Questions To Ask When Buying A Performance Horse

by Michelle on February 14, 2017

questions to ask when buying a performance horseWhen buying a high-performance horse, there are questions you might ask that you wouldn’t if you were buying a trail horse or even a prospect.

Asking open-ended questions (those questions that need more than a yes or no answer) will potentially give you answers to questions you hadn’t thought of or asked yet.

Here are some questions you can ask and if you’re looking at several horses at the same time, it would be of benefit to write the answers down.

  • Why are you selling the horse? (standard issue question that can tell you alot)
  • Has this horse been unsound before? If so, what was the cause, remedy and how long did it last?
  • What would you consider to be this horses worst behavioural issues? (every horse has something!)
  • Where is this horse currently kept? Stall? Pasture? Pen? (will it adapt to your setup)
  • How long have you owned the horse? (ie. is this person turning the horse over or will they know it’s real history)
  • What types of issues do you think might show up on a vet check (this can save you some time!)
  • How does the horse handle being hauled and being overnighted at the trailer? (would you want to find out after it won’t tie to the trailer?)
  • How does the horse respond to other horses? Is it usually kept with other horses? (not usually a deal breaker, but you want to know ahead if it’s a savage).
  • Is the horse shod? Does it behave well with a farrier?
  • What is this horse like around kids? Cattle? Water? (whatever your situation at home, know if it’s been exposed)
  • How do you keep this horse in shape? What’s your fitness program?
  • What do you feed the horse? Including all supplements.
  • What type of athletic care does this horse require? (Injections, chiro, massage etc. )
  • How often do you work barrels on this horse? Or rope the skid/roping machine? Live cattle?
  • Has anyone else ran this horse before? Could I call them?
  • How does this horse behave in the warm up at an event?
  • How is this horse in the roping box or in the alley for the barrel race?
  • Had this horse EVER refused to go in the box or alley?
  • What it this horses WORST quality?
  • What is this horses BEST quality?
  • Do you think this horse is currently performing at the highest level it is capable of? What would need to be done if this were to change?
  • Would you describe this horse as a free runner or more of a ratey type? (as in are you holding on for leather or kicking to go faster?)
  • Would you say this horse is high energy or low energy? (horses are often best suited to the opposite type of rider energy wise)
  • How does this horse score (roping). How is this horse to walk the pattern? (barrels).
  • How does this horse work rope (ask specifically to your event).
  • How would you describe how this horse turns a barrel (especially important if you haven’t seen a video).

Asking these questions (and more as you think of them) may help you narrow out your choices and options. Considering performance horses are going to require some kind of maintenance and athletic care to perform their best, you want to find out ahead what makes these horses tick so you can keep them running.

If you have any other great questions, feel free to comment!

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