angle-left Checklist for Buying a Horse

Checklist for Buying a Horse

Know what questions to ask a seller when considering buying their horse.

generic chestnut horse owner leather halter (Credit: AQHA)

text size

When you first contact a seller about a horse he or she has for sale, you should be prepared with your questions. Here is a list of  questions to get you started:


___ Is he registered and do you have the original registration certificate?

___ Is this a gelding, stallion or mare?

___ What condition is the horse in?

___ Does he have any health problems?

___ What is the horse’s personality like? Quiet and well-mannered, high-strung or “spirited” and likes to go?

___ What does the horse look like?

___ How tall is the horse?

___ How old is the horse?

___ What kind of training has he had?

___ Is he road safe?

___ What is the horse’s recent background? What has he been doing? Has he been out to pasture or has he been used in English, western, 4-H, ranch, trail riding, lessons, driving, roping, reining, cutting, racing, etc.?

___ What vices does he have, if any?

___ Does he load into a trailer? Does he stand tied?

___ Has the horse been stalled or is he a pasture horse?

___ Has he lived alone or with other horses?

___ If handled by a trader or trainer, who owned him before? How long did they own him? Why are they selling the horse? May I speak with the previous owner?

___ Does he have a current Coggins test? If not, are you willing to get the horse tested?

___ Do you have someone at your place who will tack up and ride the horse?

___ Do you have an enclosed arena or enclosed pasture where I can try out the horse? If not, are you willing to take the horse to a public arena, demonstrate riding him and allow me to ride him?

___ If I like the horse, will you hold him for a vet check for me?


Want to learn more? The Buyers Guide to an American Quarter Horse is here to help. The free downloadable e-book covers:

  • Understanding your needs.
  • Find a horse for purchase.
  • Things to consider when you visit a breeder or owner.
  • How to evaluate a horse's conformation.
  • Evaluating the horse's disposition.
  • Health considerations.
  • Price.
  • AQHA transfer procedures.
  • Caring for your horse.

Go here to download the Buyers Guide to an American Quarter Horse.

Are you ready to purchase a horse? Visit to see how to insure your investment.