Buying a Young Horse vs Old Horse: Which is Right for You?

Old Horse with Whiskers

Buying a Young Horse vs Old Horse: Which is Right for You?

Should you buy an old horse or a young horse? Which choice is right for you? Read on to learn about the pros and cons of young horses and old horses.

Keyword(s): old horse

Are you looking for your perfect horse? If so, you’re probably wondering whether or not you should buy a young horse or an old horse.

There are distinct advantages and disadvantages to buying each type of horse, so it’s important to study up before you invest in one. Here’s a quick guide to the benefits of a young horse versus an old horse.

Should You Buy a Young Horse or an Old Horse?

Not sure why you should care about a horse’s age when horse shopping? Wondering which one would be best for you? Here are pros, cons, and things to look out for when evaluating young and old horses.

What to Know About Young Horses

Young horses are most often classified as horses between the ages of two and four with little to no training. Many people buy them because they consider raising and training a young horse to be a fun and exciting challenge.

Training a young horse takes time, energy, skill, and patience, but if you possess all of those things you can raise an excellent and reliable partner.

Pros and Cons of Young Horses

Buying a horse at a young age allows you to grow alongside them, and hone their skillset the way you want to. Young horses often have more flexible personalities, which allow them to be easily guided and molded, unlike older horses with defined personalities.

There is some risk involved in investing in a horse that’s not fully developed though. It’s hard to tell what their skillset or natural ability will be until they’ve been saddled up. That’s why young horse owners have to accept that their horse may not turn into the prize horse they imagined.

People often buy young horses because they’re cheaper than more experienced horses. But the cost of raising a young horse can be as expensive or more expensive than buying an older horse. This cost will differ, however, based on the horse’s breed, quality, and discipline.

If you do plan on purchasing a young horse, you should expect to spend time and money on an extensive training program and groundwork. Training a young horse isn’t something most novice or even intermediate horse trainers can handle. Training a horse on your own isn’t advised unless you have extensive experience as it is easy to teach a horse dangerous or unwanted behaviors.

Young horses are generally healthy, which means less wear-and-tear on their joints, bones, and muscles. This translates to savings on things like veterinary bills. Young horses are more likely to injure themselves gallivanting around, however, so proper training and surveillance are essential to avoid a career-ending injury.

Before you buy a young horse, you need to have an in-depth understanding of how much work and training that the horse will require. You should also be prepared for the associated maintenance and training costs. If those costs seem intimidating, you may want to consider leasing a horse instead of purchasing one.

What to Know About Old Horses

With today’s care advancements, horses can now live into their twenties and thirties, which means there is a spectrum of old horses. Most often, however, an “older” horse is between the ages of 10 and 15.

People buy older horses because they’re usually trained and have an established temperament, which means you won’t have to deal with the rambunctious energy of a young horse. By only looking at older horses, you can more quickly and efficiently find a horse whose current job or skillset matches your goals.

Pros and Cons of Old Horses

When shopping for a horse, it’s important to know what you need your horse to do. If you’re only looking for a horse to ride recreationally once a week than an older horse is ideal. Older horses are as capable with competition schedules as young horses are, so long as you know of any limitations you have.

Older horses allow you to polish your skills without sinking time and money into training. They’re also much cheaper than younger horses. You should factor in potential medical costs and veterinary care though as you consider your options.

When looking at older horses, you should pay attention to their teeth, diet, muscles, and joints. This will give you a better idea of their general health. Working horses’ joints wear and tear over time, so knowing their physical status will help you better predict their possible performance.

Pre-purchase exams are essential when shopping for both types of horses. These exams can reveal things like lameness or arthritis, which will greatly impact the horse’s performance.

Older horses also require more conditioning to maintain their muscles and stamina. It’s important to be realistic about older horses as you shop for them and to talk to your vet and instructor before buying one.

Older horses may not be suitable for everything, but they can do many things. Talk to an instructor about any potential horses to determine if they’ll meet your needs.

Tips for Buying a Horse

Now that you know the differences between young and old horses, you’re probably wondering what else you need to know.

For starters, make sure it’s a legitimate sale. Most qualified sellers will let you review the horse’s passport prior to buying. This will help you authenticate the sale.

You should also ride the horse before you buy. Riding reveals a lot about the horse’s temperament and overall training. It can also point out any potential health issues. It’s also recommended that you bring an experienced horse person with you so you can make the most informed decision possible.

Considering Buying a Horse?

There are many things to consider when it comes to buying a young horse or an old horse. Before you buy, make sure you’re as educated on the topic of age as possible. Talking to trainers and veterinarians, and reviewing professional resources can help you buy the best horse for you.

Are you ready to start looking for your perfect horse? Not sure where to start? Contact us and we’ll help you find your dream horse.

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