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The topic of this rant surrounds the word "Prospect". Prospect is defined as "the possibility or likelihood of some future event occurring" usually being positive. All horses are born prospects. That's right, I said "all" -no exceptions. You can never guarantee the success of a horse in any discipline until that horse is broke and has been in training regardless of breeding.

Specifically speaking Thoroughbreds, a breeder cannot guarantee that a foal they bred is going to be successful on the track -regardless of the broodmare's produce record or the sire of the foal. The industry is all about odds, and you strive to obtain the highest odds possible to produce horses that have the best chance to be successful on the track.

Now, Off-the-Track Thoroughbreds begin as a broke "prospect" in whatever discipline they move onto because the horse must be retrained and prove its ability. Personally, I breed and raise Thoroughbreds for racing and have clients that have me take in their OTTB to sell after their racing careers. Some disciplines that Thoroughbreds succeed in include Barrel Racing, Western/English Pleasure, Dressage, Eventing, Polo, etc.

Currently I am selling a well put together, sound, athletic OTTB filly and have had some interested parties come take a look at her. I had one barrel racer, an english pleasure rider, and a number of people that do eventing come take a look at the filly and the most recent person to come out inspired me to come onto The Horse Forum to understand the Eventing community better.

Here is what happens every time a person that does eventing comes out to look at a horse I have for sale:

1. They immediately claim the horse has obscure injuries after 2 seconds of looking at the horse (keep in mind that a vet has checked the horse for soundness and has declared the horse is sound and has no physical/health issues)

2. After detecting the obscure injuries, they are still interested (odd...)

3. Ask to see the horse in a round-pen to see them move

4. Finds another atrocious injury/health issue in the horse

5. After discovering the new mysterious injury, they are still interested (even more odd...)

6. They are interested. Wants to do a "trial" period on the horse to make sure the horse has the ability and will work out for him/her.

I'm going to stop right there. Maybe other people have come across this scenario in other disciplined riders, but 100% of Eventing people that come out to see a horse I have for sale goes through this exact timeline. A "trial" period? Really? I feel that the word "Prospect" evades their minds because why should they get special treatment in purchasing a "Prospect" while everyone else from barrel racing, western pleasure, reining, cutting, etc. all take the risk of purchasing a "prospect" not knowing if the horse in question is going to be successful. Every other horseman takes a chance in a horse and runs the odds that it won't work out in their program. Why do Eventing people act as if they are above everyone else?

To continue the list of the timeline:

7. Is the price negotiable? (as the person voluntarily discloses that he/she has just acquired other OTTB to retrain -all this tells me is that he/she is looking for a horse to peddle and make money, while I am looking for a good home for the horse)

8. Would it be alright to do a vet exam?

Ok, if the person has already found these mysterious and obscure injuries in the advertised sound horse, why is a vet exam needed? The average person would decide that an unsound horse to them is not something they want to spend money on therefore not purchasing the horse, but spend over $50-100 for a vet exam? Ok.

All this tells me is that the potential buyer is looking to cut the asking price of the horse at least in half so they can make even more money on a perfectly sound horse with unlimited potential that is advertised as a "Prospect".

It is frustrating to deal with Eventing people and it is about to cause me to ignore all inquiries I receive from Eventing people interested in horses I have for sale. Does anyone have any insight to this behavior?
 

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You seem to have come across bad eggs. It is not fair to tar all eventers with the same brush - most of them are honest people.

Trial periods are standard where I am from - gives you the chance to try the horse on your own property and let it settle in and see if you still like it - nothing dodgy there.

Price cutting is not something that is specific to event riders, pretty much anyone will try and knock money off a horse if they think they have half a chance, it's human nature.
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You make me smile!

I don't know about selling horses in the US but it is much the same in the UK.

Many moons ago I was buying a lot of Irish horses, bringing them to the UK and selling them on. The average order was a pain in the jacksy with all the things they found wrong, both in conformation, way of going and anything else they could think of. They would pay a minimal deposit and arrange a vetting, then dilly dally over actually purchasing the animal.
This wasn't just eventers but all sorts of private riders.
In the end I was dealing to other dealers. They would see the horse unload from one horsebox trot it up, and say yeah or nay. I took $50 profit on each one, it had cost nothing to keep and these dealers were regulars.

People can rarely be honest. They will see the horse, rode it and instead of saying "Thanks, but it is not what I am looking for." They will waffle around.

It works both ways, a lot of people selling are not truthful over what they are selling. They might not exactly lie but omit many facts!

Oh, I forgot to add - don't you know that any horse that has been on the racetrack is lame and a lunatic? (Said from someone who bred for the track and had racehorses for many years!)
 

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If a horse is a prospect, I assume it is not very far along in its training in that discipline. There's no way I allow a trial offer and risk someone derailing the training that has already been done. On the flip side, I would just buy the prospect and not want a trial!
 

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As others have said. These kind of people aren't restricted to eventers- they come from all disciplines across the board.

I know of people (and their trainers) who say every single horse they see are lame. I also know of a trainer who goes around to every potential buy and says the horse has neurological problems and still makes an offer hoping to knock down the price.

Kindly tell them you don't believe they are a good match and move onto the next potential buyer.
 

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I don't see any problem in the world with getting a trial period or vet check done on a horse- regardless of the discipline. Often times horses are purchased with known injuries, but the potential owner wants a qualified VET to look at, examine, and possibly x-ray the areas in question. It could make the difference between the horse not being able to do high level eventing, being unsound later in life after many good years, and coming up dead lame a couple of months into training. Personally, if the horse's owner is unwilling to let me vet check the horse for my own piece of mind and there isn't a waiting line to buy the horse, then I take caution as they may be hiding something. That said, I've never bought a "prospect" horse.

A trial period does not ensure that the horse will reach the goals that the potential owner have for it. A period of a week or so will give the potential owner the opportunity to see how the horse does in its new home, see if it has any major behavioral problems, allow for a vet check to be done by their vet, and get a little more insight into the horse's potential. No, a week will not give you enough time to decide that this horse will be able to jump 4' high fences, but you'll be able to tell if it has any atrocious quirks that weren't obvious at the seller's place. Also, probably a big thing when selling OTTBs, is that it allows the potential buyer to have the horse on their property to feel more confident that the horse was not drugged during the trial ride. Everyone's heard those horror stories- he was nice and calm when I rode him at the owner's place, and he was a demonic monster when we brought him home. There is definitely an adjustment period that you need to account for, but sometimes you can tell that there is something off about the situation. You need to keep in mind that horses are currently a buyer's market. If you have a run of the mill OTTB prospect that isn't outstanding in any way, then you need to be willing to work with potential buyers if you don't want to hang onto the horse. If you're not willing to, then they'll just move on to the next OTTB.

Also, all of the other disciplines that you mentioned to have tried the horse have been western. Perhaps it's not so much a difference between eventing and the rest of the world, but between English and western. Eventing is a very demanding sport, and I understand why a buyer wants a horse that can handle it. As far as the pricing goes? Everyone's out to get a good deal. If your prices are competitive, then hold them where they are. If your horses are always passed up in favor of other OTTBs, then you may want to reconsider.
 

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The tire kicking you are experiencing happens across all disciplines. You are probably seeing a disproportionate number of eventers since TBs are normally the best breed for the job.

You have to see it from the other side too. As you are frustrated by the buyers, many buyers are sick of sellers who tell them the horse can do X,Y and Z only to get there and see they have little to no training.

Eventing involves expensive time consuming training and most do a thorough vet check to make sure there are no underlying injuries that are going to bite them in the butt a few months or years down the line. Sorry your buyers are being a bit catty. Eventers are normally a very nice crowd.

I have never seen a horse sell for the asking price, ever, at any discipline.
 

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LOL! You must not have been in the horse business for long. This is just one of the hassles you have to go through when marketing a horse. As a previous poster so aptly put it....these are tire kickers. You had better get used to it because about half of al potential buyers will try one thing or another to try to bring a price down. It's part of the "horse trading game".

And, yes, it can be a pain. Just learn to play them right back

BTW, it is a little unfair to pin this only on eventers. Suffice it to say eventing is one of the toughest disciplines out there and they do have to be pretty picky about any (even tiny) possible problems.
 

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There is no way that I would ever allow a horse to go on trial to strangers. People are welcome to test a horse at my place but to take it away for a week or so or even a day. No way!

A lot of damage can be done in a short period of time.
 

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I'm almost to the point that I will have no horses to sell. The ones I keep will be in training and getting fitted for sale in a year or 2 when I will then send them to someone ELSE to deal with it. I've gone from loving selling horses and matching horses to their new person to dreading it. So, no, it's not just eventers.
 

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There is no way that I would ever allow a horse to go on trial to strangers. People are welcome to test a horse at my place but to take it away for a week or so or even a day. No way!

A lot of damage can be done in a short period of time.
So, does that basically rule out anyone outside of your immediate area that is interested in your horse? When I was last looking for a horse, there wasn't much around here that I was interested, so I had to look elsewhere. Driving a few hours to ride a horse multiple times was just outside the realm of possibility... but we did sign a full contract on the mare that we took out on trial. I'm not sure what we did on the gelding that we ended up buying.
 

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Yep, definitely not limited to eventers. Sounds like man of the tire-kicking horror stories I've heard! I was lucky enough to escape that with the one horse I sold - Had 2 interested parties, one local, one 8 hours away. The local wanted a project to get them back into horses after having kids, the distant one buying for his son who was playing polo in England at the time. They ended up buying sight unseen, for my asking price, with no stuffing around whatsoever. The transport truck even arrived on time!

The title of this thread is misleading though - I was expecting something much different. Sounds to me like the people you've dealt with are trying their darndest to get a bargain. People inherently seem to thing that off the track horses should be sold for a song, which works well for anyone who is planning to retrain and resell.

Apart from their whining about apparent injuries, there doesn't sound to be anything wrong with the eventing buyers you've encountered. By the second time they'd said they were lame/injured though, I would've put the horse away and said 'well, if there's so much wrong with my horse, you clearly don't want it. Bye!'
 

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So, does that basically rule out anyone outside of your immediate area that is interested in your horse? When I was last looking for a horse, there wasn't much around here that I was interested, so I had to look elsewhere. Driving a few hours to ride a horse multiple times was just outside the realm of possibility... but we did sign a full contract on the mare that we took out on trial. I'm not sure what we did on the gelding that we ended up buying.

It rules out anyone that I did not personally know (if I were selling), a stranger being someone I don't know whether they were local or not.
 

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So, does that basically rule out anyone outside of your immediate area that is interested in your horse? When I was last looking for a horse, there wasn't much around here that I was interested, so I had to look elsewhere. Driving a few hours to ride a horse multiple times was just outside the realm of possibility... but we did sign a full contract on the mare that we took out on trial. I'm not sure what we did on the gelding that we ended up buying.
No, it did not rule out anyone at all. They were welcome to trial a horse on the property, test it with traffic, if buying a Hunter, to have a days hunting on it but, I would not let anyone take a horse away for a weeks trial. It doesn't take a week to ruin a horse.
What is to stop someone driving off into the distance and never seeing that horse again?

The one thing I would do was to exchange a horse of the one someone bought was unsuitable.

It is even worse today than back then. More people want to own a horse after a few lessons, they think they are a lot better than they are and, having ridden in arenas on riding school horses they think they can ride anything.

What many forget is that for dealers (not saying OP os a dealer) it is a business. The longer a horse stays in a stable or field the more it costs thus cutting down on profit.
I was more honest than most dealers and only on one occasion sold a difficult pony to a stupid woman for her grand daughter. Woman had more money than sense and I knew that of they turned the pony out on twenty acres they would not catch it in a year. I did say.i would take it back, I did ask a ridiculous amount for the pony, I did suggest that they got a vet to examine it but she was determined to have that particular pony so she got it. I never heard a thing from her again.

People think they know a lot more than they do hence the 'I think that it has a ligament problem' and so on. Often they haven't a clue what they are saying or looking for.

When it comes to purchasing a horse people need to get realistic. 'Potential' means just that. The horse has the possibility of doing dressage, eventing, show jumping or just being a good trail horse. Doesn't mean that it will be because the buyer hasn't the experience to make it so.

A dealer doesn't make a reputation on the good horses they sell but on the bad ones. Someone purchasing a good horse from a dealer is often reluctant to say where they got it in case a friend goes and finds a better one there. Sell a naughty horse or, if a good horse goes bad through ignorance of the buyer, the word will spread like wild fire.
 

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Another point that a trial period wouldn't reveal is suitability for it's job. And I'm not talking soundness or confirmation but rather, is the horse happy in it's job of eventing, barrel racing, jumping, what have you.

TBs were bred to run so all are prospects, but some simply don't take to it because they are not happy in that job.

That to me is an element that could take quite a while to figure out.
 

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I know my horses well and to the best of my ability always related their good points, bad points, personality quirks, and health issues to potential buyers. They were always welcome to send a vet out on their dime. They were welcome to come out 2 or 3 times to ride the horse if they needed to.

As a seller, I wanted the buyer to be happy with the horse they bought because they were then more likely to keep it and take good care of it.

Never have and never would let one of my horses go on a trial basis. Did buy one back once but not because we were obligated to.

As a buyer, there's not a single case where I've regretted the purchase. Even the ones I bought just because they were in need of a new home.
 

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TB's tend to be the preferred horse for eventing because its something they excel at so you will get more eventers coming to view than you will most anything else - other than the sort of people who are expecting a cheap horse and give very little thought to how its actually going to work out for them
I found that parents buying ponies for children were the most likely to want a trial and it was something we would do if the pony was either kept with us or at a yard we approved of for that period because we wanted to keep our reputation for having happy satisfied clients who would 'spread the word'.
In the UK horse dealers have about the same standing as Real Estate Agents - no one trusts them and from what I've seen here its no different. When I mentioned I was buying a horse to my vet and my farrier they gave me a list of who I could and couldn't buy from!!!
You have to remember that once you buy a horse it becomes your responsibility and if its 'not what it says on the box' because you failed to fully look into what you were thinking of buying you have the problem of getting rid of it or being stuck with it.
I call a 'Prospect' a horse that's showing promise and aptitude for a certain discipline. As a seller I was able to demonstrate that and always happy to do so. I would not expect someone to buy a horse just from looking at it standing on the yard or even from trotting up and down it.
 
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