The purchase price of the horse is a minimal consideration compared to the overall financial commitment (an average of $2000 to $5000 per year) required for care and maintenance. This does not include the cost of a major medical event like colic or catastrophic injury. In addtion, the purchase of a horse can involve unseen costs that arrise after the sale that could have been avoided by a pre-purchase exam.
Every horse purchase should include a thorough exam by a veterinarian specializing in equine practice. Even a “free” horse (that’s the most expensive kind!) needs this evaluation. I have been involved in many “post” purchase exams, and the outcome is never good. Problems can be expensive to diagnose, and sometimes impossible to treat. This type of buyer finds himself stuck with a horse that may still be beautiful, even loveable, but is also “unrideable” and thus unsellable—it costs just as much to feed a horse that you cannot ride as one you can ride.
This exam takes about an hour and it involves all body systems, observation of the horse in motion on a longe line and under saddle. The fees start at $175 (plus travel) and I generally recommend x-rays of the front feet and hocks. (additional fees involved). So please call me at 208 365-4085 before you buy a horse.