Are all horses like this, or have we just had some really bad apples? (It's long) - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 09-12-2010, 08:03 PM Thread Starter
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Are all horses like this, or have we just had some really bad apples? (It's long)

I'm kind of new here, but not new to horses.
I started taking riding lessons with a friend-of-a-friend who lived on a ranch when I was 9. When I was 11, my dad bought a 17 year old grade. This horse was very, very sweet. I rode him alot as a little kid. We didnt ride him one winter, and my dad had me show my grandma i could ride. I could tell Jimmy was barn sour, and told my dad. He said, "Nonsense! Make him canter so Grandma can watch." Well..Jimmy cantered..then galloped..down the road, towards the barn. It was thanksgiving day, and I, the 11 year old, rode screaming down the road, with Jimmy's head back by my foot in the stirrup. I eventually got him stopped. But was very shaken. Didn't ride again for a very long time.
That horse died of cushings several years later.
For my 13 birthday, I got to pick out my own horse. The one I picked…was drugged when I test rode him. He became completely different, frequently bucking once we got home. A vet exam and opinion later it turned out it wasn’t his fault: He was proud cut which didn’t help. Sold that horse to a cowboy who could stay on him.
We began frequenting a horse auction not too far from where we lived.
We bought a paint pony for my little sister, mostly as a lawn ordament..Turns out she was a broodmare, and wasn’t terribly rideable.
We also bought a 4 year old paint gelding at the auction SWEET AS COULD BE, EASIEST HORSE TO RIDE. WE loved him..right up until the third time he coliced, and he had to be put down.
My dad bought another paint from a guy who was desperate to sell. This horse was 6 yrs old. And huge. He had a habit of bolting..and eventually bucked my dad in the middle of no where, and he couldn’t really walk for a week.
Those horses went back to an auction. At the same auction, we picked up a very old, sweet half dead mare for my sister. I got a 2 year old mustang filly out of insanity. I also bought at the same auction an 19 year old Arab mare (I had always, always wanted an Arab). She was broke, and really sweet. But soon after getting her she started dropping weight. Teeth floating and adding Equine senior to her diet didn’t help. She died of cancer in my lap 10 months later. The vet who did the euthanasia said she had probably had it longer than we’d had her, and the lady who sold her to me at auction just didn’t want to see her die.
I’m 19 now, and TO this day we still have the mustang filly, and Im thinking about getting another horse, as a project for the days I don’t have college classes. I really, really REALLY want another arab. I want a horse I can take in an arena and run around with…But Im also scared. Scared that it seems the only horses people sell are either sick, or problems no one wants to deal with.
Are all horses like this? DO ALL HORSES BOLT? Or have we just had some bad apples, and unhealthy ones?
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post #2 of 18 Old 09-12-2010, 08:15 PM
Join Date: Jan 2009
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The problem is where you are getting your horses for one thing. Can you get a nice horse for an Auction? Maybe if you are very experienced in what to look for.

Go find a GOOD reputable trainer in your area and see what they have. If they do not have anything suitable for you then ask for their help. This might cost you a bit in commotions but in the end will be well worth the money paid.

Also think about a lease to buy. This way you can try the horse out first before buying.

I have owned a lot of horses over they years. Some I have bought some I have bred. I have yet to have a single horse with the problems you mentioned. Good horses are out there but they are not the cheap ones. Keep in mind that the horse is the cheapest part of buying a horse. Find a good one from a reputable sours and do not go for the cheapest thing you can find. In the end you will save a lot of money and be better off.

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post #3 of 18 Old 09-12-2010, 08:26 PM
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I totally agree with nrhareiner.... as much as you might be tempted to buy at auction cause they're cheaper....your asking for trouble one way or another. Stay away from them! My arab gelding that I had was cheap but he had many issues, but, none that a lot of time and good nutrition plan didn't fix. But, i chose that route cause I saw potential and 'life' in his eyes. And now he is a USDF national champion. But you really do need to be careful what you buy, and maybe next time, bring someone along that has a good eye for faults and such. Good luck!
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post #4 of 18 Old 09-12-2010, 08:53 PM
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I also agree. Buying at an auction is really risky. Not only in what you might get, but what it may bring home, if not properly quarantined.
Perhaps there is a rescue in your area? They are notoriously honest, since they want their horses to have good homes.
Other than that-yes, take your time.....look at lots-the more you try the more you learn, both about horses and yourself. Buying it really IS the least expensive part.

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post #5 of 18 Old 09-13-2010, 03:53 AM
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Location: Arizona
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I'm sure some good horses go through auctions, but auctions are also where people dump their problems. At the very least find a private seller so you can test ride the horse. Maybe even get it on a trial period. I also like the idea of going through a rescue as someone mentioned because they want you and the horse to be a good match.

There are very good horses out there, but you can't just buy one at random. It would be like going to a bar and grabbing a member of the opposite sex at random and expecting them to be a good match for you.

I lucked out and have owned some awesome horses. But I also got two lemons like the ones you described. It takes careful shopping that's for sure.

Shame on the woman with the Arab if she knew it was sick. She should have been responsible and had him euthanized rather than send him to an auction. That is one of my pet peeves. People dumping their old or sick horses. How sad.
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post #6 of 18 Old 09-13-2010, 07:37 AM
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The "motto" that I live by is that if you're going to buy a horse at auction, be prepared to turn right around and send it back to auction the next week. Auction rings are tricky-you may hit the jackpot, and you may-more likely- get the crazies that nobody else could handle and so are selling.

If you want a good one, try finding a local trainer who has a good reputation. It will make your horse experiences that much more enjoyable if you get a horse whose background and training you know.

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post #7 of 18 Old 09-13-2010, 08:05 AM
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Everyone else has a really good point, it can be extremely difficult to pick a good horse at the auction. Either find a good trainer, a good riding stable, talk to your vet, or your farrier. Be prepared to give the horse some time off when it comes home and do some groundwork to asses it's training before you hop on. Ride in a safe area for awhile too.

When you're looking at the horse assess their attitude under saddle, are they happy/tolerant/irritable/etc. Look to see if their tack fits and what kind of bit they're ridden in. Bring at least one other experienced horse person with you and spend some time with the horse. Is it happy to be with people? Watch the owners handle it and ride it. Then you and your friend take turns handling it and watching the other handle it.

Get a contract and at the very least a basic PPE on even the cheapest of horses. Make payment be contingent on passing the PPE with no lameness (or drugs if you go that far). I just got one done on my $450 pony and it was worth every penny. Think of it this way. You don't want to spend $100 on a $450 pony, so you don't. One week down the line the pony comes up lame and you spend $500 trying to figure out what's wrong, only to determine it's ringbone and you have a $950 pony in your backyard that can't be used for what you want it for.

There's a pretty handy website with some horse buying sheets on it. Use them to make sure that you're asking all the questions you should. All in all just be really thorough (to the point of being anal) when buying a horse. If someone gets pissy about a question you have, the horse probably isn't a good fit.
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post #8 of 18 Old 09-13-2010, 09:02 AM
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Let me say first, very good horses at the auctions do exist. I know number of people who bought and I tried auction horses myself. Some are totally awesome. I also know some trainers working with the horses and selling them there (with the low limit set, so it's not cheaper cheaper in 1st place). With that being said you have to be very experienced in horse business to get a right horse and even though you may be ripped off (just chances are much smaller).

Don't go after low $. I do understand that's #1 attracting people to the auctions (not talking about rescues here). In the end you get what you pay for (unless you are very lucky). Go to the reputable barns or horse dealers and look for the horse there. Or if you still wanna go auction road take someone with lots of experience and (preferably) a vet with you. Pay them for their time. More expensive - yes, but it's cheaper than emergency room after dealing with out of hands horse.
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post #9 of 18 Old 09-13-2010, 09:32 AM
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Hey there, it does sound like you have had some bad luck with horses, they are certainly NOT all like that! Here are some tips:

1.) If you are interested in buying a horse, with the horse market the way it is at the moment, always remember that YOU as the buyer hold a lot of power - they want to sell the horse whereas you have a multitude of options as to which horse you will buy. That means that you can see the horse more than once before you decide - go and ride the horse several times over the period of a couple weeks and see what it is like on different days, in different situations. NEVER let a seller put pressure on you to buy, you can walk away and look for something else.

2.) In the contract, stipulate that there is a 7-10 day 'cooling off period' whereby if the horse is wild and crazy when you bring it home you can send it straight back. This is harder to organize and will ususually involve some kind of non-refundable deposit which means that you may lose some of the money you paid, but not all.

3.) Unfortunately, horses end up at auctions for a reason. Sometimes it is simply because they are neglected as the owners couldn't afford/be bothered to pay for them. Even these horses will have a variety of behavioral problems, despite being perhaps the perfect horse once upon a time. Many of them have severe behavioural/health problems and they are bought on a 'you buy 'em you keep 'em basis which means you have no way to argue that you were sold a dud horse.

4.) If it is a low price you are after, do some searching on line, there are thousands of good cheap horses for sale that are in need of a home, at least you can try before you buy with the ones advertised! Just be patient, do some research, go and visit a few and see how you go. A friend of mine picked up a National Show horse a couple months ago for $300. He is 12yo, 15hh, registered, has a string of wins in the showring, is kid and husband safe, perfectly sound and a joy to ride and own so they are out there, you just have to look.

Good luck, I hope you don't give up on your search for the perfect horse, I assure you there will be one out there for you.

All horses deserve, at least once in their lives, to be loved by a little girl.
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post #10 of 18 Old 09-13-2010, 11:35 AM
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I hate to compare horses like this but its sorta true:::

Horse buying is like car can go to the police auction, but you run the risk of buying the car with the blown shocks and no breaks!

Or you can go to the dealership and get test drive the car! A lot of trainers who sell horses also let you do vet checks (well the reliable ones do!) so you know you are buying a sound horse as well!

Good horses are exspensive, but that too is like a can buy the clunker for under a grand and pay ten times that much to fix it up, or just get the nice car and not have to worry about large problems for a little bit.

(IF only horses came iwth a warrenty as well...)
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