National Horse Supply has a nice blog post on buying a horse. They warn,
” Buying a horse is a lot like buying a used car. Unscrupulous horse traders will exercise the “stink” out of them before you get there or even drug them to make an unmanageable horse appear calm. Horses are easy to buy and hard to sell.
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” Ask the horse owner to show you what the horse can do. Have the owner pick up the horse’s feet. Can the owner touch the horse anywhere on it’s body? Inside the ears, above the tail, on the flanks, legs, and belly too? Watch the interaction between the horse and the owner to see how the horse reacts. I always figure if something bad is going to happen it’s better to have it happen to the guy who’s trying to sell you the darned animal!