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First, consult with your Bloodstock Agent:

  • Find out the date foaled, sex, color and height.
  • Is the horse registered?
  • Do you have the original registration papers?
  • Are you the registered owner?
  • How is the horse's health?
  • Does he or has he had any specific health problems?
  • How would you describe the horse's temperament?
  • What is the horse's training history?
  • Can the horse be loaded into a trailer?
  • What has the horse been doing recently? (specific disciplines)
  • Is the horse kept mostly in a stall or pasture?
  • Does the horse have any bad habits or vices?
  • Has the horse spent much time with other horses, or mostly alone?
  • Who owned the horse before you?
  • Can I have a vet check the horse out before I make my final purchase decision?

Second, visit where the horse is stabled:

  • Does the horse's overall appearance look healthy?
  • Do you notice any soundness problems?
  • Do you sense an attraction to the horse? Remember it will become part of your family.
  • Do you like the overall appearance of the horse (color, head, expression)?
  • Do you sense anger, pain, fear, lethargy or sedation?
  • How is the horse's conformation relative to the purpose you have for purchasing it. If you're an inexperienced person, have an experienced horseperson evaluate the horse for you.

Finally, check the horse's registration and health papers:

Be sure to ask to see the registration papers and verify the horse's age and lineage. Check to make sure that the horse matches the information and the markings as presented on the official registration certificate. Also, check to see if the person selling you the horse is the registered owner. If so, the seller should sign the back of the certificate and provide you with a bill of sale. If not, make sure that the seller provides you with a bill of sale from the registered owner to the seller and a bill of sale from the seller to you. To register the horse you will need the official registration certificate, signed, and documented proof of the chain of ownership.

Even if you do not plan to use the horse in shows, races or for breeding where registration is required, the registration certificate will help retain the horse's value. Besides, you never know what the next owner may want to do. Too often an older horse is purchased for a son or daughter who wants to show, but the certificate was not transferred properly creating enormous difficulties for the new owner.