What to consider when purchasing auction horses


What to consider when purchasing auction horses

Purchasing an auction horse requires experience, especially if the horse in question is a foal. While auctions offer unique opportunities in terms of numbers and payment conditions, the future owner must do their homework to guarantee a purchase aligned with their purpose. Adestramento Brasil offers the following essential guidelines to assist the buyer.

Prior to attending the auction, you must have in mind the type of horse you seek and what’s the animal’s purpose. Is it for dressage, working equitation, coupling, horseback riding or breeding? Knowing its purpose is the necessary compass to find the ideal horse. With that in mind, the next step is researching the lineage of the horses for sale to learn about their [parents and siblings’] skills. It is not necessarily that a famous artist’s children will become famous artists themselves, but the chances of them having great artistic abilities are great. The same can be said about horses.

Breeders’ websites usually offer the animals’ genealogy and other information on the skills of horses for sale. Furthermore, it is worth consulting with associations and checking riding tests results to assess same lineage members performance in different modalities. This research offers a good base in understanding the animal’s profile and what its purpose could be.


When dealing with foals, analyzing the lineage is even more important, since the horse is still in formation. Knowing who the mother, father, and siblings are and where they stand out gives good references and indications of the type of horse the foal can be.

During the auction, the first advice is to analyze whether the animal has the attributes of the breed in question. In the case of the Lusitano thoroughbred horse, the Brazilian Association of Breeders of Lusitano Horse – ABPSL lists several ideal morphological characteristics. For example, the Lusitano horse must have rounded shapes (sub-convex) and silhouette always inscribable into a square.

The head must be well proportioned, of medium length, narrow and dry, with the lower jaw not too pronounced and the cheek tending to be long. Slightly sub-convex profile with the forehead in advance of the eyebrow bones; the eyes tend to be elliptical in shape (almond shaped), big and alive, expressive, and confident. The ears are of medium length, fine, narrow, and expressive. The neck of medium length, arched with a narrow hairline; the junction between head and neck is narrow or fine: the neck is deep at the base and well inserted between the shoulders, rising from the withers without any marked depression.

As for foals, which are too young to present all the characteristics, the buyer must observe the animal’s bases. Posture, how it stands, how are the legs and footing are some attention points that cannot be left out of the examination.

Once the horse’s morphology is observed and the lineage is researched, the future owner needs to make sure that it is a healthy animal. For this, the buyer should ask whether the horse being auctioned has any recent radiographs and, if possible, ask a veterinarian to evaluate them. When purchasing a horse, the purchase examination, carried out by a veterinarian from the buyer’s confidence, is essential to assess the animal’s condition. For auction horses, this exam may be more difficult – or impossible – to be carried out. In this case, we advise researching the breeder’s reputation to know the history of other animals already marketed.

As the horse of your choosing passes the above-mentioned criteria, it’s time to assess its performance in different gaits: the Lusitano has agile and elevated movements, projecting forward while being gentle and smooth and of great comfort to the rider. In foals, observe, mainly, if their feet’s angle is projected below body mass.


Purchasing foals require special attention and it’s not recommended to any horse lover. This is due to their need for development space and, as they grow and reach the taming age, around three and a half years old, the owner must have a qualified trainer.

Those who purchase foals must be able to provide the proper space for them to interact with others, which helps (a lot) in developing the animal’s temperament. In addition, the taming work is fundamental and must be done by a highly capacitated professional who respects the animal’s time. The buyer needs to understand that how the foal is brought up, from the purchase moment, will shape the adult horse.

This purchase can be a shot in the dark. If left free until taming, it is subject to risks such as snake bites, colic, being struck by lightning, and more. However, if all goes well, it can become a profitable business, because it costs about one sixth of the price of an adult horse and can be shaped as the owner desires.

Article translated from Adestramento Brasil, original publication here

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