract on this BB & you will see what I’m talking about.

So, lessor does all 3 phases of Eventing - Dressage, Crosscountry & Showjumping?
If she wants to compete your horse as an Eventer - no matter how low-level - she will need to use him for all 3 phases.
I.E.: She can’t use her Dressage Pony for that part of a competition & switch to your horse for the rest…
If she does Combined Tests - just the Dressage & showjumping phases - your horse will do both.

You say she outgrew a “jumping pony” so she presently has 2 ponies?
And your horse is going to be schooling with her over fences?

BTW: your use of the term “pony” made me wonder if she is a minor, not an adult.
True for either or both of you?

If you can truly afford the whole freight on your horse it seems to be a better alternative.
Do some research on your own.
Talk to a vet’s office & get the cost of the recommended vax & worming schedule for your part of the country.
Find out what a farrier charges for a trim, for shoeing.
And, even so, if all of these costs are within your budget. if you can’t afford to also put aside something for emergencies you really can’t afford a horse.

Don’t depend on a lessor - contracts are not infinite & you might end up paying 100% if she defaults or decides to not renew when the lease ends.


@2DogsFarm thanks for your comment, please be as nit picky as possible, that’s how we learn!

It is a privately owned stable so boarding isn’t expensive at all thus the feed isn’t included, I will defiantly have then sign contracts, the feed does include hay and supplements if required. So she will pay all consumables for the entire duration that she’s using him even if it’s once a week or every 2 weeks(the lessor is the trainers apprentice, the trainer is a friend of mine)

I meant excercise for when im away and can’t ride, then the lessor May have more days in the weeks, I’m not a minor but the lessor is mid teens and quite tall, I know her and my trainer very well but I’m not silly enough to trust a friends “word” when it comes to business and they have all (trainer, lessor and her parents and myself) agreed it’s best to put everything down in writing.

i am a flight attendant, but my flights are so that I have ALOT of time at home, with the occasional long trip of a week(maybe once in 2 months) so if I’m away I’m quite flexible with her riding abit more. Thus also me wanting someone to give him attention and exercise for when I am gone, the lessor is home schooled, so also quite flexible.

Im officially debtless, so all my money I make is extra in my pocket, so it would work in my advantage to still lease him to save up for emergency vet bills as those could be insane, so I’d rather have the additional cash fund instead of diving into credit. I just like to be prepared.

Im from South Africa so if I convert to dollars stabling including grooming is $120, the current feed he’s on is $70 according to the owner, our Rand is very weak to the dollar so things are quite affordable here as I earn in dollars.

Thanks for the tip on where to look for contracts! When the lease ends then I’ll carry on on my own for sure!

Echoing a number of the sentiments above:

Before buying, I definitely recommend sitting down and doing a budget. Personally, I would do two.

The first form is all of the costs of a horse (as you would pay, individually, without any outside “breaks”, “help” or “cuts” in rates owed). This is things like board (feed), farrier, vet. This will also factor in things like training and lessons. Of course there’s no real way to plan for emergencies, but your budget should indicate a rate of savings for an “emergency disaster” account (if your horse gets injured or requires expensive diagnostics).

Likewise, this will also have to account the “extras” you have to spend money on. Blankets, tack, supplies, gas for increased driving amounts (and account for increased wear & tear on your car).

Break it down to monthly costs (board every month, coggins annually, farrier every 1.5-2 months, etc. You get the idea). Look at this against your standard monthly salary and other expenses. Make sure that you can afford it.

After you know how much it would cost on your own, look at how much money you stand to save with some of the “offers” you may take advantage of. (Leasor, letting your trainer use him, etc.) The issue with these things are twofold: people can always back out and change their minds, even with contracts. There’s really no guarantee you are never going to be left in the lurch with 100% of his bills to cover on your own. And the second issue is that there is no promising that as you learn more about a new horse that you will not realize you disagree with certain training methods (for him, or in general), or certain types of riding with him (or in general), and decide that you don’t want to make him available for outside individuals to use. For this reason, make sure you can afford him on your own.

Additionally, some of the comments about the plans “other people” have made for this horse once you possibly buy him make me uncomfortable. It sounds like some people may stand to get a first-rate deal at your expense which is definitely shady. Before agreeing to any deals, research the going rates in your area for the services that your horse is being used for to make sure you get a fair rate if you end up comfortable with the idea.

All the financial logistics aside: if you like him, I would proceed to a pre-purchase exam. Depending on his age and use, you will almost inevitably find “something”, but it’s up to you and your vet to discuss level of risk and acceptability. (For example, modest arthritic changes in the hocks are pretty common in a lot of horses in their teens - for me, not a dealbreaker.) But I really do recommend taking some xrays (your vet may have suggestions for what to look at, and I know many people have experiences with PPE xrays so can be easily researched), flexion test, etc. Go from there, if you like what you find.

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If you like him then proceed. Personally I would hold off on a half lease or the NH classes and keep him all to yourself until you get him settled and have ridden him exclusively.

Any personality issues, training issues, or health issues are going to be apparent after a while and you want to be totally in the loop on what they are by first hand experience–not what is related to you.

If after 6 months he is still going strong with no issues than look at the lease if you still want to doing that.

Just my thoughts. To be honest I don’t like anyone but me handling or riding my horses. Ever.


Thanks very much! I’m busy doing the budget right now! But I think that’s an excellent idea to maybe only look at their offers after a year of owning him only… after all I need to have time to bond with him before anyone else!
You guys have been absolutely great in all your advice, I’m taking ALL of it to heart. I’ll talk to both of them and discuss everything, I’m sure they won’t have any issues with waiting a while!

I will definately do a full pre purchase exam including xrays and blood tests(if owner allows it) I really don’t like surprises… but I REALLY do like him… but if the vetting comes out as a no go, I won’t be blinded by the “want”. Thanks again!

Sounds like a Plan - having him all to yourself until you figure out what works best for you & him.

I have had shareboarders on some of my horses.
Some vetted through my Trainer at the time, some I found for myself.
None of them had any interest in showing & a couple put trail miles on that benefitted me.

All were positive experiences with the exception of one adult overachiever.
She was a practicing lawyer who entered medical school to become a doctor with a view to practicing malpractice law :eek:
She left sweatmarks on my horse :mad: & when she rode outside of lessons my ride following was spent reminding horse he could indeed turn right.
A word to my Trainer & she rode in a lesson for every free ride. The sweatmarks also disappeared, but that may have been barnworkers doing the post-ride grooming for her.

Hope things work for you & potential new horse.
Always exciting to see what you have after the glow wears off :winkgrin:

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Well, being paid in dollars and living in another economy makes this crazy inexpensive, assuming horse is very cheap and nothing goes wrong medically.

I would have no problems personally picking up a young green very cheap prospect and having my own coach and her assistant school it up for me. But my trainer is a known quantity to me.

Something else to consider…horses that have been short on groceries and exercise can turn into a different beast once they are fed correctly and muscled up. Hopefully he will continue with his level headed and easy demeanor but it isn’t unusual for some of them to get revved up when their condition improves. Just be sure you can handle that. It sound like you have help so that is good.

Good luck.