I set in writing the parameters of every trial. I love sending a horse out on trial, but I nearly lost one this year to an unscrupulous person - so I am reluctant to do it again.
No more than 3 -7 days PERIOD. After that time I am there in the driveway to pick up MY horse if they have not made a decision yet. 3- 7 days is plenty of time to see how the horse acts in new surrounding. Gives an opportunity for a PPE and for a trainer to work with a client and horse. Honestly as a trainer if you can't see in one ride if the pair is going to work, you are not very good!
I am very strict. But My job is to sell that horse, not to dither about it. And like i said I lost contact with one horse for almost 3 weeks this summer. The wealthy man had a ton of excavation done between when i dropped the horse off to when I picked it up. The place was transformed into a fortress in 3 weeks! Not for the horse, but to "protect his assets". Fortunately the Sheriff took up my cause and I got the horse back - it was TERRIFYING!
"If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there"
Like Woodland said, EVERYTHING must be in writing. Special attention must be given to the horse being injured while on trial (I've had a number of horses that I have owned get injured within the first few days of ownership). Also, it is key that the price of the horse is agreed upon BEFORE the trial and that a significant deposit, if not the agreed upon purchase price, is paid when the horse leaves the seller's property. With an expensive horse, I will require mortality coverage and major medical prior to the trial. To me, a trial isn't a situation where it's "I might like to buy this horse." A trial is a situation where "I expect to buy this horse, unless something major goes wrong."
Thanks for the responses. Yeah, we not horse "dealers" (I'm not saying you guys are I just can't think of the word I'm looking for). We have our one and only horse out on trial and the person "trialing" has written one time (because I wrote to her asking about the horse). It just upsets me because, if it were me as the "trialer" I would be in contact with the person every day just letting them know how the horse is doing...especially knowing that the horse is their pet and belongs to a younger person. Again though, that's just me so I'm not sure what to expect.
If any one has been in our situation, I would like to hear your experience.
I'm thinking that selling horses as a business is different than selling them when the are "pets".
When I looked into possibly taking a horse on trial, the owner made it clear that I needed to pay for insurance coverage for her horse. We also agreed that the trial would happen at a reputable nearby boarding barn and that it would last no more than two weeks. I didn't end up taking the horse on trial (I found a different one that won my heart instantly), but I appreciated the seller's clear-cut guidelines. I knew exactly what was expected of me.
I think it's hard to be a seller and equally hard to be a buyer. Having everything clearly communicated in advance makes the process easier on both sides!
A friend who sells lots of horses does this:
She will allow you to take a horse for a week but you must leave a check for the full amount of the horse. If you decide not to keep the horse she will return the check if you want the horse she cashes the check.
Still not 100 percent safe as someone could write a bad check and then run to ground but so far it's worked for her.
You know why cowboys don't like Appaloosas?" - Answer: Because to train a horse, you have to be smarter than it is.