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November 25, 2015     
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Frequently Asked Questions

This is my first time buying an Arabian. What kinds of things do I need to know?

Buying Your First Arabian Horse


If you're looking for a companion who'll be your partner in adventure or competition--and your friend for life--then you'll want an Arabian horse. No other horse can match the Arabian for beauty, athleticism, devotion and companionship.

Designed for the passionate, consumed horse person, the Arabian horse brings thousands of years of pure breeding together with its beauty, intelligence, personable nature, and athletic abilities, requiring only what it will freely return to its owner: mutual respect and lasting companionship.

Before you even decide to buy, evaluate your own skill level and devote some serious thought to what you expect to do with your horse once you have bought it. Will you pleasure-ride, learn a new horse-related skill, or participate in the show ring. You will likely change your focus once you have your horse; perhaps it will be very talented in some direction or a great endurance prospect or a happy and able jumper. The Arabian horse, in particular, is capable of nearly any athletic accomplishment towards which you aim. There is no law that says you must stick with your original ideas; common sense, however, dictates that you operate within the ability-range of both you and your horse.

If possible, seek the advice of a reputable horse person, preferably someone without a financial interest in your purchase. When you have found the horse you really like ask for a veterinary check by a veterinarian of your choice; it will be an invaluable investment.

If the horse you are evaluating is trained for a specific activity, be sure to get on the back of the horse and see how it responds to your cues. Match your wants and desires with the attributes of the horse under consideration and make sure that it meets your specific needs; only then discuss a price for the horse. Your goal should be to find a horse that will provide you with long-term enjoyment. Purchasing the wrong horse because the price was right, won't make you a happy horse owner.

As with people, great offspring can come from both humble backgrounds and champion blood lines. The opposite is just as true. When evaluating a potential purchase first check the horse's conformation, gait, attitude, athletic ability, and then its pedigree.

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Where to Find an Arabian

Finding the Arabian that's right for you is easier than you might imagine. When shopping, knowledge and patience are your best tools. Look for a horse that meets both your needs and price range. When considering young fillies or colts, the personality, disposition, conformation, type, action and athletic ability of the parents offer clues to how the horse will look and perform at maturity. And, since Arabians often remain active longer than other breeds, an older horse may be perfectly suitable and a very good buy.

Many people have the mistaken impression that all Arabians are expensive. The truth is, Arabians can be bought as reasonably as horses of other breeds and excellent Arabian horses are now accessible to all horse enthusiasts. Best of all, with more living Arabians in the U.S. than in all the other countries of the world combined, we have a stunning variety of Arabians from which to choose.

When looking for an Arabian of your own, check in your local paper, at your tack or feed store or in regional magazines devoted to horses or horse clubs. Use our Arabians for Sale Classifieds to find thousands of purebred Arabian Horses for Sale online. You can also pay a visit to an Arabian farm or breeder in your area by going to the online Arabian Farm Directory. If you are not quite ready to buy, but would like to visit an Arabian farm, you can search for one of our Discovery Farms right online.

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Appointment Time

Make an appointment to see the horse you are interested in; turn up on time; and be candid with the seller about what you are looking for. If you truly like the horse, ask if the seller will accept terms if the purchase price is more than you had planned for. It is not unusual to make an offer on a horse, but do not insult the seller by making a ridiculously low one; explain that you are working with a pre-set budget and you will be pleasantly surprised at the number of sellers who will work with you given a measure of courtesy and good will on both sides. Also, ask to see the horse's health records and make a note of the names and phone numbers of the seller's veterinarian and farrier. In addition, ask to see the horse's AHA registration papers. You'll need that document signed on the back in order for your to transfer the horse's registration into your name.

If you purchase a horse on contract, be sure that the contract is in writing, properly signed, dated and witnessed as called for by the statutes of the state you live in. Also, contact the Arabian Horse Registry of America (303-450-4748) and verify the horse's registration status and current ownership.

Finally, recognize that it is possible to absorb all this good advice and then walk into a barn or farm or field and fall completely, irrevocably in love. The horse may not be what you planned on, may look totally different from your image of your ideal animal, may not suit your predetermined plans at all-it will nevertheless totally absorb your interest and possess your imagination and will be the only possible horse for you.

An Arabian, in particular, possesses incredible qualities of personality, equine intelligence and striking beauty which will wind themselves around your heart and become an essential part of your life. The greatest and most lasting rewards will come from that almost inexplicable bond which can arise between human and horse, from that completely un calculating companionship which these marvelous animals give so generously.

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Buyers Checklist

First, call and ask questions prior to your visit:

  • Find out the date foaled, sex, color and height.
  • Is the horse registered?  Look up AHA registration information.
  • Do you have the original registration papers?
  • Are you the registered owner?
  • How is the horse's health?
  • Does he or has he had any specific health problems?
  • How would you describe the horse's temperament?
  • What is the horse's training history?
  • Can the horse be loaded into a trailer?
  • What has the horse been doing recently? (specific disciplines)
  • Is the horse kept mostly in a stall or pasture?
  • Does the horse have any bad habits or vices?
  • Has the horse spent much time with other horses, or mostly alone?
  • Who owned the horse before you?
  • If I come out to see the horse, do you have somewhere where I can ride the him? If not, are you willing to take the horse somewhere where I can ride him or have someone demonstrate riding him?
  • Can I have a vet check the horse out before I make my final purchase decision?

Second, visit the horse where its kept.

  • Does the horse's overall appearance look healthy?
  • Do you notice any soundness problems?
  • Do you sense an attraction to the horse? Remember it will become part of your family.
  • Do you like the overall appearance of the horse (color, head, expression)?
  • Do you sense anger, pain, fear, lethargy or sedation?
  • How is the horse's conformation relative to the purpose you have for purchasing it. If you're an inexperienced person, have an experienced horseperson evaluate the horse for you.

Next, evaluate the horse's performance with the owner or handler:

  • Standing tied
  • Walk, trot, stop, backing up
  • Round pen longing
  • Saddling and bridling
  • Have the handler show you how it performs if you are purchasing for a specific discipline.

Then, test ride the horse:

  • Try all of the above yourself with the owner/handler present. Be sure to use the proper protective gear.
  • Be sure to try out the horse for the specific discipline for which you are buying the horse.
  • If you don't feel comfortable doing this, look for another horse. This is the first step in your relationship with the horse.

Finally, check the horse's registration and health papers
Be sure to ask to see the registration papers and verify the horse's age and lineage. Check to make sure that the horse matches the information and the markings as presented on the official registration certificate. Also, check to see if the person selling you the horse is the registered owner. If so, the seller should sign the back of the certificate and provide you with a bill of sale. If not, make sure that the seller provides you with a bill of sale from the registered owner to the seller and a bill of sale from the seller to you. To register the horse you will need the official registration certificate, signed, and documented proof of the chain of ownership. Don't assume that you can get the paperwork straightened out later just because the horse is a purebred Arabian. After the sale you will want to conduct an official transfer of the registration for the horse into your name and receive an updated Registration Certificate to validate that you are the current registered owner of the horse.

Even if you do not plan to use the horse in shows, races or for breeding where registration is required, the registration certificate will help retain the horse's value. Besides, you never know what the next owner may want to do. Too often an older horse is purchased for a son or daughter who wants to show, but the certificate was not transferred properly creating enormous difficulties for the new owner.

A veterinary check can help you make an informed decision. Depending on how well you know the owner or what type of assurances you may have in a purchase agreement, you may want to hire a veterinarian to do a pre-purchase exam.

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What Will It Cost

As you might imagine there are no set rules when establishing prices but, be assured that Arabians today are priced competitively with other popular horse breeds. And, you will find that very good horses are available in every price range. This range is established by the seller's circumstances, the horse's age, level of training, conformation, pedigree, show record (if any), and even by the geographic area in which you are looking. As you review the prices of horses you will see these prices separate out into distinct categories. We won't attempt to tell you what to pay for a horse, but rather give you some general guidelines for evaluating what you should expect for your money.

Part of the cost is made up of its structural soundness and the level of training the horse has had for a specific activity. The other part will consist of the "market value" of the horse's potential based on its blood lines or its actual performance history if it has been involved in a competitive activity. Generally, as prices go up, more and more has been invested in the training of the horse and the closer the horse is to being immediately "ready-to-go" for a particular activity, whether it be trail riding, showing or even racing. If you are looking for an older horse, find out about its recent history regarding use; by whom, how often, and about any peculiarities. Most of all, get on that horse and ride it for a while. And, don't forget the vet check.

When prices begin to get very high for foals or younger horses, the market is putting a much higher value on the horse's pedigree, implying a potential for a great show horse, race horse, etc., than it is on conformation or current performance. On the other hand a proven champion show horse or race horse with breeding potential, like any known entity, will be in much greater demand and therefore claim a much higher price.

The thing to remember is that, although a history of champions in the horse's pedigree can be a good indicator of potential for that horse, without proper conformation, a good attitude, athletic ability and proof of soundness of structure, the horse most likely will not meet your expectations. On the other hand, there are many great horses that meet all of the criteria for great form, ability, and disposition that come from more humble backgrounds and go on to be that dream horse everyone is looking for, or even a champion athlete.

Check out the Arabians For Sale classified ads on this web site for a realistic view of current prices for Arabian horses. You'll find horses in all price ranges and for all uses.

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Finalizing the Sale

Sometimes owners do have a fixed price on a horse, but more often than not the sales price is negotiable. Offers tend to vary from five to fifteen percent off the listed price depending on how motivated the seller is. The higher the price, the more you'll be able to negotiate. If the horse checks out and you really want it, make an offer. Sellers will often throw in some perks like lessons, temporary boarding or transport to your location to maintain the sales price. These can be helpful depending on your individual situation.

The best advice is to use a legal sales contract to eliminate any possible misunderstandings in the future. If any additional perks were offered, make sure that they are itemized in the sales agreement. Remember, once you sign the contract, you own the horse. If you plan to get insurance, it should be effective the moment your purchase is consumated, just in case something happens prior to getting the horse home.

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