Letting a horse out on trial...do you? No? if you do, with what cautions?
We have been asked to put one of our older 'schoolmaster' type mares out on trial with a lovely lovely family who purchased another horse from us. For their little girl....It seems hubby isn't quite convinced they need another horse....he's almost 'there' but wife thinks that if the horse is there, and they can care for her , ride her, and the little girl already loves the mare, well....you get the picture..
we have not priced her high, as we are more concerned about the home..
it's local, within 45 miles...
we have never trialed out a horse before for obvious reasons, but know others do...any thoughts ??
we like these people, have become friends, so that adds to the mix....
We have and will NEVER do it again. We had a wonderful mare that was badly injured on trial. Came back to us 3 legged lame when she did not pass vet (no wonder!!!) and had/has a huge lump on her stifle. We thought the person was nice and trustworthy, but were sadly mistaken.
This all happened in 1 week and it was devastating. We had a solid trial contract but learned our recourse was minimal unless we had a vetting done the day before or day of her departure for trial. It was a very tough lesson to learn.
we told these folks they would have to get insurance on the mare (some companies have short term policies just for this) and I got the feeling that I may have hurt their feelings...It was nothing personal, just didn't want to happen what you mentioned and ruin a mare and ruin a friendship...accidents DO happen, and we wanted all to be protected...
I have heard A LOT of horror stories honestly... I have more friends that won't (for good reasons). However, I do allow them - most of the time (it depends on the horse/buyer and the conditions).
I always take two deposits, one is non refundable and covers the whole "I want to ride a horse for a week" theory. Typically it's $500 per week. The second deposit is for the remaining balance.
My theory is, If they can't afford it, then how are they going to buy your horse ya know? Plus, if they don't want to pay the non-refundable deposit (that goes towards the final purchase) then they aren't that serious. In that case, I allow them to come out and ride for as long as they need in order to make a decision. But, I charge for lessons after the second showing.
Thankfully, "knock on wood", I have never had an issue and I've never had one come back from a trial (a couple of low-ball final offers, but never came back).
A word of advice, if they are going to Vet them, have them Vet the horse before it leaves the property. I allowed a Vetting a couple of years ago OFF property, never again as I did take a lower offer than I wanted to.
Even then (when vetted before the horse leaves) it's sometimes hard to prove that the "trial" made the horse lame as of course sometimes a lameness won't show up until the horse has started work (if horse had not been in work before hand). I've had a friend go through this, however (and thankfully) she had a full set of X-rays that proved the horse stepped on something while being out on trial. It worked out in her her case.
I've learned to cover my bases before the horse leaves. Plus, they can still have their trial period. I always offer delivery/pick up and won't do a non-local trial EVER. I also include feed and supplements (if they are on anything).
It can work, you just have to be careful and make sure that they understand your position. Not all buyers/sellers are created equal and accidents DO happen, even with an honest buyer.
Just go with your gut OP.
p.s. Editted to say that Insurance won't cover something that is pre-existing or that can't be proved wasn't pre-existing so check w/ the company. Though Insuring is always a good path and again proves that they are serious.
Last edited by BSFKimbees; Apr. 23, 2009 at 11:46 AM.
I just did it too, won't EVER again. No permanent damage, but came back sore, bad vet check (and I should emphasize, bad VET), not worth it. Ended up doing follow up xrays and eval, and the vet was totally out of line and incorrect, which I suspected right away. I'm fine with people coming here multiple times to visit, try out, get to know the horse, but no more trials. It isn't worth it!
As already noted, insurance (mortality and medical) isn't much help. Insurance companies consider a pasture sound horse to be a fixed horse
I just did it too, won't EVER again. No permanent damage, but came back sore, bad vet check (and I should emphasize, bad VET), not worth it. Ended up doing follow up xrays and eval, and the vet was totally out of line and incorrect, which I suspected right away.
Ditto. And mine lost about 120 lbs in just 3 d away. Never again.
I have heard the horror stories, but as a buyer, I would NOT have bought my horse if the seller had not sent him on trial. Granted, owner sent him to me to board at reputable trainers farm. So maybe, if you really are leaning towards yes, get a big $ deposit AND references. Like current vet, farrier, and two horse people. A current boarder if they have any, BO if they board out, etc. No guarentees but it is a good place to start.
Do not take anything to heart. Do not hanker after signs of progress. Founder of theRiders with Fibromyalgia clique.
wow.....hadn't thought of the insurance this being only mortality, but your'e right...and loss of use on an older riding mare? hmmmmm.....not going to happen I think..
The stable is fine (the horse we sold them is there and is doing great), the people are great, but again, as another poster said, accidents happen, and could happen here, but at least it would be OUR fault..anyway, the mare was not really for sale, just happened to seem like a great match for the child... oh well...we'll see if we get a response to our requirements...
I'm another who won't do trials. I've seen and heard too many horror stories. They can come try multiple times and I'm willing to trailer out if they want to see the horse away from home, but it never leaves my care, control and custody.
Even if you require insurance (which we did) the burden of proof is on the owner to prove that the horses injury happened prior to leaving.. which would mean a full work up PRIOR to the horse leaving. This is according to our attorney. That does not even take in consideration what could happen training wise!!!
I actually will have to redact what I said earlier about no trials because we actually have done one since where we had the buyer wire the entire amount of the horse prior to him shipping and we would keep a non-refundable deposit unless the horse did not vet for the purpose intended in our opinion or if the horse for ANY reason was not in the condition that he left based solely on our opinion. The person agreed, took the horse and returned it because she thought he was too small.. he was the same size before he left..lol!!! In hindsight we think she had a buyer for the horse and that it fell thorough.