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Trials on sale horses? A few questions

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  • Trials on sale horses? A few questions

    I have a four year old hunter prospect for sale in the mid four-figures. He is broke to ride on the flat and over smallish fences. I have had someone contact me that is interested in him and doing a 30-day trial. I have only sold one other horse and did not do a trial on that one, nor have I done any trials on horses I have purchased, so I have zero experience with this. I told the person that I would have to do more research for agreeing to a trial, may require that she carries insurance on him, and that I would have to approve the situation and stable where he would be kept.

    I know a trial is great for the buyer so they can get a good feel of the horse before "diving in" but I'm not sure how safe it is for the seller. For those that have been on either side of a trial, how did it go? Can the buyer carry insurance on a horse that belongs to the seller, and was it required in your case? Did you require a deposit on the horse first (if so, how much?). Any and all information would be great. My horse is sound both physically and mentally and I would like to keep it that way without preventing a potential sale.

  • #2
    30 days sounds like an awful long time. I've never had a horse on trial myself, but I know several close friends who did. Done between reputable trainers, horses never stayed for more than 2 weeks tops. Most were a week. I would never let my own horse go for a month long trial. Too much could go wrong.

    Comment


    • #3
      30 days is not standard. Some higher priced or seasoned horses can sometimes warrant a 2 week trial, however a lot of damage can be done to a green horse in this timeframe.

      I would probably consider a 3 day trial,and to have a vetting pre-arranged for the third day.

      Comment


      • #4
        This is always an interesting topic to me. I just said to someone recently that I would never get another horse without a trial. At the same time, were I a seller, I would be very hesitant to offer a trial for obvious reasons.

        I think it would be fair that the horse is vetted and paid for prior to the trial. If the buyer is dissatisfied with the horse, the buyer would have to pay for the horse to be re-vetted to show he is as sound as he was when he was first vetted and have to forfeit a small portion of the price of the horse (5%? 10%?) in order to return the horse to the seller.

        This type of situation would ensure that only a truly serious potential buyer were taking the horse (and would probably only return it because an issue is uncovered that is simply a deal-breaker for the buyer--one that just couldn't be ascertained while the horse was in the seller's possession). It would also prevent the seller from being stuck with a post-trial unsound horse and no compensation.

        Good luck!
        Last edited by seabreeze; Apr. 1, 2012, 02:43 PM.
        "We need a pinned ears icon." -MysticOakRanch

        Comment


        • #5
          That is a very long trial. I've had a month long trial, but that was only because the owner was a friend of my trainer and the horse was sitting in a field doing nothing.

          For most, I've had one week trials...this has been for horses ranging from under four figures to high five figures. I also find that I don't like vetting on the last day, since if something comes up I might want more time to think about it. With my jumper, we vetted her halfway through the week and she failed it. However, I was able to have another trainer ride her and evaluate her and then reach a decision about whether it was something I could deal with for the duration of the lease (it was.) Of course, if its a three day trial then you are more pressed for time since you don't want to vet the horse only to ride it the next day and realize its not going to work out.

          I would not be willing to send a horse out on a 30 day trial, ESPECIALLY a green one. That horse could come back unrecognizable.

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Thank you guys, she seems very grateful that I'm even considering a trial. I will offer up a week long trial under the conditions that she have a vetting done before he leaves, pay the full purchase price before he leaves, then if she chooses not to purchase, does a full vetting at the end by the same vet to prove he is in the same physical condition. Then she will receive a 95% refund? Is there a contact I can use for this that requires her to give permission to the vet to share all vetting information to me from the first and second vetting IF she chooses not to purchase?

            Comment


            • #7
              With the last one I sold in the low 5-figures, my buyer wanted to take the horse on a 30 day trial on their own property. I said no way because a) their property was 1.5hours from where I boarded the horse, b) I had no idea what kind of fencing, hay, water they had, or how UTD their horses were on vaccs, c) for that whole month the horse would be ridden by a kid, not my myself or another pro, so I could potentially get it back wrecked, d) I would still have to pay my board on the horse for that 30 days, so that I would still have my stall incase it came back

              We agreed on a 2 week trial, where I supplied enough hay for the horse for the timeframe. I billed the buyers $1000/week for a short term lease on the horse, which would go toward the purchase price if they opted to buy. We also had a contract made up, to make sure the horse was kept in an individual paddock, fed only my hay, and ridden only by the kid, no one else would be allowed to sit on the horse without my expressed consent. They carried insurance on the horse as well.

              I may have gone to a bit of an extreme, but this horse was one of my babies. The buyers were really wishy-washy and back-and-forth on the deal, so it was important to get every last detail of the trial on paper.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Piadosa View Post
                With the last one I sold in the low 5-figures, my buyer wanted to take the horse on a 30 day trial on their own property. I said no way because a) their property was 1.5hours from where I boarded the horse, b) I had no idea what kind of fencing, hay, water they had, or how UTD their horses were on vaccs, c) for that whole month the horse would be ridden by a kid, not my myself or another pro, so I could potentially get it back wrecked, d) I would still have to pay my board on the horse for that 30 days, so that I would still have my stall incase it came back

                We agreed on a 2 week trial, where I supplied enough hay for the horse for the timeframe. I billed the buyers $1000/week for a short term lease on the horse, which would go toward the purchase price if they opted to buy. We also had a contract made up, to make sure the horse was kept in an individual paddock, fed only my hay, and ridden only by the kid, no one else would be allowed to sit on the horse without my expressed consent. They carried insurance on the horse as well.

                I may have gone to a bit of an extreme, but this horse was one of my babies. The buyers were really wishy-washy and back-and-forth on the deal, so it was important to get every last detail of the trial on paper.
                No, this sounds smart.

                There's an enormous thread in Favorites about a trial gone wrong. Read it and take precautions.
                I have a Fjord! Life With Oden

                Comment


                • #9
                  When I took my horse on trial, I was allowed to keep him for a week before deciding if I was going to buy him or not. This was only allowed on the following conditions:
                  • 10% deposit left with seller when I picked up the horse
                  • Seller and I both signed a trial agreement outlining what I was allowed to do with the horse. He was not very fit and she did not want him jumped much.
                  • Only I and my trainer were allowed to ride him
                  • I was required to carry loss of use and major medical insurance on the horse naming the seller as the beneficiary
                  • The seller and I both signed an adendum to the trial agreement basically agreeing that he was sound when he left
                  • The trial agreement indicated that if the horse were to come back to the seller lame or unsound, I was required to pay them full purchase price if the loss of use did not cover their loss of use.


                  I actually found the terms to be a bit overwhelming at the time but I was 60% sure when I agreed to take him for trial that I was going to buy him.

                  The seller did not feel great about the trial at first until she realized that she knew my trainer from a long time ago.

                  I ended up buying my horse and was very appreciative of the seller allowing me to take him for a week.

                  I understood that they had a lot to lose in allowing him to go on trial.

                  If I were to send a horse on trial, I would place similar if not more stringent terms in my trial agreement to those that I agreed to.

                  Do what you are comfortable with.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Crown Royal View Post
                    Thank you guys, she seems very grateful that I'm even considering a trial. I will offer up a week long trial under the conditions that she have a vetting done before he leaves, pay the full purchase price before he leaves, then if she chooses not to purchase, does a full vetting at the end by the same vet to prove he is in the same physical condition. Then she will receive a 95% refund? Is there a contact I can use for this that requires her to give permission to the vet to share all vetting information to me from the first and second vetting IF she chooses not to purchase?
                    Don't forget insurance!!!
                    I have CDO. It's like OCD, but all the letters are in alphabetical order, as they should be!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      What if you already have insurance on your horse? Isn't he covered when he's on trial?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Crown Royal View Post
                        Thank you guys, she seems very grateful that I'm even considering a trial. I will offer up a week long trial under the conditions that she have a vetting done before he leaves, pay the full purchase price before he leaves, then if she chooses not to purchase, does a full vetting at the end by the same vet to prove he is in the same physical condition. Then she will receive a 95% refund? Is there a contact I can use for this that requires her to give permission to the vet to share all vetting information to me from the first and second vetting IF she chooses not to purchase?

                        Sorry,I think this is just tacky-and if I was buying,I would walk away.

                        Vettings can cost upwardsof $1200+,I would not pay for a re-vetting if I decided it wasnt the horse you said (ie.it bucked,bolted etc). No way.

                        Be honest with your buyer and offer 3days,that should be plenty,especially if she has already tried the horse. If she decides she doesnt like him, she sends him back (pre-paid trailering). If she wants to keep him,she pays agreed on price.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Crown Royal View Post
                          Thank you guys, she seems very grateful that I'm even considering a trial. I will offer up a week long trial under the conditions that she have a vetting done before he leaves, pay the full purchase price before he leaves, then if she chooses not to purchase, does a full vetting at the end by the same vet to prove he is in the same physical condition. Then she will receive a 95% refund? Is there a contact I can use for this that requires her to give permission to the vet to share all vetting information to me from the first and second vetting IF she chooses not to purchase?
                          As a buyer, this would make me say thanks but no thanks.

                          If I bring the horse home, realize he's spooky/bolts/bucks/not what I'm looking for and after one ride say no thanks I still have to vet the horse not once, but TWICE?

                          Nope, I would walk away from that one.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Trials are really not supposed to be about deciding if you like the horse well enough to buy it; that's what test drives are for. Trials are really about whether or not the horse can live in *your* program and still be the same horse you liked so well when it lived in the seller's barn.

                            That said, I don't offer trials. Too much risk to my nice horses. What do you do if your nice sale horse comes home in a few weeks broken or with all sorts of bad habits? Buyers are welcome to come ride a sales horse as often as they like at our farm or I will take the horse to a "neutral" location such as a horseshow if they want to see how it goes away from home.
                            **********
                            We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
                            -PaulaEdwina

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I would invite the buyer to come to my barn to ride the horse as often as she wanted for the next several weeks. If she liked him alot but wanted to make sure he would still be good in a strange environment, I would offer to trailer him to a new place so she could ride him there.

                              But the bottom line is that I would not (and have not) let a horse go to a stranger's barn, unsupervised.

                              It would be a different story if she had a decent trainer (who I had heard positive things about) and the horse went to that barn and she was in full training during the time she had him.

                              But I am not letting a sale horse leave my barn to go into an unsupervised situation. ESPECIALLY a young horse who can have a lot of damage done to him in a short period of time. To say nothing about the potential buyer upsetting him so much he rears or bolts with her, she comes off and gets hurt. Then you are looking at a lawsuit for letting her ride an unsafe horse.

                              Nope. No way.
                              "He lives in a cocoon of solipsism"

                              Charles Krauthammer speaking about Trump

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Lucassb View Post
                                Trials are really about whether or not the horse can live in *your* program and still be the same horse you liked so well when it lived in the seller's barn.
                                This. Count me in as not wanting mine to go out on trial, but wanting the option to trial one for myself.

                                I have one out on trial right now. I liked the horse I test-drove, but it had been sitting around in a field for 1yr, had 3-shoes , was underweight, covered in rain-rot, and very sad looking. No way I'm taking a risk without a trial. Guess I could have, but, if I had to make a splint-second decision I would have turned the horse down. The horse had been for sale for quite a while, and I suspect the owners previous stance of 'no trial' had something to do with it. When a horse is in a program, showing, or at least in training, with a record to prove something, there is much less risk involved. A change of disciple, or major program change, leaves a buyer questioning things. Will it stay sound? Is it mentally capable? A PPE will only reveal so much.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Your vetting wont cover mental - Green horses can loose all confidence or develop dangerous behaviors real quick if over faced or handled wrong. I have seen a friends gorgeous prospect come back a totally different horse - standing at the back of the stall and refusing to go over anything.

                                  I never do trials unless it is an on farm trial - either my farm or with my trainer.
                                  Epona Farm
                                  Irish Draughts and Irish Draught Sport horses

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                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Lucassb View Post
                                    Trials are really not supposed to be about deciding if you like the horse well enough to buy it; that's what test drives are for. Trials are really about whether or not the horse can live in *your* program and still be the same horse you liked so well when it lived in the seller's barn.

                                    That said, I don't offer trials. Too much risk to my nice horses. What do you do if your nice sale horse comes home in a few weeks broken or with all sorts of bad habits? Buyers are welcome to come ride a sales horse as often as they like at our farm or I will take the horse to a "neutral" location such as a horseshow if they want to see how it goes away from home.
                                    I had a horse on trial that I sent back because I didnt like it. Loved it during its test ride, very good horse at home in the indoor. Took it home for a trial,rode it outside and proceeded to spook at everything, buck and bolt out of the ring. No thanks. It was advertised as quiet and not spooky but im sure glad I got a trial to realize he wasnt the one. Little did I know, this was a major issue with him that the sellers failed to mention.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Do a 30 day lease. That way if she sends the horse back you have been compensated for the time he was off the market. Charge your 5% as the lease fee. We have done that in the barn a few times. Horse was vetted up front before it went on trial in order for no surprises. The rest of the purchase price was paid at the end of the 30 days. If the purchaser is serious, they will agree to this. You should have a contract stating they pay insurance on the lease period and other specifics (sales price, vetting, termination, who pays all the bills, where the horse must stay, etc).

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Lord Helpus View Post
                                        I would invite the buyer to come to my barn to ride the horse as often as she wanted for the next several weeks. If she liked him alot but wanted to make sure he would still be good in a strange environment, I would offer to trailer him to a new place so she could ride him there.

                                        But the bottom line is that I would not (and have not) let a horse go to a stranger's barn, unsupervised.

                                        It would be a different story if she had a decent trainer (who I had heard positive things about) and the horse went to that barn and she was in full training during the time she had him.

                                        But I am not letting a sale horse leave my barn to go into an unsupervised situation. ESPECIALLY a young horse who can have a lot of damage done to him in a short period of time. To say nothing about the potential buyer upsetting him so much he rears or bolts with her, she comes off and gets hurt. Then you are looking at a lawsuit for letting her ride an unsafe horse.

                                        Nope. No way.
                                        I agree 110%!! Been there, done that and got burned. I also would never allow it with a green 4 year old. No way. I always say come out as often as needed and I am happy to trailer to a local show if we get that far, but no you can not take them home with you. For all the reasons previously stated. Too much risk.
                                        The reason for the second vetting is if the first vetting is clean, and then you take my just turned 4 year old and over face them and they get hurt there is proof that it happened in your care. And worse than an injury is when they send them back fried in the head, which can take much much longer to heal. Did I say been there done that? If that loses the prospective sale, I am OK with that.
                                        Last edited by alliekat; Apr. 1, 2012, 11:29 PM.
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