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Horse Shopping Etiquette/Advice?

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  • Horse Shopping Etiquette/Advice?

    Hi guys, my friend's daughter's horse died recently due to colic complications and we are in serious shopping mode. We are going to VA to try quite a few this coming weekend. This is not my first horse buying rodeo, but its been some time since we have bought, and even longer since it has not been either a horse I know from birth or long term friend of a friend's horse, born at my family's farm in PA....etc, etc. So kind of looking for advice on the 'cold call' style of buying.

    SO, lets play...what should we bring/ ask/ expect/ look for when trying warmbloods in VA. We have seen videos of most, done Youtube snooping, and looked up USEA records. We have 7 appts lined up right now. Looking at those with Training level experience--kind of packers, for a 13 yr old (but she looks 15-16 and is taller).
    Last edited by dbamford; Jul. 5, 2011, 08:52 AM.

  • #2
    When people have come shopping for a teen with us, there has always been an adult/trainer who rode the horse after us but before the teen (compared to only sometimes does a trainer or friend ride before an adult client). That person made the determination if they really felt it was suitable for that teens level of riding.

    With a teen I would expect a second ride before a purchase decision. I would also expect them to want the teen to get the horse from the field if possible and tack. Having a 13 yr old right now, I know for me safe ground manners are just as important as being safe U/S
    Epona Farm
    Irish Draughts and Irish Draught Sport horses

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    • #3
      Best thing is to come prepared - what in your mind is going to be the appropriate horse for the rider... what are the most important aspects of the horse? Almost think of yourself as a judge.. you see how the horse behaves on the ground, when mounting, and when being ridden... If you like what you see, trainer gets on, if you still like what you see then the client gets on... if you don't then very politely let the seller know you don't think it's going to be the right match and head to the next appointment..

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      • Original Poster

        #4
        Great points! Especially on the ground manners, and tacking / untacking. I was wondering if asking tohave the horse ridden in a 'non-ring' environment following a ring trial is also wise being that we are looking at an event horse. Seeing the horse in a ring environment vs. open field may be a good point if we are considering a junior and that she has to control said horse outside of a ring.

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        • #5
          When considering the horse's show record, I like to see WHO has ridden it. A horse that's going around successfully with a rider like me is worth a lot more (to me) than one winning under a pro.
          Click here before you buy.

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          • #6
            I absolutely agree with the above. If an ammy has had success at training, or even better another junior, that would weigh more to me then success with a pro up.
            Beth Davidson
            Black Dog Farm Connemaras & Sport Horses
            http://blackdogconnemara.com
            visit my blog: http://ponyeventer.blogspot.com

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            • #7
              If there is an open field where the horse is, I think it is perfectly reasonable to see it ridden out there and/or have the teen ride it out there. Tougher if they only have a ring, but if you are really serious, plenty of sellers are willing to meet you somewhere with a field/xc course for the second visit once you know that horse is one you are very interested in.

              Also, good to ask about how the horse is at events versus home (when I sell, I am perfectly happy to give out this information), does horse have any habits/issues you should know about (such as Keebler breaking halters if left tied on his own for too long at shows).

              I also will (after asking the seller's permission), see if the horse will rattle (for example if I get ahead or behind or make a poor approach to a jump).

              You may want to bring the 13 year old's own saddle. I have ridden sale horses in some saddles so uncomfortable or poorly fitting (for me) that it is really hard for me to tell how the horse actually feels because all I am feeling is saddle misery. Also, you may want to bring along her and your/trainer's medical armbands and vests in case there is an opportunity to try the horse cross country (some places require armband even for schooling).
              OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by dbamford View Post
                I was wondering if asking tohave the horse ridden in a 'non-ring' environment following a ring trial is also wise being that we are looking at an event horse. Seeing the horse in a ring environment vs. open field may be a good point if we are considering a junior and that she has to control said horse outside of a ring.
                Yes, we let them ride out of the ring and were willing to trailer to XC if wanted. I don't think that is at all unreasonable to ask.
                Epona Farm
                Irish Draughts and Irish Draught Sport horses

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                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by horsetales View Post
                  Yes, we let them ride out of the ring and were willing to trailer to XC if wanted. I don't think that is at all unreasonable to ask.
                  I assumed this would be the case, but wanted to check in. If that is his primary job, working out of a ring is a primary skillset!!

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                  • #10
                    Also - my trainer used to like to arrive early... not that you dont' want to think the best of everyone, but there are those who like to take the horse out for a nice long ride or lunge before the buyer would show up (if you get my meaning)... so for me, I am in no way offended of put off if a seller drags out dirty horse for me to look at

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                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Ah. Another question--its a logistics one. but please keep the other advice coming, its been great!

                      As far as buying. Say we find something great, we do have a logistical complication. The mom/daughter are heading out of country on 2 week vaca the week AFTER we go to VA. So....if we find something we really like do we buy right away (pending vet check of course), pay for the horse and leave at owner's farm for the two weeks (with insurance of course), leave deposit....hmmmm...

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                      • #12
                        If you find a horse, tell seller you're leaving the country for vacation and you'd like to try the horse again (maybe work out a trial) and schedule the PPE upon your return. Let seller know PPE will be done during the time the horse is on trial. I I would not purchase a horse prior to going away but would leave a deposit or draft a sale/purchase agreement (which would include terms of trial, payment etc.).

                        If the sellers are pushing you to make a decision to purchase before the buyer goes away.. I don't think I'd appreciate that and might be a flag to me... the old someone is coming tomorrow and they're very interested is often a ruse...

                        A friend of mine sent her horse from MD to RI on trial.. she had the sellers pay full price & insurance. There was an agreement payment would be held in escrow until PPE... I would suggest doing something along those lines as well.

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                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by gottagrey View Post
                          If you find a horse, tell seller you're leaving the country for vacation and you'd like to try the horse again (maybe work out a trial) and schedule the PPE upon your return. Let seller know PPE will be done during the time the horse is on trial. I I would not purchase a horse prior to going away but would leave a deposit or draft a sale/purchase agreement (which would include terms of trial, payment etc.).

                          If the sellers are pushing you to make a decision to purchase before the buyer goes away.. I don't think I'd appreciate that and might be a flag to me... the old someone is coming tomorrow and they're very interested is often a ruse...

                          A friend of mine sent her horse from MD to RI on trial.. she had the sellers pay full price & insurance. There was an agreement payment would be held in escrow until PPE... I would suggest doing something along those lines as well.

                          Ah, excellent advice!

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                          • #14
                            Horse Shopping

                            Sent you a PM

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                            • #15
                              Just FYI, it's not necessarily a red flag if the seller won't let the horse go on trial. There are a ton of horror stories out there. Many sellers will not consider a trial off property.
                              The big guy: Lincoln

                              Southern Maryland Equestrian

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                              • #16
                                We sold my daughter's pony and bought her a new horse this past Spring.

                                After trying the horse once in an open ring, we had the seller take him to a xc course so we could try him there. Completely reasonable for an eventer. There was a lot of interest in the horse, and if we had asked her to wait, we wouldn't have gotten him. The situation was the same with selling the pony. The first people who came to see him asked about a trial before they made the trip. I told them no trials. They came for a few days and while they were here, someone else wanted to make a trip to come see him right away. I told him that some people were here and I'd let him know what they decided. Then another person wanted to come see him. The trainer who was here with her client asked if there was any other interest. I told the truth - it's not always a lie when sellers say there is other interest. They had him vetted and bought him before they went home. The good ones go fast, so if you find a horse you really like, I'd go ahead with a vetting and purchase or there's definitely a chance you could miss out by waiting.

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                                • #17
                                  I don't tend to let horses I am selling go out on trial, particularly out of state, and I'm not surprised when sellers won't let one I'm looking at go, either. Not a red flag to me at all.

                                  On the PPE/timing, in your situation, I would be upfront with the seller, but would expect that you'd have to leave a deposit: "We really like Dandy, and want to schedule a PPE. The buyers will be out of the country for the next two weeks, so if possible, we'd like to schedule it for X date. We'd be happy to leave a deposit of Y for that period of time to keep him off the market." Sometimes the seller will accept your offer of a deposit, often they won't (the latter is, I think, more common when everyone knows each other), but either way, you've recognized that you are asking them to refrain from showing the horse to anyone else for the time until the PPE. Otherwise, you take your chances - if there's not a firm PPE scheduled and/or the seller doesn't have a deposit in hand, I think you take your chances that someone else won't snap up in the horse in the interim.

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                                  • #18
                                    I've know a few people who've let their horses go out on trial and requested the buyers provide check for purchase price and had them insure the horse... written contract w/ provision about check in escrow and PPE etc.. no problem w/ either sale..

                                    I would still see if you could arrange a trial of some sort... depending on how much the horse is - maybe even if the mother/child could go to VA for a few days to ride the horse.. I've heard too many horror stories. We had a horse the buyer had leased it first to try... come to find out the horse had EPM; buyer didn't realize but trainer at home felt something funny in back end... and she had ridden the horse several times before leasing him.. another incident 2 local trainers convinced this teen a particular horse was "perfect" for her. Well it was when they tried it at sellers barn, Needless to say was a completely different animal when they got it home.. Not nearly as quie,t bucked the kid off and landed her in the hospital. Not exactly what you want when you get a new horse. Of note, the buyers did not draw blood- so I would also definitely draw blood and to include some sort of clause in the sales contract.

                                    I'm giving this advice and my last horse purchas I did nothing I've suggested here. I went to Ireland, hopped on a horse they dragged in from the field - took him into this cave they called a wash stall - horse was a saint, took him on a 3 hour trail ride - saint (i'd not ridden in a few years,quite rusty, and not the most confident rider) took him to his first show - again saint. Watched him be shod, groomed & played w/ him for 3 days..and poof it was a done deal. Did get a PPE but wasn't present. the only thing I've suggested here that I did on this purchase was I was educated on what to look for (thanks to Rodney Jenkins video) and I knew what I wanted.

                                    Hey OP if the buyer and teen are off to Ireland maybe they'll want to go where I got my horse

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Duckz View Post
                                      Just FYI, it's not necessarily a red flag if the seller won't let the horse go on trial. There are a ton of horror stories out there. Many sellers will not consider a trial off property.

                                      I will not let one of my horses out on trial ever. Had one die once....never again.

                                      If you find the horse you like....leave a deposit and schedule the PPE. If you can have a person representing the mother/daughter at the PPE besides the vet that is ideal. Then IF they pass the PPE...pay full price and work on getting the horse home. All of which will likely take just about the length of time of their trip. If you are only talking about a few days to a week that the horse is still at the sellers...most will comp that cost or charge a small amount of board.


                                      I would not wait until they get back...
                                      ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

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                                      • #20
                                        agree with bornfree!
                                        The big man -- my lost prince

                                        The little brother, now my main man

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