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Buying a yearling can be rewarding, but also risky! You have the opportunity to purchase a wonderful prospect. It can be a gamble on how this horse turns out though. Many buyers choose a younger horse because it’s more affordable or they prefer to do their own training. No matter what your reasoning, make sure to do your homework before you bring the trailer!
Tips for Buying a Yearling
- Appearance: First and foremost, give the horse a look over. You want to evaluate their conformation and general build. Keep in mind a yearling’s appearance can change, and in many ways very drastically.
- Movement: Make sure to study the horse’s movement, preferably in person. You’re looking for obvious flaws or potential soundness issues, but you should also evaluate their gaits for performance. How do they carry their head and neck? Do they move smoothly or stumble a lot? Can they lengthen and collect? Ask yourself these questions and more.
- Temperament: Though still young, you should be able to get an idea on the yearling’s willingness and work ethic. It can be helpful to see the horse worked and handled. You should watch them come out of the field, be groomed, trailered, cross-tied, etc… Make sure to note how they react to new situations.
- Bloodlines: If you’re looking for a performance horse, then you’ll definitely want to study the horse’s lineage. The dam and sire should be proven in the discipline you’re interested in. Research siblings too! How are they performing in the ring?
- Overall Package: You’ll want to look at the horse as a whole. You should also find out their current training and who’s been working with them (a professional or amateur). Have they been to any shows? Are they up-to-date on vet care and trimmings?
Sometimes, you have to have a bit of an imagination. Yearlings don’t always look so fancy, but can grow into amazing two and three year olds. It can be helpful to buy from a proven breeder who knows their stuff. You can lessen the gamble, but be prepared for some risks!