So I'm looking for a new horse, a young one to hopefully go prelim on in the future. I had a very icky experience this week that I just had to share. I went last week to try a 3.5 year old tb(unregistered) that had nice videos, nice mover, some x-c schooling. Trainer/owner does not impress by showing me the horse wearing boat shoes and no helmet - this says to me that corners have been cut. But I like the horse, it's reasonably priced, so I'm going to move forward. I ask the trainer more about where he got it- story is not clear...bought out of a field, never met the owner. Do you know his breeding, I ask, just out of curiosity, really. No, but I can find out, he says. So I arrange for a vetting. Same day, I get an email giving me a sire and dam. Great, I think, until i google and discover that stallion died in 1989 and mare was born in 1965, so even if she's the world's oldest horse, unlikely to be the dam. I call him on it; whoops! My friend who looked it up at the registry must have made a mistake...to which I'm thinking, how could you look him up if he's not registered? Isn't that the point of "registered?". But again, horse is what he is, so still moving forward. Get a few more pieces of info, then he gets defensive - no one has ever asked him such questions, ever! Now, I've looked at 13 horse so far and everyone can tell me where they got their horse from...so I vet the horse ($1200+) and it's not quite clean...flexed a 2 on soft ground, x-rays showing some narrowing of the joint space. Email, say I'm having my vet look at films, will get back to you. Get snippy email in reply; now, less than a week has elapsed since I tried the horse so this seems rather rude to me. Takes a day for films to get to vet and her to look at them; I have a long talk with the vet, she says to better not risk it; I sleep on it, get back to the guy today to say no...get very rude email telling me that horse has found another home. I feel like I 've dodged a bullet, but it almost seemed like a joke version ofa COTH sales story. Is it actually unusual to ask someone where they acquired the horse? Or to expect to be able to sleep on a vetting?
In my experience sellers have been able to give me basic info about the horse's origins, breed if they know it, etc. I do not think its unusual for people to want to know that. I think you dodged a bullet there, things sound fishy, just keep doing what you're doing. Good luck!
He could have said - "sorry horse isn't registered and previous owner didn't care or know about bloodlines, so I have no info on the horse's breeding.".. not knowing information is one thing, trying to cover it up just makes it look fishy... and really doesn't matter on the breeding as your vet didn't pass it anyway.
The only way I could imagine this story checking out: if by "unregistered" the guy simply meant "I bought the horse out of a field and if it's registered, I don't know about it." I've known plenty of folks, especially folks who weren't familiar with TBs, who had to call a TB-savvy friend who told them to look in the horse's mouth for a tattoo. And once you've got a tattoo, you can usually get the registered name and that leads to a sire and dam. In which case we could POSSIBLY forgive the horse owner if the horse had the same registered name as a horse from 10 or 20 years ago. The names do get released for re-use.
But yeah, chances are you dodged a big bullet and the whole pedigree was made up.
My bet is the horse does not have a new home and is on the market. Too bad the trainer wasn't savvy enough to find out what the issues were with the vetting and perhaps even buy the x-rays. It sounds like the horse might have been okay, just not for the OP's intended purpose.
As for not knowing about the background and breeding of a horse, I do expect the seller to know something. Or it nothing is known, that fact is going to be reflected in the price. My concern is that the horse was stolen. Ask me why I know!
There are TB that are not Jockey Club. I know someone that used to have a breeding program for palomino TB. She got a lot of chestnuts, that were all not what she wanted, but they were nice horses. Got and sold 2 of them at my farm.
I also know plenty of people that don't know what their horse is. "He's by 'R' something warmblood. I don't know, I can ask the last owner. I think you can get papers if you register him...."
Plenty of people selling horses are NOT professionals. They are parents, school teachers, or working at the local Quik Check or car repair. They also may have a horsey 'business' where they buy and sell cheap horses.
Plenty of 'professionals' are professionally bad. (I asked around about Mark Bliss, and he's pretty well known in my area.... but he runs a business. Has for decades. Probably will until he can no longer walk himself down the barn aisle any more.)
As for the OP horse shopping experience, well, I've experienced worse!! That's just part of the 'entertainment' value of the horse biz....
I could add about the time a family showed up to look at a cheap family-type horse we had for sale. Father and son were dressed in.... yes.... matching.... hawaiian print shorts and cowboy boots. It is truly a tragedy that I did not have a camera handy.
Next time you spy a spiffy outfit while horse shopping OP, you should definitely snap a picture so you can share. We could even have a contest.
Glad to know it wasn't just me...I don't mind not knowing - I've purchased horses with auctions in their past - but I don't like being lied to or having some one be rude to me when I am a legit buyer with serious inquiries who plunked down a nice chunk of change for the vetting...
Scary part is that this was a professional who claims "to be well known in international circles..."
well i sell a lot of tb;s from the track and some never raced or reg. and i can tell you both sire and dam, if they raced give their race records and most of the time their papers as well. i have nothing to hide at all. can tell you where they all came from too good luck, hope you find a nice horse.
Every horse I have ever tried the owners were able to tell me where they got them. And my last vetting took about a week. I had 2 vets down here look at the x rays and I talked to the vets who took them and compared notes thoroughly. Kinda glad you dodged a bullet on that one, owner sounds a bit fishy!!
I have met quite a few sellers/dealers of less expensive horses who didn't want to disclose where they got the horse, mostly because they didn't want you to know he was $50 at an auction 2 weeks ago, or because they don't actually know that he showed/evented, are just guessing or taking someone else's word. Definitely a red flag, not insurmountable, but I'm sorry you lost so much on the vetting. As others said, you probably dodged a bullet.