Purchasing our first horse..PPE and contract tips

After 14 rides and doubling our budget and halving the age we have found “the one” perfect horse for us. My daughter rode him once and for the first time said " i like him". Now what?

We have arranged for our trainer to school my daughter and horse over a cross country course and for a PPE by our vet the next day.

Please give us any advice and tips to make an informed purchase.

The rider: 15, only riding for two years, one year Starter, ready for BN

The horse:

Is 6 years, has a record of 2-BN, 2-N, and 1-training. Placed fifth or lower with dressage scores of 35 and lower and clear XC but 4 and 8 faults SJ twice.

Most important is his temperament. He is so sweet, gentle, push ride, and wonderful ground manners. He is safe to be around, load, and ride XC. I cannot see any faults for this wonderful horse and I want to make sure my glasses are not rose colored.

I see this as a horse that knows slightly more than my daughter but still ready to learn from weekly dressage lessons and weekly trainer lesson. My daughter will ride him daily on the flat to practice, practice, and condition to be ready for their first BN in 2015.

Please let me know anything to help make this an informed purchase.

Also, I do not know anything about insurance and will ask for any tips there as well. I will start reading the forum for insurance info next.

Just because your daughter sounds relatively new to riding and the horse is relatively young…

Be prepared that he may need “tune-ups” from the trainer. Not to say that lessons won’t help, but there is a real difference between riding in a lesson and having a trainer ride the horse. Be aware that you might find “holes” in his training as you move forward. If the horse needs to learn something new, which at 6 (coming 7 I presume) he is likely to, it will be easier if the trainer can start chiseling out the button.

The best training set up I had was when my trainer rode my horse once a week, I rode in a lesson once a week, and then I rode by myself the other four days (Monday was hack day). The trainer would start installing the “button”, she’d show me how to continue working on it, and then I’d work alone. I considered the trainer ride as lecture, the lesson as office hours, and my riding alone as homework. Granted, I was doing dressage at the time. I can’t remember how it worked when I evented. I just remember that it was full training and I didn’t like it because I didn’t get enough “alone time” to figure the horse out myself. I was your daughter’s age when I evented.

Make sure you know his living situation, turnout schedule, and diet. If any of those have to change when you purchase him, talk to your trainer. For example, if he’s living out 24/7 and now he needs to be stabled 24/7, his personality might change so try to work on time where he can be turned out.

In this situation, I’d like to know if he was ridden by a trainer, amateur, or junior in those competitions. Not that I’d shy away from a trainer-ridden horse, but it’s good information to have.

Taking your trainer, your daughter, and the horse out XC is a great idea. I personally wouldn’t do the PPE the day after. I’d want to see how he is the next day, but if the XC schooling went well, I’d put down a deposit and do the PPE two or three days later. That’s assuming the seller would hold the horse with a deposit.

Sounds like you are on a better track with this one then the other you mentioned (unless I have you confused with somebody else). Listen to your trainer and, as mentioned above, have trainer ride the horse as well as work with your daughter on it before you make a final decision. And plan on trainer rides along with lessons-best money you can spend until daughter gets some BN competition experience.

The pitfall, mistake, bad decision many buyers make is putting a time limit on a new horse/rider combination. DO NOT RUSH because of the calendar. Daughter should start her first ever BN when she and horse are ready. Not before. That might happen later then you planned on. Could happen earlier. Might even do some kind of real low level schooling shows first.

You want to allow the partnership to develop, not force it to happen and hope it gels. That horse is still young, not finished yet. So is your DD. They will need help to find their way.

What Findeight said. Just because the horse has done Training and your daughter has been deemed ready for Beginner Novice doesn’t mean that BN is the best starting point for them together. Sounds like you have an experienced trainer guiding you, and that is a very good thing. Just keep in mind that it can take a lot longer to re-build confidence (in either horse or rider) than it does to lose it - so proceed with caution (although that will probably be slower than daughter wants to go - ask me how I know this). Maybe there will be some Intro or Starter horse trials where they can get their feet wet together particularly if the horse was previously campaigned by a very experienced eventer.

Good advice in this thread already.

The most important thing I would add is there is no “perfect” horse. Meaning this horse seems like it’s going to be a great fit, and assuming your trainer signs off and the PPE goes well, then you’re in business. But don’t view it as having done something “wrong” if the horse-and-kid have a few bumps along the way, if the kid falls off, if the horse has a bad day, if it needs its hocks done down the road, etc etc. Horses are an ongoing learning process and the best ones sometimes still have some quirks (hopefully mostly endearing ones).

So what does that mean? In terms of contract, simple is better, do the PPE your vet recommends (flex, xrays as appropriate, pull blood for a drug screen), and then realize you don’t usually have a bunch of claims against the seller if the horse doesn’t end up exactly as you’d wanted. Do include a provision that the deal gets unwound and you get your $$ back if the drug screen comes back positive. But other than that, most sellers will expressly disclaim any other warranty of fitness for purpose etc.

Basically,you hope-and-pray-and-pat-the-pony-and-enjoy-the-ride. And tie a big red bow around the horse’s neck the first time your kid gets to see him as “her” horse. Because that’s just the awesome fun part.

Thank you so much! Based on the wonderful information received here we passed on the other horse with a heavy heart. We have two more to look at if this does not work.

I will approach the trainer about training days and always follow her suggestion as to level. DD is cautious and her confidence needs help, all of which the trainer works on and guides us both in levels and horses. We have spent a year at Starter and it would be fine to continue at this level. We are just fine with local having fun shows and Pony Club but enjoy every minute of it. We will join USEA and see what 2015 brings us but slow works very well for our household. I treasure the information from experienced horse owners as we are still so new at this. Thanks for the help!

Take a look at the information on ratemyhorsepro.com. They have some very good articles on such things as sales contracts and, IIRC, PPEs.

I would pull blood on the horse the day you do the test ride and have a blood test run as part of the PPE to check for calming agents, NSAIDs, etc.

The Tox screen will run $300. Easy and takes a while to come back…Ask the seller,to,sign a disclosure at time of Blood Pull,to see if they Fess up…also you will need to hold,off on paying for horse and taking possession until the afore mentioned Tox screen a comes back clean…So build this into your plans and advise Seller at time of PPE. How the Seller reacts,will,tell,everything.

Get a vetting from an experienced vet who understands eventing. I like to take the horse to a local vet hospital, where they can jog and lunge on a soft surface and pavement. I would get x-rays, at least of feet, as well as any other x-rays that the vet recommends. Expect to find some issues, but the vet should tell you if they are likely or unlikely to cause problems.

If the horse has a good vetting, get the vet to check the teeth and update the vaccines and coggins after the vetting. Have the horse’s health insurance in force the second he becomes yours. I know someone whose horse had a surgical colic on the way home from the seller’s barn!