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Sending a horse on trial?

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    Sending a horse on trial?

    I have a buyer very interested in my event pony, and they want me to bring him to their farm for a trial. I have never done a trial before. I usually just watch them trot at the track and bring them home.

    I don't really feel comfortable with a trial, but the little girl loved him and he went great for her. I have the impression that it would be a good home/fit.

    Other than having them cover insurance, what else should I do or expect? Should we get the vet check/negotiations out of the way? Should I get full payment up front with a return period or take a deposit?

    Any advise or experiences from either side of the fence would be appreciated.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    \"Let the civilized world go to the devil! Long live nature, forests, and ancient poetry.\" --Theodore Rousseau

    #2
    I really hate doing trials... Super stressful if you're the one trying the critter, super stressful to be the owner of something on trial. Just too much risk even with insurance, IMO.

    NOT to be little miss extreme situation example giver, but this is the example given to me when I was debating sending my Appy on trial.

    -Horse is worth a lot right now. (not sure about your horse's specifics or anything, but the appy was worth a lot then)
    -Human loves horse on trial ride on property.
    -Human takes horse on trial.
    -Human sends horse back.
    -Horse arrives, dead lame and injured.
    -Horse is now worth much less and is now essentially eating money while healing.

    Obviously, that would be a worst case scenario, but with my luck that's what would happen.

    The other thing to consider is how well the horse would adjust during a trial.

    The appy I adore is not at all the one I had on trial. The appy I had on trial was a terrifying mass of spots and teeth. The appy I have today is sitting in the front field calming down terrified babies and OTTBs. The first appy and the second appy are in fact the same appy, but he just did not do well with all the transitions going on during a trial.

    IMO, there are just too many risks.
    Trying a life outside of FEI tents and hotel rooms.

    Comment


      #3
      As a buyer, trials can be very important. As a seller, while there are risks with a trial, I was always willing to work something out because it was always just as important to me that it is a good match as it is to the seller.

      When I bought my current horse, the seller was uncomfortable with a trial but she did offer me a 30 day return. So, if during the 30 day period, I felt the horse wasn't going to work, I could return him. I was okay with that compromise. So, I did pay the horse and get the vet check prior to taking him.

      I certainly think it can work but I would recommend a good contract, insurance, a vet check, and if not full payment, a substantial deposit.

      Comment


        #4
        Are they close enough to come and ride the horse several times on your property? I'd be very reluctant to let any horse leave on a trial basis.
        PPE before it leaves, if you decide to go that route, hefty deposit, insurance, and clear instructions that NOTHING gets changed until they own the critter (ie: having their farrier do it's feet).
        -Jessica

        Comment

          Original Poster

          #5
          The pony is a saint in ANY situation. He's like a range QH. Nothing phases him, but my husband just lost his job and I'm worried of the risks above. If they break him, I have a broken pony to feed.

          I do, however, want him to have an awesome home.

          This is like selling a kid!
          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
          \"Let the civilized world go to the devil! Long live nature, forests, and ancient poetry.\" --Theodore Rousseau

          Comment


            #6
            The contract that I was going to use when someone wanted to take my horse on trial basically had a "you break it, you buy it" clause in it (it didn't work out for other reasons- the situation wasn't as represented by them), perhaps you could do something like that?

            Obviously, you would need a starting baseline before trial, but I am guessing that the buyer would want to do a PPE on the pony anyway, right? You could modify the paragraph to state that, in the case that the pony was "broken", at your discretion, you could take the pony back, and they would pay for the difference between what he was worth prior to being "broken" and what he is worth now. In this situation, I would make sure you had a substantial deposit for the horse before he went on trial, also. Because while you can, in theory, take 'em to court to get your money back, after winning in court, you have to then actually get the money back (and that can be difficult to impossible to do- speaking from experience...).

            Best of luck! I would also suggest that maybe instead of keeping the horse on their property, they could board him at a mutually agreeable boarding facility (maybe with their trainer, if they have one). That way, there would be someone supervising their riding as well.

            Comment


              #7
              Insurance is always a good idea, I suppose you would get loss of use, but that is usually such a pita to collect on. I would still get it just for colic etc.

              I wouldnt do a trial, she can come to your place and ride as much as she wants.
              But if you do decide to do the trial, I would insist on full payment up front, with a vet check, and a contract that states that the horse much be returned in the same condition as it was when it left or the $$ is forfeited to the seller.
              You could send out Rox Dene and get back barn sour bucking stopper. Not worth it IMHO.
              "Perhaps the final test of anybody's love of dogs is their willingness to permit them to make a camping ground of the bed" -Henry T. Merwin

              Comment


                #8
                I agree with above. My trial policy is:

                1. Horse vetted before trial.
                2. Price agreed upon after vetting.
                3. Full amount of purchase price paid for.
                4. Horse goes on trial for whatever amount of time is agreed upon.
                5. If horse does not work out, Horse must be re-examined by vet (at buyer's cost), declared sound, and returned in same condition.
                6. Purchase price refunded minus 10-15% (as cost of taking horse off market for trial time).

                So it's more like a refund policy vs a trial.

                I wouldn't let a horse go on a true trial at another farm unless I really knew the barn well and was desperate I've seen way too many go wrong.

                Comment


                  #9
                  From the buyer's perspective: I have bought my last 2 horses after having them on a trial. I am risk averse and buying any horse is risky--so I always ask for a trial (if the seller says no--that's fine--but I'm going to ask) First of all--i am only going to take one on trial that I want to buy (not one that I am lukewarm about) so I am not planning to return the horse, unless I find something that really makes me unsure about the horse. It has allowed me to make sure that the horse and I are a good fit.

                  Both times, the farms were relatively close and they knew someone who knew me (to verify that I wasn't taking the horse to an unsafe barn or would do something irresponsible). I do think it's odd that they want YOU to bring the horse over to their farm though--I have always picked up the horse myself.

                  Here's a few things I have offered to reassure the seller:
                  • I did the prepurchase vet check within a few days of the start of trial (that way we know if there is going to be a "dealbreaker" in the vet check).
                  • The horse is turned out in a private paddock (that seems obvious--but it's not bad to get that in writing).
                  • In one case, I put down a deposit and signed a contract specifying that I would pay X amount for the horse if they weren't returned in the same condition. In the other case, the owner did not have me do that--but I was willing to.
                  I guess it depends on how many bites you have had on the horse and how easy you think he/she will be to sell. I know some people have had bad experiences with trials--but for me it has been one of the reasons I ended up buying their horse. I *know* i would not have taken a chance on my most recent horse if I couldn't have taken her on trial. And she has turned out to be great!

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by InstigatorKate View Post
                    I agree with above. My trial policy is:

                    1. Horse vetted before trial.
                    2. Price agreed upon after vetting.
                    3. Full amount of purchase price paid for.
                    4. Horse goes on trial for whatever amount of time is agreed upon.
                    5. If horse does not work out, Horse must be re-examined by vet (at buyer's cost), declared sound, and returned in same condition.
                    6. Purchase price refunded minus 10-15% (as cost of taking horse off market for trial time).

                    So it's more like a refund policy vs a trial.

                    I wouldn't let a horse go on a true trial at another farm unless I really knew the barn well and was desperate I've seen way too many go wrong.

                    THIS!!!
                    And that is only if I ever.do.a.trial.again... which i doubt.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      DON"T DO IT!!!

                      If you want my horror stories please PM me be glad to share, I have sent the most sane,sound,never get into any bad luck horses out on trial and it has been a murphy's law nightmare.
                      If they like the horse (pony) they can always come ride several times, it takes months for a new horse/rider combo to really click so a one week trial is no different than coming over and riding several times.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I did a trial very reluctantly with my last horse, and only bc I loved the girl and felt that they were a perfect fit but her mom was very difficult. That was the only time I would EVER do it even though it turned out fine. They came and got him, took him two hrs to their home and signed a contract and left a check for the full amount.
                        Contract stated that horse had no pre existing conditions, one week trial with payment in hand to be cashed one week from that date with a PPE completed in that time frame. If horse was injured in any way they covered expenses or the full purchase price. Horse had to be returned in 7 days and cleared by vet.
                        My situation worked out but it was so stressful I would never do it again. The mom made my life hell over nick picky things to the point I almost said forget it bring him home. He has a wonderful home and the girl thinks he is the best thing since sliced bread so I couldn't be happier but in retrospect....
                        The horse I bought after selling this guy was not available for trial but he was also ottb lightly restarted. Had a PPe that he passed but that's the risk buying ponies. Too much risk for seller to trial, even tho my situation was successful.
                        Honey Badger don't give a s*#^!

                        "..a three-day event is not a test of speed and endurance, it is a test of character" ~JW

                        Comment


                          #13
                          One Word..."Don't"...................

                          Comment


                            #14
                            We have bought several horses after a trial period. We never returned one after a trial period. The horses we had for a trial period have been our very best horses. A couple of the ones that we bought after only trying them out a few times at the seller's farm were not the right horses for our family. Trial periods have risks, but at least you know it is a good match.

                            We have always insured horses who we have on trial. A couple of times we bought them on a lease/purchase plan of something like $500 per month for use of the horse that is then credited towards the purchase price. If we didn't buy, the seller would keep the $500/month and get the horse back.

                            The only thing I think we did wrong was to do the prepurchase at the end of the trial period. By then, we were so attached to the horses that it didn't matter what the vet found. We could not send them back. For the future, I would do the prepurchase before bringing a horse home on trial.

                            Sometimes, we have brought the trial horse home. Twice,we left the trial horse with our meticulous BNT. Either way worked well.

                            I hate the risks involved with a trial period, but love the benefits of knowing we have bought Mr. or Ms. Right Horse.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              One thing I meant to add that has already been mentioned. What's the difference in riding said horse for a week as opposed to coming out several times to ride. It takes more than five rides to truly click, unless you know that He's the one on that first ride, then it's a null point with a PPE. I ONLY did it because she was two hrs away.
                              Honey Badger don't give a s*#^!

                              "..a three-day event is not a test of speed and endurance, it is a test of character" ~JW

                              Comment


                                #16
                                I don't do trials anymore. Sent my old arab out on one and the price of vet bills was higher than the asking price for the horse. He went nuts in the trailer, (had never done that before) and needed chiropractic work, and had all kinds of cuts on his legs and was lame for a while. Luckily the people wanted him enough to offer me $500, but he was a mess and it took them nearly 6 months to fix him.

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  I sell horses professionally. IF I allow a trial, which is something the owner and I discuss if it is not my horse, I do it as a "one week lease". THe person pays me a NON-REFUNDABLE deposit, which is non-refundable for any reason, including vetting results (since they can be very subjective) and applies to pruchase price if they purchase. I also require they pay me to haul the horse to where it will be stabled as I want to see exactly what type of facility/care it will receive. I write up and extensive contract which states "you break it in any way, you bought it". I require a check for the balance to hold for one week. I strongly suggest insurance.
                                  www.shawneeacres.net

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by AKB View Post
                                    We have bought several horses after a trial period. We never returned one after a trial period. The horses we had for a trial period have been our very best horses. A couple of the ones that we bought after only trying them out a few times at the seller's farm were not the right horses for our family. Trial periods have risks, but at least you know it is a good match.

                                    We have always insured horses who we have on trial. A couple of times we bought them on a lease/purchase plan of something like $500 per month for use of the horse that is then credited towards the purchase price. If we didn't buy, the seller would keep the $500/month and get the horse back.

                                    The only thing I think we did wrong was to do the prepurchase at the end of the trial period. By then, we were so attached to the horses that it didn't matter what the vet found. We could not send them back. For the future, I would do the prepurchase before bringing a horse home on trial.

                                    Sometimes, we have brought the trial horse home. Twice,we left the trial horse with our meticulous BNT. Either way worked well.

                                    I hate the risks involved with a trial period, but love the benefits of knowing we have bought Mr. or Ms. Right Horse.

                                    This - it has worked well as both buyer and seller.

                                    And I totally agree about vetting up front! You fall in love and it doesn't matter!

                                    Comment

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