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3 Ways Horse Shopping is just like House Shopping

3 Ways House Shopping is the same as Horse Shopping

About a year and half ago I embarked on one of the most exciting, frustrating and difficult experiences of being an equestrian: horse shopping. I’ve written about my personal trials and tribulations and even given some advice on the subject. But now, I’m going back through and re-reading all of those posts for an entirely different reason: I’m house shopping. Right about now you’re probably asking yourself what the heck horse shopping has to do with buying a house. Well dear reader, I’m really glad you asked because I’m going to tell you just how similar they are!

range of emotions

#1 You go through a roller coaster of emotions

Whether you’re buying a new equine partner or shopping for a roof to put over your head, it’s an emotional process. And let me tell you, the process is a wild ride. You start by questioning yourself (Is this the right time? Is this the right choice?) and then you start dreaming about exactly what you want (16.2hh bay with chrome and a 10 jump or 2,000 sf with 3 beds and 2.5 baths). For those A-type personalities out there, this is when THE LIST makes an appearance — must-haves, wants, deal-breakers.

And then you finally find ‘the one.’ A horse you want to take on trial or a house you want to make an offer on. And it’s so exciting! It really might happen in a matter of a few days and your quest will be over. But then, something happens and it doesn’t work out and you’re crushed.

Of course, you forge ahead but with now your eyes are wide open. And of course, eventually you find the right horse… or house… that you were meant to have. Maybe not all of your wishlist criteria are met, but it’s the right combination of what you need and things you can live with, for a price you’re willing to pay. And it’s a huge relief to finally be done with shopping!

Big Eq and Zillow

#2 The internet is both the best and worst thing to ever happen

Thanks to Dreamhorse, BigEq, Zillow and Trulia you can access thousands of horses or homes for sale by taking two minutes to fill out a form. At first, this is amazing. You find so many horses you like and a bunch of open houses you want to attend. Plus, you get so much useful information about price – what can you get for what you can afford?

But then you realize if it’s too good to be true… it probably is. The house looks nothing like what it did in the pictures and that horse is definitely NOT 16.2hh. And you kind of want to curse the internet and throw your computer out the window.

Horse Trainer and Real Estate Agent

#3 Professionals are worth their weight in gold

Not everyone shops for horses or houses with a professional and that’s okay. Personally, I needed help on both fronts. I don’t have a lot of (or any) experience shopping for either horses or houses which mean I don’t know the market that well nor do I know the ins and outs of the process. But aside from all of that, having someone who isn’t quite as invested in the purchase as you can be a huge help.

They’ll make sure you aren’t going hog-wild and can remain calm, cool and collected to advise on if this is a good, financial decision. Like that moment you see a really, fancy Dutch Warmblood that you fall in love with who is $20k over-budget. Or the time I decided I had to walk through a $500,000 house in the best neighborhood in town.

But even if all your trainer or realtor tells you is to be patient, the right one will come along, they’ve earned their commission in my opinion. Because trust me, there will ALWAYS be another one for sale.

3 Ways Horse Shopping is just like House Shopping


Fly On Over is an equestrian lifestyle blog devoted to connecting horse lovers around the world. By providing equestrians with practical tips and tricks related to horse ownership, discussing training techniques for horse and rider, as well as covering industry news.

20 thoughts to “3 Ways House Shopping is the same as Horse Shopping”

  1. As an equestrian real estate agent, I loved this!! I would also add that until the keys are in your hand or the horse is in your barn, NOTHING is set in stone in either transaction! Best of luck on your house hunt – when do you close?!

  2. Funny, my parents were house shopping the same time I was horse shopping and we kept saying how similar the experiences were! Good luck!

  3. both of these sound super overwhelming for me lol. no interest in owning a house a present, and while the prospect of horse shopping is pretty exciting to me – i’m very very ok with not being in any rush 😉

  4. I do not envy you. The thought of selling the condo and house hunting and making the closings work is terrifying.
    Good luck in your search!

  5. And like looking for a spouse. And once you have the horse, spouse, and/or house, there’s still a roller-coaster of emotions.
    “Our a/c unit is 30 years old and not pumping cold air!”
    “My horse got cast!”
    “My husband wants to go skiing in the mountains over Christmas. I want to spend time with my family–in the flat Midwest.”

  6. Very timely post! If all goes well my boyfriend and I will be closing on a house in June… but I’m almost afraid to even say that because I’m so sure I’m jinxing it. Anyway I totally agree with all of this!

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