I am sending my gelding out on trial this weekend. I'm trying to figure out what sort of deposit to require. Horse is priced in the mid 20's. I've never dealt with price tags in this range so I'm not sure what is standard. Do they provide a cashier's check? Guidance appreciated!
(I very respectfully request that you don't try to talk me out of a trial- I understand that very bad horrible things can happen and am willing to accept that risk and am setting up insurance for the trial period. )
I think a cashier's check is an excellent idea, as well as a detailed written agreement with the conditions of the trial, and if the deposit is to be refundable, precise details of exactly what's required before you refund the deposit.
There's also something to be said for requiring a deposit with a certain portion refundable and a certain portion non. I would make 500 - 1000.00 non refundable to compensate you for time and trouble and time off the market.
As a seller, I hated trials, but as a buyer or buyer's agent, I tried to negotiate them whenever I could because it's very hard to assess whether or not the horse and rider click without them.
DO require that the trialee bind the horse over with a full mortality policy for the trial period, and given the sale price, perhaps loss of use as well.
DO also get references for the people who will be keeping the horse while on trial.
I hate doing trials, but on the rare occasions that I have, I have collected the full amount of the purchase price.
IME, the worst case scenario is that the horse is badly injured while on trial and no longer has any value. The insurance might pay for medical care, or mortality if the animal has to be put down. But, if the animal is alive but ruined, chances are you will end up with ruined horse plus deposit money. Typically, trial contracts make the seller responsible for the full value of the animal, but practically speaking it could be very difficult to collect additional purchase money on a badly injured/ruined horse, no matter what the sales contract stated.
So, with this in mind, I would accept as a bare minimum the amount that you would settle for if the horse were ruined while on trial.
ETA, I agree with checking out the loss of use policies, though I believe they are getting more and more expensive and harder to get.
Yes, I prefer the route of they can purchase the horse with a certain period of time to return said horse at their expense, and purchase price is refunded after horse is returned in same condition. So the burden is really on them to cover themselves and follow instructions so they CAN get the money back if it is not a good fit. They can do the vet check and make a final decision within a short period, like a week.
when a friend of mine sent her horse several states away for a trial she got the full purchase price with the caveat that if it didn't work out the majority would be refunded - I believe she had them take out an insurance policy as well. buyers seem to be much more motivated to purchase knowing they've already bought the horse...