Note to Horse Sellers: We Are Not Idiots. We Are Polite.

Dear Horse Seller:

Have you been getting weak excuses when people aren’t interested in a horse you have just shown?

Let’s say I’m looking at a young, green horse. He’s a little goofy and little unfinished. Not a problem. If his natural talent makes my jaw drop, I’m not going to care if his three gaits are walk, jig, and buck. If he is six months away from making a cute but unexceptional kid’s horse, I am unimpressed by how well-behaved he is today. My boat is not floated.

Let’s say I’m looking at a schoolmaster. He’s expensive. He’s got two years of active competing left, then he will have to be stepped down with a loss of most or all of the purchase price. If this means I will be able to reach a level that I had never expected to achieve – for example, Third Level dressage to get the final scores for my USDF Bronze – and I’m fortunate enough to have the money, hell yeah. If it means two years of packing around Training Level eventing and I’m riding Prelim, not so much.

It’s all about exit strategy.

The horse is too small. The horse is special but not special enough. His talent is average. Our ideas on his value are so far apart that it would be insulting to make an offer based on what I think he’s worth. Do you have any IDEA how lame your horse is?

I’m not going to say any of this to you. Back in the mists of time, we once told a seller what we really thought of his horse. That’s a mistake we won’t make again. At this point, I’ve decided I don’t want your horse. Now, I’m just trying to find a way to leave with everyone’s ego intact. So yeah, I’m going to pick an inoffensive attribute that you already know. Your young horse is too young. Your project horse is too much of a project. Your investment horse is too much of an investment.

Watch the checkbook. If it comes out, I like the horse; if it doesn’t, I don’t. The words are just noise.

Sincerely,
A Prospective Buyer

Which is a long way of saying we went to look at a horse last weekend. Lucky 13 was not.

At least I got a blog post out of it.

Categories: Horses

6 replies »

    • In general, I think it has been a lack of horsemanship rather than a lack of honesty. Perhaps it is easier for someone who doesn’t know the horse to see that a behavioral issue is related to a mechanical one.

      The density thing, yes.

  1. “Back in the mists of time, we once told a seller what we really thought of his horse. ”
    Yeah. Me too. Omigod was she highly offended to be told that her horse was lame in his two front feet and most likely had navicular disease. Lesson learned.
    I’m sorry your search continues 😦

  2. OH LORD; I have told sellers sometimes exactly what I think of their horse and/or how it related to what they were advertised as.

    I’m sometimes guilty of being…. blunt.

    You’re horse is lame. That really sets people off. I can think of 3 people for certain that I pissed off, driving out to see a horse only to see that it’s lame. People get really PO’d when you tell them something they should know. I even had one lady tell me how it wasn’t a problem for her and she still rode him. She didn’t talk to me for years after that. I know her and now we talk, but I’m pretty sure she never forgave me. Apparently she must think I was insulting her intelligence. Well, if you’re riding a lame horse …….. and the shoe fits…….

    Your horse (advertised as a well broke hunter) can barely achieve a decent trot and has no idea how to see its distance. That one will make a seller turn to full kettle boiling, too.

    I just bought (about a month ago) a project pony, that ended up being….. suffice to say, WAY more of a project than I had anticipated. Fortunately, I was able to work out a very long trial period with that seller and the pony went back after 3 1/2 weeks for a refund. NOT every seller is like that.

    I’ve gone to see one horse- that I really liked and ultimately thought a trial would fit my needs – and the seller decided not to sell him, telling me he didn’t think anyone would really buy him and he wasn’t ready to part with him. WTF ?!!! LOL! Don’t put something for sale you have no intentions of selling. Oh, he was lame too – although I suspected a stone bruise which is why I was willing to move forward with a trial.

    It is very frustrating being on the buying end. It’s also hard as hell to be a seller and have to deal with tire kickers, people who shouldn’t be on your horse, but just want a “free ride” one afternoon.

    Whether buying or selling, it’s always an adventure, that’s for sure. And it is SO HARD to find the proverbial “right one”, that’s why it can be so frustrating, and take so long — but man, oh man, when the right one comes along, it’s fantastic!

  3. I’m going through the same thing although this time working through a horse rescue. I’m a little nervous, but the organization has glowing reviews on a non-profit review website and I like what I see on their Facebook Page. It seems a rescue has more motivation to be completely honest as their goal is finding appropriate home placement, not to make a buck. We’ll see what happens. I go to look at said horse tomorrow. 🙂

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