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Buyer Etiquette?..help

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  • Buyer Etiquette?..help

    I did a search and found a post about Seller Etiquette and couldn’t find much on buyers. In a few weeks I will be trying a horse that I’m looking at purchasing and I would really appreciate some information on what you would typically expect a buyer to act/do. For some strange reason, I get really nervous when I'm trying a horse and I completely draw a blank while riding so the whole ride ends up being a waste. I always have a trainer with me, but it never seems to help because I always feel like I don’t know what I'm doing, especially when I get on the horse. I will be talking to my trainer about this, but I also wanted other opinions.

    For Sellers:
    When people are trying your horse, what do they usually do (i.e. how long do they ride, what does their ride consist of, etc.)?
    What do you find annoying/ inappropriate?
    What are your expectations of a buyer trying your horse?

    For Buyers:
    What do you wear when you are trying horses? Field boots and polo or is that not necessary?
    Do you tack up the horse yourself or let them do it?
    What kinds of things do you look out for?
    What exercises do you personally like to do on the horse you are trying?
    When you’re done, do you go ahead and negotiate with the seller and tell them you like/dislike the horse, or wait and call them later?


    Maybe having this information, and knowing what other people do, will help calm my nerves. Thanks!
    ~*If I had a dime for everytime I thought of a horse's beauty, I'd have enough to buy one*~

  • #2
    When I show a a buyer we always bring horse in from the field, groom it, tack it for the buyer (allowing them watch entire process) and then ride the horse and answer questions about the horse, its training etc as they come up during the ride. I would STRONGLY SUGGEST if your trainer is there, ask him/her to do a "mini-lesson" with you. Most prospective buyers don't know how to evaluate a horse, but if your trainer sets up a small lesson, i.e. warmup at walk/trot/canter, trying some single fences if horse is trained this way, jump a few lines, then progress to a small course it will make you feel mroe secure about it. Also helpful to have someone video you riding the horse so you can go home and look at it and see how you feel about how things look (as wella s your trainer reviewing with you). If it is apparent right off the horse isn't what you need, I prefer the buyer to let me know. However, I do like the buyer to AT LEAST try all three gaits (unless it is jsut apparent they are not capable). If you like the horse, what I usually do as a buyer is say "I am really interested in the horse, I will give you a call this evening (or tomorrow if you want to think it over)" At that point you can call and discuss things with the seller, I would go over EVERYTHING first with your trainer, what they think about the horse, if they feel you should make an offer and if so what amount etc. As far as dressing to try the horse, dress inw hatever you would normally wear for a lesson.
    www.shawneeacres.net

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    • #3
      I can really only answer the buyer questions, so here's my input:

      -When trying horses, I like to wear field boots, a polo, and nicer riding pants (not riding tights but not necessarily my show pants). I put my hair up in a hairnet and bring black gloves, small spurs, and a short black bat. I want the seller to know that I take it seriously.

      -I usually let them do it but I like to at least be there. I won't make a point to ask if I can help, but if they offer I will tack the horse up.

      -I look out for special shoes, funky bits, a horse that's already sweaty before I get on (usually indicating they rode/lunged the horse before I got there), a horse that looks dopey/drugged, bad ground manners... basically anything that jumps out at me as a potential problem.

      -I like to do basic flatwork, of course depending on what the horse is advertised as. If the horse is a green-broke prospect, I want it to have a decent understanding of aids- especially the "go" and "whoa" aids. If it's advertised as a made horse, I like to do bending exercises and leg yields to get a feel for how soft/responsive the horse is. I will also lengthen/shorten at all 3 gaits, and maybe try a lead change on the flat as a little test.

      -When I'm done, I tell the seller that I or my trainer will call later (usually that day) and let them know what we want to do. Especially because I have tried horses without my trainer being there, before any decisions are made she needs to see the video. Even when my trainer IS there, I like having a little conference/discussion in the car on the way home because it's easier to speak honestly without the seller there.

      Don't be nervous! Trying horses is a fun and educational experience, even if you don't end up wanting to buy the horse that you try. Don't feel the need to impress the seller- the whole process is centered around YOU and what you're comfortable with/capable of. I hope this horse works out for you but if not, there are plenty of fish in the sea. You will find the right one eventually.

      PS sorry for the novel!

      Comment


      • #4
        I'll answer the For Buyers part, as I have never had to be a seller!

        I've been trying a lot of horses lately (to lease, but pretty similar).
        I would show up on time or 5-10 mins early (unless my father was driving, then I called 15 mins before time to tell them exactly how late we would be, and apologize profusely).
        Anyways, depending on trainer/horse either owner or trainer or agent may ride the horse first and if I liked it I would hop on.

        I would flat for a good amount of time, but simple, w/t/c lengthening, halt etc. If I still liked it I would jump it, if I still liked it at that point, I would try more advanced flat work, counter canter, turn on the haunches, leg yeild etc.
        If horsey has passed all these tests, I ask to untack it (usually horse is prepped and ready to go when I get there) and brush it, so I can look it over for and bumps that might have been covered by boots/pad etc.

        I would wear field boots or clean half chaps & paddocks, a polo is always a nice touch, makes you look serious as well.

        If I know I'm not clicking with a horse on the flat, I always jump it anyways (unless I feel uncomfortable/unsafe) just because I may hate it on the flat but it may have the easiest/most amazing jump ever - if after 3 jumps I still don't like it, I hop off and say thanks, but we don't click.

        I always say 'thank you' and leave with trainer and we can go home, or even just the parking lot and talk it over. We do wait, even if just a few hours, to let everything sink in.


        ***Also, I was trying a horse that I could not miss a distance on, so I purposley made him chip, just to make sure he wouldn't freak- since an ammy there will be many more days when my eye is off than it is 'on'.
        Good Luck!

        Comment


        • #5
          As a seller, I usually ask the person when they make the appt to see the horse if they want it caught and in the barn or if they want to catch it themselves. As a buyer, I prefer to go catch the horse, lead him in myself, tack up myself etc.

          As a seller, I would expect you to be a fair amount early, because as a buyer I am in case someone tries to pull a fast one and slip the horse a little something to make him what they want him to be.

          As a buyer, it's rude to over jump the horse. do a reasonable amount of getting to know you warming up, jump a few low jumps then do whatever it is the horse has been represented to do. You should know within just a little bit if the horse is what you want or not. Some people just use "horse shopping" as an excuse to get lots of lessons on different horses, and it's rude. I don't care what you wear on your body but you will wear a helmet when riding my horse.
          As a seller, I appreciate you and your trainer not pounding my horse into the ground.

          Either way, as a buyer it is polite to let the seller know within a day or so if you are still interested, want to see the horse again etc. If you do come see him again, you should be prepared to put down a deposit to have them hold him for you.
          As a seller, I can't tell you how many people have sworn up and down they want the horse and then I never hear from them again. By the same token, if I think you really liked the horse and another buyer has come and really liked him, I will call or email you and let you know, so that you can decide if you want to put a deposit on him.
          "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


          • #6
            Don't ride the horse forever and then call back and say the horse. Is too young. The age was in the add! I could see greeness being an issue. Look presentable, and if you know how fancy or not fancy a barn is dress accordingly.9

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by BuckskinLover View Post

              For Buyers:
              What do you wear when you are trying horses? Field boots and polo or is that not necessary? I usually wear breeches with my half chaps. I avoid riding in my boots at all costs. I try to look nice and neat though.
              Do you tack up the horse yourself or let them do it? I like to ask to tack up the horse but sometimes they'll let you and sometimes they won't. I always bring my saddle because sometimes they'll let you ride in it if it fits.
              What kinds of things do you look out for? I generally just like to get a feel of the horse and see what my trainer likes. I also check out the type of environment that the horse lives in. For example, one horse kicked the crap out of his stall, we still bought him but it was nice to be prepared for (though he never did it when we got him, but that's a different story lol)
              What exercises do you personally like to do on the horse you are trying? Lots of bending and whatever we would need to do in the show ring. I like to make sure he is supple and relaxed and willing to do what's being asked.
              When you’re done, do you go ahead and negotiate with the seller and tell them you like/dislike the horse, or wait and call them later? Depending on how much we liked the horse we might say something there but usually we talk it over. We always have a PPE done too.


              Maybe having this information, and knowing what other people do, will help calm my nerves. Thanks!
              Sorry I can't help out on the seller stuff!
              Last edited by dghunter; Apr. 2, 2009, 10:03 PM. Reason: because it didn't help to just use italics lol
              No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle. ~Winston Churchill
              For Hope, For Strength, For Life-Delta Gamma
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              • #8
                I normally have the horse waiting in their stall for the buyer. Unless the weather prohibits it, I will leave the horse in the field if the buyer wants to see their field manners. If the horse is under saddle, I will groom and tack- Again, if buyer asks to do it, I have no problem with them tacking the horse. My trainers normally rides the horses for me. Most people video both the trainer(s) and themselves. I always encourage people to speak up if there is a specific direction, movement etc they would like to see/video (like straight line to and away from the camera).

                At any point if you now this isn't the horse for you, please speak up - one time I had a person trying a horse and my trainer had been riding for some time, so finally I asked if they were ready to ride. their response, no shes not for me but I love watching your trainer

                Again as long as you're not riding the horse to exhaustion, I know it can take awhile to get the feel of a horse and I would prefer a little longer ride than the buyer feeling rushed and under a time pressure - so it depends on temps, fitness levels etc. Most of my buyers for a first try ride 15-30 minutes if the horse is a possible match.

                Lastly, I really appreciate when buyers call if they are going to be an hour or more late - more than an hour I tend to believe I've been blown off. Let the seller know if you're interested and will let them know in a set period or politley let them know that you appreciate the time, but the horse isn't a match.
                Epona Farm
                Irish Draughts and Irish Draught Sport horses

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                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by BuckskinLover View Post
                  I did a search and found a post about Seller Etiquette and couldn’t find much on buyers. In a few weeks I will be trying a horse that I’m looking at purchasing and I would really appreciate some information on what you would typically expect a buyer to act/do. For some strange reason, I get really nervous when I'm trying a horse and I completely draw a blank while riding so the whole ride ends up being a waste. I always have a trainer with me, but it never seems to help because I always feel like I don’t know what I'm doing, especially when I get on the horse. I will be talking to my trainer about this, but I also wanted other opinions.

                  For Sellers:
                  When people are trying your horse, what do they usually do (i.e. how long do they ride, what does their ride consist of, etc.)?

                  Depending on what the horse is for sale at i.e. discipline I or someone else will get on the horse first. We always show the horse to it's best before the potential buyer gets on just so they can see how horse goes and for safety reasons only because you sometimes get people who are great riders (like you OP) but get all nervous when trying a new horse. Usually the ride with me riding and buyer riding runs about an hour to 1.5


                  What do you find annoying/ inappropriate?

                  When a buyer searches for something wrong ... meaning, the horse will be in perfect condition etc. but they will find a tiny nick on the horse and then you get the "Oh how did this happen, how long ago" it's a NICK, not a broken bone!

                  What are your expectations of a buyer trying your horse?

                  That the buyer IS at the riding level they stated they are. That they treat the horse nice even if they are not going to buy. I like the see the way a buyer moves around my sale horses, you can tell alot just by actions of a person.

                  For Buyers:
                  What do you wear when you are trying horses? Field boots and polo or is that not necessary?


                  I wear whatever I want to. I do not know how appearance plays into the sale of a horse. I am the buyer forking over $$ so if I want to wear my full chaps, half, or none at all I will. Presentable of course but not going to make a fashion show and break out my TS' for the occasion


                  Do you tack up the horse yourself or let them do it?

                  I perfer to tack up the horse, get a feel of what the horse is about. I like using my saddle if it fits well. I also bring an english bridle ... just in case. I have looked at some horses where they did not even have a bridle!

                  What kinds of things do you look out for?


                  Horses overall condition + the conditions of the other horses. If the horse is turned out with horses or alone, how the horse acts on the ties, what does his stall look like.

                  What exercises do you personally like to do on the horse you are trying?


                  The basics, bending, leads, jumps depending on what the horse is advertized for knowing.

                  When you’re done, do you go ahead and negotiate with the seller and tell them you like/dislike the horse, or wait and call them later?

                  I always say a simple thank you if I feel I have to think about it. I have made deals right on the spot for a certain horse that I just could not let get away though. Then it was ok what's the least you will take for him


                  Maybe having this information, and knowing what other people do, will help calm my nerves. Thanks!

                  The one thing I do not like at all when looking to buy a horse is when I show up and the horse is already being ridden or the horse is on the cross ties all groomed, feet painted etc. I rather have the dirty horse come out of the field when I get there.

                  Have your trainer get on, then you. Keep in the back of your head that THEY are nervous, your the one buying their horse ... maybe. So, go in and feel like you have the upper hand, have that mind set and you should be just fine! Good luck!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    As a buyer:

                    I personally don't care if he is in the stall or in the field...but if he's in the field, he better be easy to catch, and we better not have to walk to the back 40 to get him. I went to see a horse last weekend and the owner literally spent 30 minutes just calling the horse, waiting for him to come in on his own. Horse wasn't malicious or trying to get away, it was just kind of a waste of time to stand there and watch when seller could have just trudged out there and got the horse.

                    I would like to see the horse cleaned up (unless I know beforehand I'm looking at someone's pasture puff). I don't really want to watch seller scrub down layers of mud on horse for 30 minutes. I would prefer he be clipped, mane pulled, halfway decent looking.

                    I like the seller to tack up the horse. I can observe his reaction to being tacked up, and also continue to stare at him/ask questions/evaluate him.

                    I expect the seller to have described the horse as best as they can in the ad. Incorrect height kind of annoys me. I bring a stick with me all the time. 75% of horses are listed at the wrong height. Huge deal? No. But if he's really 15.2 and you have him listed at 16h, it makes me wonder what else the seller may be sugarcoating.

                    I always ask the seller to ride the horse first. You just never know. Plus I want to see the horse go as best as it can. If I still like what I see, I generally ride for 5 mins - 35 mins. I evaluate how honestly the horse was described. I may try and give him a question to answer, and see how he handles it. If the ad says it jumps, I want to jump it/see you jump it.

                    I always bring my camera. I take my own snapshots of the horse. I video the owner riding and then have someone video me riding.

                    I never make snap decisions, I always wait at least one day before giving the go ahead on a horse. That's just me though...I like to think it through all the way.

                    As a seller:

                    I expect the buyer to be on time. I usually have to leave work to accommodate a buyer, so please be on time, or call if you're not.

                    No joy rides. Don't make an appt to see my horse unless you're ready to buy. Nothing is more annoying than spending 2 hrs watching buyer click with your horse, only for them to get off and say, "this is what I want, I just have to sell mine first"....

                    I don't care what you wear, as long as you are dressed safely.

                    I generally don't care how long you ride the horse. But if you know that you hate the horse within 5 minutes of riding it, just get off, don't continue riding for another hour.

                    I don't expect this - but it is nice when a buyer will call/email you within 1-2 days and let you know that they do/don't like the horse. Kind of gives me some closure.

                    Originally posted by CenterStage123 View Post
                    Don't ride the horse forever and then call back and say the horse. Is too young. The age was in the add! I could see greeness being an issue. Look presentable, and if you know how fancy or not fancy a barn is dress accordingly.9
                    YES. Biggest pet peeve as a seller. If you come and try the horse and you don't get along, don't like his personality, or he doesn't ride well for you, fine. But do not waste a seller's time and then tell them the horse is too young/old, too short/tall or the wrong color...that's all stuff that is covered in the ad in the first place!
                    Originally posted by barka.lounger
                    u get big old crop and bust that nags ass the next time it even slow down.

                    we see u in gp ring in no time.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      For Sellers:
                      When people are trying your horse, what do they usually do (i.e. how long do they ride, what does their ride consist of, etc.)? I or the seller ride first. Usually, the trainer is present. Sometimes the trainer rides after the seller, sometimes just the student rides. W/T/C both directions, a little lateral work, some jumping over singles and a few lines. It really depends on the horse and the skill level of the rider. Usually, the buyer is only on the horse for about 20 minutes.
                      What do you find annoying/ inappropriate? Riding the horse for an excessive amount of time, going back and forth on whether you want to buy the horse or not, and overstating your abilities.
                      What are your expectations of a buyer trying your horse? That the buyer will be courteous and respect myself and my horse[s].
                      For Buyers:
                      What do you wear when you are trying horses? Field boots and polo or is that not necessary? I wear nice breeches [my TS schooling breeches are my nicest ones, so I wear those], a polo shirt, and halfchaps and paddock boots. I only have one helmet [CO], so I wear that and a pair of dark gloves. I don't bring spurs or a whip unless the seller stated that the horse needed either.
                      Do you tack up the horse yourself or let them do it? I watch them do it. I like to see how the horse behaves in the cross-ties, i.e., is he quiet, dull, excited, angry, etc. Does he stand nicely or does he fidget. Is he girthy, or could he care less.
                      What kinds of things do you look out for? A horse that is already tacked up when I arrive, a horse that is sweaty and obviously has been lunged.
                      What exercises do you personally like to do on the horse you are trying? Aside from w/t/c both directions, I do a tiny amount of leg yield, circles, and if the horse jumps, pop him or her over a few fences. Just sitting on the horse will tell you a lot. How does his mouth feel, how does his back feel, is he tense, is he relaxed, is he hot or is he lazy, etc.
                      When you’re done, do you go ahead and negotiate with the seller and tell them you like/dislike the horse, or wait and call them later? I always thank the seller for letting me try their horse, and then if I like the horse I say, "I really like [insert name]. I think s/he's a good match for me, and I'll call you later." or something like that. If I didn't like the horse, I just thank them and say I don't think it's the right match, and wish them luck in selling the horse.
                      Rebel Without Cash!

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by BuckskinLover View Post
                        For Buyers:
                        What do you wear when you are trying horses? Field boots and polo or is that not necessary?
                        Do you tack up the horse yourself or let them do it?
                        What kinds of things do you look out for?
                        What exercises do you personally like to do on the horse you are trying?
                        When you’re done, do you go ahead and negotiate with the seller and tell them you like/dislike the horse, or wait and call them later?

                        Maybe having this information, and knowing what other people do, will help calm my nerves. Thanks!

                        Here's my take from looking at horses in the past few month:
                        What do you wear when you are trying horses? Field boots and polo or is that not necessary?
                        -I wore jeans and half chaps, my helmet and gloves. It was cold, so I had a fleece jacket on, nothing fancy. Brought my saddle, crop and spurs.

                        Do you tack up the horse yourself or let them do it?
                        -One was already tacked when I got there, but I asked to untack him to watch his manners. Two others were on the crossties untack so I watched them get tacked up. One had a huge old bow that they tried to cover with boots, but I caught it just as I walked in.

                        What kinds of things do you look out for?
                        -Lameness, sourness, attitude etc. I was looking at green horses, so what each could do was limited. I knew, for the most part, if the horse was something I was interested in within the first 5 minutes. When I tried the gelding I bought, we asked him to do something he had never done before and watched his reaction to make sure he was willing and calm about it.

                        What exercises do you personally like to do on the horse you are trying?
                        - (Again for a greenie) I want to see them go WTC both ways. If they are jumping, canter a small vertical. My horse had 60d on him, so we went back to lunge him over a pole, then a xrail and a small vertical to see what he would do. I want the seller to ride first and then I will decide if i get on or say no thanks.

                        When you’re done, do you go ahead and negotiate with the seller and tell them you like/dislike the horse, or wait and call them later?
                        -For the horse I bought, my situation was a bit different as the horse was not actively for sale (if I didnt buy him she would have kept him for herself) and she had already dropped the price for me so it was in my budget. I didn't lie, I told her I loved him and was most interested. Because of timing, I had to try him without my trianer the first time, so I needed to wait and see what she said. She was friends with my trainer so she called her and told her it went well. I wouldn't recommend expressing as much interest as I did unless its a similar situation or you could see the seller holding out on price etc.

                        Another thing, don't waste the seller's time. If you aren't interested when you see it go or even when they bring it out of the stall, don't ride the horse. I don't think that is fair to them and makes you come off as a tire kicker or just looking for a free ride.
                        ************************
                        "I can't help but wonder,what would Jimmy Buffett do?"

                        https://falllinefarmblog.wordpress.com/

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                        • #13
                          Usually..

                          I bring a friend or trainer along as the voice of reason and/or moral support.

                          For Sellers:
                          When people are trying your horse, what do they usually do: I would say that they do some basic flatwork, w/t/c, and jump a few small fences after watching me do the same on the horse.
                          What do you find annoying/ inappropriate? : Showing up hours late. This has happened to me on MANY occasions.. the potential buyers show up 1-3 hours late. Ive yet to have one NOT show up at all, but especially when you're boarding.. you come out to the been an hour before expected arrival time and get the horse groomed, etc. Then have to wait on the buyer for 2 hours? Its just rude. A lot of people plan shopping trips in a different city, but dont bother to look up point to point directions and dont realize how far away each horse is from another. So, if I was 3rd on thier list for the day, I easily waited 2, even 3 hours.
                          What are your expectations of a buyer trying your horse? : I expect them to be polite, come dressed to ride, and not expect my horse to preform tasks that I have not listed on the sale ad; ie, wanting a green 3 yr old to jump 3ft, etc.

                          For Buyers:
                          What do you wear when you are trying horses? : I would say "schooling show attire" is appropriate. Field boots or half chaps, clean shirt, bring your helmet.
                          Do you tack up the horse yourself or let them do it? I usually "assist" in the tacking up and grooming, so I can see how the horse behaves.
                          What kinds of things do you look out for? I make sure the horse TIES. Picks up feet, no biting or ear pinning. Grooming gives you a chance to look for injuries, scars, etc.
                          What exercises do you personally like to do on the horse you are trying? w/t/c each way, go over poles or small fences.. I am normally trying fairly green horses
                          When you’re done, do you go ahead and negotiate with the seller and tell them you like/dislike the horse, or wait and call them later? I almost ALWAYS do the "I'll let you know" type response. I want time to review video and such.
                          Rural Property Specialist
                          Keller Williams Realtors

                          TexasEquestrianProperties.com
                          Email Me for Horse Property!

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                          • #14
                            I've been on both sides of this many, many times, so I hope this helps also...

                            For Sellers:
                            When people are trying your horse, what do they usually do (i.e. how long do they ride, what does their ride consist of, etc.)?
                            I will usually ride the horse first to give them an idea of what the horse does and how it goes with someone who knows it. I like both the trainer and the buyer to be able to see the horse before they ride. Most often, trainer will ride the horse after me, and then the potential buyer. Usually a mini-lesson is how things unfold - W-T-C, lead changes, start with small singles, work up to a course at the height horse is needed for (obviously as long as this jives with horse's current training). Don't ride the horse into the ground. You can always come back to try it again if you like it.

                            What do you find annoying/inappropriate?
                            Doing anything abusive to the horse. Doing any "training" on the horse. Ask as many questions as you like, but please have read the ad and been paying attention to what I've told you (please don't ask if the horse has shown in the 3'6" when I've told you it just started schooling 3' courses). I don't mind telling you anything about the horse. Please show up dressed neatly (i'll get to that later, lol).

                            What are your expectations of a buyer trying your horse?
                            I expect them to give the horse a fair chance, but be honest. If the horse isn't for you, don't be afraid to tell me, I won't mind. Be courteous to me and anyone in my barn. Show up on time, or if you're going to be late (I know the feeling, sometimes it's hard to find these barns out in the middle of nowhere!), give me a call and let me know just in case I have other plans. PLEASE call back after the ride and let me know either way about the horse. Someone's constructive criticism can help and it won't insult me to hear that maybe the horse doesn't move well enough to win the hack!

                            For Buyers:
                            What do you wear when you are trying horses? Field boots and polo or is that not necessary?
                            I will almost always go to try horses in britches, boots, and a polo. My hair will up under my hat and done. I like my students to do the same. Although as a seller, I don't mind it as long as you're neat and tidy. Jeans, paddocks, half chaps, fitted tee tucked in, hair up - not a problem. No sweat pants, no baggy shirts, no unsafe riding wear. And please, for the love of horses, put your hair up under your hat! lol

                            Do you tack up the horse yourself or let them do it?
                            As a seller, I will hash this out with the trainer/buyer when they call. Usually for children, they want to see all the things that the child would need to do if the pony was theirs or do it themselves. I will have the pony in from the field and suitably clipped, bathed, cleaned because I refuse to show a dirty horse, but we can pull it out of the stall, groom, tack, and go from there if you want. Some people don't care about seeing the stuff and then when they arrive at the barn that horse will be on the cross ties, show-spiffed, and waiting for a bridle. Never be afraid to ask if you can do something with the horse. You might be the one living with it, you should know if it will try to eat you if you tighten it's girth (however, I will also tell you these things as a seller).

                            What kinds of things do you look out for?
                            Signs of drugs (horse lethargic, little ear movement, hanging lip, droopy eyes). Signs of too much prep (sweat, recently bathed and still wet, lunge line on the floor nearby, horse breathing heavy). Signs of any general sheisty-ness! The quality of the other animals in the barn. The apparent care the horses get. The professionalism of the people I am dealing with. Signs that the horse is inappropriate for the intended use or for the intended owner.

                            What exercises do you personally like to do on the horse you are trying?
                            Basic W-T-C. Circles - I can tell a lot about a horse on a circle... bending, responsiveness to leg, soundness, acceptance of bit, and *how* the horse likes to communicate with its rider. I may try a little lateral work depending on the horse's level (if I'm trying a 4yo hunter prospect, that's not my biggest fish to fry right then, but if I'm looking for an eq prospect for a student....). Lead changes! Again, what I jump depends on the level of the horse. I like to keep it simple when trying. I can usually tell quickly if the horse has a chance of being "the one".

                            When you’re done, do you go ahead and negotiate with the seller and tell them you like/dislike the horse, or wait and call them later?
                            As both a buyer and seller, I like a short indication of your thoughts at the time. A simple, "you know, I really just don't think he's the horse for us because x-y-z" is perfectly fine and appreciated. Or, "you know, I think she did really well with the horse, so we'll go home, talk it over and get back to you tomorrow" is fine too. However, if you choose this option, PLEASE CALL! Even if you walked out of the barn and went, "OMG that horse was a POS!", just drop me a line and tell me something. Lie. Tell me a chestnut won't match your new light brown jacket, just be polite and call. lol If you like the horse and want to see it again, expect to have to put a deposit down if you want me to hold it for you. If not, the horse could be sold. If someone else comes to see the horse, I will give you a call and ask you if you'd like to buy it before I "sell it out from under you", but be prepared to move quickly and leave the negotiations at the door. No offense, but if I have one person willing to give me asking, but you want me to drop $5k and ship it to you, guess who gets the horse...


                            I hope some of this helps you. Try not to be nervous. As sellers, we have seen EVERYTHING! No matter WHAT you do, we have seen worse. Chip, wing, fall off, cry, make our lovely horses look like talentless nags - oh yes, we have seen it all. It's ok. Be kind, be courteous, pat the horse if it saves you butt, and don't be afraid to be honest! AND HAVE FUN! Buying your horse should be exciting and fun! Try not to stress out too much!
                            ...for there are wings on these hooves, the speed and power of foam-capped waves...
                            *~v~*~v~*~v~*~v~*~v~*~v~*~v~*
                            Proud member of the artists clique

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                            • #15
                              There was a wonderful Editorial on COTH a year or 2 back addressing your concerns.
                              As a seller, clean neat barn swept aisles and wash stall. Tidy appearence, weather appropriate.
                              Buyer breeches boots, mini chaps, jeans and paddock boots and of course a helmet.
                              Flip flops and shorts a no no, do not expect every seller to have a place for you to change.
                              If the weather is going to be to bad to ride in I always e-mail the forecast for my zip code to buyer night before so they can asses if they want to come or re-schedule.
                              Buyer check weather and call seller especially if you are driving a long distance, do not assume everyone has an indoor or all weather footing.
                              I like to be called to confirm seller is actually going to show-up, that day.
                              I usually have horse(s) in and groomed.
                              I provide a typed list of whats for sale w/ age height (sticked) price and breif bio for buyer. And let them look thru horses and get an idea of who they wish to see 1st. W/ a back up ride if 1st horse isn't suitable.
                              Place horse is wash stall and let everyone have a good going over legs and feet .
                              Then I like to free school horse so everyone has an opportunity to see all 3 gaits w/o lunge line or rider, then free jump horse both ways trot and canter.
                              Then proceed to assist in tacking up. My saddle pad and girth, my bridle, their saddle,my/a martingale/breastplate optional to rider or trainer.

                              I prefer buyer bring their own rider but will flat the horse 1st if asked.

                              I expect the buyer to w/t/c/ and spend a bit of time getting to know horse before pushing the buttons. But I also expect the buyer to have adequite opportunity to try/ride horse as if their own.
                              Then have a good jump round and offer for them to hack around farm perimiter if horse appropriate.
                              I also reserve the right to refuse or stop a trial if I feel rider is not appropriate for horse in terms of skill and suitability.
                              Its way more benefical to offer a back-up horse if its just not right and rider may not recognize it.
                              I expect any trainer coming to have communicated w/ the customer and me their expectations/ability goal for horse and how much they actuallly have to spend. To go try a $10K horse when you truly have $5k to spend for horse and vetting is not acceptable.
                              Be very realistic about what your total budget is including a pre-purchase which can be $350 -$2k as well as shipping horse to you.
                              AS a seller you should be prepared to pay what seller is asking for horse unless you determine if price is negotiable or if horse not quite what advertised.
                              Do not always expect price has a build in negotiating %.
                              Be sure what your trainers $$ expectations are, many deals get undone because there is miss communication between Seller and trainer and the buyer gets caught up in it.
                              Should you like horse well enough to want a 2nd ride either offer to sign a limited time contract and offer up a small deposit to hold horse for a few days to get your trainer or whom ever back.
                              If after the second ride you like horse then sign a sales contract and get horse vetted and shipped in a very timely manner.
                              To sign a contract and then drag your heels w/ vetting or buyers remorse holds seller up from moving horse forward.
                              In Europe they say ride once come twice but on the third visit bring a check or don't came.

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                              • #16
                                What do you wear when you are trying horses? Field boots and polo or is that not necessary?

                                Neat polo shirt, tucked in. Regular breeches, not tights. Field boots (I rarely ride in 1/2 chaps for schooling anyway). Show helmet, no hair net. Everything clean and nice looking. I want the sellers to have a positive first impression of me and not think "I don't want to sell my nice horse to this slob."

                                Do you tack up the horse yourself or let them do it?

                                I'll show up 15-30 minutes early if I can. In an ideal world, I prefer to be there during the tacking up but to have the seller do it for me. I generally try horses 2x before I buy and I am fairly unfussy about ground manners (unless it's a maneater, I don't care if it's a bit rude). If I am concerned about the way a horse behaves, I will ask to tack up the second time. Otherwise, I'd rather the person who knows the horse and the tack handle it so there aren't any tack malfunctions or issues.

                                What kinds of things do you look out for?

                                Horses that appear drugged/already worn out. What kind of tack the horse needs (harsh bit, etc.) Anything the seller is trying to hide (I had someone try to put a bridle on in a way that I couldn't see the noseband was a studded noseband). Horses that don't appear sound/relaxed when being handled. General condition (are the feet thrushy, do the shoes/trim look okay, is the horse fit, etc.) Other horses on the property in weird condition. Anything that seems out of the ordinary. If the horse is misrepresented, I say "thank you, I am not interested" and leave.

                                What exercises do you personally like to do on the horse you are trying?

                                I always want the seller to ride first (or have her trainer ride).

                                With a made horse, I want to see basic walk, trot, canter, changes on the flat, and then jump a mini course at the level the horse is showing. If I don't like the horse or don't think it's talented enough, I say "thank you, I am not interested" and leave without riding. I've done that. No need to waste anyone's time or tire a horse I don't like.

                                If I like the horse, I will generally get on and do basic walk trot canter, do a trot fence or two, and then do either a mini course or a few lines at the height the horse is jumping. I might just try a little lateral work to see if the horse has buttons but I wouldn't spend much time doing that. I don't need to jump it to death. I just want to see what it's like for a new rider and how it goes over fences. I might even jump it smaller than the height it's doing-- I am mostly interested in attitude/instincts. I already liked the jump when I saw the prior rider up, now I just need to know if I like the ride.

                                If it's a greenie, I will just W/T/C and mostly see if I like it's attitude. Maybe trot a crossrail or trot in/canter out a small line. With greenies I am mostly just checking if I like the way the horse moves and if I think the horse is quiet/tolerant/eay/willing enough. I don't need to frustrate the horse by asking a bunch of questions. The buttons can be put on if the raw material is nice.

                                The second ride, I'll come back with the trainer and this time ride the horse first, before anyone else does. I'd do the same stuff, though with the made horse I'd probably forgo jumping little stuff/trotting a jump and just do a mini course. Trainer might then ride and see what else the horse knows. With a greenie, I wouldn't even bother with a second ride, most likely.

                                When you’re done, do you go ahead and negotiate with the seller and tell them you like/dislike the horse, or wait and call them later?

                                If I don't like the horse I tell them immediately "thank you, Dobbins is very nice but I don't think he's quite what I am looking for. I appreciate your time. He's a lovely horse and I am sure the right buyer will really enjoy him."

                                If I like the horse, I will say "thank you, I really liked Dobbins. I am going to call you in an hour or so and make an offer." Then I go think a bit/crunch numbers, and I call within an hour and make an offer.

                                If I am on the fence, I tell the seller that "I liked Dobbins, but I am not 100% sure and I am trying another horse tomorrow. I will call you by Friday and let you know." I always give a date by which I'll be back in touch and I make sure to call back-- even if just to say "no thank you."

                                I always send a thank you note the day after I try a horse-- even when the horse is a wreck/totally wrong/misadvertised. I appreciate sellers taking time out for me, and some people can't help being clueless. Some of the nicest sellers and horses just weren't right for me, that doesn't mean I didn't appreciate their time.
                                ~Veronica
                                "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
                                http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

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                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Thanks everyone! You have no idea how much this will help me!
                                  ~*If I had a dime for everytime I thought of a horse's beauty, I'd have enough to buy one*~

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                                  • #18
                                    When buying, look neat and clean, but not like you can afford to spend whatever you want. You want to impress a seller with your skill, level of care, and knowlegde, not your wallet. Drive up in either your trainer's car (if taking a trainer), or one that is older...this will be in your favor if you want to try to get the seller to drop the price a bit. I had a buyer once pull up in a Lincoln Navigator, then proceed to tell me about one child in uber expensive private girls' school, and another child who was getting a catered birthday party, then wanted me to drop the price, for no reason!
                                    Man plans. God laughs.

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                                    • #19
                                      One thing that hasn't been mentioned is that it is not ok to put down the horse to others. Just because ol' Spot wasn't right for you, doesn't make him someone else's heart horse.
                                      A proud friend of bar.ka.

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                                      • #20
                                        One thing as a seller I find very irritating is the buyer that shows up a half hour early. I do NOT drug, lunge, ride the horse to death prior to you coming! I never lunge or ride a horse that is being looked at that day. And you showing up 1/2 hour early totally disrupts my routine and makes me FEEL like I have to stop everything and cater to you. As I run a business I don't have time for that. I think the number of sales professionals that would do that sort of thing is in the minority, as in VERY few. It is my reputation on the line, and I want people to say to me what nearly everyone who has dealt with me says "The horse was accurately represented to us prior to our visit/purchase".
                                        www.shawneeacres.net

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