We’re not always keen to seek advice of our friends and acquaintances when buying a new horse, according to new research.

The study involved an online survey of 451 equestrians in the UK. The average number of horses bought by those surveyed was four.

Findings revealed that 48.7 percent of buyers sought no advice on whether the horse was priced appropriately, and 38 percent also chose the type of horse to purchase without consulting others.

“The lack of advice seeking behaviour around purchase decisions may be a reflection of how personal these decisions are to owners, and how they rate their own opinion and experience,” said the researchers.

This behaviour, together with a reluctance to seek views on whether a horse was priced appropriately, could be a barrier to gaining support and information regarding buying decisions, they said.

“Further studies are required to determine how advice can be provided in an appropriate format,” they added.

Options could include anonymised advice online or through a trusted source such as a vet.

Happy customers

The survey concluded that 84.9 percent of participants were satisfied with their purchase and would buy their horse again.

The majority of participants declared themselves confident in making decisions on several aspects of buying a horse, including deciding the type of horse to view and trying the horse to decide if it was suitable for them.

For those who did seek advice, friends or family were the most common source. Advice from a vet was mostly sought for the purpose of a pre-purchase vetting.

More than three-quarters of participants planned how long they were going to keep the horse, with 82.9 percent intending to give the animal a home for its lifetime.

The horse’s temperament when ridden was deemed very important by 68 percent of participants, as was temperament when handled and conformation.

The study, conducted Harriet Clough and colleagues at the University of Nottingham, has been published in the journal, VetRecord.