1. Not asking for a trial period. Sure, it’s normal to have a test ride, but remember that a horse is not the same as a car. Cars can be temperamental, but horses actual have their own temperament and characters. Don’t think of your first ride as a test drive so much as a first date. Things might start out well, but over time you and your horse may end up having too different personalities.
2. Focusing on professional horses. It might be tempting to go for a horse that has won races and earned money for its owner by winning bets and races, but unless you have money you’re trying to get rid of you’ll probably be spending much more than is necessary. If it’s your first horse you’re probably not a professional — or not yet anyway — and as a result it isn’t necessary to have a horse that is. It’s more important that you and your horse have a strong connection.
3. Paying too much attention to colour. Again, comparing horses to cars one sees fundamental differences. One is manufactured machine the other is a living, breathing animal with a personality. Horses come in a rainbow of colours. Ultimately it’s rather silly to focus on the colour when there is so much more at stake. You might have a very specific image in mind, but that’s nothing when compared to the personality of the horse. In this sense you might equate it again to dating in which there might be a person to whom you’re physically attracted, but who turns out to be everything you dislike in a person or vice versa. Every horse, like every person, has it’s own personality that must be considered and match your own.
4. Getting your horse at an auction. This is tempting prospect as you might be able to save money, but again you’re simply treating the horse as a piece of proverbial meat (and hopefully not literal!) in which you’re neglecting its personality and how it matches your own. People who buy at auction are usually professional breeders who know what they’re about and are buying the horse for reasons very different from riding and developing a relationship with. Unless you really know what you’re doing, this is probably not the best method.
5. Thinking you need to get a young horse. As with most purchases that aren’t antiques, the newer the better, right? Well, with horses that can be a big mistake. They might live longer, but the amount of effort you’ll have to put in to raising them might possibly ruin the experience of being a horse owner for you. Older horses have experience, both being ridden and also the normal experience that comes with ageing, regardless of one’s species. If it’s your first horse, you may want a horse who’s already had a human so at least one of you knows what’s going on!