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Taking a horse on trial and agreeing price, Chicken and Egg?

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  • Taking a horse on trial and agreeing price, Chicken and Egg?

    I am in the process of buying my first 'grown up' horse, not bad seeing as I am top side of 50, this will be the first time I've purchased a horse for competition rather just as a trail buddy, and is my most expensive contemplated purchase. It is also the first time that I have been considering having a horse on trial.

    I went to see the horse yesterday, and loved him from looking at him and handling him from the ground. Unfortunately where he is currently kept there is no good place try him out, and due to weather conditions recently the place was kind of a sheet of ice.

    The owners were aware before I went to see him that he was above my budget, but were saying that they are more interested in getting him a good home. When we were talking cash yesterday, they were still higher than I would like, BUT if the horse rides well then he is probably worth it, it depends on how green and how comfortable he is, and importantly for me how safe I feel on him.

    SO, I can see that the price I feel he is worth may change if is here on trial, could be worth more or less than my current offer. Should we agree a price before the trial, I can see how the current owner would want the security of an agreed price, but because of their current lack of facilities, it is quite difficult.

    Any thoughts?
    I'm not sure if I grew out of stupid or ran out of brave.

    Practicing Member of the Not too Klassy for Boxed Wine Clique

  • #2
    The owner's out of their minds if they let him go on trial not only with an agreed-upon price but with a hefty nonrefundable deposit and insurance with them as the beneficiaries.

    Trailer him somewhere and try riding him with them present, if you can't try him at their place. Agree on a price before the PPE and agree in advance of the PPE how that can change, if it can, based on the vet results. I would never let someone take a horse on trial without an agreed-on price and a contract on how they're going to pay for care during the trial and vet care if he's hurt and loss of use insurance if he gets ruined and a big chunk of the price paid in advance.
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    • #3
      ^^^This.^^^ In spades.

      Owner is either completely naive or a really wretched business person. In either case, I'd be protecting myself from the owner raising the price after your trial, or refusing to negotiate. Again, as always, get everything in writing before the horse ever leaves the seller's control, whether you are seller or buyer! Anything else will eventually end in disaster, from one side or the other.

      JME.
      In loving memory of Laura Jahnke.
      A life lived by example, done too soon.
      www.caringbridge.org/page/laurajahnke/

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      • #4
        Yes, agree on price before trial. And IN WRITING!!
        "When life gives you scurvy, make lemonade."

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        • #5
          I think it is a tad more complicated because the sellers are not able to offer you a proper try out, so how can you really make an offer as you don't know how he goes? I think it is up to the seller to make sure the buyer can adequately try out the horse if they really want the horse sold.

          I would see if they are willing to board the horse somewhere for you (short term) or haul him to an arena, so you can try him out properly before worrying about making an offer or signing any type of contract.

          I think doing a trial and making any sort of agreement when you haven't been able to try the horse out is assuming more risk than is fair to you.
          Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

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          • #6
            Absolutely agree with CHT on this! The owners are actually trying to sell this horse in Canada in the winter with nowhere to ride? Really?? Something is wrong with this picture!! Why should prospective buyer bear the burden of risk? Horse sellers must realize that this is not exactly a sellers' market! If they really want to sell, they'll make arrangements for a proper test ride, if not, they're not really that motivated.

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            • #7
              Especially if you need to feel safe on a horse to buy it, I think you are jumping the gun.

              There is at least a 50% chance than you will know this horse is wrong within 5 minutes of sitting on it, or maybe even buy watching the seller ride it. Before going to the hassle of arranging a trial, get them to haul it to an arena and show it off and if you still like it have a ride. If the horse is wrong you have only taken up an hour or so of each others' time.

              Once you've had a ride or two you can agree on a price, and then the trial is not about adjusting the price, just seeing if your initial impression was right and the horse can be that good for a week.

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              • #8
                That is one time you really, really should not be on your own.
                See if you can get a trainer to go with you, to help check the horse over and how to go about trying the horse out.

                That money you pay a trainer will be better spent than in getting a horse that is not suitable and that you then won't know how to resell either, or worse, gets you injured and possibly out of horses.

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                • #9
                  What Bluey said.

                  The seller should be able to find a location where you can try the horse. It is very hard to sell a horse to be used for competition if your farm is not set up for a test ride. I don't live in Canada, but I also don't have an indoor. If someone is looking at a sales horse I have in winter and the weather is awful, I rent a neighbor's indoor and show the horse there.

                  As for the contract -- it protects for the Seller and the Buyer if something goes wrong on a trial. But I don't think the OP is anywhere close to making a decision about a trial yet.
                  Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule
                  http://www.ironwood-farm.com

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                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    It's odd in this particular situation, the seller is as keen on a trial as I am, in fact they brought up the issue first.

                    This is a horse that they bred and raised to be the sellers dressage prospect, but unfortunately just when he came to the age to start working she became ill. She is now faced with the fact that she believes that he is to good to be a pasture pet, she wants him to go somewhere that he will fulfill the promise that she feels he has, but she is being very particular in her choice of person for him.

                    With the distances involved up here I don't know where their nearest covered arena is.

                    *Sigh* it may all become somewhat moot anyway, I have just had a sale fall through here
                    I'm not sure if I grew out of stupid or ran out of brave.

                    Practicing Member of the Not too Klassy for Boxed Wine Clique

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                    • #11
                      You may have dodged a bullet here.
                      From dressage prospecct to pasture pet? I.dont.think.so.

                      Before you agree to any purchase, ride the horse several times.
                      Especially in your case, you want to make sure each ride is acceptable to you. Try to ride as you would at home --- trail? arena? outside ring?......... do you trailer out?

                      A good seller will understand and encourage you to present those senarios to a horse, if they balk at all --- walk away.

                      Its my position to not offer trials -- I dont believe there is a contract written that can protect all 3 parties adequately....
                      you, them and the horse.
                      IN GOD WE TRUST
                      OTTB's ready to show/event/jumpers. Track ponies for perfect trail partners.
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Kitty View Post
                        Absolutely agree with CHT on this! The owners are actually trying to sell this horse in Canada in the winter with nowhere to ride? Really??
                        I just have to pipe up and say that here in southern ON it is in the 40s and 50s; today I had a bee buzzing around me while I worked in the yard. We aren\t all in igloos with our pet meese you know!
                        Founder of the I LOFF my worrywart TB clique!
                        Official member of the "I Sing Silly Songs to My Animals!" Clique
                        http://wilddiamondintherough.blogspot.ca/

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Haffy View Post
                          It's odd in this particular situation, the seller is as keen on a trial as I am, in fact they brought up the issue first.

                          This is a horse that they bred and raised to be the sellers dressage prospect, but unfortunately just when he came to the age to start working she became ill. She is now faced with the fact that she believes that he is to good to be a pasture pet, she wants him to go somewhere that he will fulfill the promise that she feels he has, but she is being very particular in her choice of person for him.

                          With the distances involved up here I don't know where their nearest covered arena is.

                          *Sigh* it may all become somewhat moot anyway, I have just had a sale fall through here
                          Too bad, maybe something else will come out of it yet, if you really wanted that one horse.

                          Be careful you don't end with a horse on trial you can't return!
                          Is happening more and more around here.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by DeeThbd View Post
                            I just have to pipe up and say that here in southern ON it is in the 40s and 50s; today I had a bee buzzing around me while I worked in the yard. We aren\t all in igloos with our pet meese you know!
                            I think we are colder than you are.
                            No igloos yet, or meese.

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                            • #15
                              I still don't understand why the owner can't just take the horse somewhere for you to try it. There has to be some flat, even piece of ground within trailering distance to you, that you could use. Are there NO other barns in the area? Or no other private facilities with arenas that you could rent for an hour or two?

                              Just seems strange to me that owners, especially owners that bred this horse, are so without contacts that they can't arrange for you to ride the horse to see if you even like it, before taking it home. I mislike this,..............
                              In loving memory of Laura Jahnke.
                              A life lived by example, done too soon.
                              www.caringbridge.org/page/laurajahnke/

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                              • #16
                                I agree with ESG -- there is something wrong here. The Seller should be ablet to get the horse somewhere where is can be tried. This really is the Seller's job. If the Seller can't, then the Seller isn't serious about selling the horse.

                                I'm a breeder and I sell horses. If the OP was a prospective buyer, I would find a way to show the horse under saddle regardless of the temperature and weather.

                                And no, as a seller I would never let a horse go on trial if I had not seen the prospective buyer ride the horse a few times. There is something wrong with the seller being so eager for a trial. Superficially, I'd say she is trying to unload the horse.
                                Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule
                                http://www.ironwood-farm.com

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                                • #17
                                  The sellers should trailer the horse to a suitable location so that you can sit on him BUT it is the buyer's job to pay for the trailering expenses and arena fees associated with that.

                                  If you want to try the horse in some different manner from looking at it in its home environment, they should make it possible but you should pay the associated costs.

                                  I had a horse that lived somewhere with no indoor and when I showed him in the winter I was happy to bring him places but the buyers had to pay for the trailering.

                                  One of my best friends had a horse for sale and boarded it at a facility overnight to meet buyers who never showed and never called to cancel. I learned from that and now I am happy to accommodate but the BUYER can pay the $25-50 if they want to try the horse.

                                  Making the buyer pay for the expenses associated with their request makes them a little more likely to consider whether or not they are ACTUALLY serious about the advertised horse or if they are just figuring, "What the heck, can't hurt, let's try that one too."
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                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by meupatdoes View Post
                                    The sellers should trailer the horse to a suitable location so that you can sit on him BUT it is the buyer's job to pay for the trailering expenses and arena fees associated with that.

                                    If you want to try the horse in some different manner from looking at it in its home environment, they should make it possible but you should pay the associated costs.

                                    I had a horse that lived somewhere with no indoor and when I showed him in the winter I was happy to bring him places but the buyers had to pay for the trailering.

                                    One of my best friends had a horse for sale and boarded it at a facility overnight to meet buyers who never showed and never called to cancel. I learned from that and now I am happy to accommodate but the BUYER can pay the $25-50 if they want to try the horse.

                                    Making the buyer pay for the expenses associated with their request makes them a little more likely to consider whether or not they are ACTUALLY serious about the advertised horse or if they are just figuring, "What the heck, can't hurt, let's try that one too."
                                    That's very unfortunate for your friend, and those buyers were extremely rude. However, often it is the "What the heck, might as well try that one too" that sells a horse. The last horse I bought was one of those.

                                    It's a buyer's market; I think some buyers would be put off being asked to pay for trailering just so they can TRY the horse. Not only does it make it easy for the buyers to give it a pass when they might otherwise be serious, it also paints the seller as possibly being difficult to work with, and perhaps not someone they want to do business with.

                                    I do see your point, but with so many horses on the market these days, you have to make it easy and attractive for your horses to be seen.

                                    To the OP, I agree with everyone else, something doesn't sit right. And yes, I'd want EVERYTHING in writing first.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      A trial is way too much hassle just to sit on the horse and see if you might be a match. There must be a place you can take the horse to ride to get a sense of whether you'd want to pursue a trial.


                                      Originally posted by meupatdoes View Post
                                      The sellers should trailer the horse to a suitable location so that you can sit on him BUT it is the buyer's job to pay for the trailering expenses and arena fees associated with that.
                                      I'm really sorry about your friend's bad experience but I don't agree with that in principle. If you are selling a riding horse you need to furnish some place for buyers to ride it, they can't make a choice based on seeing in the barn. (Might be different if they had a more detailed request, like going to an xc course, or to trainer's farm, etc.)

                                      When I wanted to sell horses in the winter and the ring was frozen, I trailered to an indoor and paid the ring fee so the buyers could try. I could have waited until spring, but since I didn't, I can't imagine people would have paid for the privilege of trying my jumper, when there were so many others already boarded at adequate facilities.

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                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Thanks for all the great thoughts here, we are taking this process in baby steps, making a little progress...

                                        This is a kind of complicated situation, for many reasons, but the next step is that she is coming here to look at our place, she wants the right home for her guy.

                                        While I'm not totally naive about life, I also hope that I'm not totally cynical either.....and I think that this person is genuine.

                                        The horse I'm looking at is one that she bred herself, and she had hopes of making him her dressage horse, until a battle with cancer got in the way, so she is selling him rather than having him go to waste in her paddock.

                                        We are currently discussing various possibilities for the next step, and by coincidence I think I may have a link through the local horse network to someone who may no more of the back ground here, that will certainly help.
                                        I'm not sure if I grew out of stupid or ran out of brave.

                                        Practicing Member of the Not too Klassy for Boxed Wine Clique

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