Has anyone bought a horse sight-unseen? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 06-23-2011, 10:14 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2008
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Has anyone bought a horse sight-unseen?

I ask because I know people who have and had great experiences, and I know some who have gotten a completely different horse than they expected (drugged, not nearly as trained as advertised, etc.) I'm currently looking at this Arab/QH cross from a rescue. The lady who runs the facility has been very accommodating to my million and one questions has asked a lot of me and what I'm looking for in order to match me up with the right horse, which I appreciate. I had actually inquired about a different horse but after telling her all about me she doesn't seem to think he'd be the best fit and we've been talking about another mare she has. She is in another state though so it would be a sight-unseen adoption (proceeds go to the rescue). Horse ended up there only because her owner could no longer afford to feed her. Just wanted to solicit some opinions or here anyone's experiences if they've bought a horse without seeing it...!

Last edited by steedaunh32; 06-23-2011 at 10:19 PM.
steedaunh32 is offline  
post #2 of 17 Old 06-24-2011, 02:23 AM
Join Date: May 2011
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personally no, and i'm of the opinion that you need to get to know the horse before you buy. I bought my first horse based on a half-hour ride, and it was a huge mistake. It caused me three years of misery and i lost all my confidence as a rider. The last two i bought after leasing them (one lease to buy) for over a month. Sadly my second horse died, but my horse now (third) is wonderful and we're a great match. I realize that my situation was unique and not an option to most riders, but based on what I've gone though buying after one ride is not what i believe in. I've tried out many horses, and i'm pretty sure one of them was drugged, so i'm always very cautious.

However, for your situation i would say you could probably trust the rescue lady. If she's taking the time to find a good match for you and describe in detail everything, then she seems like someone who genuinely cares. I would ask her what happens if it turns out you and the horse aren't a good match. If the horse seems to fit what you are looking for, then i would say try it out. If you are an experienced horse-person, you could re-train or finish the horse (if not already done) and sell it even if things don't work out. People buy horses from around the world based on pedigree, so buying a horse from out of state doesn't seem too outlandish. You might want to check with the law though, some states have certain requirements that need to be fulfilled before shipping. Also, be sure that the horse is good with trailering, otherwise it will not be a good start!

It all depends on what you want. I personally pick horses based on their personality, not breed etc. While i would not myself buy a horse i've never met, for your situation it doesn't sound too bad.
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post #3 of 17 Old 06-24-2011, 03:31 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Western Australia
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I have and I have no intentions of ever doing it again.

You can not rely on the word of anybody when it comes to purchasing/adopting a horse off them.

Trojan 09.11.02 - 26.10.10 // Kody 01.09.89-25.06.12 // Rex 05.11.95-21.12.12
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post #4 of 17 Old 06-24-2011, 04:15 AM
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Canada
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Unless you're able to go spend time with the horse in question and get it vetted, I'd recommend not going through with it.

I only ever sold one horse and it was online, sight unseen. I was honest with the buyer and didn't have anything to hide and spoke for hours with her. In the end they weren't a good match and the mare ended up being resold within a year. You just don't know if your personalities are going to work together. Everything 'sounded' good but reality was different.

I've known a few rescues and while I think it's noble to rescue, and part of our job as animal lovers, they do come with baggage and personally I'd want to know the reality of all that the horse entails. If you're keen on the horse, why not spend a few dollars and a bit of time going out to see her? In the end it might save you a lot of money in training fees, frustration, and vet bills. On the bright side you could be a perfect match and you still will not have spent a 'great' deal of money. Piece of mind is priceless.

Good luck. Let us know what you decide:)
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post #5 of 17 Old 06-24-2011, 05:29 AM
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Michigan
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I have bought a horse site unseen. I got lucky, he was just as described and healthy. I am set on a particuliar breed and there arent any I like in my state.

Would I do it again? With that breeder, yes, I am trying to buy the horses full sister too. Was it a good idea? Heck NO, poeple LIE....a lot.
If I was you, I would try to find someone to go look at the horse for you and report back and get good videos, not just video of a loose horse or riding, but a video if haltering, grooming, riding inside and out, etc.
SaddleDragon is offline  
post #6 of 17 Old 06-24-2011, 10:09 AM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Australia
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I have a friend (I use the term loosely) who bought an eventer sight unseen.

He ended up being WAY too much for her (and most people I know - he bolted with me, and with a friend of mine who is AMAZING) and a cribber to boot. Never again will they even consider buying sight unseen. I won't either, and I won't sell to someone who can't make the effort/time to come and see anything I were to offer for sale. We're not THAT remote, if we can get to the city to see horses then people can get to us. Plus the horse scene locally is pretty big compared to population size.
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post #7 of 17 Old 06-24-2011, 10:12 AM
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I don't want to be mean, but I think buying a horse sight unseen is the dumbest thing to do, ever.
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post #8 of 17 Old 06-24-2011, 10:27 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: NC
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Technically yes, I bought a horse that was out of state for a client, but we had lots of photos, plenty of video, and a long conversation with their vet to ours before agreeing to purchase. He was everything we had hoped he would be, except a few years older than described. He was around 10 instead of 7.

All in all, I don't recommend it, but if you do, take all the precautions you possibly can, and get whatever "guarantees" they may offer in a sales contract.

"Keep a leg on each side and your mind in the middle"
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post #9 of 17 Old 06-24-2011, 10:46 AM
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I know lots of people that have bought horses sight unseen and done OK, but I never have and wouldn't. Contrary to those that think they can assess a horse by pictures, you pretty much have to put your hands on a horse to assess tendons, joints, and some bone structure.

When I was a breeder I refused to sell sight unseen, even though I had lots of in-utero requests and requests from photos and referrals...
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post #10 of 17 Old 06-24-2011, 10:58 AM
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Eh, not exactly the same as deliberately buying sight unseen, but the gelding who became my heart horse came to me sight unseen, and completely unlooked for.

I had a horse who wasn't working out due to health issues, and his breeder agreed to take him back and refund my money. Unknown to me, he felt badly because the horse was ill and he didn't have another that age trained, so scoured the countryside looking for a suitable replacement.

The day he came to pick up the sick gelding, he called and said he had my 'new' horse on the trailer with him. I was caught flat footed, since I wasn't aware he'd been trying to find another horse for me.

That little bay gelding wasn't something I was even interested in, as he was tiny, thin, scruffy, muddy, had no mane or tail to speak of, and had the biggest ears I'd ever seen on an equid who wasn't actually a donkey or mule.

The breeder begged me to give him a chance, as he said the bay had much better breeding than his own gelding.

Long story short, that horse became my everything, and I had him for 21 years until the day I had to have him put down. He's buried out in my front pasture.

So yes, a sight unseen horse can work out, but why take the chance? I believe that Conny and I were fated to be together, which is the only reason our story was a success.

You want the truth? You can't HANDLE the truth!
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