Advice please - Horse purchase/trial period/short lease - ? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 12-10-2015, 12:34 PM Thread Starter
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Horse purchase/trial period/short lease - ?

I'm an older 'new' rider. 52, and bought my first horse last February. For various reasons this nice little mare wasn't the perfect horse for me, so I recently sold her to a buyer who is a much better fit. I'm again looking for my perfect horse and I have a better idea what that will be like now (I learned so much from the first horse, and "broke even" on the sale - so I actually consider it a positive experience).

I'm looking at a horse that I've known about for a year or so (wasn't for sale when I bought originally). She seems exactly what I'm looking for - is very well trained, good age, temperament seems great. I'd like to propose a short 'lease' to them (2 weeks or 30 days)... at a nice barn - So that I can try her and make sure she is as willing and tolerant of a learning rider as she seems. This isn't a hugely expensive purchase so I could simply absorb the risk, but I know how difficult it is to sell even a nice horse (after having just been through it) - so I don't have time for another mistake. Can you suggest wording that would be fair to both parties without being overly stark and heavy-handed? The seller almost seems more at risk here, so I want to reassure them. I'm not looking for reasons for this to fall through. Is there even some simple way to do escrow? BTW, I'm talking about a good trail horse - not a show horse. I'd start w/ a baseline vet check for both of us, but what is common procedure if the animal falls ill while in my care... I think I would pay to stall board to minimize risk...

Anyway - Help?

Last edited by Folly; 12-10-2015 at 12:41 PM.
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post #2 of 17 Old 12-10-2015, 02:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Folly View Post
I'm an older 'new' rider. 52, and bought my first horse last February. For various reasons this nice little mare wasn't the perfect horse for me, so I recently sold her to a buyer who is a much better fit. I'm again looking for my perfect horse and I have a better idea what that will be like now (I learned so much from the first horse, and "broke even" on the sale - so I actually consider it a positive experience).

I'm looking at a horse that I've known about for a year or so (wasn't for sale when I bought originally). She seems exactly what I'm looking for - is very well trained, good age, temperament seems great. I'd like to propose a short 'lease' to them (2 weeks or 30 days)... at a nice barn - So that I can try her and make sure she is as willing and tolerant of a learning rider as she seems. This isn't a hugely expensive purchase so I could simply absorb the risk, but I know how difficult it is to sell even a nice horse (after having just been through it) - so I don't have time for another mistake. Can you suggest wording that would be fair to both parties without being overly stark and heavy-handed? The seller almost seems more at risk here, so I want to reassure them. I'm not looking for reasons for this to fall through. Is there even some simple way to do escrow? BTW, I'm talking about a good trail horse - not a show horse. I'd start w/ a baseline vet check for both of us, but what is common procedure if the animal falls ill while in my care... I think I would pay to stall board to minimize risk...

Anyway - Help?
I'll be interested in the responses to this question, as well. As a newer rider, I had very much wanted to lease or get a trial on a horse before I purchased one, but it became very clear to me that no one wanted to part with a horse around here under those terms. I was eventually offered a lesson horse on lease by my trainer who wanted to defray some of her costs over the winter and I would have taken her up on that but I didn't really like riding the horse very much as he had an extremely hard trot. She also disclosed that he had a history of severely injuring a rider prior to coming to her.

Like you, I ended up purchasing a horse and she may prove to be too spooky for me as a relative beginner, having already dumped me once on a spook from a dead stop. I'm committed to her because I think she just needs a bit more training and a few more miles, but if she proves me wrong I will be in the same boat as you.

Hope you can find a solution. The best advice I can give you is to connect with people in the horse world locally because it's very likely no one is going to lease or trial a horse with someone they don't really know or trust.
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post #3 of 17 Old 12-10-2015, 06:18 PM
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I purchased a horse after a trial period. The horse was over 100 miles away from my home. The owner was OK with taking a non-refundable deposit that we agreed on to allow me to take the horse to try for 30 days. I thought that was fair as it would take the horse off the market for that time. We made up a contract together that spelled out responsibilities. The contract included my driver's license number for ID.

Taking a horse on trial was unheard of back in the day and in the region I was living in. I told the owner I was surprised he would do that and his reply was "I know you will like him and won't be bringing him back". And he was right!

Of course, back then people weren't so likely to sue each other.
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post #4 of 17 Old 12-10-2015, 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Whinnie View Post

Of course, back then people weren't so likely to sue each other.
This is what I was told when I suggested a trial period for one horse I wanted to buy. "Oh, no. We would never do that. There's too much liability."

They are mainly worried about what happens and who is responsible during transit to and from your property, or if the horse gets sick while in your care. Whose fault is it the horse got sick? Was it sick before you got it, or did something you did make it sick? I guess this issue has come up and ended up in court in the past.

By the way, I should add that I am also new to riding at the ripe age of 56 and we have a whole thread dedicated to those of us who are 50 and up. It's in the Horse Talk forum, and you should feel free to join us there!
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post #5 of 17 Old 12-10-2015, 07:09 PM
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You could word it something like, " Would you consider a trial period? She would only be returned if we didn't suit each other & she was in the same or better condition than when she left."

Kind of a 'you broke it, you bought it' situation.

I took a trial period on a 8 y.o. hot greenie Arabian. We agreed that if I didn't want her she would be returned & the owner would pay me for a month of training. Win/win as the owner was having trouble selling the horse after anyone rode her & a month of training could possibly help with that.
I gave references & the owner came & inspected my place before the trial.
You can make any terms you both agree with, there are no set rules.
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post #6 of 17 Old 12-10-2015, 09:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Folly View Post
I'd start w/ a baseline vet check for both of us
Sorry, this made me smile a little. I didn't realize the human needed a vet check too ;).

I was not given the option of a trial, the seller was too worried that something could happen to the horse's health or training and she would end up with an unusable horse that she could never sell.

If you are not too far away, you could suggest a paid on-property lease where the owner could have an eye on what you two are doing.
Another option if the seller is reluctant about a lease would be for you to buy the horse and arrange the option to return her in the same condition within 14 or 30 days. This way you would bear the risk instead of the seller, since she would be your horse during the trial period.

For illnesses and injuries, I think in this case it would be fair that you pay for any vet bills and offer to buy the horse if she gets injured or ill in your care. This is also why it would be important to do the ppe before you bring her to your property.
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post #7 of 17 Old 12-10-2015, 09:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Regula View Post
Sorry, this made me smile a little. I didn't realize the human needed a vet check too ;).

If you are not too far away, you could suggest a paid on-property lease where the owner could have an eye on what you two are doing.

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I think this would be the most favorable situation if possible. If I were selling my horse I would not object to a short trial period or be concerned about the care of my horse since that wouldn't change. The buyer and trainer would be coming to my barn and riding the horse with my or the BO's supervision. I think a small nonrefundable deposit would be fair.
.
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post #8 of 17 Old 12-11-2015, 12:13 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Regula View Post
Sorry, this made me smile a little. I didn't realize the human needed a vet check too ;).
Haha - I actually re-read my post after it was too late to edit, and it made me smile/cringe. Did sound funny....

Everyone has good points. Honestly, I probably wouldn't have done a trial or lease on the horse I just sold... just too many things could go wrong. I am sensitive to the seller's side. No one around here seems to do leases especially for trail horses. Before I bought mine, I searched high and low. I was looking at a gelding a few weeks ago (before I sold mine) and thought a lease might actually work out (I knew the owners), but then they found a buyer. Don't blame them - I would have sold too.

If I can't do off-site I do want to go ride her several times on their property. Well, I suspect it won't fly but I still might run it by them. I would expect the 'terms' to be very favorable to them. The sellers seem reasonable, and I am a reasonable person - so maybe we can figure something out. If not, I may just have to trust my instincts and PPE.

On another topic - I need to check out the over 50 thread for sure. Thanks - I will drop in
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post #9 of 17 Old 12-11-2015, 06:59 AM
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I am actually going thru this as a seller at the moment. My prospective buyer wants a trial, and I found this draft agreement which seems to cover most eventualities.
https://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&r...N-hWjFSczpNoBA

We initially didnt want to do a trial period, but as finding the right home is very important for us, it means that if our pony proves unsuitable she can come back to us rather than getting sold on and on or ending up at the knackers.

We intend to get at least 50% of selling price as a deposit, and take their drivers licence number so we can track them down if needed (and I'll probably take down their licence plate number of car and float too)

I think you need to go with a gut feeling of whether you feel the people are nice and will take care of your horse. If you feel at all uncomfortable or just get that feeling that you dont like them, then dont sell to them. It's your horse, your choice.
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post #10 of 17 Old 12-11-2015, 08:22 AM
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I can see why owners don't want to lease their horses out...the wrong person can really mess a horse up, even in a month. However, as a potential buyer, I totally see your reasoning, too! I am actually in your situation...I am leasing a horse right now with the possibility to buy in the future. However, the owner is my BFF's sister, so she's known me a long time. Not sure she would've done that for just anyone.
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