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I'm so torn!!

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  • I'm so torn!!

    I’ve been horse shopping, and I came across a prospect that I liked. The pictures in her ad were pretty amazing – she is a very nice 6 yr old mare, registered, suited for what I would like to do. She had nice conformation and a lot of eye appeal. She was listed at $5,000, so I went to have a look.

    Well, I got there…and let’s just say she was very different from the pictures. Basically lost all of that muscle tone…ribs showing…croup almost concave from having no rear end strength…dull coat, completely out of shape. She has a sweet eye and great disposition though, so I rode her anyway. She ended up being way more green than I was expecting (not great steering, almost no brakes, kept dragging me back to the barn).

    NOT that I have a problem with a green horse, I just don’t want to pay a ‘finished’ horse price for a prospect, you know? We’re talking stock breeds here for open/breed/c rated shows, not a warmblood that is going to go on to PSG and grand prix.

    The owner was very nice, but I just think he didn’t really know too much about nutrition & training (he rides casually).

    Anyway. I took pics, I took video, and slept on it for two days. I decided I really like the mare and want to take her home. I asked the guy if he was negotiable though, and he was willing to deal down to $4,000. I had more like $2,000-$3,000 in mind. Once again let me reiterate NOT because I’m being cheap or trying to lowball…it’s just hard to fork out that much $$ when I’d have so much work ahead of me.

    I would have given $5k for the horse that DAY if she looked like she did in the pics (I found out later that the pictures are from last July, when he first bought her), and rode like a 6 yr old should (i.e. not that green). As nicely as I could, I explained everything I was thinking to the owner, so he would understand where I was coming from. But he’s firm on the $4k.

    Crap. What do I do?? I’m so torn. I do really like the mare…but we all know how the horse market is. I could buy something else for $4k and take it to a show this weekend. But I liiiiiiiike this mare….

    Have you ever paid more than you thought a horse was worth…just because you wanted it??? Even though the rational side of your brain is telling you you’re an idiot for doing so? Or did you just pass on the horse and always wonder where she ended up?

  • #2
    Tough one.
    I just ran into a similar situation, but that not bad.
    Horse just fat and out of shape and a bit greener than advertised.
    I phrased my offer like: "I really like <horse> and would like to make you an offer. Since he would need to spend a month at my trainer's at $750, I am offering <list price minus $750>, cash with no pre-purchase exam or trial period."

    They accepted.

    The key with negotiating is being prepared to walk away, and sometimes your heart won't let you.


    • #3
      That horse does not sound healthy. Your GUT MUST be telling you to "pass," or you'd have bought her.


      • Original Poster

        Originally posted by Paddys Mom View Post
        Tough one.
        I just ran into a similar situation, but that not bad.
        Horse just fat and out of shape and a bit greener than advertised.
        I phrased my offer like: "I really like <horse> and would like to make you an offer. Since he would need to spend a month at my trainer's at $750, I am offering <list price minus $750>, cash with no pre-purchase exam or trial period."

        They accepted.

        The key with negotiating is being prepared to walk away, and sometimes your heart won't let you.
        That's a good way to put it. I think I am going to let it rest for a couple weeks...see some other horses in the mean time...if she is still available, I'll make my offer. If not, then it wasn't meant to be.

        Originally posted by nightsong View Post
        That horse does not sound healthy. Your GUT MUST be telling you to "pass," or you'd have bought her.
        More like my wallet, LOL, which is saying, 'hey dummy, your dollar will go a lot further on another horse!'


        • #5
          Tell him exactly what you told us. Offer 3,000 and settle for 3,500.

          He'll either take it or he won't and you can always counter back.
          The View from Here


          • #6
            Tell him your offer is $3k, then walk away - and tell him to call you if he changes his mind in the next couple of months. The economy is your friend right now. I'll bet you get a call
            where are we going, and why am I in this hand basket?


            • #7
              Got a gut feeling you are looking at more then you think here and there is a reason this guy bought a then nice horse and now only rides "casually" plus it's starved. heck, the guy is probably scared to death of it-and there may be good reason.

              This one cannot be feeling that good and it worries me that, even sick like this, it struck you as really greener then you thought...imagine what it would be like healthy.

              Know somebody who bought a unraced but papered TB by a known good Hunter sire, broke w-t-c, can do little jumps, basics of a good lead change, healthy. Just a little more then what this guy wants.

              Too many questions on one in poor shape at an inflated price of unknown temperment when healthy that you know is going to keep your vet in work for awhile. Probably not exactly up to date on the farrier work either.

              I'd pass. There are too many out there right now in that price range farther along and in better shape..
              When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

              The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


              • #8
                If the horse vetted out, I would pay his price. She sounds like she will be worth more than that in the future. I would bring the money in cash, wave $3,000 at him, and be ready to pay his price if he still said no.

                I have fallen in love with three horses like that in my lifetime - love at first sight - and I have NEVER been sorry I purchased them. Two I'm sorry I sold but didn't have any choice due to economics. The last I kept until death did us part after 23 years together.


                • #9
                  You know, purchase price ends up in the noise when you're talking 4 figure prices- once you add up the cost of care, an extra grand is nothing when it means having your heart horse for an extra month rather than waiting it out.

                  I didn't haggle on either horse- probably not smart, but once I decided I wanted the horse it just wasn't worth it to me to waffle over $1000 here or there. We payed way too much for a scruffy, underweight pony but ended up with a beautiful boy. I also had pics of him in good shape and knew it would take very little time to get him back there.


                  • #10
                    I have always heard the old adage: you never regret the ones you pass on but you do regret, sometimes daily, the ones you don't.

                    that being said I have a friend with a really over-inflated opinion as to the worth of his home breds. he always has, for about 60+ years. in the end he always gets his price but without getting into details the horses over the years have gotten less training and are older by the time they are sold.

                    I purchased one listed for $10K and had my work cut out for me for three days to talk him down under $5K. not trained, not worked with, wild as a march hare, dirty, under fed. you name it.

                    however today four years later he's probably worth $20K although I'd never sell him.

                    so I guess in summary I could go either way :\


                    • #11
                      I'd offer $3000 and then leave my phone number with the seller. Tell him you'll still be looking at other horses, and if you buy another you'll let him know that the offer no longer holds, but until then he can contact you.

                      But do make it clear that the offer is contingent on a vet check.

                      Good luck.
                      "The formula 'Two and two make five' is not without its attractions." --Dostoevsky


                      • #12
                        I'd take cash in hand for the amount that you're willing to pay and say,

                        "Sir...I am really interested in this horse. However, she's going to need a few thousand dollars worth of care and training before I can do anything with her. In this market, horses in her condition and at her training level sell for under 500 bucks. Horses that are selling at the price you're asking are in good shape and trained. This is all I can offer based on her current condition and it's still more than I think she's worth right now--but I like her and I'm willing to meet you in the middle. I've got the cash right here."

                        And if he says no, you walk away. You know the horse isn't going to sell at that price in that condition. You know it, I know it, and he'll figure it out.

                        If you've got the extra $$ to throw around, then fine...pay more. But I wouldn't....I'd go to maybe 2k or 2500 tops for a horse I thought could shine up with some good basic care.
                        A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                        Might be a reason, never an excuse...


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by rhymeswithfizz View Post
                          Tell him your offer is $3k, then walk away - and tell him to call you if he changes his mind in the next couple of months. The economy is your friend right now. I'll bet you get a call
                          Exactly what I would do.
                          Owned by an Oldenburg


                          • #14
                            I'm with those who say make a lower offer than the asking price and take your chances!

                            Yes, it's better if you can take cash in hand when you make an offer (and a trailer!). That's what I did the first time I bought a horse and it worked like a charm! The guy "horsed" me around until he saw that green....

                            I'd offer him $2,500. but take along an extra $500. just in case....

                            I sincerely doubt if anyone will give him much more with the shape the horse is in at this point in time.
                            "I'm not much into conspiracy theories but if everyone thinks alike you don't need a plot!" ~person from another bulletin board whose name has been long forgotten~


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by rhymeswithfizz View Post
                              Tell him your offer is $3k, then walk away - and tell him to call you if he changes his mind in the next couple of months. The economy is your friend right now. I'll bet you get a call
                              Ditto this. Be patient. I've come across his kind before... If it's meant to be, he'll come down to your price. And, showing up cash in hand is NOT a bad idea...

                              Good Luck!
                              Aca-Believe it!!


                              • #16
                                I have not tried to buy a horse in this market, so I have no suggestions on negotiation. But, deep down, if this horse was gone tomorrow, would you be disappointed or relieved?

                                Chances are that this horse is probably not going anywhere soon though.


                                • #17
                                  She may not be what you think

                                  For $4,000 would you be buying

                                  A) the fantasy horse you created from the original picture? That's not her today and neither the picture nor the live horse in front of you have passed a PPE.

                                  B) a shabby-looking horse you'd like to rescue? If she's green now, she'll be a bit harder to train when she has some groceries. Been there.

                                  You also need to figure out whether you want the project of this horse or the finished project she may become. If you want the project, don't worry about an extra $1,000 but do get a thorough PPE. If you want the product--"the one you could take to a show next weekend for the same money"-- then figure the cost of sending her to a pro for a solid start into her base price.

                                  Depending on what board is in your part of the world, know that the purchase price doesn't mean much in the grand scheme of things.
                                  The armchair saddler
                                  Politically Pro-Cat


                                  • #18
                                    She sounds way overpriced to me. No way I would pay $4000. There is a 99% chance he won't get any where near that for her. I would offer $2500 and if he doesn't take it tell him to give you a call if he changes his mind. I bet you would be hearing from him soon! Good luck and don't get takena advantage of .


                                    • #19
                                      Have I paid more for a horse then I thought it was worth? Yes I have. We each have to make our own decisions.

                                      Good luck and I hope if she really is right for you I hope some of these negotiation tactics can lower her price for you!!


                                      • #20
                                        doesn't sound like she's even worth $3000..... I would make your lowest offer to him, offer to write a cheque right there in front of him/show him the cash and let him stew over it.

                                        Few people can say no to cash right in front of their nose.

                                        I brought my last car this way... they wanted 14k I offered 10, showed them the cheque and they thought it over for less than five minutes and agreed.