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Deposit to hold horse

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  • Deposit to hold horse

    A fairly beginnery amateur adult rider travelled from six hours away to look at my German Riding Pony for sale about six weeks ago. She really liked my mare and made a good offer about a week later but wanted to take her on trial and I said no ...for one, I'm in Canada and she's in New York State. The woman wants to give me a refundable deposit to hold her until she can bring her coach with her - but that's a month away. She says she is serious and will be doing a PPE ... I don't think I want to accept a refundable deposit as while my horse was really good for her and the coach liked what she saw, I have no guarantees she'll think they are a good match when she sees them go in person. Thoughts?

  • #2
    A month is a long time to take a sale horse off the market. Consider what you would accept as a non-refundable deposit to compensate for that, and make her a counter-offer. If she buys the horse, you take the deposit off the purchase price. If she doesn't, you keep it as compensation and put the horse back on the market.

    Comment


    • #3
      How strong is the market for your horse? How long has she been for sale and are there other interested parties who've contacted you?

      I wouldn't do the trial either; far too risky!

      However, if I didn't have a line of other people interested, I'd probably do a nonrefundable deposit or a refundable one if she had a PPE completed before the trainer came out. She's got to have some skin in the game.

      I'd also set a specific date for the trainer to show up after which the deposit is forfeit, I'd also continue to show the horse to other people in the meantime.

      Good Luck!

      Comment


      • #4
        A month is a really long time to take a horse off of the market, ESPECIALLY this time of year. It’s a lot harder to sell a horse in the north in the winter than in the summer. I probably wouldn’t take a deposit. Keep showing the horse to people and is it’s still there in a month she can come see it with her trainer.

        Comment


        • #5
          Did the prospective buyer already take video of herself riding the horse? And you riding it?

          I would be disinclined to take a deposit. You'd have to make it expensive enough for the prospective buyer that if her pro said No, she'd have wasted a chunk of her horse budget and now potentially created a problem with her coach. Or she might be inclined to buy without her coach's blessing. You don't want your horse to be part of that scenario.

          I have seen many, many beginnner-ish buyers like yours want to buy a horse or put a deposit down on one before the pro has seen it. I can't tell you how many deals fall apart this way. Sometimes that's for really good reasons-- pro knows more about what the rider can do or soundness or whathaveyou than the excited newbie buyer. Sometimes that's for bad reasons-- pro doesn't make time to help this buyer enough with her purchase, pro has a priori ideas about what the buyer should buy and that's why she didn't come the first time. And I think there is something wrong if a trainer can't find time within the next 30 days to come see a horse her client is serious about. Sometimes, it's that the pro has not seen enough info about the horse to know if it's worth pursuing.

          But you want to promote the sale without taking risk, so help the buyer out. Offer her a time to come back, try the horse as her pro directs and you'll do the video taping for her. Hopefully, the pro will see enough of what she needs to in order to help the client make a decision.
          The armchair saddler
          Politically Pro-Cat

          Comment


          • #6
            I agree that's a really long time to hold a horse on deposit. Two weeks is way more reasonable. You also don't need to accept the deposit idea at all - if she is really motivated about the horse, let her know you could maybe offer her a courtesy heads-up if someone else sees the horse and is interested, giving her a first right of refusal and then a week or 10 day deposit to hold and do PPE? If the pro is her agent, and you're only 6 hours away, that seems like a fair compromise that they should be able to make work.

            I had planned a horse trip around a horse I really wanted, only to find out she'd been shown to someone else the week before and they did a PPE. They ended up passing and it worked out for me, but I sure would have appreciated a heads-up when they knew I was coming from a long ways off, had flights and hotels booked, etc. If I had that heads-up, I may have tried to change my flight or offer a week deposit or something.
            Mr. Sandman
            sand me a man
            make him so sandy
            the sandiest man

            Comment


            • #7
              You have received wonderful advice above and every post is worth considering.

              The buyer sounds like she is green regarding the ins and outs of horse-buying and her request isn't realistic. Taking a horse off the market for any length of time without a PPE lined up places unreasonable asymmetric risk on the seller.

              IMO there is no point in accepting a refundable deposit. You are the only one with skin in the game when you take the horse off the market. You may turn away other buyers only to have the first buyer ask for a full refund if they decide not to purchase the horse for any variety of reasons.

              You might be better off telling the prospective buyer you will give her right of first refusal for 24 hours in the event another buyer comes along and makes a firm offer or makes an offer contingent on a PPE.

              One last thought, consider asking the buyer if she can have the trainer contact you on the telephone so it can be determined if the trainer thinks the horse could be a fit. You might glean a lot of useful insight during the conversation.
              Last edited by OneTwoMany; Aug. 23, 2019, 08:59 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                I wouldn't take a deposit unless it was nonrefundable and reimbursed what you feel your risk is. Do you pay board? You have to take into account the cost to keep the horse an extra month, and that is IF they end up buying it. I also like atlatl's suggestion of having her complete a PPE prior to the trainer coming out. One may never know what could show up on a PPE and could at least give you both important information on if the sale would even proceed (provided the trainer thinks it's a good match). Good luck!

                Comment


                • #9
                  I think it's unreasonable for a newbie buyer to be asked to do a PPE before her pro has seen the horse. Among other things, the buyer might want her pro to attend or speak with the vet at a level of detail that the newbie buyer doesn't know to ask about. And how can the pro do that without having met the horse?

                  I would not agree to those terms, so no one less experienced should, either. Please don't suggest terms that are so one-sided. The horse training biz has a bad enough reputation without a newbie buyer being asked to spend money rather unintelligently just to see if this horse might past muster with a DVM before she knows if it will pass muster with the person who will help her learn to ride it.
                  The armchair saddler
                  Politically Pro-Cat

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I would take a non-refundable deposit and hold the horse. A deposit is to hold the horse against other possible purchasers, and mitigate my losses (time, board, etc.) if the purchase does not go through. Returning a deposit after holding a horse for a week or a month leaves me, as the seller, out time and money and lost buyers. I don't do refundable deposits. If a buyer is unwilling for their deposit to be non-refundable, I simply don't hold the horse.
                    Last edited by mmeqcenter; Aug. 21, 2019, 09:52 PM.
                    Custom tack racks!
                    www.mmeqcenter.com/tacklove.html

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by mvp View Post
                      I think it's unreasonable for a newbie buyer to be asked to do a PPE before her pro has seen the horse. Among other things, the buyer might want her pro to attend or speak with the vet at a level of detail that the newbie buyer doesn't know to ask about. And how can the pro do that without having met the horse?

                      I would not agree to those terms, so no one less experienced should, either. Please don't suggest terms that are so one-sided. The horse training biz has a bad enough reputation without a newbie buyer being asked to spend money rather unintelligently just to see if this horse might past muster with a DVM before she knows if it will pass muster with the person who will help her learn to ride it.
                      Why do you feel that the buyer's greenness should be the seller's issue?

                      Buyer should not be looking at horses without coach if coach is a key decisionmaker. End of story. I don't think it's realistic for a buyer to expect her coach to attend a live PPE in another country so if she needs that level of input, she should not have looked at this horse in the first place.

                      I'd tell the buyer that the horse remains on the market until she can get her butt back there with whoever she needs to make a decision. Either she likes the horse enough that it lights a fire under her ass, or she's not that serious.
                      Originally posted by PeanutButterPony
                      you can shackle your pony to a lawn chair at the show...so long as its in a conservative color.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I vetted a horse before I and my coach flew across the country to see him. I didn’t buy him but the seller knew I was serious.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by soloudinhere View Post
                          I don't think it's realistic for a buyer to expect her coach to attend a live PPE in another country so if she needs that level of input, she should not have looked at this horse in the first place.
                          As a Canadian (now living in the US), driving over the border is really not that huge a deal. I did this with my coach recently for horse shopping. You need a passport but it's less hassle than traffic in most cities, and a 6 hour drive isn't much in my perspective when it comes to horse shopping. YMMV.
                          Mr. Sandman
                          sand me a man
                          make him so sandy
                          the sandiest man

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by the sandiest shoes View Post

                            As a Canadian (now living in the US), driving over the border is really not that huge a deal. I did this with my coach recently for horse shopping. You need a passport but it's less hassle than traffic in most cities, and a 6 hour drive isn't much in my perspective when it comes to horse shopping. YMMV.
                            6 hours each way is two full days away from home for said coach, who probably has other horses to ride, clients to teach, and/or chores to do at home.

                            I drive across the border all the time - I know what is required - but it's the time away that makes it unrealistic. She should have brought the coach to begin with if her input was mandatory and seeing a video of the trial ride is insufficient.
                            Originally posted by PeanutButterPony
                            you can shackle your pony to a lawn chair at the show...so long as its in a conservative color.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I think there are two reasonable options here, neither of which has the buyer suggested (as both work against the buyer's interests of "keeping the horse as available as possible for purchase with the least risk possible to me" - not a crack against them, or buyers in general, it's fair that everyone is looking out for their interests but in this case, it's not a reasonable expectation of a seller).

                              1. Take no deposit and keep the horse on the market & actively advertising. Inform the buyer that you will not take a refundable deposit & you will not stop marketing the horse, but you will do them the courtesy of informing them if another interested party shows up (so they can expedite their plans if desired).

                              2. Estimate what amount of a non refundable deposit makes taking the horse off the market a reasonable option for you. There is not going to be a cut & dry number because this is going to look different to each seller (what makes it "worth it").

                              At the end of the day, the experience level of the buyer doesn't really factor into this for me. A buyer is trying to get the best deal for them (the trial, the refundable deposit, etc). This is not in your best interests. The buyer is showing a notable lack of urgency (making contact a week after they tried the horse is good, but that all of this was six weeks ago? and that they're looking for another month more?) which would concern/frustrate me as a seller. Make sure to keep your own interests in mind regardless of what you end up doing, and if you do any form of a deposit (non refundable or otherwise) make sure you get a signed contract for the transaction making it 100% clear what the expectations for this money is.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Echoing some earier posters, if the buyer looked at the horse six weeks ago and cannot get her coach in to see the pony for another month, the buyer doesn't sound all that serious, or she lacks a sense of urgency, or the coach might not be into the pony all that much.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I am confused, what exactly is the purpose of a deposit if it is fully refundable? I am not talking just horses here either (in other words, this buyer must be green at life, not just horse buying if they think a refundable deposit makes sense here).

                                  100% refundable = no risk to the buyer and lots of risk to the seller.

                                  I like Edre's suggestions. Tell them you require a non-refundable deposit to hold the horse or tell them that you will continue to market the horse and let them know if someone else comes along that is interested.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by soloudinhere View Post

                                    Why do you feel that the buyer's greenness should be the seller's issue?

                                    Buyer should not be looking at horses without coach if coach is a key decisionmaker. End of story. I don't think it's realistic for a buyer to expect her coach to attend a live PPE in another country so if she needs that level of input, she should not have looked at this horse in the first place.

                                    I'd tell the buyer that the horse remains on the market until she can get her butt back there with whoever she needs to make a decision. Either she likes the horse enough that it lights a fire under her ass, or she's not that serious.
                                    I think I explain why the buyer's greenness is the seller's issue... a bit.

                                    First, because it's bad business to offer terms that take advantage of the other side's ignorance. At least that's not how I do business. Second, this is a living creature. If the buyer were to coerce the deal a bit and the pony goes to a home where the buyer needs help and the coach can't or won't do that, then what happens to the animal? I have seen newbies part ways with their coaches soon after purchasing the wrong horse on their own. Those horses have a very, very hard time getting sold well. You can picture the reasons why since neither the pro nor the owner can or wishes to market and show them to prospective buyers. I never want to be part of putting an animal in that situation. Usually, there wouldn't be enough money made to make me feel good about it.

                                    I have been the coach and the buyer in this kind of situation. It happens a lot when folks are on a shopping budget. Their coach won't earn enough in commission to travel to see every horse the buyer thinks is worth a trip to see. As someone who has been riding for a long time, I don't mind doing that first visit myself, video-taping my ride and having the pro watch it before I return. And if I had good info from the seller up front, I'll present all of that to my pro. But you'd be surprised how hard it is to get good enough video in a shareable form for me to send to my pro!

                                    And I have been the coach who helped the neophyte buyer. Again, because the horse would be cheap and because the buyer didn't know much about choosing suitable candidates, I realized that the usual commission structure wouldn't work. So I offered to watch any video for free and had her pay me for my time if we went to look at a horse that she was serious about. We saw many that were unsuitable, some for reasons she didn't know about ahead of time. Each visit to a horse she didn't buy helped her learn more about how to sort through future candidates better.

                                    And if I were a truly green buyer, I'd absolutely want my coach in on the PPE. No, the coach doesn't have to travel "to another country" (it's a road trip across the Canadian boarder, not the Atlantic... let's keep to the facts) for a PPE, per se. But that makes lots of sense after the coach has met the horse. It makes no sense to have the newbie buyer go to her first PPE without a coach's help before the pro has met the horse. So between over-stating the kind of "another country" that Canada is vis-a-vis a buyer in New York, and not taking into account when the proposed PPE would be in the deal, I think you are arguing with a straw man of your own devising.

                                    And the notion about the PPE before the coach has met the horse or given a blessing being good because "both sides will get good information" is bad business! A PPE paid for by the buyer is not done to serve the seller at all.

                                    And I do think the green buyer is serious... or as serious as she can be given being new to all this and shopping from far away. She is being smart and serious enough to know that she should include her pro in the buying decision. But folks who have budgets and not a lot of knowledge are between a rock and a hard place. I think that might be why the buyer made such a wild suggestion as holding the horse for 30 days.

                                    I will bet that if the OP said, "Sorry, there's not a non-refundable amount of money that both of us would be happy with that would compensate me for taking him off the market as we bump into the beginning of fall." But don't end with no solution: Offer to keep her in the loop about other people who are coming to try the horse. As Edre (?) said, this gives the buyer a chance to expedite her commitment if she wants to. And I think it's a conventional way of handling this situation, so one needs to risk being treated unfairly or bamboozled because they are a noob to horse trading.
                                    Last edited by mvp; Aug. 22, 2019, 11:52 AM.
                                    The armchair saddler
                                    Politically Pro-Cat

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      If you are holding the horse 4-6 six weeks until her coach gets motivated to come and look. the deposit is NOT refundable if she does not take the horse. It can be applied to the purchase price if she does take it,
                                      Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                                      Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Thanks for this advice - it has helped. I have told the would-be buyer that I am not taking a deposit to hold the horse - especially a refundable one as she has no risk if she doesn't proceed. I will give her a heads-up if someone else comes to see the mare. She and her coach are coming up mid-Sept. and then if the coach likes the horse, I'll ask for a deposit to hold her until a PPE can be done.

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