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Selling a horse - unsuitable prospective buyers wanting to ride?

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  • Selling a horse - unsuitable prospective buyers wanting to ride?

    I have a young horse for sale. Said horse is lovely - has been in pro training since being backed this year. Horse would be perfect for a confident jr or ammy to bring along for the local circuits or even eventing/dressage. I am not asking an arm and a leg for horse as I just want it to go to a good home ASAP.

    Prospective buyers come to see horse last week. They tell me on the phone their client is an experienced rider, a youngster is what they are looking for, they want to bring it along slowly blah blah blah. They show up, horse is ridden for them - goes beautifully. I tell them - horse is a sensitive ride, not crazy/mean/insane, just a youngster that needs a confident rider and moves easily off the leg. No problem. Client is allowed by their coach to get on my horse (coach not even in riding attire). Horse freaks out after client gets on as she kicks horse hard trying to find her stirrup. Horse takes off at a regular trot (I said it was sensitive). Client does nothing to stop the horse. Horse canters - eventually gets fed up with the death grip on its face and fetal positioned individual on its back and bucks client off with one fell swoop. Horse is terrified. I get on to deal with the aftermath and told them politely that this wasn't going to work.

    I knew from the moment I laid eyes on the coach/client that this wasn't going to be a good fit. They had driven almost 2 hours to get there (after watching numerous videos online) so I let them get on the horse when I shouldn't have. On the phone, everything sounded peachy groovy.

    How do you handle a situation like this? I can't very well say to someone "I know from looking at you that you don't have a clue what you are doing and this horse is not for you". Of course I don't want anyone to get hurt, but I also don't want to compromise the safety/mental wellbeing of my horse by letting some yahoo get on it. Ideas?

  • #2
    I would keep a tighter hold on the initial few minutes of the ride. Stand at the horse's head while the rider mounts, and lead away from the mounting block. If I had real reservations, I might say something like "Since pookie is so young and impressionable I really want to make sure this goes well. It's no reflection on you, and I'm sure you'll do great with him, but would you mind if I put you on the lounge line for a few circles at the trot while pookie gets used to you."

    Comment


    • #3
      Um, how could you just 'tell'? Maybe I'm just obtuse, but I don't see anywhere in your post where you give any sort of clue how you could just 'tell' that the rider isn't what she was billed to be before she got on. That being said, you're selling a horse. People will want to ride it. The best way I've found to weed out the unsuitable ones is to talk to the coach and the client as much as possible. As in, while grooming and tacking, on the ground, before I ever even get on to show the horse. And if there's one where there's even a question, I've been known to throw prospective buyers up on a lesson horse to get a feel for what they know.
      Different Times Equestrian Ventures at Hidden Spring Ranch
      www.DifferentTimesEquestrianVentures.com

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      • #4
        Originally posted by joiedevie99 View Post
        I would keep a tighter hold on the initial few minutes of the ride. Stand at the horse's head while the rider mounts, and lead away from the mounting block. If I had real reservations, I might say something like "Since pookie is so young and impressionable I really want to make sure this goes well. It's no reflection on you, and I'm sure you'll do great with him, but would you mind if I put you on the lounge line for a few circles at the trot while pookie gets used to you."
        This. Why weren't you holding the horse when it was mounted? I've been on many buying trips over the past several years, and if the seller didn't hold the horse at the block, my trainer did. Particularly for a youngster--not so much for the benefit of the horse, but for the safety of the rider getting on a strange horse.
        Ring the bells that still can ring
        Forget your perfect offering
        There is a crack in everything
        That's how the light gets in.

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by MelantheLLC View Post
          This. Why weren't you holding the horse when it was mounted? I've been on many buying trips over the past several years, and if the seller didn't hold the horse at the block, my trainer did. Particularly for a youngster--not so much for the benefit of the horse, but for the safety of the rider getting on a strange horse.
          Coach wanted to hold the horse for the client. Horse has never had an issue mounting so I didn't see it to be a problem but will definitely hold horse myself in future.

          Comment


          • #6
            I think when you sell a lot of horses you do get feelings about people. I know what you mean when you say you knew from the moment you set eyes on them that they were not as portrayed. I've had that feeling many times too. Can't pinpoint exactly what it is they do, or don't do, but I think it's a general demeanor towards the horse and their mannerisms but something alerts you to it.

            If I am selling a youngster then I always keep one of my good trusty horses close by just for this situation. If I am unsure as to their ridden skills but their ground handling appears good then I'll ask them to pop on my trusty girl and then I can assess their skills and see whether I feel they are competent enough to ride my youngster. If I am not convinced about any equine skills then I don't let them ride any of the horses and just say that I don't think they are a suitable match.

            I personally don't care how far someone has come to view my horses, if they have misrepresented their skills, or lack of, beforehand then it is them who have wasted my time aswell as their own, and as such I feel no guilt for saying goodbye and not allowing them to ride my horses. Better safe than sorry.

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Thanks Cloverbarley. I should have clarified - I just had a strong inkling that this wasn't going to be a good fit. Of course I didn't 10000% KNOW, but I know the horse well and gave these people the benefit of the doubt when I shouldn't have.

              Comment


              • #8
                Maybe you should require a trainer to ride first, as this is a young, green horse. Bill it as the trainer should decide if the horse is well trained enough for their student at this time.

                Exceptions can be made case by case.

                SCFarm
                The above post is an opinion, just an opinion. If it were a real live fact it would include supporting links to websites full of people who already agreed with me.

                www.southern-cross-farm.com

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                • #9
                  Yeah, sometimes you CAN just tell. No way to explain it. You just know.

                  I am not in the least hesitant to ask them (even the "coach" if I feel she is a fraud) to go on the lunge line first - or in the round pen (20 meter circle size) so that I can evaluate their "comfort level" on the horse before I turn them loose. I just tell them something like:

                  "I hope you won't take this wrong, but I don't know you at all and I want to feel comfortable that you ride well enough to handle a young horse before I turn you loose on him. So, I'm going to ask that you start out in the round pen (and on the lungle line) for a few minutes. Then, we can come out to the big arena if you are comfortable on the horse."

                  Most people are okay with that and more than a few times it has become clear to me and to them that they are not ready for a young, light horse.

                  At that point I just say "You know, I think this may be more horse than you really need right now." Or "Well, I think you'd agree that this may not be the right horse for you at the moment."
                  Visit Sonesta Farms website at www.sonestafarms.com or our FaceBook page at www.facebook.com/sonestafarms. Also showing & breeding Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    dont sell as a novice ride then you wont get novicy people

                    so advertise as a 2nd horse-
                    most 2nd riders have ridden and the 2nd rider is perhaps and have ridden horses that are more sensitive as in forward going and light in leg and mouth

                    novicy riders are not so, as they havent learnt that part yet

                    so sell the horse as a 2nd horse or word it as not a novice ride

                    chesnut geld age 5yrs point all his good points and bad points then say something like this ideal 2nd horse as not a novice ride

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Blondie22 View Post
                      Coach wanted to hold the horse for the client. Horse has never had an issue mounting so I didn't see it to be a problem but will definitely hold horse myself in future.
                      OIC.
                      Ring the bells that still can ring
                      Forget your perfect offering
                      There is a crack in everything
                      That's how the light gets in.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I'd say that you need to make it clear that the trainer rides the horse first. The trainer is in the best position to evaluate whether given horse is appropriate for client to get on afterward. And you can evaluate the trainer. If THEY don't look like they know what they're doing, you can demure further showing of horsie.

                        When I was looking for a new horse some time ago, either my trainer got on first, or in the case of the horse I did actually buy, I was put on the lunge first.

                        Sorry. That sucks . . .

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I try to ask the prospective buyer as much as I can about what type of horses they were used to riding to get a feel for their level of competence to ride a green horse. Despite this, I had this same thing happen recently.

                          My clue they were too green? Stood the wrong way to pick up the horse's front foot.

                          I rode the horse first, then put a lead rope on the horse for her to ride it. Thankfully...as she had the loudest ass slapping posting trot I had ever heard...poor horsie bolted and wrenched my shoulder, but I was able to keep her under control and less damage was done by the poor rider.

                          I posted recently on here too, about a mom wanting her novice rider to try out a very green horse I had here for sale. I said no, not unless coach rides it first and approves. Only they had no coach...so I said until you have one, you cannot come try the horse. They did their best to threaten me (trying to get me in trouble with the horse's owner), but failed, and was not allowed to even come see the horse (why waste my time showing a horse that will be set up to fail with these people?)

                          Of course I have had other green horses for sale, where the coach was a horrific rider and the novice student was actually somewhat better than the coach, so it can be tricky. That is the fun of selling, and why trainers get commissions for doing it!
                          Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            You don't have to have xray vision to just know sometimes that a thing doesn't 'feel' right. I had a gal try a horse of ours that was gentle as a lamb and nothing bad happened- but she was 100% NOT the rider she'd described on the phone (experienced endurance rider)...who shows up in running shoes, a POS saddle with uneven stirrups, etc)...so it happens, that feeling of nuh uh.

                            In the future, if the wrong or potentially wrong 'buyer' appear...as you plan the visit...make it clear a) trainer must come and trainer must ride this young horse first so that b) you get to hold the horse while trainer mounts and c) you get to eval trainer and d) you then hold horse or let trainer do it, if they've proven they seem capable.

                            Stupid should hurt. Sounds like it did when it landed with a thud.

                            Maybe you add into your telephone interview, 'how many young horses have you brought along? He's a sharp guy, kind and honest...but he'll scoot if you poke him whilst you fish for your stirrup. Do you have experience with young horses?"

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by MelantheLLC View Post
                              OIC.
                              What does that mean?

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Originally posted by trubandloki View Post
                                What does that mean?
                                OIC = Oh I see

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I've had people drive an hour and I won't let them ride my 4yo. I told them- "sorry there was a miscommunication in your riding ability, but I clearly stated he was best suited for an accomplished rider". This is said after we finished tacking up and the "accomplished rider that had competed Novice is actually a 6m beginner rider that hopes to compete at Novice one day".
                                  Then I offer them a Coke as I show them down the driveway.

                                  My horse. My farm. My rules.

                                  I have also had people get on that I thought would be a wreck and were actually decent riders. I may not have let them jump too much or hack outside the arena, but they didn't fall off like I originally thought. They pissed my horse off a bit- but he got over it. He is now standing in a field bc I can not stand to think of someone else coming to pull his mouth apart while he trots mono-speed around the arena. ugh. It's hard selling horses.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I had a mom and daughter team show up to try my horse. The horse was supposed to be for the mom and while tacking I could tell that she wasn't the experienced rider they claimed she was. I had my trainer ride the horse for them and while we were watching I told the adult daughter that this wasn't the horse for her mom. My horse needed an experienced rider and was not the quite bomb proof type she really needed. Daughter agreed and I told the Mom he wouldn't work for her and we were done. What a waste of time, but there was no way I'd let her on my guy unless it was like a pony ride.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      You are well within your rights to say that you don't believe that this horse and this rider are a good match. You're selling a horse, not a car or a piece of farm equipment.....finding the right match is an important element of success as a horse seller. And you know this horse. I would be surprised, given the way things went, if this rider still believed the horse was a good choice for them.

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by Hinderella View Post
                                        You are well within your rights to say that you don't believe that this horse and this rider are a good match. You're selling a horse, not a car or a piece of farm equipment.....finding the right match is an important element of success as a horse seller. And you know this horse. I would be surprised, given the way things went, if this rider still believed the horse was a good choice for them.
                                        Would you believe me if I told you that client wanted to get back on horse? I definitely said no and through clenched teeth showed them the door!

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