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Taking a horse on trial

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  • Taking a horse on trial

    I'm in the market for a new horse and was offered to take a horse on trial. I've never done that before, I've just gone out to try and ended up buying right away, however I’m seriously considering it.

    I haven't worked out the particulars with the seller but what is involved with taking a horse on trial? Insurance? Money down, etc?

  • #2
    When I've been involved in this kind of arrangement, the ground rules have been:
    * no out of state trials
    * usually for a limited period of time (i.e. 5 to 7 days)
    * horse is not to be turned out with other horses
    * horse can only ridden by the buyer and her trainer
    * usually you leave a check/cash for the sale amount with the seller and if anything happens to the horse while in the buyers care, the buyer is responsible for the expenses
    * If the horse will be jumping, there is usually a restriction on the height and number of jumps, etc.

    Those are the highlights, but it is really up to you and the seller to arrange.

    Comment


    • #3
      You need insurance, for sure.
      Donald Trump - proven liar, cheat, traitor and sexual predator! Hillary Clinton won in 2016, but we have all lost.

      Comment


      • #4
        I have never done this before, but I would treat it as a lease with a clause to buy. I am sure you are going to get all sorts of answers, but it really depends on what each party agrees. I leased my horse for 1.5 years before I bought him.

        I would ask the owner what they are comfortable with doing and work it out with them. I would make sure you have it all in writing. I would get a PPE before and an agreed upon price in the contract along with insurance if applicable with medical and mortality.

        I would also consider what happens if the horse is hurt, if you want to take him off property, how many times they will allow you to jump the horse, ect.
        Jacobson's Saddlery, LLC
        www.thesaddlefits.com
        Society of Master Saddlers trained saddle fitter

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        • #5
          Originally posted by SillyHorse View Post
          You need insurance, for sure.
          Definitely

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by sammicat View Post
            When I've been involved in this kind of arrangement, the ground rules have been:
            * no out of state trials
            * usually for a limited period of time (i.e. 5 to 7 days)
            * horse is not to be turned out with other horses
            * horse can only ridden by the buyer and her trainer
            * usually you leave a check/cash for the sale amount with the seller and if anything happens to the horse while in the buyers care, the buyer is responsible for the expenses
            * If the horse will be jumping, there is usually a restriction on the height and number of jumps, etc.

            Those are the highlights, but it is really up to you and the seller to arrange.
            Re: insurance. The owner buys it and names himself as payee. You pay the premium for the duration of the trial. The insurance company knows where the horse is and who is responsible for care. In the contract, the buyer agrees to follow the insurance company's instructions to the letter (since that has to happen for the owner to collect).

            And the best contracts I have seen require that the owner has seen and approved of the facility where the horse will be kept.
            The armchair saddler
            Politically Pro-Cat

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            • Original Poster

              #7
              Thanks everyone! As I've said this would be the first time I took a horse on trial. The only reason I'm leaning towards it, is because the horse has been sitting in a field for a while not being ridden. This way I can see what the mare is really like and if she's not suitable, I would be able to send her back.

              I'll make sure there's a iron tight contact etc..to protect myself as well as the seller.

              Comment


              • #8
                Actually on the insurance, the owner is the payee if its for mortality.

                OP, I am not going to tell you to NOT do it. What I will caution you against is that when you take a horse on trial the deal is "you break it, you bought it". That means if, for example, the horse trips, pulls a suspensory and comes up lame under your care? You own it. Trials are a HUGE liability for both parties, including the BUYER, and that is something commonly overlooked.

                I know a woman who paid $15k for a horse who moved like a hackney because it flipped over in the cross ties and tore up a hind leg... Before she ever rode it. Be careful.
                "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                ---
                The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I've never taken a horse on trial, either, but I'd agree with EqTrainer that I'd be wary of the risks. Another thing that would trouble me a bit is moving the mare from a field to a stable situation on a trial. She might be totally fine with it, but I would worry that the shock to the system and completely different routine might send her into hysterics.

                  Do the current owners have the accommodations for you to possibly trial her there? Either way, I wish you luck in your endeavours!

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    You guys have given me some stuff to think about. If I do end up taking the horse, maybe I'll ask if she'll do a 30 day lease/free lease situation instead of calling it a trial.

                    tinydragon, the owner assured me the mare is very easy going so I don't think she'll have a problem with indoor board but it is something to think about. I'll see what I end up doing with I actally go out there to see the horse in person.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I've done a 30 day free lease before, where I didn't pay, but we signed a lease contract. I've also done a 30 day lease where the money I paid would've gone towards the horse's price, but I didn't end up getting the horse. My horse now I got a 5 day trial on, but the two trainers know each other well and have worked together before. I jumped him two of the days, flatted him once, and my trainer jumped him one, on day 3 we got a vet check including blood work and x-rays.
                      Mendokuse

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by hunterrider23 View Post
                        I've done a 30 day free lease before, where I didn't pay, but we signed a lease contract. I've also done a 30 day lease where the money I paid would've gone towards the horse's price, but I didn't end up getting the horse. My horse now I got a 5 day trial on, but the two trainers know each other well and have worked together before. I jumped him two of the days, flatted him once, and my trainer jumped him one, on day 3 we got a vet check including blood work and x-rays.
                        OP, if you are working with your trainer she will be able to let you know about the free lease/30 day lease thing, but my opinion, fwiw, is that the seller is not going to want to do that. It's a much bigger risk to the seller than the trial as the trial is almost certainly going to be a short period of time.

                        The idea behind a trial is that you are 98% sure you are going to buy the horse, but you just want to make sure the horse is not going to act funny or have some other issue that might be a deal breaker once you get her home. As hunterrider23 said, the trial usually involves a couple of days of riding, a day or so for the trainer, and a vet visit, if applicable. It is not generally an extended evaluation period. Think of it as the 7 day money back period if you are not satisfied with your car.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          While the downsides of trials for sellers have been discussed at length on this board, there also can be a downside for the buyer, namely taking responsibility and financial risk on a horse you aren't sure that you want to buy.

                          When a horse has been sitting in a field for a time and is out of work/out of shape, it could be very advantageous for a seller to offer a "trial" to someone who would get the horse in shape, temporarily take responsibility for it's care, and assume the risk of something happening to it while it is getting back into shape. For all you know, the horse was laid off for a time because it was slightly NQR or was having some kind of a training issue.

                          Personally, if I were taking a horse on "trial" in the scenario you describe, I would be willing to risk a month's board & basic care plus my own time riding the horse--but I probably would not be willing to pay for insurance and assume the risk of injuries/lameness, vet bills, etc. In other words, I would not be comfortable agreeing to a "you break it, you buy it" type situation with an out of work horse that was not currently performing at the level I wanted it to perform at. I would be willing to agree to limitations on jumping, trailering, etc. I also would want the purchase price listed in the trial contract--I wouldn't want the seller increasing the price if the horse was going much better than expected at the end of the trial.

                          Another thing to consider is the timing of a vet check. What if you invest a month's board and training in this horse, and then a vet check reveals something that changes the picture? What if the vet check reveals something that the sellers want to blame you for? Personally, with a youngish, healthy horse I'd probably hold off on the vet check until the end of the trial, but I might ask pointedly about the horse's health history and confirm that they would disclose the vet records.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            It really seems to depend on where you are when it comes to trials. At most BNT/A circuit barns, the trials happen by verbal agreement. Buyer tries horsey, likes horsey, wants more time to decide before plunking down $$$$ for horsey, trainers powwow, potential buyer takes horsey to trainer's facility, spends a week or two or three trying it out, then either vets it or sends it home at buyer's expense. Commonly the horse isn't turned out unless the owner specifically requests that he is, but that's about as far as it goes for anything very special. Potential buyer pays board obviously but that's it. I haven't ever heard of anyone paying insurance on the horse during the trial period.

                            FWIW I've seen these trials last anywhere from five days to a month. It just depends on how flexible the seller is, how badly they want the horse sold and how the buyer is feeling about the whole thing.

                            Things might be different for a private seller selling to someone who keeps their horse in their backyard or at a non-trainer barn (or a facility without the greatest reputation).

                            Recently I know of someone who was trialing a horse coming out of time off (not injury related) and the owner paid insurance/board while the buyer was trialing the horse for a month. They also wanted the horse sold badly and knew there would be no chance of that happening if the horse fell out of work again.

                            There is also no way I would get a vet check done before a trial, whoever suggested that. If the horse doesn't work out, you're out a whole lot of ca$h for a vet check on a horse you don't even want.

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