horse buying etiquette?
Hi everyone, I am new to this forum and new to buying horses as last time i did this I was about 10 so I have no idea the logistics of purchasing a horse! But I have found a horse through a local internet post and have already met the horse several times, spoke with the owner who is my age ( 34) and isn't up on all the do's and dont's so to speak. We have agreed on a price and the transaction will take place in a few days...the horse will remain at the place he is and I will take over that boarding fee but my question is do I need a pre purchase vet check? Is that a super formal thing or a very important thing? I can presume there will be no contract between us, maybe her giving me his papers... is this kind of transaction ok or should I be getting all formal and by the book on her? Sorry so long:) Thanks in advance everyone!
I would get a bill of sale also. I would get a pre purchase exam (and did when I bought my horse in July) especially since you are new to this.
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At minimum a basic contract/bill of sale
Seller (name) sells horse (name) to buyer (name) for sum of ($).
(Details if horse is registered)
Seller sells horse as is. No warranties expressed or implied. Horse is/is not up to date on vaccninations, worming, farrier.
Whatever else you want - such as
Buyer agrees to:
Start paying board on x day, etc.
Horse is sold with - halter, lead rope, saddle, etc
I would suggest an impartial witness to also sign the contract.
If the horse is supposed to be registered, ask to see the papers and match them up to the horse to ensure they are the papers for that horse.
Ensure the person selling the horse is the last recorded owner and they have signed over the transfer papers to you.
Get a bill of sale. The scammers make themselves out as the nicest people. It might not be their horse, and after you've paid for it, the real owner comes and wants their horse.
I would definitely do the pre-purchase, and I would make sure you are present for the pre-purchase. Some of the best information to be gained from a PPE comes from conversation w/ the vet, and may not make it into the written report. You also want to be able to ask questions on the spot. The seller may also want to be present, and that's fine. Do also get a copy of the horse's medical records.
As the others have said, execute some simple bill of sale, and make sure you have what you need to register the horse in your name.
If you'll be leaving the horse at the same barn, I'd assume the barn owner will want you to sign a boarding contract.
You don't have to get all formal and by the book on her, but you should do the basics to protect yourself and her. If you're wondering why you should, just browse this section of the forum to find all the ways this can go bad.
Also, make sure that you have your OWN vet to do a pre-purchase exam on the horse. I would never go through with a sale until the PPE is completed by a vet that I trust. Some people will suggest that their vet do the PPE, and every now and then you'll get someone who's honest, but I've heard of many occasions where the seller and vet had an under the table deal and the buyer got stuck with a horse with some serious health issues.
The first horse I had vet checked did horribly. He was dead lame that day, and the vet said that based on her observations he will likely be lame often and unpredictably. The seller was going to try and sell that horse for $3,000, but talk around the barn revealed that they've been trying to give him away for months. >:(
My current horse, however, had a nearly perfect vet check which is exactly what his previous owners were expecting. Since Sock was living quite far from my vet, I asked him for a recommendation for a good vet in the Modesto area to do the check.
Although it's not a warranty, a PPE done by a vet you know or who was recommended to you by a knowledgeable horse person can give you some peace of mind when buying. If the current owner refuses to let you get the horse checked before you buy, I don't care how sweet that horse is, run. FAST.
I hope all goes well! Just sharing my recent experience from one new horse owner to another. It's a wonderful thing when you find your perfect horse. :)
As far as the actual transaction, the most important things are to get a signed bill of sale (this is your proof of ownership) and his registration certificate with a signed transfer form when you pay. Most folks that pay with a promise of getting the papers later never get them (if they even exist).
Welcome to the forum!
It is a real shame that you need to hear all these warnings but they come from years of experience. There have been so many members who have not followed the advice for one reason or another and now have to post a question about what to do about a sick or hurt horse.
The same goes for the barn where you will keep him. Be sure you have in writing what the BO will be responsible for and how much it costs. We've heard of boarders who, when they go to leave a barn, get hit with a huge bill for services that they thought were included in the monthly fee. Things like turning the horse out, blanketing your horse, worming him, holding him for the vet, etc. Get everything up front so there are no surprises latter.
As for the papers in the seller's name, many times a horse will transfer from one owner to another without the seller appearing on the papers. That's fine as long as the transfer papers have been signed by the last person to have registered the horse. If in doubt, call that person. I've bought many horses that were sold without the seller being on the papers. I've sold many horses without having their registration papers put into my name first. I've been riding my current horse, Bonnie, for nearly 6 months but haven't gotten around to transferring her to my name. I have all the proper paperwork, just haven't gotten around to it. If I sold her tomorrow, I would just give the papers as they are to the new owner.
let your eyes be your judge and your pocket your guide
All that being said, once you get your perfect (or nearly perfect) horse, it's well worth the extra time and/or effort. In fact, because of some of the complications I had with sellers, I kept looking and found something even better! I actually like him even better than the horse I was going to buy from my old trainer and I'd known him for 5 years. No doubt I would've been happy with him as well, but I feel like Sock and I were destined to be together. I hope this horse is the same for you! Let us know how things go! :D
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