Tom’s Top 3 Tips
First thing is first. Watch the horse move at all gaits to see if the horse is sound. If you have very little experience with horses, take someone along who has more experience or even ask your trainer to go along with you. When I was shopping for my first horse I asked Tom if I should have a pre-purchase exam and he had some pretty good advice for me. Tom said “It depends on the purchase price of the horse. If you are buying a $2,500 horse, then I would say take someone with you that knows horses really well and get their second opinion. The reason is because you can easily spend $500 on the exam and in that case you could just buy a nicer horse instead.”
“Now if you were buying a horse from someone you didn’t know and in a different part of the country and for a lot more money like $15,000; what is another $500-$2,000 for the vet exam?” Moyes stated.
Tom also talked about how people always want to buy a higher caliber horse, than they can actually ride. It’s not about buying the higher powered horse. It is about purchasing the horse that you can actually ride! It is really important that you suit your new horse and that your horse suits your riding style and ability. If you are typically, on average a 68 rider, then you probably don’t want to pay the extra money for the 73 scoring horse. The 73 horse will be out of your riding ability and you will have a hard time adjusting. In addition, for inexperienced reiners, it is always a better idea to get a horse that knows more about reining than you do. It will be a lot more fun in the show arena. Just remember to be realistic about your riding ability and always try the horse before purchasing. It is really difficult to tell from videos and photos if you will ‘suit’ the horse’s riding style.
Lastly, it all comes down to money and how much you have to spend. Purchasing the horse is the cheapest part of owning a horse! You then have maintenance, feed, board, unexpected vet bills, entry fees, and travel costs – these all add up and should be considered prior to purchasing!
So before heading out to swing a leg over a potential new mount, be realistic, write down on paper what you are looking for and how much money you can spend. Always remember totake a professional or more experienced horseman along for an extra set of eyes. Lastly, have fun!
Tom got his first horse when he was 10 years old and 65 years later Tom is still riding and competing! Tom and his daughter Lindsay travel to NRHA and WPRHA shows. Tom helped create two local reining horse clubs; Western Pennsylvania Reining Horse Association and the Tri-State Reining horse Association. (Tri-State was 1 of 5 of the original affiliates to NRHA). Tom lives in Evans City, Pennsylvania where he continues to give reining lessons and train horses. He has been an inspiration to many horse enthusiasts and still continues to be. WPRHA thanks Tom for all of his guidance and help along the way!