How do I not get screwed?! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 42 Old 10-24-2016, 06:53 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Jul 2013
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How do I not get screwed?!

Hi everybody,
I am looking for my first "real" horse to buy. I have minis but they were auction leftover rescues so purchasing them was very straightforward. Trying to buy privately is proving itself to be a nightmare :/
I have reached out to, oh it has to be at least 15 or 20 different owners about their horses since mid september. Some don't reply, but many have. I live on an island so it is difficult to get to the mainland and try and accommodate peoples' schedules but I really do my best. Twice I've gotten almost all the way there, driven several hours and taken a several hour boat ride (giving everybody full disclosure before we schedule a meeting that it is hard for me to get to them) and have the owner say "well today just won't work, I don't feel like going to the barn/something popped up". UGH. I have also had it happen where I get to the mainland, ask for somebody's address and tell them I'm on my way after agreeing on a day and time for them to say "somebody came an hour ago and put a deposit on the horse, sorry". The worst thing to happen to me so far was recently. I found my DREAM horse, and I really mean dream. Stunning Freisian sport horse, as close as possible to where I live, and I really clicked with the owner. Owner said she loved me, loved the way I rode and was gentle with her mare and was willing to wait for as long I needed to get my end sorted out before officially buying her and taking her home. Everything just clicked together perfectly until a week later, I get a text saying somebody came out of the blue to ride and bought her that day. WTF! I was/am heartbroken but am resuming the search.

So, I am thinking that maybe I need to start doing this whole "deposit" deal in order to keep potential horses from being swept out from under my feet. I am just worried because of the untrustworthiness of strangers. What if they take my deposit and sell the horse to somebody else anyway? As I am rapidly learning, even if you click with an owner and really think you're a good fit for each other, a quick sale usually seems to tempting. What can I do to prevent myself from getting screwed? Any advice or help appreciated. I am going to see a horse on Wednesday that I'm really enthusiastic about and want to make sure that it doesn't get ruined and end in disappointment like the others.

Last edited by Msail; 10-24-2016 at 06:55 PM. Reason: Clarification purposes
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post #2 of 42 Old 10-24-2016, 07:09 PM
Green Broke
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
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Wow, that is bad luck. I don't know but I wouldn't do the deposit thing. I would have cash in hand and buy what I wanted. That's what I've always done and haven't had bad luck.
Mulefeather and EmberScarlet like this.
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post #3 of 42 Old 10-24-2016, 07:11 PM
Foal
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Ashton, MD
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First off, where are you located? That may help in giving some advice. Also, are you working through a trainer? A lot of sellers don't want to work with people who don't have a trainer as they are seen as less decisive and more of a flight risk on the sale.

Second, unfortunately this is just kind of the way the industry works. Money in the hand now is worth a lot more than waiting for someone to decide whether they want to buy the horse. I've found that generally you won't be allowed to take a lot of time on the decision unless you are working through a friend, a friend of your trainer's, or the horse is quite expensive and the owner can understand needing to make the right decision. Both of my horses were bought in the $15,000 to $30,000 range and I bought them both within a week of trying them, tried them once, put down a deposit, tried them again off property, did a vetting immediately, and brought them home right after they passed the vetting.

Mains doux - Jambes forts - Esprit sensé

Je n'ai pas peur dans la selle
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post #4 of 42 Old 10-24-2016, 07:21 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Jul 2013
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I'm in Massachusetts. I'm doing this on my own, there are no trainers where I live. I can understand why they wouldn't want to do business with somebody without a trainer, but this seems more of like a "I know I told you one thing, buuuuttt..... nevermind!" type of thing. I'm sure the ones who didn't want to do business with me just didn't answer me in the first place. I understand I need to act quickly and have been trying to do this in a matter of days, but again it is incredibly inconvenient. My vet is often busy and can't go out right away and look at the horse, neither can any of the experienced horse people I know. The vet was what I was working on with the Friesian and the owner said she totally understood, it wasn't a problem. How did you deposit work? Were you worried that you wouldn't get the horse? Did you sign anything?

another thing to mention is i likely wouldn't be able to take the horse home that day because it is $300-500 to reserve space for a trailer on the boat and since I'm looking at horses in the $2,000-3,500 range I'm not really willing to shell out 500 bucks to bring my trailer if I don't even like the horse. That's just money that could have gone towards buying a different one.
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post #5 of 42 Old 10-24-2016, 07:29 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2016
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Well honestly I would have everything you needed and take it with you that day so if needed you can just take the horse with you when you leave.
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post #6 of 42 Old 10-24-2016, 07:32 PM
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Join Date: May 2013
Location: Ashton, MD
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When I've done deposits I have signed a contract with the owner that the horse is to go to me in a specified amount of time unless I back out or break the contract or whatever. I leave a check with them at that time but wire the money over or use a money order when the sale is complete and I'm coming to pick up the horse, then I destroy the original check.

I think you may have to come to terms with the fact that due to your situation you will have to do a deposit. If I was selling and someone who had to take a bunch of time to organize trials, vet visits, and trailering was interested in my horse versus another person who could try it and take it home immediately, I'd sell it to the person who could put the money in my pocket fastest. Putting down a deposit shows that you are serious and willing to put some skin in the game and not waste the sellers' time. Especially in your price bracket if someone shows up with a trailer and cash they're going to sell to that person, it's not worth it to hold onto the horse and hope you get back to them.
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Mains doux - Jambes forts - Esprit sensé

Je n'ai pas peur dans la selle
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post #7 of 42 Old 10-24-2016, 07:35 PM
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Join Date: May 2013
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Also, it may be prudent to find a couple different vets who could do your pre-purchase since it seems difficult to schedule with your usual vet. As long as the vet you are using is not the horse's regular vet they will have no reason to lie to you. I had strange to me but well respected vets do both my pre-purchases because I was buying out of state and they went well and were totally honest with me.

Mains doux - Jambes forts - Esprit sensé

Je n'ai pas peur dans la selle
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post #8 of 42 Old 10-24-2016, 07:37 PM Thread Starter
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Dharper, I wish. Ive been suck in this cycle. I see the horse, contact the owner, organize a visit anywhere from 2-4 days later and have somebody ready to go with me be it horse friend or vet, then have them either cancel for whatever reason or that 2-4 days is too long for them.

I'm thinking on Wednesday I will just bring either most of the cash or all of it and have them sign something saying I will pick of the horse within specified time, like sans said
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post #9 of 42 Old 10-24-2016, 07:44 PM
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Join Date: May 2013
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For a deposit I would do a check not cash, cash is too easy to run off with even if you do a contract with a check you can at least have a paper trail for some recourse through your bank.

Mains doux - Jambes forts - Esprit sensé

Je n'ai pas peur dans la selle
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post #10 of 42 Old 10-24-2016, 07:48 PM
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personally I would try to find a place on the mainland to park the trailer and possibly rough board for a few days short notice that way if you walk into a situation and find THE HORSE you can say "i'll give you $2500 cash and take him today" (that is if it's a 3000-3500 horse, cash speaks especially this time of year when everyone is buying hay looking at keep them over the winter out of shape) then if they take the deal you walk away with your horse and spend a bit to keep somewhere until you can take it home

ideal would be if you are doing a prepurchase exam: talk to their vet (make sure the seller is honest) leave a $500 deposit, have YOUR/ANOTHER vet do the prepurchase and then pay the balance and take the horse home

I personally wouldn't get in a super hurry and maybe expand your search distances a bit, depending upon what your goals are with the horse you may be able to travel 2-4 hours farther than you originally intended find a horse that fits you better for a lesser cost. just figuring greater search area opens up more potential horses and since you are only doing this purchase once for now then it's worth the extra time/money to travel a bit farther.

My wife's horse we drove 4 hours for, we took the trailer the first time but she was nervous she was making the wrong choice so we left with an empty trailer, came home then 2 weeks later did the trip again and brought the horse home (now some days she thinks "I wish I would have waited and looked at a few more horses" learning experience before & after that purchase)
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