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Unsellable horse - what to do?

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  • Unsellable horse - what to do?

    I am trying to sell my farm at this time and am selling my horses now so that I have time to rehome them before I don't have place to keep them anymore. Here's the issue, I have an OTTB that has two old bows on the front and a windpuff on the back left when it's hot out. He's sound and completely broke to ride. However I've had him for 4 years and in that time he has bucked me off twice and bucked my boyfriend who was learning to ride off once (I even posted about it here the first time it happened to me) when he just got really spooked. In his sales ad I feel like I have to mention this past even though it hasn't happened often and 99% of the time he is a dream to ride.

    He's been advertised in different places for about two weeks and I have had zero interest. I priced him at $400 to keep him just out of kill buyer range. There are quite a few fake good homes here that really just ship to slaughter so it's difficult to even screen people for a giveaway without a 75% chance they are going to ship to slaughter as soon as they leave your house unless the price prohibits a profit.

    I have a lead on a TB rescue that may be able to take him, but I'm not sure that will work out until I talk more with them. All of my friends that are known to take good care of their horses are already full. What do you do in a situation like this? He seems way too healthy and happy to euthanize especially since he's only 10 and his behavior issue would be easily fixed by more riding and training than I have time for.

  • #2
    Can you afford to send him off for 30 or 60 days of training? That should improve his appeal.


    • Original Poster

      Depending on which trainer I could send him to, it would either be $500 or $750 for a month of training. With the old injuries, in this area I would still probably have to list him for sale for the same amount. At this time I don't have the money to sink into him for that.


      • #4
        Healed bows are not a turn off to lots of people if the horse has been sound on them and is a good ride.


        • #5
          Two weeks is not a long time to have a horse on the market, even a relatively low dollar one.

          How often in the last 4 years has he been ridden? once a week, once a month, once a quarter? The gravity of hitting 3 times depends often he's been ridden.

          How have you determined that 75% of the giveaway takers are a scam? Just curious, but would you consider someone who would put some miles on the horse and resell him a scammer?
          Visit my Spoonflower shop


          • #6
            I am curious how your ad reads. Do you talk more about his negatives than his positives like you did in your post? Maybe have a friend rewrite the ad for you. There are some details you can leave out after you have been contacted. 3 unplanned dismounts in 4 years isn't that bad...yes, the fact he bucks SHOULD be mentioned, but it shouldn't be the highlight.

            Consider too that you may be under valuing him to the point as to raise suspicion
            Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


            • Original Poster

              It's true I don't know how to write the ad and include the bucking and have it be positive.

              I don't consider someone buying at that price, training and reselling a scammer. I think that's a noble thing to do. What we have around here is people that come in on horses priced low and offer them a good forever home in exchange for the free or low price and then turn around and sell it at auction or sell it to the kill buyer.

              He doesn't get ridden all that much, probably 30-60 times per year.


              • #8
                Is there someone who you know who could put some consistent time on him at your barn and make him more consistent to ride, perhaps just a trail buddy with a western saddle?
                Seems a shame to give up after only 2 weeks.
                The bucking off thing is not really that horrid, It sounds like he needs some steady work. Just a thought.


                • #9
                  I do not consider a horse that has bucked off people 3 times (one of which was a beginner) over 4 years to be a "problem bucker". If it happened every week, sure, but once in a blue moon? In my experience, most young horses will throw a buck every now and then. Heck, I can depend on my mare to get a good buck in there at once a week.

                  That said, selling an OTTB with little training, and old track injuries can be very difficult. I really do not know what the answer will be for you. I would try to market him like crazy - put as much training / grooming etc you can into him and hopefully you will find someone.

                  If you don't - I do not think there is anything wrong with putting a "homeless" horse down. Heck, Americans put millions of perfectly healthy unwanted dogs and cats down each year - and horses cost a lot more to care for.

                  "Animals fear pain, not death"
                  APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman


                  • #10
                    How about just saying in the ad that he requires an experienced rider? Then when you talk to prospective buyers, you can disclose the bucks and the circumstances.
                    I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show


                    • #11
                      First, I definitely would not consider him "unsellable" just because he hasn't sold in two weeks. Two weeks is a very short time, and most horses won't sell that quickly.

                      Second, I would not call him a bucker in the ad. I would say that he needs an experienced rider, which is true, and I would say that he has only been in inconsistent work but that he is sound on his old injuries (assuming this is true). When people call to talk to you about him or come to see him, then I would fill in the detail about WHY he needs an experienced rider (he hasn't been in consistent work and has bucked on occasion).

                      Frankly, most horses buck from time to time. It's kind of just something horses do sometimes. I truly don't know that I have ever ridden a horse of average or above talent for a significant number of years that NEVER bucked EVER. The only horses I have ever known that NEVER buck were the ancient school horse types, and hopefully someone considering a younger TB won't be expecting a half dead child packer...particularly if you say in the ad that he needs an experienced rider.

                      What kind of bucking are we talking about? A few feel good romping kinds of bucks? Full on bronc action where he tries to dump you? Has he bucked a lot of other times but you stayed on, or are the times you have fallen off the only times he has ever bucked? I think the answers to these questions determine whether or not he is a "bucker" or he is just a normal horse that has bucked a few times and you have come off as a result.

                      I had a horse once that was a BUCKER. I mean, when I first got him, I got bucked off nearly once a week. He was a nice show horse and quite talented, however, and I actually won a lot with him. It really never was a deal breaker for me (I was a teenager then, though, ha!). My current horse will buck sometimes, but I wouldn't necessarily call him a bucker. He does it if he is really fresh and feeling good, basically...it's not like he does it every day or anywhere near that.

                      Anyway, I'd think about how bad of a problem the bucking really is, and then I would convey that information at the point of first contact AFTER someone calls you about him. I definitely wouldn't lead with that in the ad, but I would convey that he needs an experienced, confident rider.


                      • #12
                        How about just trailer him to a stable with a good trainer, pay him/her to ride him once or twice-- not a training ride, just ask for an impartial evaluation. And you be there to video/photograph those sessions.
                        A very good rider will almost surely be able to bring out at least some good moments, since it doesn't sound like he's a confirmed hard case. So you can get some nice photos/video of him at work. Ask the trainer to describe his way of going, and what s/he sees as his strengths and weaknesses. Use this feedback when wording your new ad, and select the best photos and video clips of the trainer's ride to include in your ads. Of course be honest in describing his training needs when buyers contact you.

                        For the most part, we can only describe a horse from the perspective of our own riding level, and maybe you're just a little overhorsed.


                        • Original Poster

                          I like the "needs an experienced rider" idea and feel that would still be appropriate. I'm pretty sure all the local ads that say, horse is broke, but hasn't been ridden in a while also mean you're in for a wild ride for a few weeks, but doesn't make it sound so bad. But I just really want to be straight forward.

                          I actually really like the horse and if I wanted to live here for the rest of my life and be stuck at home every weekend caring for them, I would keep him. But I'm having a 30's crisis, thank goodness I don't have kids. I just want to take lessons on someone else's horse and be a little more carefree with my time. So I'm panicking that I'm going to be stuck.


                          • #14
                            In for a wild ride makes me NEVER want to call that ad. I did rehome a bucker although his was an "I don't want to" tantrum, not a fresh or out of work buck, although he did do better in regular work.

                            I said needs an intermediate rider, has a tendency to test his rider. When people inquired what I meant by testing, I explained what his issues were. I was vague I guess in my ad, but when someone goes "THIS HORSE BUCKS" or "WILD RIDE" I assume the horse is borderline dangerous, not a horse who bucks when fresh or tests his rider. I would reword your ads and post again.


                            • #15
                              I agree with Magic! And actually, I think I would increase the price to $1000, maybe $1200. Just a thought, but I wonder if the low price, plus the "wild ride" is saying I CANNOT BE RID OF THIS THING FAST ENOUGH. I would be tempted to price him at say, 1200, rewrite the ad (for intermediate rider) listing his strong points (he is a dream to ride, he is only 10, great ground manners, loads,whatever,all the reasons why you think he 's a great horse!) When someone calls, I would say WHY he is listed for intermed rather than beginner, because on the very rare occasion, he has bucked (3 times in four years or whatever, to give someone a picture), and because he does have some old injuries, although he is being sold SOUND. I might note that he is really responsive to training/work so would be well worth SOMEONE ELSE putting the time and money into him.


                              • #16
                                Yes to HungarianHippo's ideas of working with a pro for new, more experienced evaluation of this horse. Four bucks in approximately 160 rides is pretty calm, in my experience, and not something a horse should be put to sleep over- if that's all it is. But, you are his owner and if you decide the best you can do for him is to pts, I support you in your choice. It's obvious you care a lot for this horse. Don't grieve about whatever you do. You are doing the best you can. (((HUGS))).


                                • #17
                                  I believe the "Wild ride" is not in the ad, it's just the OP's interpretation of ads that say the horse hasn't been ridden in a while. In the same way that "This horse is real get-up-and-go type!" probably means "Confirmed bolter who killed its last 3 riders".


                                  • #18
                                    Here you go, a template:
                                    Handsome 10 year old Bay T.B. avaiable. Lovely horse with talent (describe here). This beautiful gelding needs more time to bring out his best than I can give him. Completely trained, but not a beginner ride. He is sound, and comes with two old, cold bows which have never been an issue. I am looking for the right person who wants a project with a future. He is (describe cute attributes here), and ready for a fun summer with his new person!


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Wow, you guys are good. I should have asked for wording help first.


                                      • #20
                                        Or you could give him away. Post him on the giveaways section of the forum.
                                        come what may

                                        Rest in peace great mare, 1987-2013