Is it ever a good idea to buy a horse you haven’t met?

There are many reasons why people buy horses. You could be investing in a part ownership of a racehorse, acquiring a new stallion for breeding, or just welcoming a new member of the family who will be ridden regularly.

There are horses for sale all across the country, so the chances are high that you will find your ideal horse. But what happens if your perfect mare resides in the north of Scotland, while you are based in Cornwall? If a visit is out of the question, should you ever buy a new horse sight unseen?


If you know what you’re looking for from a horse, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t act fast the moment you spot the perfect one. When investing in a racehorse or a breeding mare or stallion, you will be looking for a few key attributes: pedigree, size, speed or markings, for instance.

Do your homework and make a list of questions for the seller. Speak to the seller on the phone and make sure you are satisfied with the reasons for sale. Ask for proof that the horse is healthy and if possible, arrange a legally binding contract that protects your interests during the transaction.


Horses are intelligent, emotional creatures and the bond between a horse and its rider is hard to manufacture. Buying a horse for your family is a huge decision, and a big commitment, so you need to make sure you have a connection with your horse before you buy it. This is something you can only get when you meet the horse face to face. How does the horse feel to ride? Does it respond well to instruction? What is it like at rest? Every horse is different, and if you are looking for a horse to ride on a regular basis, it is worth spending as much time as possible researching it and meeting it before the sale completes.

Tips for buying an unseen horse

If you decide to buy a horse sight unseen, follow these tips to ensure a good sale.

Research the seller

Are you buying from a dealer, a professional seller or an individual? Look into the seller and make sure that they are who they say they are. A legitimate seller will be happy to answer any questions you may have about the horse, and if they have sold horses in the past, they should be able to provide you with a few references.

Know the market

If a sale seems too good to be true, it usually is. Don’t be impulsive when it comes to buying a horse. Examine the current market and make sure you are paying a fair price for the horse.

Get an independent opinion

You may not be able to see the horse before you buy it, but there is nothing stopping you from sending in a third party. Call a local vet or trusted equestrian expert and have them meet the horse and check it over before you go ahead with the sale.

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