First of all buying your family horse or pony needs a lot of thought and planning. Hopefully you will keep it for a long time, therefore choose one for the type of work expected of it. It is best to buy from a friend or neighbor, and the worst way to purchase is from the public auction.
It must be very quiet and have a good temperament. Looks is not a prime importance but conformation does help to make the animal comfortable to ride. Buying a show horse or pony is a job for an export, because looks and conformation is very important.
Most horses and ponies are bought for general use. Having found a possible purchase, make arrangements to go and see it. To check it over thoroughly for any defects in conformation.
Make sure it has no bad habits, such as kicking or biting. Also see how it is to put a halter on , in the paddock or field. Also note its behavior when saddled and bridled. These are very important factors.
Next is its sex, whether a mare, gelding, or stallion. A mare or gelding makes the best riding horse. A stallion can be very dangerous to a novice. Most mares are very affectionate towards their owner. Myself I prefer a mare. Geldings are usually very amenable if well handled as youngsters. They usually get along with each other and mares when turned out together. Advantage to having a mare though is that once her riding days are over, she may be used as breeding.
This factor is very important, a horse is useless unless it has four sound feet.
After finding a suitable horse or pony, you should have it checked by a veterinarian before you purchase. This will entail a full and thorough examination.
First they look for any sort of vice, such as to wind sucking or crib-bite. Also he will be able to note whether the animal is quiet.
The teeth are checked for age and the shape they are in. A thorough examination of the body is so important. A must.
The vet describes the color of the horse and the markings. Also to determine the exact height of the animal. This is very important if you plan on showing,
If the examination is satisfactory and the vet gives his approval then you can go a head and purchase it. If the vet gives you the advice not to purchase then I would take his advice or get a second opinion.
It is very important to take your time and be thorough when purchasing your horse or pony, It will be worth your time, effort and value of your new family pet.