Buying Horses Online
There are many online horse sale sites where sellers can easily advertise their horses. For the buyer this places a plentiful selection of breeds, colors, sizes, types and ages of horses that can be browsed from the comfort of their homes. Certainly, it is entertaining to go through the listings and dream of finding the perfect horse. But is this a good way to look for your dream horse?
For the beginner (or any level of horseperson), buying a horse from an online site, sight unseen is a risk. Photos can be altered and descriptive wording can be misleading. There are very few instances where anyone should buy a horse online without trying it out first. The exceptions might be breeders looking for bloodstock overseas, or those buying a horse whose reputation is well known already. Experienced horse people understand the risks involved in buying a horse sight unseen, and be able to deal with any ‘surprises’. The beginner may not be able to afford to make a mistake, either financially and in terms of safety.
The benefit of online horse shopping is that you can easily sort horses into the price range, type and area you wish to search in. If you’re lucky enough to find a horse within driving distance, you’ll be able to visit it, try it out and personally ask all the questions you need to ask when buying your first horse. If the horse is outside of your area, but you’re still interested you may have a horse knowledgeable friend who can check the horse out for you. If not, then it’s best not to start arranging transportation and payment, because the risk of getting an unsuitable horse is just too great. It is impossible to fully determine a horse's behavior, way of going, training and temperament solely by a description, video and photo.
Buying a horse without meeting it carries similar risks as buying a horse at auction. Buying online means you may not have a chance to 'try before you buy'. A lot can be covered up or 'unsaid' in online ads. Most of the ads you read will be posted by people who want to portray their horse as accurately as possible, but a few others are looking to make a quick dollar and unload an unsuitable horse on an unsuspecting buyer. So it is essential to meet the horse and the owner and see for yourself how the horse behaves and if the owner is trying to give you a sales pitch.
One thing that many sellers complain about are 'tire kickers', people who respond to online ads so they can talk to someone about horses, with no intention to buy. When responding to online ads, be courteous, ask the questions you need to eat, but don't bombard the seller with emails. Most sellers want the best for their horses, but don't want their time wasted by people who aren't real buyers.
There are many popular online horse selling and buying sites. Some of the more popular sites include:
Dreamhorse is one of the most popular online horse selling sites. Ads can be sorted by location, breed or type, seller or horse name, discipline trained in, gender, age, color, height, weight, temperament and price. There are also search-able listings for trades, stallions at stud, lease and wanted.
Kijiji isn't strictly a horse selling site, but is often used by sellers to advertise their horses. Kijiji sites are region specific, so you're more likely to find horses advertised in your area. Ads may have photos, but won't be search-able by any specific criteria.
There are many more online horse sites that should give you lots of good leads on horses available in your area. Take your time and don't buy before you try. Happy horse shopping!