Looking to buy a horse - evaluating ads - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 10-08-2013, 08:36 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: New South Wales, Australia
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Looking to buy a horse - evaluating ads

So I've started looking to buy a new horse, something that's quiet and well broken, done trails and stuff and probably will eventually sell my OTTB as my back problems have flared up and don't have the "nerve" to push when I have to (if you know what I mean). I've actually got a decent budget but I guess I'm having some troubles.

I found a horse I really like, okay age, good height and breed and the seller says it's great with trails and some other stuff that I really want to get into. It's at the top of my price range but I can swing it. He's far away though (3 hours) which is okay, but I haven't seen him yet and I'm just getting a weird feeling from the seller. He was advertised online through a local facebook group and they just haven't seemed too forthcoming, apparently they are selling him for a "friend", but their page seems to be only horse stuff, and hardly used. I want to see him, but I don't want to spend the time and money driving out to see a horse that isn't exactly genuine. How do you guys decide if a seller seems genuine, and if the horse is worth the time?
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post #2 of 8 Old 10-08-2013, 08:41 PM
Join Date: Sep 2013
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I have never bought a horse before, but when adopting or getting other animals i always go with my gut! if it doesn't feel right then it usually isn't. I cant tell you how many times i have responded to adds for critters for sale and got a seedy feeling only to find out later after i backed out that the critter they were selling had issues, or that the person themselves was bad.

this isnt always the case, but im a believer in following gut when u can.
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post #3 of 8 Old 10-08-2013, 08:43 PM
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: New Mexico
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In my experience any weird feeling from the seller is a big red flag! Trust your gut. Have you talked to who ever is selling the horse on the phone yet? Sometimes it is easier to judge a phone call then an email for me.
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post #4 of 8 Old 10-08-2013, 09:16 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: New South Wales, Australia
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I haven't talked on the phone, that's one of the things bothering me, I readily offered my number after a message or two, but they didn't share theirs. I wouldn't go down without calling, but it all feels strange.

I'm comparing this with two other horses I've inquired about recently. Neither is as ideal, one is younger and less experienced, one is older and more of slow goer, but both sellers are being great. The younger one contacted me after I inquired if the horse was still available, asking if I had any questions, and readily answered multiple messages volunteering lots of information about the horse, and seems keen for me to come out. The other one responded via email answering questions and informing me they were making a video this weekend that they would send through to me.

The younger, less experienced one sounds good because it's only an hour away. It does have some faults but no horse is going to be perfect, and I'd rather a seller that volunteers the faults rather than me buying a horse that sounds perfect and then discovering them later. This one it all seems rather minor too, stuff that will get better with regular work.

Buying horses is hard :(
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post #5 of 8 Old 10-08-2013, 11:37 PM
Join Date: Nov 2011
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I agree with others to go with your gut instinct but it can be hard if you've found a horse that sounds ideal. Could you ask if you can have the actual owners contact details? Even if they are selling on behalf I would still want to speak with the owner of the horse if possible before I went to view, especially if it isn't that close by.
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post #6 of 8 Old 10-09-2013, 12:29 AM
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Not calling you is a red flag to me. If you go, don't go alone!
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post #7 of 8 Old 10-09-2013, 12:31 AM
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Calgary, AB, Canada
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What's in a sales ad and what the horse is really like are two very different things. When I was searching for my horse I can't even count the times I came home disappointed, cause the horse I looked at was nothing like advertised.

One of the most important things I found is be prepared to walk away. Getting a dishonest / weird vibe from a seller would be a definite red flag for me. If they're selling the horse for "a friend" and can't offer any proper background, ask to be put in touch with the "friend". Getting a seller is honest and transparent is SO important...

Horses are very much a buyer's market, don't let anyone pressure you into anything. That "perfect horse", chances are it will still be there next week, and also there will be many more of them out there. You don't seem like you have unreasonable requirements, sp be patient and turn down anything you aren't looking for.
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post #8 of 8 Old 10-09-2013, 01:06 AM
Green Broke
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I'd say that you need to speak to the OWNER of the horse over the phone by a certain date or you are no longer interested. If they can't offer that courtesy, then you pretty much have your answer. If they are genuine sellers looking to find a home for their horse, then that should light a fire under their butts.

I understand both sides of the issue. In my search for a horse I looked at a few different horses a few hours away on two occasions. On the first trip we went to look at a mare that sounded like she fit the description, but almost no other info about her was provided. I rode her twice and she was wonderful, but declined to buy her for reasons unrelated to the sellers (liked another horse better, but he didn't pass the vet). Turned out the horse was owned by a cowboy that knew nothing about English horses, and he had no clue how to sell them to a non-local if that makes sense. I probably wouldn't have looked at the horse were we not going to be in the area anyway because of the cruddy ad, but I'm glad that we gave her a shot.

The second time we went in the same general area we only went to try out one mare that seemed perfect for me. The seller was very accommodating, easy to get along with, etc. All interactions with her were pleasant, and we had two lovely rides on the mare. However, there were a few little flags that went off that made both my trainer and me a bit uneasy. A couple of things that the seller said such as how she had bred the mare several years back, and how she didn't become much calmer like other mares after being bred. Little comments like that which probably wouldn't have slipped out if we hadn't spent lots of time around her.

We ended up taking that mare on trial, then became aware of some of her "issues" (spooky and prone to bucking) from a concerned third party. We sent her back immediately.

If I hadn't gone to see that first mare despite the cruddy sales ad and lack of communication, I could have passed on a wonderful horse. However, if I had listened to my gut on the second mare I wouldn't have come dangerously close to buying a dangerous horse!! If nothing else, I would try to find any other horses in your prospective horse's general area and make a trip of it. This way you won't have made the trip for nothing, you'll be exposing yourself to more horse options, and you won't have blinders on because you're so desperately wanting to like this one particular horse.
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