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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul. 13, 2004
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    Default Letting a horse go on a trial period

    I have a person interested in buying my 19 year old sound and steady gelding. She wants to pay for him and then take him on trial for two weeks to her home about three hours away from me. She wants to use him for trail riding so I understand her reason for wanting a trial period as she wants to see if he's good for her and suits her riding purpose. I have never done a trial period before on either a horse I've bought or one I've sold so need some advice on how to proceed.....



  2. #2
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    Personally, I would not allow a trial off my own property under any circumstances, and most especially not so far away that I could not easily pop in and check on the horse. Allow the potential buyer to take the horse on a trail ride at or near your property, in a group or alone, whatever her parameters are, but keep control of the horse until he is sold.

    If you do go through with this, though, I would recommend a very detailed contract designed to protect you and your horse. I would structure it as a full lease, spelling out exactly what day and time it starts, what conditions permit return of the horse, yours and the buyer's responsibilities, how the horse may be used, etc. Specify that only the leaser/potential buyer may ride the horse. Spell out who is responsible for vet bills if the horse becomes ill or injured on her watch.

    Require payment in full and spell out specifically what circumstances will allow return of the horse for a refund. Make the refund minus a fee sufficient to compensate you for having the horse off the market. Think through everything that could go wrong and cover it in the contract.

    Again, though, I would urge against allowing a trial at all.
    Equinox Equine Massage

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct. 31, 2001
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    West of insanity, east of apathy, deep in the heart of Texas.
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    Thumbs down

    Quote Originally Posted by amadee View Post
    I have a person interested in buying my 19 year old sound and steady gelding. She wants to pay for him and then take him on trial for two weeks to her home about three hours away from me. She wants to use him for trail riding so I understand her reason for wanting a trial period as she wants to see if he's good for her and suits her riding purpose. I have never done a trial period before on either a horse I've bought or one I've sold so need some advice on how to proceed.....
    So, basically, the buyer wants a money back guarantee if she doesn't like the horse after two weeks.

    Umm, no.

    Seriously? Whatever happened to coming and trying the horse out on a trail, or in a new situation, and making a decision? I could possibly understand the buyer's reticence to make a decision if we were talking about a young greenie, but a steady Eddie 19 year old? Nope - don't let him out of your sight or off your property until he's paid for, with a bill of sale that says that he's sold as is, with no guarantees or warranties whatsoever.

    Sounds like a dilettante buyer to me; no one serious about a horse is going to insist on a two week trial for a teenaged trail horse.
    In loving memory of Laura Jahnke.
    A life lived by example, done too soon.
    www.caringbridge.org/page/laurajahnke/



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul. 13, 2004
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    121

    Default honestly

    I am old school and you either like the horse, try it at the seller's place and buy it or you don't. Period. End of story. I board and don't trail ride much myself, we just hack out in the pastures from time to time and I don't want to ask the private landowners around me if she can take him for a trail ride here. I wasn't advertising him as a trail horse though honestly he was ridden on trails for years by his former owner so I doubt anyone including me would have a problem taking him out. I've got him priced fairly, actually he's quite a bargain as he's still sound and very safe and sane. I do understand her hesitation as she explained about her previous experiences and how she's not had good luck but then again maybe she should bring her instructor or someone along with her to check him out? I just don't feel comfortable allowing for a trial so thank you for backing me up on this one, it might work for some folks in certain situations but I'm not feeling its right for me.



  5. #5
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    Nov. 13, 2002
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    PA, where the State motto is: "If it makes sense, we don't do it!".
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    Default

    I wouldn't do it! Some people who have done it insist on the prospective buyer taking out an insurance policy on the horse in case something happens to the horse while in their custody, but I don't think you could get an insurance policy on a nineteen year old horse.

    If the horse gets seriously hurt while away from "home" someone is going to be shucks out of luck--but it shouldn't be you!
    "Marriage is like a deck of cards--it starts with two hearts and a diamond and after a while you wish you had a club and a spade." ~seen on an anniversary card~



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan. 30, 2010
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    Alberta
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    Default

    I would do it. I would hate to sell MY 19 year old horse to someone he didn't suite, and would rather they felt they could bring him back rather than sell him on to who knows.

    I have done this before, and it has worked well.

    I make sure that:
    1) Horse is paid for in full before leaving (cash, money order, certified cheque or similar).
    2) Buyer is responsible for all bills during the trial, including hauling.
    3) Buyer is responsible for returning the horse to the seller if the horse is to be returned.
    4) Buyer must agree to pay for a vet exam upon return of the horse to ensure that the horse is in the same or better condition than it left. If no PPE is done, then the buyer must sign agreeing that the horse is in good shape and sound (unless there is something about his soundness/health that you disclosed of course!).
    5) You could have a small portion that is non-refundable if you want.
    6) Make sure the trial gives the horse enough time to settle in and get to know his new owner before they have to make a final decision. You don't want the buyer to feel they have to rush things to know if he is going to work.

    Take pictures of the horse as it is being loaded so you have proof of its condition when it left.

    Really, I don't think anyone is going to go to the trouble of paying for a horse and hauling it for 3 hours each way, just to jerk you around.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2007
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    TX
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    Default

    The really nice, guarantee horses, that cost above average generally are sold on a trial basis like that around here, to people around here, not to far away people you don't know.

    When we sold a horse a couple of years ago, she tried it, took him and tried him at home with her horses also first, but we had sold her another horse a year before and knew them and they were locals.

    When a good roping horse sells, many times the prospective buyer takes him and tries him for a little and then they pay for him, rarely they return it, because they already knew they were going to buy him, bar some unexpected surprise.

    Now, selling to a stranger far away?
    They really need to own the horse the minute it leaves your place, why you take chances on your part, so she doesn't has to on her part?



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul. 24, 2008
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by amadee View Post
    I have a person interested in buying my 19 year old sound and steady gelding. She wants to pay for him and then take him on trial for two weeks to her home about three hours away from me. She wants to use him for trail riding so I understand her reason for wanting a trial period as she wants to see if he's good for her and suits her riding purpose. I have never done a trial period before on either a horse I've bought or one I've sold so need some advice on how to proceed.....
    That type of deal is quite common around here if you are dealing with people you know, or trainers who know/deal with each other. Did she come out and see him and ride him at your place? If so, did you get the feeling it would be a good match?

    I would say go ahead and agree to the "trial" if he has been paid in full before he leaves. Wouldn't you rather take him back if it wasn't going to work out, anyways?



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct. 14, 2004
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    Connecticut
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    Default

    Having had been in the market for a trail horse a few years back, I totally understand the prospective buyer asking for a trial.

    Riding in the ring or just around the property is not the same as going trail riding all alone with no other horses in site.

    I had a Haffie from N.H. on a two week trial. I paid the purchase price in full when the horse was delivered. Contract was drawn up.
    Luckily I did! This was not a suitable trail horse at all.
    Owner came back, picked up horse and returned my money.

    If you're reluctant, which is understandable, are there trails where the buyer can try the horse out on???
    MnToBe Twinkle Star: "Twinkie"
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    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!



  10. #10
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    Apr. 28, 2006
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    Default

    I would look up on the internet and see how many poiker rides and other events are scheduled for the next couple weeks or so- maybe she just wants a horse to ride for a couple of events, and plans on returning him after they are done...I would not do a trial. It is trail riding season- lots of people are looking for a quality trail horse, and will buy without needing to take them on a trial.



  11. #11
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    Nov. 6, 2009
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    2,320

    Default

    I'd say "no" too. I have never done trial periods with horses. Too much can happen. I do like for buyers to have ample opportunity to check out a horse before they buy, though. Can you trailer the horse somewhere so that she can see what it is like on the trail?



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul. 19, 2008
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    Vermont
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    I took a horse on trial, and I'm so glad I did. She was a beautiful 9 yr. old mare, Hanoverian, and I insured her and put the purchase price in escrow. The barn I was riding at during that time was about an hour away from the seller's house, and it had good trainers and about 20 or so horses that competed on a regular basis. A really good outfit.

    When the mare arrived, the owner then disclosed she was on regumate; the poor mare had not been accustomed to traveling (though the owner had assured me she had been shown with some regularity), which was evidenced by her spooking at just about everything, including the paddock fence. While she had hacked out nicely at home and been responsive in her home arena, she was dangerously unruly in the ring at the barn and refused/spooked at just about every jump - even an 18" gate. My trainer rode her for about 15 minutes before telling me, in no uncertain terms, that this horse needed an ENORMOUS amount of work before she could be considered reliable (or even safe) - for anyone.

    I rode this mare three separate times at her home barn, my trainer was present for two of those trial rides, and we never could have foreseen the amount of stress leaving that barn would have on her. I felt very sorry for this mare - she became completely unglued. But I am so relieved I took her on trial, as she would have become an expensive project for me to train and resell.

    I had the best intentions in mind, as did the seller - this just wasn't meant to be. I think we both looked at the situation and realized it would not work - the seller cared a lot for her horse, and did not realize how home-bound she had become, and I realized that she was the wrong horse for me.

    I think a trial period benefits both a concerned seller and a buyer. You don't want your horse to end up in the wrong home, so giving the buyer the opportunity to back out of the sale is not necessarily a bad thing. I also don't think most people use trials dishonestly... Protect your horse and yourself as much as you can for the trial - truck him there yourself, and if you don't like where you're taking him, exercise your right to refuse to sell. But I have to say I would prefer to send my horse off on a trial than to sell outright, and have a pissed off or unsuitable buyer, who would then try to flog my horse. Just my 2 cents.



  13. #13
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    Aug. 12, 2009
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    1,805

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    I agree with those that say the trial period is best for all concerned. We recently had a boarder who took a horse on trial. They paid for the shipping (horse was several hours away) and the horse was insured (even though it was an older horse) and gave a check for full purchase price. The horse turned out to be terribly ring sour and unpredictable even rearing. The horse was for younger rider with limited experience and they certainly were not a match. The horse had been fine when they tried it at the owner's place. I think if you really care about your horse and are looking for the best home for it then making the drive to deliver the horse, checking out their facility etc and making sure the horse and new owner are a match is the best for all concerned. I don't know about where you are but getting $ for a 19 year old horse no matter how nice is actually a good deal in this economy and horse market.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr. 2, 2004
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    Louisville, KY
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    Default

    I say go ahead. As others have mentioned, they aren't going to transport the horse 3 hours just to waste your time.

    Draw up a contract before she picks him up and make arrangements for the date the contract will expire, and the horse will now be hers.

    Sure, terrible things could happen. He could get hurt or sick or worse... but that could happen on your own farm as well. Just trust your gut. If you like this lady, and would feel comfortable selling your horse to her, then go for it.

    If you want to check her out, you could drive him there yourself to see the farm, and ask if she could give you a vet or farrier reference... never hurts to ask.
    Strong promoter of READING the entire post before responding.



  15. #15
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    Oct. 14, 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luckydonkey View Post
    It is trail riding season- lots of people are looking for a quality trail horse, and will buy without needing to take them on a trial.
    Well, how would a person know if it is indeed a quality trail horse without trying him?????
    MnToBe Twinkle Star: "Twinkie"
    http://i236.photobucket.com/albums/f...wo/009_17A.jpg

    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!



  16. #16
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    Nov. 5, 2002
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    way out west
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    The last time I bought a horse I paid for him in full, but the sellers gave me six months to change my mind. They live a couple of states over, and they were confident he was what I wanted in a trail horse.

    He's still here. It all worked out really well.

    When I've tried horses that were close to my home it was common to bring them to my stable for a week or two. As a buyer, it's fantastic. As a seller, I'd be really nervous about that. Maybe that's why I've only sold two horses in my life?



  17. #17
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    Oct. 9, 2000
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    I have a horse on trial now and he's the first horse that I've ever brought home on trial out of five that I've bought as a re-rider.

    I would suggest if you do let the horse go on trial, draw up a clear contract. The seller of this horse did not and he was very trusting of me! He must have thought I was ok and we do know some people in common, but I just gave him a check for the purchase price, and he dropped the horse off at my house. Being a conscientious horse person, I have kept him separate from my other horses, but have otherwise treated him like my own - he gets food, supplements, turnout, exercise, etc.

    My friend, OTOH, has a horse out on trial and I do not agree with her horse-keeping methods. This new horse was immediately thrown out with her herd and is of course trying to find her way and is getting a little beat up in the process. If I were the seller, I would be less than pleased to know how this horse was being handled.

    I appreciate having this horse on trial because I couldn't learn what I wanted to learn about him by working at the seller's place. I think my situation is a little different though - the horse is a 5-year-old mustang and has only been trail ridden and packed out on hunting trips. Seller has no arena and no barn - horse lived on 100+ acres in a herd. I need to know how the horse would work with me at a new place in a smaller area, with new horse friends, and doing something new (working in the arena). I want to know how he adapts to lawn mowers and tractors and barking dogs and squawking geese, etc...things I just couldn't get by visiting him at the seller's place, no matter how many times I went there. The horse is green, green, green but hasn't put a foot wrong and hasn't given me a reason NOT to keep him. My trial will end on Thursday and unless something crazy happens between now and then he will be mine.

    I think trials can work out if the seller and the buyer are on the same page. Despite the way it worked out for me, I think that an agreement must be made as to the purchase price, the condition of the horse, the parameters of what can be done with the horse during the trial period, diet, turnout, exercise, stabling, etc. I think an insurance policy or an agreement that if the horse is injured the buyer has to pay all costs should be part of the deal.



  18. #18
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    Jul. 13, 2004
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    121

    Default thanks everyone

    I just received an email from her that she doesn't want him if she can't take him on a two week trial so we'll move on and she can continue her search. I'm happy with keeping my guy and finding the perfect match for him or he can stay....he's quite good.



  19. #19
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    Feb. 21, 2007
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    VA
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    I'm not usually in favor of trial periods, but your description of the situation would make me inclined to, well, give it a try...

    First, the horse is 19, not a really young horse. IF something were to happen to him (injury, for example), it's not like he is a young prospect who has lost a lifetime of potential. Please don't think I'm being callous...I know 19 year old horses can still provide many years of enjoyment. But, in my mind, your horse's age is one of the factors that would make me consider a trial.

    Also, because he is a 19-year-old, I would want to make sure that he did come back to me if the buyer discovered they didn't make a good team. To try a horse in its new environment is priceless. What a seller describes as sane, confirmed trailer broke, and bombproof may well be true with the seller. However, a horse that is historically all of these things (especially if it has been with the old owner for a long time) can become a completely different animal when moved to a new place.

    It sounds like the prospective buyer is interested in what is best for everyone. The offer to pay for the horse up front would mean a lot to me, if I were the seller.

    Good luck whatever your decision!
    "We need a pinned ears icon." -MysticOakRanch



  20. #20
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    May. 21, 2008
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    Sonoma County, California
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    I personally won't purchase a horse without a trial period. I keep my horses for life, and so I need them to be a good match. I want to make sure the horse is the right match for us, and vice versa.

    I recently purchased a horse for my 12 year old daughter after a 30-day trial period. I took the horse home only when I was very serious about buying him, felt he was a good match, etc. The seller and I had a contract, and we knew each other enough to feel comfortable. It was a great match, and now the horse is ours.

    Conversely, a friend and I placed a very nice rescue horse in December with a very well vetted buyer. We insisted on a trial period at the horse's home barn. The woman came and rode him for 2 weeks in lessons only. She seemed very experienced ---- but little could we know that she rode well and talked a good game, but was not very competent/confident as a handler or horse manager. We executed a contract saying the sale was very "final" once she took him home, etc.

    The horse went home with the woman, and it was a disaster from Day One. The woman had way overestimated her skill level in riding and handling a hotter TB. The horse hated the new barn and was miserable and had trouble adjusting to a stall/paddock with no turnout. Two weeks into it, buyer 'hinted' at wanting to return the horse to us (and forfeit the very small price). We said no, you had your trial period at our barn, the horse is now yours.

    Big mistake. 30 days into the sale, everything went to hell, I wound up picking up this horse and bringing him home ----I feared for what this woman would do with him to "unload" him. The horse was completely miserable, the buyer making noise about suing us for selling her a "dangerous" horse (he wasn't; she was just an idiot), and the horse had a terrible leg wound that took 3 months of stall rest to heal. I sometimes wish we'd let her take him for a 1-2 week trial at her own barn ---- we would have seen very quickly that it was not the right match for either horse or human!



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