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Wondering what to offer on a prospective buy

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  • Wondering what to offer on a prospective buy

    This isn't my first time buying, but I've never bought a horse where the seller stated that they were "very open to offers". So, being a kid, (almost outgrown my junior title) and having completely non-horsey parents and a very conservative trainer, I'd like some insight on the do's and don'ts of making an offer.

    The pony is 8 years old, 14.2 with a perm card, and a mare. She's a jumper: she did one pony jumper class last year, one level 4 class, among other rated shows and schooling jumper classes. (The level 4 class was an accident. Trainer meant to sign up her student for a level 1... but the student wanted to try it anyway! ) She's a very forgiving ride and will do anything for a rider that she trusts, (as demonstrated by her doing the level 4 class successfully- just one rail) and she suited me well when I tried her today. The pony has never been to an event, but she's been cross country schooling in the past year and apparently was great.

    The only catch is she has NO flatwork training, in terms of anything beyond steering. Her canter is even backwards, she'll only pick up the ride lead with the inside leg. When I picked up some contact she did lots of head tossing, but luckily I'm used to riding through silly pony things like that so it didn't interfere much with the ride. The owner said that the girl who's been riding her for the past few years has NO concept of leg or contact, and she just rides the pony to the jumps (the pony picks the spots) and then points her to the next jump.

    This doesn't really bother me because again, I liked the pony, but wanting to event (and do jumpers) I feel like this should effect my offer because I'll have to invest a lot of time and money into basically starting from the ground up. AND pony hasn't been ridden in 4 months, so she's very fat and out of shape. The horse market is also down, and I'd like to take advantage of this, hence shopping NOW, and in the winter.

    Pony is listed in the upper/mid 4 figures. What do you think?

    Oh, also another related question to people who sell:

    Owner said she'd be willing to do a 2-3 month lease-to-buy, and then take her back if it didn't end up working out. I'm fine with that, but if I ended up keeping her after that, are sellers more flexible on price if the money is given all at once? And by about how much? I know that there's no standard x%, but any comments would be appreciated. I'm responsible for paying for my horses myself, so getting the best prospect that my money can buy is important. As all of you can relate to.

    Thanks!
    Last edited by ponyxjd; Jan. 17, 2010, 10:13 PM.
  • Original Poster

    #2
    Anyone?

    Comment


    • #3
      You can't teach talent or ability. How does the pony fit in with your ultimate goals? If you will age out within the next year or two, will you be able to accomplish what you wish to with this pony? What will you do with the pony once you age out? The market is not going to recover within the next few years if you are considering reselling the pony down the road.

      You will need to do a market analysis prior to making an offer. What are other pony jumpers going for? And, is your trainer expecting a commission? If so, your trainer should be handling the negotiations for you, or at least giving you lots of advice. Good luck!!! I hope everything works out.
      Man plans. God laughs.

      Comment


      • #4
        I would talk, face to face (or at least on the phone) with the owner. Tell her what your goals are for the pony and ask her what she is really needing to get out of her pony and go from there. I think it is much better to have a discussion than just to make a flat offer. That way the owner knows your situation and may be more likely to work with you. Of course, this is if your trainer is not involved in the purchase. If your trainer is, then it is their responsibility to do this, although you too could talk with owner regarding the pony. I know that, sometimes, even tho a rider has a trainer the trainer is not really involved in the purchase. Would be better if they were, but that isnt always the case.
        www.shawneeacres.net

        Comment


        • #5
          Personally I would not offer anything more than perhaps $3500 to $4000 for such a pony in this market, but if you really love it and they want more... but if they are open to offers I would say offer low, they will probably counter offer.

          I would take her up on lease to buy so you can really figure out how much time and effort this pony will take to be where you want. Also this will give you a chance to find out if there are issues with ground manners, etc which sometimes don't show up right away. Doesn't have to be a long period of time, perhaps two weeks.

          If the pony has the ability to do what you want and the desire as evidenced by packing around a passenger in a jumper class then could be worth a lot to you in the long run. Remember to it depends on the horse's ability to learn and do the things you want. Some ponies learn right away and "get it." Others can be really stubborn, especially if after several years of bad riding.

          I suggest a trial lease and then low offer followed up by negotiating, set a price for yourself that you won't go above. If they are asking $7500, you offer $3500 and set a ceiling of say $4200. Of course that depends on your budget. Also depends on the owner's situation. If they really need to get rid of the pony and appreciate a good home for it, they may let her go very cheaply. You can just be honest and say you are on a budget and the market is bad. I actually saw a really cute pony jumper advertised in MD. last year for $1000, was sold before I could get to it, but they are out there.

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Thank you for the replies.

            You can't teach talent or ability. How does the pony fit in with your ultimate goals? If you will age out within the next year or two, will you be able to accomplish what you wish to with this pony? What will you do with the pony once you age out?
            I'm planning on keeping whatever I have in the spring through college. So, I'm not really worrying about resale value. I'd like to do pony jumpers while I'm still a junior, and then shift my focus to eventing in college. I'd like to be comfortable at training level [eventing] in a year or two and get to level 3 or 4 jumpers- those are my long term goals. So yes, I think that this particular pony could take me there.

            I've been looking at athletic large ponies/honies, but because I'm not looking at made horses, or even in shape horses, (all 4 of the ponies I've seen so far have been out of work for 3+ months at least) and it's difficult to predict their true ability. Honestly, pretty much all of the ponies/honies I've inquired about haven't been in work for some period of time. I can get an idea from a ride, but knowing if a horse is maxed out or just too out of shape to get over a jump is another thing. Which is again, why it's difficult for me to decide on how much something is worth.

            If they are asking $7500, you offer $3500 and set a ceiling of say $4200. Of course that depends on your budget. Also depends on the owner's situation. If they really need to get rid of the pony and appreciate a good home for it, they may let her go very cheaply. You can just be honest and say you are on a budget and the market is bad.
            So in this market, sellers don't laugh at offers less than 50% of the asking price? (Your theoretical numbers are similar to the real ones) I'd like to low ball, but I'd hate to offend the seller. I did tell her that I couldn't spend the asking price before I went out to try the pony and I got along fine with both of them, so hopefully that'll be helpful in the long run if things work out.

            I would talk, face to face (or at least on the phone) with the owner. Tell her what your goals are for the pony and ask her what she is really needing to get out of her pony and go from there. I think it is much better to have a discussion than just to make a flat offer. That way the owner knows your situation and may be more likely to work with you. Of course, this is if your trainer is not involved in the purchase. If your trainer is, then it is their responsibility to do this, although you too could talk with owner regarding the pony. I know that, sometimes, even tho a rider has a trainer the trainer is not really involved in the purchase. Would be better if they were, but that isnt always the case.
            That makes perfect sense about just having a conversation. I feel like flat offers may seem like I'm hiding extra money somewhere. (I wish) My trainer does not charge commission and probably won't be further involved with my buying process besides giving me her opinion on suitability. Our routine is that I go out first to try a horse, and then if I liked what I saw we go back together.

            Oh, another question:

            If a potential buy is proven in one discipline, (in the jumpers in this case) but you'd like to focus on another discipline and they're unproven, (eventing) is that a substantial reason to lower your offer?

            Comment


            • #7
              I would be sure to take pony out on cross-country during the lease, I've been riding a sale horse for a few weeks that supposedly showed at the Training level, but is afraid of the same plain H/J jumps every day (as in wont go near them and runs backwards...).

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by ponyxjd View Post
                (snip)

                So in this market, sellers don't laugh at offers less than 50% of the asking price? (Your theoretical numbers are similar to the real ones) I'd like to low ball, but I'd hate to offend the seller. I did tell her that I couldn't spend the asking price before I went out to try the pony and I got along fine with both of them, so hopefully that'll be helpful in the long run if things work out.

                Oh, another question:

                If a potential buy is proven in one discipline, (in the jumpers in this case) but you'd like to focus on another discipline and they're unproven, (eventing) is that a substantial reason to lower your offer?
                There are buyers who will be totally offended at a 50% offer and who will walk away. There are others who might accept a lowball offer and jump at the chance to get a sale at any price. The difference is often that the first horse is priced appropriately to begin with, and is being sold for a legitimate reason (kid going off to school, etc.) The second scenario often indicates that the seller is desperate to unload the horse (pony) and is just happy to get whatever they can for it OR, they have a perfectly nice animal but for whatever reason, they can no longer afford it, are moving to someplace they can't take the animal, etc.

                Talking to the owner will help you figure out which is which.

                WRT to your second question, the answer is ... not usually. Horses are generally priced based on their training, aptitude for a certain job, and perhaps, on their record of doing that job well for a period of time. The fact that you don't want to take advantage of that training doesn't make it worth less.

                However, you can say to the seller, "I am looking for an XYZ prospect and although your pony hasn't done that, I think she might be suitable and I really like her. I know that prices in H/J might be different, but for that job, TO ME, she is worth $x. Would you consider an offer in that range?"

                That way you don't insult the seller or give the impression that you are dismissing the other training the pony may have had. I only suggest that in this case because pony jumpers are not a super popular division and in many areas, don't fill at the shows so they are priced way below what a pony hunter might cost, so the numbers may be comparable to what you are willing to offer.
                **********
                We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
                -PaulaEdwina

                Comment


                • #9
                  If the horse is that out of shape, and doesn't like the contact and doesn't ride the way you want her to at the time of purchase, ie: now, then I would definitely low-ball the offer, and try to get a lease-to-buy going. You might end up with something very different once the horse is fit--could be much better, could be much worse. You won't be able to tell. Do you know the trainer? Can you trust what she says the pony has done? Level 4 jumpers is pretty daunting for such a small mount, esp. if you want to be competing there regularly! From what you've described, I'd offer between 2,000 and 3,500 for what she is right now. If you do lease her for a couple of months, you're going to be increasing her value, just because she'll be in shape. That's your work going into her, which the trainer will benefit from if the sale doesn't go through, and which you shouldn't be paying for if you do decide to keep her. There are so many horses out there right now looking for good homes that it seems almost silly to pursue this unless the terms are really enticing.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The fact a horse has experience in one division but not for what you want, in my opinion has no bearing on an offer. That is, it is not the horse or sellers fault that you want to do another discipline. If someone approached me witha low ball offer with taht as their reasoning, it would actually turnme off of accepting an offer. I feel that an offer of 50% or less is really not a good idea. If someone came to me and jsut flat out offered 50% I'd tell them to take a hike! I have said this time and time again on these types of threads, but I think it bears repeating. Just because the "economy isn't good" is not necessarily a reason for a seller to take a low ball offer! I market a lot of horses and right now, with the economy how it is, my prices already reflect that fact. Good horses are selling, a bit lower than a couple of years ago, but for myself, personally, I would jsut as soon hang onto a really nice horse rather than take a ridiculous offer. The market WILL recover and feed isn't that expensive. Now yes, some people are in a situation that they must sell, lost a job, can't afford board etc. But don't count on that unless an ad specifically states so, or if you contact seller and this information is divulged. I think an offer of much less that 75% of original asking price needs to have some VERY good reason to warrant it, not "because the economy is bad". THat is why I encourage people to TALK to the seller and feel out the situation, much more likely to get someone to work with you that way, rather than just giving an insulting offer.
                    www.shawneeacres.net

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ponyxjd View Post
                      If a potential buy is proven in one discipline, (in the jumpers in this case) but you'd like to focus on another discipline and they're unproven, (eventing) is that a substantial reason to lower your offer?
                      No, it wouldn't affect the price. Not the seller's fault you want the horse for another discipline it has no experience in or is being promoted in that manner. It would be like me buying an upper level dressage horse to be my hunter, but wanting a lower price cause the horse has no jumping experience. While the horse may have low value as a hunter, it has high value as a dressage horse & is being marketed as such.

                      And as far as this particular pony's show record--I wouldn't consider a few shows of low schooling or level 1 jumpers to be "proven". Especially if you are looking to do Level 3-4 jumpers. JMHO.

                      You want the pony for eventing--try taking it on a trail ride. I know it's not fit, but you can get an idea of how it might react to situations walking around. See how it feels about water.

                      As for the "short lease"--get it all in writing prior. Any money you put up may not be refunded at the end if you choose not to buy (your lease "fee")--find that out. Negotiate the final price ahead of time. Hate to see you put in 2 months of work & the owners jack up the sale price cause you didn't finalize it prior.
                      "I'm not crazy...my mother had me tested"

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        As far as offending seller by offering $3500 I think you have to just look at the other horses for sale in your area and as others have said, talk frankly to the seller and see what their situation is. I just can't see an out of shape, marginally trained pony being worth any where near $7500 in this market. If you only have $4000 to spend just be honest, all they can do is say no.

                        "There are so many horses out there right now looking for good homes that it seems almost silly to pursue this unless the terms are really enticing."
                        Very true, I have seen a lot of free lease, free, super cheap really nice horses lately and we actually have two at our facility right now.........so $7500 just sounds really high for what you are describing.

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