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  1. #1
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    Jul. 15, 2005
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    Default Buying a horse etiquette

    Just curious how you handle situations where you request a video or even go see the horse and just know it is not going to work for your situation. I can tell in five minutes if the horse is what I'm looking for. I don't want to waste anyone's time by riding the horse if I know he is not what I'm looking for. I try to be polite and say thanks but old Dobbin is not what I'm looking for. Of course seller questions why and I really hate saying horse is: lame, poor mover, crazy etc. I don't want to insult seller but some insist on knowing why! So how do you guys handle the walk of shame back to the car?



  2. #2
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    Oct. 4, 2008
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    See all below. Great advice. But want to add, Plz dont say you will call back if you never intend to. We were really interested in a horse, but the week before, someone had told the owner that they were interested, and planning on a vet exam, and looking for a shipper. I called three times, but this woman was steadfast she would give this woman first right. We finally forgot about it. 3 weeks later, the lady calls me, and tells me they never called her back. I felt bad for her, and she made some silly mistakes, but we had found something already. Some people try so hard to do the right thing.
    Last edited by gold2012; Apr. 6, 2012 at 10:00 AM.



  3. #3
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    Nov. 23, 2006
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    Port Perry Ontario - formerly Prodomus
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    when someone comes to see a horse - I don't expect them to give me excuses.

    I will say right away - "If at any point this horse doesn't work for you please do not hesitate to end the showing"

    If I go to look at a horse and it is not working I will just say - I am sorry, but I don't want to waste anyone's time - but the horse is not what we are looking for.

    I once drove 5 hours to look at a horse that was supposed to be 16.3 - we walked in - She said this is the horse - I said do you have a stick - they brought out the stick and it was 16 hh.

    I was not happy and I let her know that. I said "I just drove 5 hours for a horse you said was 16.3 - she is not over 16hh" - she said - oh - maybe she was 15.3 last time I measured her

    We left within 3 minutes of being there.



  4. #4
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    Apr. 28, 2004
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    Saratoga Springs, NY
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    I hate buying and selling both! Just be honest with me, both what the horse is, and what you're looking for. Don't waste my time, and I won't waste yours. I had a young mare for sale, advertised as 15.1, she had actually grown since she had been measured last (she was 3, that's what they do). And I still had 2 different people come to see her, complain she was too small, and still wanted to ride her 'even though'. Yeah, no thanks guys.
    Different Times Equestrian Ventures at Hidden Spring Ranch
    www.DifferentTimesEquestrianVentures.com



  5. #5
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    Jan. 19, 2005
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    PA
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwifruit View Post
    Just curious how you handle situations where you request a video or even go see the horse and just know it is not going to work for your situation. I can tell in five minutes if the horse is what I'm looking for. I don't want to waste anyone's time by riding the horse if I know he is not what I'm looking for. I try to be polite and say thanks but old Dobbin is not what I'm looking for. Of course seller questions why and I really hate saying horse is: lame, poor mover, crazy etc. I don't want to insult seller but some insist on knowing why! So how do you guys handle the walk of shame back to the car?

    I tell them why...if they ask. They may know of something that is more what I'm looking for. You can tell someone why without being insulting. Need taller, bigger body, bigger mover, more jump, further in their training, more green etc. I'm sure to compliment what I do like about their horse.....which isn't hard for me as I tend to like most horses....even rank ones
    Last edited by bornfreenowexpensive; Apr. 6, 2012 at 08:18 AM.
    ** The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits. -- Albert Einstein **



  6. #6
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    Jan. 16, 2002
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    West Coast of Michigan
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    Honest without unnecessary negativity works for everyone but the crazies. And nothing helps with them. They are offended by everyone who doesn't agree that theirs is the best horse in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD.

    I don't think it's necessary to give reasons, either, unless it's clearly something you think might be remedied (like a horse that's fussy in the mouth--asking to try a different bit or if it's teeth have been checked). Sometimes there is no chemistry and it's OK to just politely thank the seller and say the horse is not what you're looking for.
    Click here before you buy.



  7. #7
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    Aug. 4, 2009
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    As a seller I am not interested in a potential buyers assesment...because there is no way to know if that person really knows what they are talking about or even feel..BFNE..you are an exception because you are a knowledgable horse person.

    I do not want to hear...she doesn't feel/jump/ride like my old horse...who is 28 and died last month

    He doesn't trot like my old retired hunter I rode for 16 years.

    Sure doesn't go as fancy and elegant as my $60K WEF hunter I had to put down last week.

    Just say "Thank You" were are still shopping and will keep you on our short list.

    Thank you were are still looking and had hoped for something less green.

    Thank You we will be in touch after we see a few more horses.

    And "Thank you" nice horse but I just don't feel a conection....Really thats all you have to say

    Or last but not least "I left something on the stove at home and have to leave right now to go turn it off:

    P.S. If you can't afford it, window shop on the internet not in someone's tack.....



  8. #8
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    Aug. 2, 2001
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    Ft Worth, TX, USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by judybigredpony View Post

    Just say "Thank You" were are still shopping and will keep you on our short list.

    Thank you were are still looking and had hoped for something less green.

    Thank You we will be in touch after we see a few more horses.

    And "Thank you" nice horse but I just don't feel a conection....Really thats all you have to say

    Or last but not least "I left something on the stove at home and have to leave right now to go turn it off:

    P.S. If you can't afford it, window shop on the internet not in someone's tack.....
    2nd this^ If you've represented you horse honestly, it really doesn't matter what their reason is.
    "Everyone will start to cheer, when you put on your sailin shoes"-Lowell George

    What's the status on Tuco?



  9. #9
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    Feb. 4, 2004
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    I usually repeat "he's a lovely horse, I just don't think we're a match" until we get out of there if it is something I really don't want to get into (dead lame, horrible mover, etc.).

    Personally I try to avoid (and wish others would too) getting someone's hopes up by promising to call back, but I do understand sometimes that is easier than flat out saying you aren't interested.



  10. #10
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    Dec. 19, 2009
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    Pennsylvania
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    I don't buy and sell a lot (thank goodness) but when I'm buying, if I've contacted the seller for more info/video or gone to see a horse I will let the seller know if I'm not interested if the horse doesn't fit, without going into crazy long details because sometimes you know... it's nothing you can really explain. The horse is nice, just not "the one".
    "Thanks so much for sending the video links, but Dobbin is not exactly what I'm looking for at this time." That's all, just so they know I got the video or that I've moved on in the search. Very few sellers have pressured me into giving reasons, but if they push for a reason I might give one. And it might sound silly to them but it's my reasons. "Dobbin reminds me so much of the horse we just sold, and we sold him because he wasn't suitable for my daughter" is one reason I remember giving. Several others include, "I'm sorry, you hadn't mentioned the obvious bowed tendon that is apparent in the pictures you sent", and "I noticed in the pictures you sent that he is missing an eye." Those might not be deal breakers to some people but to me, at that time, they were.

    When I'm selling, I really don't care why someone passes on a horse. I do appreciate a follow-up to visits that end in "I'll call you". I most appreciate flat-out honesty, where standing in the aisle before tacking up they just stop and say "no, this isn't going to be my next horse, but thank you for taking the time to see me today." We've all been there and I don't take it personally at all.



  11. #11
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    Mar. 12, 2006
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    Western South Dakota
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    Default

    I think most sellers would prefer an honest "not what we had in mind", rather than spending several hours showing a horse that potential buyer isn't interested in.



  12. #12
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    Apr. 27, 2008
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    If someone knows at some point they definitely will not buy the horse, I beg you not to carry on with the appointment out of politeness. The horse doesn't need a ride by someone that isn't interested. And the person showing the horse has other things to do. Any seller needs to be savvy enough to handle with grace and gratitude that their time is not being wasted.

    If the problem is something that can be fixed, or something the seller should change about the marketing, it might be worth mentioning in a polite and professional way. But I'd consider the context and the apparent mind-set of the hearers before deciding to say anything. (Such as advertising the horse to a market that really won't be interested in him if the seller is not so experienced in horse sales. )


    Quote Originally Posted by Beam Me Up View Post
    I usually repeat "he's a lovely horse, I just don't think we're a match" ...
    Pefect. If the seller wants to know more, they will ask.



  13. #13
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    Nov. 13, 2002
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    Maryland
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    Quote Originally Posted by deltawave View Post
    Honest without unnecessary negativity works for everyone but the crazies. And nothing helps with them.

    If they don't ask, I just say it is not my type/what I am looking for or something along those lines. If they ask, I go with DW's approach.
    There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.(Churchill)



  14. #14
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    Jul. 15, 2005
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    Thanks for all of the good lines! For the most part people are really appreciative and accepting of me just saying he is not what I'm looking for but the other day when I went to see a horse it was obvious that he was lame the owner pressured me into saying what I was looking for then since young dobbin is the perfect event horse. Um, not lame??? Now I know why people hire trainers to do the leg work for them. And when in doubt I'll use i left something on the stove 200 miles away!!!



  15. #15
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    Apr. 4, 2009
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    These are all great ideas, what to say to the seller, but what if you get a seller like the one I did once...............

    The ad said he was "a jumper". It was worded to imply the gelding was a young rider's show horse, she was off to college or something. Luckily it was near by - a whole 15 minute drive.

    So I get there and holey moley, ugh. What a mess this thing was. Just horrible. Ugly, fugly, gross conformation, big huge dent in his face, like he'd run into a guy wire or post as a youngster. I've never seen such sickle hocks, skinny, snakey eyes, not the height they'd said he was, (what else is new?) Right there, in the aisle, I sucked back, there was nothing more to look at. Awkward? Oh, man. So the woman and her dumb daughter are grooming him and going on and on about how great he was. I'm shaking my head and just desperate to think of some way to get out of there. Well, his claim to being a "jumper" was of the time he jumped out of the pasture, over the farm gate when they brought in other horses. Wow. He was a "trail horse". And he didn't clear the farm gate....... (maybe that's how he got the huge dent in his face). Dumb me, I'd come wearing my jods and boots, so they were all over me to ride him. "Just try him, he's really neat". I told them there really was no need, it wasn't what I was looking for. By this time I learned he'd been for sale forever, many, many people had gotten fooled by this ad, tried him. He wouldn't jump the small poles they'd set up. Oh! He's been professionally trained! they crowed.

    So the gal puts his tack on, and you wouldn't believe it - they cranked his chin down onto his chest and buckled this 2 inch strap onto the noseband, and breast plate. WTH????????? I freaked - I was classically trained by the best, and I just exploded. They said that's what the trainer rides him in. I gave them heck, really, I couldn't bear this - babbled as quickly as I could the basic priciples of dressage, and said they needed to sue their *trainer* for abuse, and to get their money back. What's worse is they were selling this poor beast because they wanted to buy one of the trainer's high dollar reg. QHs, a much nicer picture for them. Man, I was running out of there, and they followed me, begging me to try the horse! "Here, we'll take the martingale off!" They said I could ride him in any tack I wanted. I finally just told them - look, you want 5K for a horse who isn't worth what you pay for one month's board. Give this poor thing to someone as a companion horse!

    Urrrgggg, I am so sick of folks like this - they are embarrassed by their first purchase, some nag that in hindsight they realize isn't going to put them in good stead with the high rollers in the boarding barn, but so they are willing to pay $$$$$$$$$$$ for some hoity toity thing, but they want for their mess at least half, if not all, what they'd have to pay for the fancy one. By this time they've got a year or more of board payments out the roof on the nag, so they seem to think no matter how bad he is, he's worth that at least.

    And y'know what? If they had been willing to lose the fantasy of the 5K, I would have moved heaven and earth to find this poor nag a soft landing. As it was, these people were so far off in left field there should be a law requiring tests and licensing to own horses. Or dogs. Or children, for that matter......... :0



  16. #16
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    Nov. 28, 2000
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    Quote Originally Posted by judybigredpony View Post
    As a seller I am not interested in a potential buyers assesment...because there is no way to know if that person really knows what they are talking about or even feel..BFNE..you are an exception because you are a knowledgable horse person.

    I do not want to hear...she doesn't feel/jump/ride like my old horse...who is 28 and died last month

    He doesn't trot like my old retired hunter I rode for 16 years.

    Sure doesn't go as fancy and elegant as my $60K WEF hunter I had to put down last week.

    Just say "Thank You" were are still shopping and will keep you on our short list.

    Thank you were are still looking and had hoped for something less green.

    Thank You we will be in touch after we see a few more horses.

    And "Thank you" nice horse but I just don't feel a conection....Really thats all you have to say

    Or last but not least "I left something on the stove at home and have to leave right now to go turn it off:

    P.S. If you can't afford it, window shop on the internet not in someone's tack.....
    ^^^ I 3rd this. All of the above.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr. 30, 2002
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    Looking up
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    I think just set the land-world speed record for looking at a horse.....about 30-40 seconds. We barely got out of the car if you really want to know the truth....horse was lame walking out of the stall for us. Sorry. Doesn't suit us today.

    I don't lie but I try to be respectful and fair. "Doesn't suit my needs," "Not exactly what we were looking for," is so much nicer than saying something rude or inconsiderate. I try not to insult people even if they desperately need it....

    You know sometimes you do need to go back and see a horse again, and change your mind....that can happen. You don't have to make a decision the first time you lay eyes on a horse. I think most horse sellers can tell a positive connection the first few steps the horse takes under saddle with the right rider, I can see it usually.....once a little girl from Maryland, from a good pony club coming off a good pony, came and rode an off track TB novice level horse I had for sale. This horse was nicely schooled on the flat and jumped very packing for her...and in her price range...but she rode him just as she had ridden her pony, sitting up, pushing to the base of the jumps, kicking the trot step -- she had him very forward by the end of her ride. (You know, where the Mom is sucking her breath in at every loooooong fence she's pushing for!)

    I actually got back on the horse, showed her and her Mom what she had been doing, then put her back on and let her feel the difference when she rode with a bit of feeling and less authority and let the horse jump under her. Immediately those long spots went away and the horse's flat work became steadier. Many people are not experienced enough to know how to change for the horse they are riding, and it is because in their riding education they have not yet had the experience of riding many horses and feeling different stride lengths and degrees of "go" buttons. One cannot get too pissy about this but educate if the opportunity presents itself, and hope they come back and buy the right one next time, as the rider matures!
    "Passion, though a bad regulator, is a powerful spring." -- Emerson
    www.eventhorse.wordpress.com



  18. #18
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    Apr. 27, 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by ILuvmyButtercups View Post
    ... Urrrgggg, I am so sick of folks like this - they are embarrassed by their first purchase, some nag that in hindsight they realize isn't going to put them in good stead with the high rollers in the boarding barn, but so they are willing to pay $$$$$$$$$$$ for some hoity toity thing, but they want for their mess at least half, if not all, what they'd have to pay for the fancy one. By this time they've got a year or more of board payments out the roof on the nag, so they seem to think no matter how bad he is, he's worth that at least.
    ...
    I agree, this is all too common. The people are mystified that it is hard to find a new buyer to make the same mistake they did. I find it sad for the horse, so often. Unless the owner(s) is ready to re-purpose appropriately and just move on.



  19. #19
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    Oct. 21, 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by retreadeventer View Post
    You know sometimes you do need to go back and see a horse again, and change your mind....that can happen. You don't have to make a decision the first time you lay eyes on a horse.
    I actually have a minimum 2 visit rule. Sometimes I just don't know, and need to go back with a clearer head after thinking on it afterwards. Other times I am star struck for whatever reason and see the "truth" the second visit.

    I wouldn't marry a guy after the first date, not sure why I should be expected to buy a horse after spending 60 minutes with it. First impressions are just that, it's the second visit that you see more clearly. A couple horses I bought I knew right away I made the wrong decision but I made a hasty one.



  20. #20
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    Good point, Perfect.

    You know there are some things that I think we sort of gloss over or forget on first visit, too. This is why I think taking a knowledgeable person along is a must on all horse visits, if no more than to jog your memory to make sure you canter on both hands, etc.

    You can squeeze a lot of trial in a quick 10-15 min. under saddle session -- stop, back, turn right, turn left, check brakes, check response to forward aids, check lateral flexion, attempt elementary "give" and/or bend to rein on the circle (depending on greenness), walk, trot medium / little extension both directions, canter both directions, jump or trot x rail somehow if the horse is jumping; then cool out walk around yard or arena on long rein to see if horse can relax. (The jumping part goes into another little session that would depend on how you feel and how the horse feels.) I think you can squeeze a lot of questions in there that a horse will answer for you, and then you should get off and think about the answers while you drive home, find areas you'd like to do more with the horse, come back for more serious trial. If were selling a horse and had a rider do that I would be pleased that they were good, thinking riders and knew what they were looking for.
    "Passion, though a bad regulator, is a powerful spring." -- Emerson
    www.eventhorse.wordpress.com



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