Before buying a horse, you must consider…

The first moment that you lay eyes on the prospective new addition in your life, a new horse, try to watch and notice everything about this animal. First impressions are not always the best. Looking deeper into your hopefully new friend with a fine tooth comb is in your best interest. Take notice upon approaching each horse. Does the animal move away from you or toward you. Does the horse turn their rump toward you? Does the horses eyes widen or look frightened or are they just friendly?
Stand in front of the horse and take notice to the following:
• Look at the nostrils to see if the horse is breathing normally and the nostrils are not flaring.
• Check eyes for correct movement or cloudiness or spots on the eyes.
• Check for symmetry of both sides of face in case of paralyses.
• Check shoulders for evenness. Look for bulging areas.
• Check front legs for correctness, if legs bow out or bow in.
• Check for splints (below the knees) on the inside or outside of the leg (cannon bone).
• Check to make sure tendons (behind the cannon bone underneath the back of the knee) is straight up and down and does not have any bulges.
• Feel legs gently for bulges and run hands over ankles for large hard areas or heat.
• Check for evenness of feet. Pick up feet and check for bruising or fowl smell or very black color around frog (v-shaped soft area on bottom of foot).
• Stand on the side of the horse. You are looking for balance between the neck area, shoulder area, back and rump.
• Notice whether the horses legs seem to be underneath of the them as opposed to the legs too far forward or too far back.
• Walk a safe distance behind the horse noticing the hips are level, whether the hocks are too close together or too far apart. If you are in a situation where the horse is in a stall, make sure you watch the horse walk out of the stall and notice whether the animal is free moving, walks a little stiff, caries head to one side or the other, how quiet the individual walks and stands, etc.
Never be afraid to ask questions. Resistance to answers should be a red flag. Owners that know and care about there horses are usually eager to give you information. Knowing the parts of a horse is of great importance in your search in finding the right horse for you. This is one of the many areas we will be discussing in the future. Hopefully these few tips will help you in your quest of finding a wonderful, healthy horse.

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