How do you buy a racehorse

Adventure of your own horse: The best tips for buying a horse

Should you consider buying a horse and plunge into the adventure, then I can only shout out: YES! Do that! I brought a young quartermare from the Dysli breed into the family and I haven't regretted it for a second. You just have to know what to look out for.

The horse expert Lutz Leckebusch, who now trades horses after his career as a breeder and professional rider, gave me tips for buying horses in an interview. More about the interview at the end of the article.

Adventure: young horse?

I have decided on a young horse. Many have advised me not to buy a young horse and many have advised me to do so. It's a difficult decision that only you can make on your own. There are advantages and disadvantages that I am going to tell you about now.

There is actually a rule of thumb that the more inexperienced the rider, the more experienced the horse. This may also be the case in many cases. Such an experienced horse naturally “forgives” many mistakes. It knows exactly what is meant and reads the right thing even from not so perfect announcements. With a real horse professional, the beginner and horse combination can certainly work well.

But of course you can also learn together if you choose a young horse. Young horses have no history and therefore no problems that they may have already got used to. You haven't had any bad experiences. Especially since horses are often sold as recreational horses that did not make it into professional sport at the age of 5 or 6.

They are used to a lot of pressure and a strong rider's hand. It is also obvious that a beginner cannot keep up and may stress the horse's soul. All of this was decisive for me to choose a young horse. I suspect it will be a great adventure. But I don't regret it because it will help me further and because I will be there from the start.

I know the history of my mare exactly and where she comes from. A young horse has its rough edges, will have its teenage years and of course the first experiences are formative. That's why you shouldn't rush into such an adventure headlong and all by yourself. For me that is the most important thing anyway. I am ready to learn, I know where I am and I am looking for help to train my young horse.

Adventure: your own horse?

It was important to me not to stand alone with my young horse.

TIP:Be sure to find an experienced trainer who is at your side. A trainer with whom you get on well, who explains everything to you and helps you to get along with your horse.

It doesn't do you any good if your trainer gets along really well with your horse. You have to grow together with your horse. A good trainer will aim for this and train you and provide you with knowledge.

TIP: Buy from a dealer you trust or from a breeder who does not want to get rid of horses at breakneck speed and who wants to breed the next generation.

This is how you recognize a good breeder

  • A good breeder will give horses time to grow up
  • A good breeder will be able to tell you something about the horse's character
  • A good breeder will not sell his horse to everyone to make money, but will look for the right person for the horse and know the mother and father of the young horse well.

I ran into my mare “by chance” and fell in love.

I can't say exactly what it was. But I couldn't get this horse out of my head. But I also knew that Dyslis has a good nursery, that breeding takes place under ideal conditions and that I have such a breeder that I can trust. Because I researched for ages to get all the information about buying a horse, I will now summarize the most important things for you.


The most important points about buying a horse

1. The AKU question

A young horse is (that's already in the name) a young horse. That means: it is still growing. The bones are not ready yet. A purchase inspection is therefore only partially meaningful. This looks a little better with an adult horse.

You should also do an AKU for every horse - AKU stands for purchase examination and is carried out by the veterinarian. The balance, bone structure, hooves and possible lameness of the small AKU are checked. You can also request x-rays of the joints. There are also large AKUs: there are then blood tests.

The more valuable the horse and the more professional the corner (tournament sport), the more complex an AKU can be. It is simply a matter of what buyers and sellers want and are willing to pay the vet.

In any case, a small AKU makes sense, depending on gut instinct and horse, maybe the x-rays. And for expensive horses or professional horses, a larger AKU is also welcome. With a young horse, that's another question.

Because: it is still growing. Such an AKU is even more of a “snapshot” than a full-grown horse. So there is no guarantee. Nevertheless, I decided on a small AKU including x-rays of the joints, because I wanted to rule out that the horse has something fundamental and serious.

2. Who pays AKU?

That is the next question and that too is a matter of judgment. Depending on the buyer-seller couple and agreement. Sometimes the buyer and seller share the cost. But there is also the model that the buyer pays when the horse is healthy and the seller when the horse has something. Model number three is the seller pays and model number four is the buyer.

I had the little AKU done. What does a small AKU include?

  • Flexion test - It is checked whether the individual joints of the horses are working properly.
  • Condition is checked - the resting heart rate is measured, then the horse has to move in all gaits - then the heart rate is measured again - then see how quickly it calms down again.
  • Hooves - how sensitive are you? Are you healthy?

  • The eyes and ears are examined, and the heart and organs are bugged
  • ON TOP: X-rays off the legs. You can also have your back x-rayed. But the more pictures, the more expensive the investigation. In the end, that's just a matter of judgment. The x-rays also reveal whether a horse has “chips”. Many horses have that. You can remain inconspicuous for a lifetime. But they can also harden, press against the nerves and thus trigger lameness. Such a chip can only be removed by surgery.

3. Blood test - yes or no?

There are breeds for which a blood test is recommended. For example because they Genetic defects to have. That also costs extra. In the end, all of this is also a question of personal security needs or to put it in the words of the German veterinarian, whom I checked the results of the Spanish veterinarian: "Why are you doing all this? You buy the horse anyway, right? "

I couldn't really disagree with him. And I did without a blood test and other major checks. I wanted to know if there was something obvious and terrible about the horse. That could have prevented a purchase. Since she was basically healthy, I bought her without a blood test or genetic test.

4. Transport with an imported horse

My horse is a quartermare and she comes from Spain. So there was also the question of transportation. Thank God the breeder does that for me. In other cases, you should look for a transport company that does not want to make money on the devil.

Long journeys are stressful for a horse, physically and mentally exhausting.

It is better to invest a few hundred euros more in good transport that takes breaks and does not have to cover the route at supersonic speed for cost reasons and a tight calculation. In most countries there are also agents who take over the organization for a commission.

  • The horse needs a blood test to prove that it is healthy.
  • It then needs that Equine passport and - if available - the papers. Then it can be transported.
  • In countries that do not belong to the EU, there are in some cases customs duties that have to be paid on import. And special conditions like blood tests and quarantine.

That in turn has to be checked individually. In Spain, of course, as an EU country, this does not exist.

5. Nothing without papers!

Of course, it all depends a bit on where you buy your horse and under what conditions. If you save a horse from the butcher or buy it from your friend or stable mate, then of course the papers don't play that big a role. If you buy from a breeder, preferably a pure-bred specimen (like me) - then the papers are very important. Pedigree and certificate of ownership, just like equine passport. However, every horse owner must have it in their pocket. Including chip and vaccinations.

Question: What experiences have you had when buying a horse? Or do you have any tips? I look forward to your comments - and now the tips from Lutz Leckebusch. 

Tips from the experts for buying horses - an interview with Lutz Leckebusch

Lutz Leckebusch is Horse trainer, horse expert and he deals in horses. So he knows exactly what he's talking about. That's why I'm very happy that he talked to me about tips and tricks when buying a horse.

Horse expert, trainer and horse dealer Lutz Leckebusch in an interview about understanding when buying a horse, the big mistakes and tips for finding the right horse:

Horse Whispering: Are there things you should pay special attention to when buying horses?

Lutz Leckebusch: Actually, everyone is always looking for the same horse. I make sure they are healthy. Build as good as possible, have good feet, have charisma and are good to ride. Also important: there is no favorable opportunity at the dealer. A dealer knows how good or bad his horse is. If the horses are too cheap, there can be a reason very quickly. You get what you pay for. If it's very cheap, it usually has something. There is always a reason.

Horse whispering: What do you think is “cheap”?

Lutz Leckebusch: If you now calculate commercially. A horse costs money until it's four years old. You have to have the mare, you have to pay for the cover, you have to feed the foal and feed the mare. Most breeders lose money. If a 4 year old costs less than 15,000 euros, then the breeder is more likely to lose money with it. A horse simply costs a basic price and then it goes up and down. The breeder mostly loses money. It is passion and passion for the breeders. You always have a very good horse and that raises the average.

Horse whisper: So actually I shouldn't go to the dealer, but to the breeder?

Lutz Leckebusch: I only buy from the dealer. You pay a lot of money with a good breeder. There are no cheap horses there.

Horse Whisper: Do you always do an AKU?

Lutz Leckebusch: Usually yes - not always. I always do an AKU with the expensive horses.

Horse whispering: What do you mean expensive?

Lutz Leckebusch: When a horse costs over 10,000 euros.

Horse whispering: What advice would you give private individuals - always do an AKU?

Lutz Leckebusch: I would always advise private individuals to have a normal purchase inspection. Do a normal small purchase inspection with flexion sample and everything. Then, depending on the price of the horse, x-rays and more. Also depending on what you want to do with the horse later.

Horse whisper: Often it's love ... then people want the horse - come what may ..

Lutz Leckebusch: You can't do that. You always have to look at the horse with a clear mind. You always have to look at enough horses and know what you want yourself. Many people have no idea what they want. Over 70% of customers buy the wrong horse. If they could be advised, they might often buy a completely different horse.

Horse Whisper: Do you have any examples?

Lutz Leckebusch: Annoying people often buy annoying horses that don't fit. Shy people are often drawn to dominant horses. Many people also buy sick horses. Because they apparently prefer grooming than riding. They wouldn't say that like that, but sometimes I have the feeling. I think it's extremely important that the horses are healthy. You shouldn't compromise on horse health. Don't buy allergy sufferers, for example. This is the biggest tip: don't buy sick horses.

Horse Whispering: Chips, for example?

Lutz Leckebusch: That depends on where they are. The vet then has to assess what consequences this could have. As far as he can. That is always a matter of discretion.

Horse whispering: are these exclusion criteria for you?

Lutz Leckebusch: For me yes. But everyone has to decide for themselves. Hoof Roll or Spath. This can be seen from the flexion test and the X-ray images. For example, genetic defects are also exclusion criteria. This often happens with quarter horse horses. PSSM, HERDA, HYPP.

There is now a combination test that you can check everything with a genetic test. You should definitely have this tested by a quarter horse. Too many have it. You always have, but it was realized too late. The quarter horses are also allowed to breed with a genetic test. It was recognized too late. Should be tested.

Horse Whispering: When is a horse a good horse in your opinion?

Lutz Leckebusch: I'm too demanding (laughs)

Horse whispering (laughs too): Take a private person - when is a good horse, a good horse?

Lutz Leckebusch: When it's nice, when you feel comfortable with it. When you can sit comfortably and ride well. Everything goes along nicely and is healthy.

Horse whispering: With a young horse - you buy a pig in a poke? 

Lutz Leckebusch: You can already see something from the sequence of movements. The building, the attitude it has towards people. Lots of tact, good price-performance ratio. If he has good feet and a good movement. But there is always a residual risk with young horses.

Horse whispering: are there don'ts?

Lutz Leckebusch: I always say: you shouldn't buy a stallion if possible. For this you have to be very knowledgeable and you need the right keeping conditions for the stallion. Lots of people want stallions. I do a lot with my stallions, but very few people can do that. That’s mostly bullshit. My stallions are also allowed to stand with other horses. If they are too stallion, they will be laid. I am relatively uncompromising.

Horse Whispering: Let's get back to the topic of buying horses. In your opinion, what is part of a good sales talk?

Lutz Leckebusch: I am often amazed that a lot of people buy horses, but they don't try out the conditions under which they later want to keep them. For example, that you want a horse for off-road use, but don't even try the horse off-road. Because they let themselves be put under pressure by the seller or because they don't dare to ask.

Or just take a quick look at the horse and then sign the sales contract. It is important to me that people can really try out the horses. You can come to me for a few days. You can ride indoors, go off-road, ride alongside the road. If the child is to ride the horse, then the child must also try the horse. My horses are often already saddled so that things can go faster. But if that's what you want, you can also see the saddling or cleaning the horse.

Horse whispering: So actually you should think about it beforehand: What do I want from my horse and then exactly that in the sales situation?

Lutz Leckebusch: Exactly! And then make sure they are sweet and that they are herd compatible.

Horse Whispering: Are There Also Black Sheep? So what is it about the horror stories of the doped and sedated horses in the shops?

Lutz Leckebusch: That's a fraud. That happens, but rarely. In Germany there is a lot of trouble for it when it comes out. As a customer, you have strong legal protection. This happens much more often in Spain and other countries. For example, you can also make a handover report. You can determine exactly how the horse was on the day of the sale, who tried it and so you can also protect yourself a bit. But in the end, buying a horse is always a matter of trust. You always have to listen to your gut feeling.

Horse whispering: topic papers - what do I need?

Lutz Leckebusch: You only need an equine passport. If you have a breeding horse with a good name, you still need the association papers. Otherwise you cannot go to the association tournaments and the foals of a broodmare will not receive any papers.This is important. That's why it has to be in the sales contract. So that you get the papers, even if the full price has already been paid.

Horse whisper: As a buyer, should I only pay in full when I have the papers?

Lutz Leckebusch: No, that's always a question of trust. If you know the seller and trust him, you can also pay and have the seller give you the papers when you hand over the goods. If you don't trust the seller, don't give him the money until you pick up the horse and get the papers straight into your hand.

Horse Whispering: What Are The Traps That Often Happen When Selling?

Lutz Leckebusch: Lots of people let themselves be put off by trying them out. There are always a thousand excuses for why the horse cannot do something right now. Go into the terrain or jump or saddle up. You have to try the horses. That's why a lot of people buy the wrong horse. Better to wait longer. The horse has been around for a long time. Buy a horse quickly, that's not possible. And never make pity purchases. Never give a horse, especially the sympathy round. These are often horses that are sick or very old. In the end, that costs a lot in terms of veterinary costs. You lose the fun of it. It's frustrating.

The purchase price is one thing, the other is maintaining a horse. That is much more expensive than many think. As soon as you start riding tournaments it gets even more expensive. Loosely times 1000 euros a month. The father has to sell the car and then buy a car with a trailer and and and. It is better to think about it beforehand and perhaps rely on good riding lessons or riding participation. Then search in peace. Because horses are bought quickly and then you have them for almost a lifetime.

Horse whisper: Thank you for the information and the interview!

Biographical and information about horse keeping from Lutz Leckebusch:

Lutz Leckebusch discovered his love for horses as a young boy.Then discovered western riding through vaulting and the classic riding style. For a long time he had his own stable, breeding and training horses. He has won tournaments in professional sports, up to various European championships. Futuritys and other championships. He has ridden thousands of horses in his life and trades horses today.

He buys them, trains them and then finds the right owner for the horse. Sometimes he is also looking for the dream horse for customers. He also gives courses for "good riding". His keywords are "Health maintenance" and "good gymnastics". For him, modern riding lessons mean taking breaks again and again and stretching again and again. Whenever you accept the horse, you have to incorporate a corresponding relaxing solution phase for the horse.

He thinks it is important that you explain the HOW, the WHERE, the WHAT and the WHY in riding lessons. He rides with as few aids as possible and only wants to ask the horses what they can give. He also rides bitless, outside in the country and without a saddle. His horses would all go bitless, but he trains them with a bit because he assumes that they can be gymnastic better that way. He is for barefoot horses because he finds it natural. If only it works, of course. For him, species-appropriate horse keeping means grazing on large meadows. Separate horse keeping - mares and geldings separated. The bigger the meadows, the better it is.

Horses have to go out, they are running animals. You have to be clear about that. Lutz Leckebusch
“My young horses are welcome to be reared outside. You just need to have enough food and exercise. The next step would be active stables, then boxes with paddocks and normal boxes are not enough for me. The horses have to go, they are running animals. You have to be clear about that. "