The "X" Factor(s) in Horse Buying - The Horse Forum
 46Likes
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 32 Old 09-25-2015, 08:17 PM Thread Starter
Started
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Gulf Coast
Posts: 2,380
• Horses: 0
The "X" Factor(s) in Horse Buying

I'm starting this thread off of a recently posted thread where a seller is upset because a recently sold horse displayed unknown behaviors once transferred to the new owner. In addition, during the past year, I've visited a few horses and trialed a few horses that had conflicting behaviors, good and bad, than what the owner stated. But the real question seems to be, with so many unknown factors, unless a substantial trial period is agreed to, how will you ever know what you are truly getting and whether or not that horse is match to your level of riding? And how can the owner assure you when so many factors change with new ownership, eliminating health issues that would be exposed through PPE, of course?

How much of a horse's behavior and actions is influenced by rider/owner, environment, tack fitting?

Case in point - I went to look at a Dutch Harness for sale. Big, beautiful gelding, but the owner said he HATED dogs. Her trainer shows up with her new rescue dog, and the horse barely gives him a 2nd glance. Later, the trainer leaves to get something from her car and the horse pins his ears at the dog and stamps his hoof at him. During the visit, the owner and trainer kept giving conflicting views on the horses behavior, but I could tell the owner was nervous around him. As a green rider, but not nervous, I felt it was too risky a roll of the dice on which horse I would get. The trainer's horse, who was calm and eager to please, or the owner's horse who ran over her and made her fear him.

I think this would be a good discussion with more experienced riders on the forum for greenies like myself who hope to one day purchase for themselves and make a good decision in the process. Thoughts?
Tihannah is offline  
post #2 of 32 Old 09-25-2015, 08:34 PM
Foal
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Central Texas
Posts: 175
• Horses: 1
This is why the common advice to beginners is to buy a horse that's so old it's nearly dead lol. Like I wrote in the other thread, I really do feel a horse is a reflection of its environment. I've been amazed at my horses's transition. She went from being returned to the seller for being aggressive in the stall, to being a calm quiet horse that I can sit in the stall and read a book with. Not that I'm any kind of great horse trainer; I don't even consciously know what I did differently, but I guess I'm a calm leader.

If someone who isn't confident in their abilities to handle a lot of different scenarios wants to buy a horse, I think the best solution is to buy an older horse that you feel is actually below your abilities, or work closely with a trainer. Not just during the buying process, but on a regular basis.
Emoore is offline  
post #3 of 32 Old 09-25-2015, 08:49 PM
Trained
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Oregon
Posts: 7,737
• Horses: 2
I'm only on my second horse, but, for me, a good gut feeling is the most important indicator of whether a particular horse is a good match for me.

Both of my horses have been the "crazy" ones, the kind that had been written off by their previous owners because they were too much. Both, for whatever reason, [apparently] acted completely differently for me that they did with their owners. Both times the owners pretty much stated from the get-go that the horse had chosen me and that I needed to take that horse.

I think, in horse buying, one should absolutely take calculated risks and avoid "[s]he's so pretty! I NEED him/her!" If the first thing you think when you see a horse is how beautiful your social media photos could be, that horse probably isn't the right one.


For instance, my first horse, my mare Lacey, was a pasture puff for 14 years before I got her because she had reared over backwards with a guy [at age 10] and seriously injured him.
She absolutely was a handful and she bluffed like she wanted to fight being ridden...but her goal was really just to scare her rider into dismounting and leaving her alone.
When she was ridden sensibly and fairly, and with an eye to her intelligence [she would try her heart out if she understood the "why" behind a request], she was a perfectly quiet mount.
The moment things started going sideways was the moment I, or anyone else, said "I know better than you, Lacey, so be quiet and get to work."

She turned into a fantastic lesson horse - she taught a lot of kids to love riding, and, 2 weeks before she passed away, I cantered her bareback and bridleless without any fear.
Plus it turned out, after I had owned her for 2 years, that she was mostly blind and had been for a significant portion of her life.

Before I met her, her previous owner had already made the appointment to have her put down, but then she saw me catch Lacey from the pasture. I have no idea what it was, but I remember walking Lacey over to her and hearing her whisper to my trainer "this girl is the one. Lacey chose her."

And it was true. I owned her for 4 years, never fell off once. We had more adventures, she saved my butt more than once, and she was always willing to do whatever I asked.

She was an absolutely wonderful creature and I got her because my gut feeling said so.


My current gelding is a "failed" therapy horse because he is "too spooky" for therapy work.
He was absolutely spooky as a therapy horse, but now, with me, without any desensitizing, he is 99% "cured" of spookiness.
It was the same thing with his previous owner - I was actually employed by her for a time and probably my second week working there, she came up to me and told me that she had had a dream that I owned Fabio.
I kind of thought that was ridiculous, but I also wanted it to be true. I had known from the moment I met him that there was "something" there.



Both of these horses gave me that positive vibe that you get from horses that are going to be good for you - kind of like how you can sometimes get a vibe from another human that the two of you are going to get along, before you even meet that person.


I think your reaction to the Dutch Harness Horse was the right one - it sounds like something put you on edge about him, and you listened to it. I think that's the key.
If something puts you on edge about a horse, listen to it, and probably run.
tinyliny, dop, anndankev and 6 others like this.

Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzan gelding

~
Rest peacefully, Lacey.
Wallaby is offline  
post #4 of 32 Old 09-25-2015, 08:55 PM Thread Starter
Started
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Gulf Coast
Posts: 2,380
• Horses: 0
It's only in the past few months that I've come to realize what someone meant when I first started that told me I wasn't ready to buy until I had gained more experience and decided which direction I wanted to go.

The horse I'm leasing now has been with it's current owner for about 8 years or so. She said I would have to groom her in her stall because she wouldn't stand in cross ties. She also fought going into her bridle. She was with me a week before both of these were a non-issue.

From what I've seen, I'm almost scared to buy now. When I buy, I want it to be my "forever" horse, but I'm afraid I'll end up with something far from it. Even with the lease - purchase option I have now. I love her to death, but we keep hitting roadblocks where my trainer feels that my level of riding and her age and lack of training is gonna keep me from any opportunity of advancing past a certain point. :-/
Tihannah is offline  
post #5 of 32 Old 09-25-2015, 09:01 PM Thread Starter
Started
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Gulf Coast
Posts: 2,380
• Horses: 0
Wallaby - I LOVE your story. That is just awesome! I feel a connection to Sidney and I think she's happier with me at my barn getting individualized attention from one rider. I feel she respects me and I'm NEVER nervous or scared when I'm on her. I dread the thought of sending her back to the owner to sit in a small 2 acre pasture with 4 other horses that's over grown with weeds and horse poop. But at the same time, I still yearn for a horse I can eventually excel with and continuously get better, and I know Sidney can only take me so far...
Tihannah is offline  
post #6 of 32 Old 09-25-2015, 09:09 PM
Green Broke
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Alberta, Canada
Posts: 3,053
• Horses: 3
I think a few things come into play.


1)have a list and stick to it. If you want a horse that is well broke and over 7 years old, don't even look at something green or young.if you get nervous on a forward horse don't even concider one. Before you shop get someone knowledgeable to look over your list of musts, must not and prefered qualities.

2)take someone with you that knows about horse lameness and behaviour and knows what you need and want. Taking someone that won't give you a good opinion is worse than useless.

3) be honest with the seller. Showing up a bit early is ok, but showing up really early or late is rude and disrespectful. If a hard to catch horse is a deal breaker, tell them you want to see it caught from the pasture. Also tell them that you want to see it tacked up and warmed up. Some sellers feel like they are doing you a favor having the horse in, groomed, tacked and warmed up.

4) your gut. If a horse ticks all your boxes but something smells fishy or you dislike the seller, seriously concider moving on.

Some things people claim as red flags when buying are often not. I won't do trials ever. We've had horses manes and tails hacked off, horses stolen, lame, etc. I've even seen people buy a horse because they needed a horse for a weekend, then return it 3 days later. So no trials.

And I also think everyone needs to realize that despite taking all appropriate precautions sometimes it just doesn't work. Not all people make good friends and not every horse and rider are well suited.
Posted via Mobile Device
BlueSpark is offline  
post #7 of 32 Old 09-25-2015, 09:15 PM Thread Starter
Started
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Gulf Coast
Posts: 2,380
• Horses: 0
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueSpark View Post
I think a few things come into play.


1)have a list and stick to it. If you want a horse that is well broke and over 7 years old, don't even look at something green or young.if you get nervous on a forward horse don't even concider one. Before you shop get someone knowledgeable to look over your list of musts, must not and prefered qualities.

2)take someone with you that knows about horse lameness and behaviour and knows what you need and want. Taking someone that won't give you a good opinion is worse than useless.

3) be honest with the seller. Showing up a bit early is ok, but showing up really early or late is rude and disrespectful. If a hard to catch horse is a deal breaker, tell them you want to see it caught from the pasture. Also tell them that you want to see it tacked up and warmed up. Some sellers feel like they are doing you a favor having the horse in, groomed, tacked and warmed up.

4) your gut. If a horse ticks all your boxes but something smells fishy or you dislike the seller, seriously concider moving on.

Some things people claim as red flags when buying are often not. I won't do trials ever. We've had horses manes and tails hacked off, horses stolen, lame, etc. I've even seen people buy a horse because they needed a horse for a weekend, then return it 3 days later. So no trials.

And I also think everyone needs to realize that despite taking all appropriate precautions sometimes it just doesn't work. Not all people make good friends and not every horse and rider are well suited.
Posted via Mobile Device
I think this is a good list, and I understand your reasoning, but for me personally, I doubt I would ever buy without a trial on an unknown horse. The only exception I would make is if my trainer or her trainer made the recommendation for me, like my current lease. The advantage for me is that both of these ladies are well aware of my skill and experience and I would trust them to match me to a suitable horse more so than I could match myself. Like others have said, what may be a fantastic horse for one rider, could end up a disaster for another rider.
Tihannah is offline  
post #8 of 32 Old 09-25-2015, 09:21 PM
Showing
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: OK
Posts: 13,725
• Horses: 9
I have horses that are sweet, kind, respectful and KNOW how to behave and wouldn't dream of being naughty under saddle. And I have met people that if I sold one of my horses to them, the horse would be running the show in 30 days or less and be an absolute brute in 60 days.

Why? Because if the human won't lead the horse WILL and that's always a recipe for disaster.

If you won't correct a horse for fear it won't like you, worry that a horse will hold a grudge because you gelded it, are afraid your 105 lb self will terrify, traumatize and physically hurt or hurt their wittle tender psyche with a stern word, then I will not sell you a horse. Not because you're not nice, not because you don't know how to ride, not because you can't afford a horse but because I don't want one of my horses to turn into the Jeffrey Daumer of horses. And you'll tell everyone you know and put it all over Facebook that my horse nearly killed you and that I'm a terrible liar and sold you an unbroke horse.

That's what usually happens when a well trained, well fed horse all of a sudden turns into a nasty beast. The human half of the equation has fallen short and the horse is always the one to suffer for it.

The problem is most people don't know what kind of horse to buy. If you're a soccer mom with 6 kids that all have to be at soccer practice, then you're car is probably not a Ferrari Testarosa, it's probably a Suburban with 3 rows of seats. It's sedate and respectable and not too exciting. That's the kind of horse you need, not the Ferrari of horses but frequently that's what new horse buyers do. They buy a Ferrari when they need a Fiat.

Or, they go to the auction and buy a dull, but kindly looking 1/2 starved horse for a little bit of nothing, feed him up and wonder why he starts getting all full of energy and then they get intimidated by him and it's all down hill from there.

I have a mare who is drop dead gorgeous and no matter who else people have come to look at they all want to know, "How much for that stunning mare?". She's not for sale for any amount so it really doesn't matter, but that's a perfect case of a horse who is an absolute angel for me, and would totally eat most people for lunch. She's a very opinionated mare and takes a lot of strong leading. 99% of people would bring that mare back to me within a week.

Sellers are not all angels either. A lot don't care. They have a horse for sale, you're interested and have close to the amount they want, you'll buy a horse that day, even if they have to dope it up to sell it to you. And when it wakes up, Katy bar the door.

Take your trainer or your horse trading uncle or anyone whose horse knowledge you respect with you when you go to buy a horse. Look it over really well and keep your money in your pocket. If it's a riding horse, insist that the seller or seller's rep rides that horse. Then let your trainer or other person who's more experienced than you ride that horse. Then if all goes well, you get on the horse. Have your person with you keep the horse on a lunge line at first, just in case, you can't be too safe. If everything is good, go home, schedule a ppe. And then before the ppe, go back somewhat unannounced to the seller's place and check that horse again. By somewhat unannounced I mean, "Hi, I'm in town and I was wondering if I could come by and see old Dobbin real quick? I just wanted another look. I can be there in 20 minutes.", but show up in less than 10. See what old Dobbie is REALLY like. If that goes well, go ahead with the PPE. Have the vet pull blood and don't tell the seller if you're going to test for drugs or not. Unless you have a reason to be suspicious, I wouldn't right then. Have the vet hold the blood. If they've doped the horse, they'll find a reason to say no. If they're agreeable, it's likely ok.

Only AFTER the PPE do you give the seller any money. If it's a well trained horse, someone may buy the horse out from under you. If you give a deposit, it's likely to be non-refundable and it can be hard to get back from the seller if the horse fails the PPE. If the horse passes the PPE, then you can give a deposit while you go home and sleep on it. Know you won't get that money back if you back out. But if you want the horse you call the owner and tell them you want it and then buy the horse and you're good. If the horse is bought out from under you, there's always another horse. Keep shopping and be picky.

Dreamcatcher Arabians is offline  
post #9 of 32 Old 09-25-2015, 09:31 PM Thread Starter
Started
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Gulf Coast
Posts: 2,380
• Horses: 0
^^Love this, Dreamcatcher. When I started back riding again, it was at a local H/J barn. I came from a background riding deadbroke QH bareback on a ranch with no real instruction besides steer and kick!

I was there to learn, so it wasn't until I got to my current barn that I learned of all the red flags. Like how every lesson horse was aced and put in standing martingales before riding. One was a spooky 4 yr old that almost took off with me cause the wind blew and the trees moved. The BO tried to sell me this horse. Tried to sell me a saddle when I had no horse even!

My current trainer drove across 5 states to find 2 new lesson horses. One has been an absolute angel and integrated into her lesson program. The other is now being put back up for sale. Despite the previous owner swearing by her, my trainer said she has failed multiple tests to be a lesson horse and she refuses to put her students on a horse that is risky. I love her for this!
Tihannah is offline  
post #10 of 32 Old 09-25-2015, 10:00 PM
Foal
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Central Texas
Posts: 175
• Horses: 1
I know a lot of people say never to go to horse brokers/dealers, but I had a good experience with one. She had a good reputation, had a couple of horses for me to try, and I knew she had taken Mocha back from an unsatisfied buyer and given them their money back. If anything, she overstated her bad points and stressed that she needed an experienced rider who wouldn't let her push her around. I think if you can find a dealer like this it can be a good idea.
Foxhunter and Tihannah like this.
Emoore is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.



User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in









Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome