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Read About Buying a Horse from a Livestock Market

Buying a horse from a livestock market is somewhat more reliable than buying a horse at an auction, but can still be risky. It can be, however, a tempting way to try to find the right horse for you a bargain price. As with shopping at a horse auction, when buying a horse from a livestock market you need to be sure to do your homework and make important decisions in advance. Having particular breeds in mind and a specific budget (and sticking to that budget!) are important.

Always make sure you have done any research you can on the breed or breeds of horses you are considering buying at a livestock market. In some cases, you may be able to find out who the dealers will be in advance. If so, do whatever research you can on the dealers in advance. Remember that the dealer’s job is to sell horses; it’s your job to be sure the horse you buy is a good quality animal. As with shopping at an auction, “buyer beware” is very important advice when buying a horse from a livestock market. The more informed you are about the disposition, typical health problems, and training issues of a particular breed of horse, the better chance you have of buying a quality horse from a livestock market.

Be aware that many livestock markets have no requirements regarding vaccinations or other testing of animals that are being sold. You are getting the horse you buy “as is,” which could be disastrous if the animal you buy turns out to be sick or injured. Find out what the market’s policies are (if there are any) regarding veterinary exams after purchase. Some livestock markets are approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, indicating that these markets meet specific government guidelines. Although there are no guarantees that every horse sold at a U.S.D.A.-approved market will be top-quality, you may have a better chance of finding reputable dealers at such places. For a state-by-state listing of U.S.D.A.-approved livestock markets, go to

While buying a horse from a livestock market can be a way to find a good horse for a better price than directly from a dealer, also requires careful diligence on the part of the buyer. Keep in mind that if a horse seems like it is too good a deal to pass up, there could be a good reason for that. Set a budget before going to the livestock market, and be sure to stick to that budget. If you are not an experienced horse person, consider taking along some who is. Although buying a horse from a livestock market can be a risky proposition, careful research and planning can help you purchase a horse with whom you’ll be happy for years to come.