• Welcome to the Chronicle Forums.
    Please complete your profile. The forums and the rest of www.chronofhorse.com has single sign-in, so your log in information for one will automatically work for the other. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Chronicle of the Horse.



Forum rules and no-advertising policy

As a participant on this forum, it is your responsibility to know and follow our rules. Please read this message in its entirety.

Board Rules

1. You’re responsible for what you say.
As outlined in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, The Chronicle of the Horse and its affiliates, as well Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd., the developers of vBulletin, are not legally responsible for statements made in the forums.

This is a public forum viewed by a wide spectrum of people, so please be mindful of what you say and who might be reading it—details of personal disputes are likely better handled privately. While posters are legally responsible for their statements, the moderators may in their discretion remove or edit posts that violate these rules. Users have the ability to modify or delete their own messages after posting, but administrators generally will not delete posts, threads or accounts upon request.

Outright inflammatory, vulgar, harassing, malicious or otherwise inappropriate statements and criminal charges unsubstantiated by a reputable news source or legal documentation will not be tolerated and will be dealt with at the discretion of the moderators.

2. Conversations in horse-related forums should be horse-related.
The forums are a wonderful source of information and support for members of the horse community. While it’s understandably tempting to share information or search for input on other topics upon which members might have a similar level of knowledge, members must maintain the focus on horses.

3. Keep conversations productive, on topic and civil.
Discussion and disagreement are inevitable and encouraged; personal insults, diatribes and sniping comments are unproductive and unacceptable. Whether a subject is light-hearted or serious, keep posts focused on the current topic and of general interest to other participants of that thread. Utilize the private message feature or personal email where appropriate to address side topics or personal issues not related to the topic at large.

4. No advertising in the discussion forums.
Posts in the discussion forums directly or indirectly advertising horses, jobs, items or services for sale or wanted will be removed at the discretion of the moderators. Use of the private messaging feature or email addresses obtained through users’ profiles for unsolicited advertising is not permitted.

Company representatives may participate in discussions and answer questions about their products or services, or suggest their products on recent threads if they fulfill the criteria of a query. False "testimonials" provided by company affiliates posing as general consumers are not appropriate, and self-promotion of sales, ad campaigns, etc. through the discussion forums is not allowed.

Paid advertising is available on our classifieds site and through the purchase of banner ads. The tightly monitored Giveaways forum permits free listings of genuinely free horses and items available or wanted (on a limited basis). Items offered for trade are not allowed.

Advertising Policy Specifics
When in doubt of whether something you want to post constitutes advertising, please contact a moderator privately in advance for further clarification. Refer to the following points for general guidelines:

Horses – Only general discussion about the buying, leasing, selling and pricing of horses is permitted. If the post contains, or links to, the type of specific information typically found in a sales or wanted ad, and it’s related to a horse for sale, regardless of who’s selling it, it doesn’t belong in the discussion forums.

Stallions – Board members may ask for suggestions on breeding stallion recommendations. Stallion owners may reply to such queries by suggesting their own stallions, only if their horse fits the specific criteria of the original poster. Excessive promotion of a stallion by its owner or related parties is not permitted and will be addressed at the discretion of the moderators.

Services – Members may use the forums to ask for general recommendations of trainers, barns, shippers, farriers, etc., and other members may answer those requests by suggesting themselves or their company, if their services fulfill the specific criteria of the original post. Members may not solicit other members for business if it is not in response to a direct, genuine query.

Products – While members may ask for general opinions and suggestions on equipment, trailers, trucks, etc., they may not list the specific attributes for which they are in the market, as such posts serve as wanted ads.

Event Announcements – Members may post one notification of an upcoming event that may be of interest to fellow members, if the original poster does not benefit financially from the event. Such threads may not be “bumped” excessively. Premium members may post their own notices in the Event Announcements forum.

Charities/Rescues – Announcements for charitable or fundraising events can only be made for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations. Special exceptions may be made, at the moderators’ discretion and direction, for board-related events or fundraising activities in extraordinary circumstances.

Occasional posts regarding horses available for adoption through IRS-registered horse rescue or placement programs are permitted in the appropriate forums, but these threads may be limited at the discretion of the moderators. Individuals may not advertise or make announcements for horses in need of rescue, placement or adoption unless the horse is available through a recognized rescue or placement agency or government-run entity or the thread fits the criteria for and is located in the Giveaways forum.

5. Do not post copyrighted photographs unless you have purchased that photo and have permission to do so.

6. Respect other members.
As members are often passionate about their beliefs and intentions can easily be misinterpreted in this type of environment, try to explore or resolve the inevitable disagreements that arise in the course of threads calmly and rationally.

If you see a post that you feel violates the rules of the board, please click the “alert” button (exclamation point inside of a triangle) in the bottom left corner of the post, which will alert ONLY the moderators to the post in question. They will then take whatever action, or no action, as deemed appropriate for the situation at their discretion. Do not air grievances regarding other posters or the moderators in the discussion forums.

Please be advised that adding another user to your “Ignore” list via your User Control Panel can be a useful tactic, which blocks posts and private messages by members whose commentary you’d rather avoid reading.

7. We have the right to reproduce statements made in the forums.
The Chronicle of the Horse may copy, quote, link to or otherwise reproduce posts, or portions of posts, in print or online for advertising or editorial purposes, if attributed to their original authors, and by posting in this forum, you hereby grant to The Chronicle of the Horse a perpetual, non-exclusive license under copyright and other rights, to do so.

8. We reserve the right to enforce and amend the rules.
The moderators may delete, edit, move or close any post or thread at any time, or refrain from doing any of the foregoing, in their discretion, and may suspend or revoke a user’s membership privileges at any time to maintain adherence to the rules and the general spirit of the forum. These rules may be amended at any time to address the current needs of the board.

Please see our full Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for more information.

Thanks for being a part of the COTH forums!

(Revised 1/26/16)
See more
See less

Letting a horse go on a trial period

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Letting a horse go on a trial period

    I have a person interested in buying my 19 year old sound and steady gelding. She wants to pay for him and then take him on trial for two weeks to her home about three hours away from me. She wants to use him for trail riding so I understand her reason for wanting a trial period as she wants to see if he's good for her and suits her riding purpose. I have never done a trial period before on either a horse I've bought or one I've sold so need some advice on how to proceed.....

  • #2
    Personally, I would not allow a trial off my own property under any circumstances, and most especially not so far away that I could not easily pop in and check on the horse. Allow the potential buyer to take the horse on a trail ride at or near your property, in a group or alone, whatever her parameters are, but keep control of the horse until he is sold.

    If you do go through with this, though, I would recommend a very detailed contract designed to protect you and your horse. I would structure it as a full lease, spelling out exactly what day and time it starts, what conditions permit return of the horse, yours and the buyer's responsibilities, how the horse may be used, etc. Specify that only the leaser/potential buyer may ride the horse. Spell out who is responsible for vet bills if the horse becomes ill or injured on her watch.

    Require payment in full and spell out specifically what circumstances will allow return of the horse for a refund. Make the refund minus a fee sufficient to compensate you for having the horse off the market. Think through everything that could go wrong and cover it in the contract.

    Again, though, I would urge against allowing a trial at all.
    Equinox Equine Massage

    In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was in me invincible summer.
    -Albert Camus


    • #3
      Originally posted by amadee View Post
      I have a person interested in buying my 19 year old sound and steady gelding. She wants to pay for him and then take him on trial for two weeks to her home about three hours away from me. She wants to use him for trail riding so I understand her reason for wanting a trial period as she wants to see if he's good for her and suits her riding purpose. I have never done a trial period before on either a horse I've bought or one I've sold so need some advice on how to proceed.....
      So, basically, the buyer wants a money back guarantee if she doesn't like the horse after two weeks.

      Umm, no.

      Seriously? Whatever happened to coming and trying the horse out on a trail, or in a new situation, and making a decision? I could possibly understand the buyer's reticence to make a decision if we were talking about a young greenie, but a steady Eddie 19 year old? Nope - don't let him out of your sight or off your property until he's paid for, with a bill of sale that says that he's sold as is, with no guarantees or warranties whatsoever.

      Sounds like a dilettante buyer to me; no one serious about a horse is going to insist on a two week trial for a teenaged trail horse.
      In loving memory of Laura Jahnke.
      A life lived by example, done too soon.


      • Original Poster


        I am old school and you either like the horse, try it at the seller's place and buy it or you don't. Period. End of story. I board and don't trail ride much myself, we just hack out in the pastures from time to time and I don't want to ask the private landowners around me if she can take him for a trail ride here. I wasn't advertising him as a trail horse though honestly he was ridden on trails for years by his former owner so I doubt anyone including me would have a problem taking him out. I've got him priced fairly, actually he's quite a bargain as he's still sound and very safe and sane. I do understand her hesitation as she explained about her previous experiences and how she's not had good luck but then again maybe she should bring her instructor or someone along with her to check him out? I just don't feel comfortable allowing for a trial so thank you for backing me up on this one, it might work for some folks in certain situations but I'm not feeling its right for me.


        • #5
          I wouldn't do it! Some people who have done it insist on the prospective buyer taking out an insurance policy on the horse in case something happens to the horse while in their custody, but I don't think you could get an insurance policy on a nineteen year old horse.

          If the horse gets seriously hurt while away from "home" someone is going to be shucks out of luck--but it shouldn't be you!
          "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~


          • #6
            I would do it. I would hate to sell MY 19 year old horse to someone he didn't suite, and would rather they felt they could bring him back rather than sell him on to who knows.

            I have done this before, and it has worked well.

            I make sure that:
            1) Horse is paid for in full before leaving (cash, money order, certified cheque or similar).
            2) Buyer is responsible for all bills during the trial, including hauling.
            3) Buyer is responsible for returning the horse to the seller if the horse is to be returned.
            4) Buyer must agree to pay for a vet exam upon return of the horse to ensure that the horse is in the same or better condition than it left. If no PPE is done, then the buyer must sign agreeing that the horse is in good shape and sound (unless there is something about his soundness/health that you disclosed of course!).
            5) You could have a small portion that is non-refundable if you want.
            6) Make sure the trial gives the horse enough time to settle in and get to know his new owner before they have to make a final decision. You don't want the buyer to feel they have to rush things to know if he is going to work.

            Take pictures of the horse as it is being loaded so you have proof of its condition when it left.

            Really, I don't think anyone is going to go to the trouble of paying for a horse and hauling it for 3 hours each way, just to jerk you around.
            Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


            • #7
              The really nice, guarantee horses, that cost above average generally are sold on a trial basis like that around here, to people around here, not to far away people you don't know.

              When we sold a horse a couple of years ago, she tried it, took him and tried him at home with her horses also first, but we had sold her another horse a year before and knew them and they were locals.

              When a good roping horse sells, many times the prospective buyer takes him and tries him for a little and then they pay for him, rarely they return it, because they already knew they were going to buy him, bar some unexpected surprise.

              Now, selling to a stranger far away?
              They really need to own the horse the minute it leaves your place, why you take chances on your part, so she doesn't has to on her part?


              • #8
                Originally posted by amadee View Post
                I have a person interested in buying my 19 year old sound and steady gelding. She wants to pay for him and then take him on trial for two weeks to her home about three hours away from me. She wants to use him for trail riding so I understand her reason for wanting a trial period as she wants to see if he's good for her and suits her riding purpose. I have never done a trial period before on either a horse I've bought or one I've sold so need some advice on how to proceed.....
                That type of deal is quite common around here if you are dealing with people you know, or trainers who know/deal with each other. Did she come out and see him and ride him at your place? If so, did you get the feeling it would be a good match?

                I would say go ahead and agree to the "trial" if he has been paid in full before he leaves. Wouldn't you rather take him back if it wasn't going to work out, anyways?
                Why must you chastise my brilliant idea with facts and logic? **picks up toys (and wine) and goes home**


                • #9
                  Having had been in the market for a trail horse a few years back, I totally understand the prospective buyer asking for a trial.

                  Riding in the ring or just around the property is not the same as going trail riding all alone with no other horses in site.

                  I had a Haffie from N.H. on a two week trial. I paid the purchase price in full when the horse was delivered. Contract was drawn up.
                  Luckily I did! This was not a suitable trail horse at all.
                  Owner came back, picked up horse and returned my money.

                  If you're reluctant, which is understandable, are there trails where the buyer can try the horse out on???
                  MnToBe Twinkle Star: "Twinkie"

                  Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


                  • #10
                    I would look up on the internet and see how many poiker rides and other events are scheduled for the next couple weeks or so- maybe she just wants a horse to ride for a couple of events, and plans on returning him after they are done...I would not do a trial. It is trail riding season- lots of people are looking for a quality trail horse, and will buy without needing to take them on a trial.


                    • #11
                      I'd say "no" too. I have never done trial periods with horses. Too much can happen. I do like for buyers to have ample opportunity to check out a horse before they buy, though. Can you trailer the horse somewhere so that she can see what it is like on the trail?


                      • #12
                        I took a horse on trial, and I'm so glad I did. She was a beautiful 9 yr. old mare, Hanoverian, and I insured her and put the purchase price in escrow. The barn I was riding at during that time was about an hour away from the seller's house, and it had good trainers and about 20 or so horses that competed on a regular basis. A really good outfit.

                        When the mare arrived, the owner then disclosed she was on regumate; the poor mare had not been accustomed to traveling (though the owner had assured me she had been shown with some regularity), which was evidenced by her spooking at just about everything, including the paddock fence. While she had hacked out nicely at home and been responsive in her home arena, she was dangerously unruly in the ring at the barn and refused/spooked at just about every jump - even an 18" gate. My trainer rode her for about 15 minutes before telling me, in no uncertain terms, that this horse needed an ENORMOUS amount of work before she could be considered reliable (or even safe) - for anyone.

                        I rode this mare three separate times at her home barn, my trainer was present for two of those trial rides, and we never could have foreseen the amount of stress leaving that barn would have on her. I felt very sorry for this mare - she became completely unglued. But I am so relieved I took her on trial, as she would have become an expensive project for me to train and resell.

                        I had the best intentions in mind, as did the seller - this just wasn't meant to be. I think we both looked at the situation and realized it would not work - the seller cared a lot for her horse, and did not realize how home-bound she had become, and I realized that she was the wrong horse for me.

                        I think a trial period benefits both a concerned seller and a buyer. You don't want your horse to end up in the wrong home, so giving the buyer the opportunity to back out of the sale is not necessarily a bad thing. I also don't think most people use trials dishonestly... Protect your horse and yourself as much as you can for the trial - truck him there yourself, and if you don't like where you're taking him, exercise your right to refuse to sell. But I have to say I would prefer to send my horse off on a trial than to sell outright, and have a pissed off or unsuitable buyer, who would then try to flog my horse. Just my 2 cents.


                        • #13
                          I agree with those that say the trial period is best for all concerned. We recently had a boarder who took a horse on trial. They paid for the shipping (horse was several hours away) and the horse was insured (even though it was an older horse) and gave a check for full purchase price. The horse turned out to be terribly ring sour and unpredictable even rearing. The horse was for younger rider with limited experience and they certainly were not a match. The horse had been fine when they tried it at the owner's place. I think if you really care about your horse and are looking for the best home for it then making the drive to deliver the horse, checking out their facility etc and making sure the horse and new owner are a match is the best for all concerned. I don't know about where you are but getting $ for a 19 year old horse no matter how nice is actually a good deal in this economy and horse market.


                          • #14
                            I say go ahead. As others have mentioned, they aren't going to transport the horse 3 hours just to waste your time.

                            Draw up a contract before she picks him up and make arrangements for the date the contract will expire, and the horse will now be hers.

                            Sure, terrible things could happen. He could get hurt or sick or worse... but that could happen on your own farm as well. Just trust your gut. If you like this lady, and would feel comfortable selling your horse to her, then go for it.

                            If you want to check her out, you could drive him there yourself to see the farm, and ask if she could give you a vet or farrier reference... never hurts to ask.
                            Strong promoter of READING the entire post before responding.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Luckydonkey View Post
                              It is trail riding season- lots of people are looking for a quality trail horse, and will buy without needing to take them on a trial.
                              Well, how would a person know if it is indeed a quality trail horse without trying him?????
                              MnToBe Twinkle Star: "Twinkie"

                              Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


                              • #16
                                The last time I bought a horse I paid for him in full, but the sellers gave me six months to change my mind. They live a couple of states over, and they were confident he was what I wanted in a trail horse.

                                He's still here. It all worked out really well.

                                When I've tried horses that were close to my home it was common to bring them to my stable for a week or two. As a buyer, it's fantastic. As a seller, I'd be really nervous about that. Maybe that's why I've only sold two horses in my life?


                                • #17
                                  I have a horse on trial now and he's the first horse that I've ever brought home on trial out of five that I've bought as a re-rider.

                                  I would suggest if you do let the horse go on trial, draw up a clear contract. The seller of this horse did not and he was very trusting of me! He must have thought I was ok and we do know some people in common, but I just gave him a check for the purchase price, and he dropped the horse off at my house. Being a conscientious horse person, I have kept him separate from my other horses, but have otherwise treated him like my own - he gets food, supplements, turnout, exercise, etc.

                                  My friend, OTOH, has a horse out on trial and I do not agree with her horse-keeping methods. This new horse was immediately thrown out with her herd and is of course trying to find her way and is getting a little beat up in the process. If I were the seller, I would be less than pleased to know how this horse was being handled.

                                  I appreciate having this horse on trial because I couldn't learn what I wanted to learn about him by working at the seller's place. I think my situation is a little different though - the horse is a 5-year-old mustang and has only been trail ridden and packed out on hunting trips. Seller has no arena and no barn - horse lived on 100+ acres in a herd. I need to know how the horse would work with me at a new place in a smaller area, with new horse friends, and doing something new (working in the arena). I want to know how he adapts to lawn mowers and tractors and barking dogs and squawking geese, etc...things I just couldn't get by visiting him at the seller's place, no matter how many times I went there. The horse is green, green, green but hasn't put a foot wrong and hasn't given me a reason NOT to keep him. My trial will end on Thursday and unless something crazy happens between now and then he will be mine.

                                  I think trials can work out if the seller and the buyer are on the same page. Despite the way it worked out for me, I think that an agreement must be made as to the purchase price, the condition of the horse, the parameters of what can be done with the horse during the trial period, diet, turnout, exercise, stabling, etc. I think an insurance policy or an agreement that if the horse is injured the buyer has to pay all costs should be part of the deal.
                                  My Mustang Adventures - Mac, my mustang | Annwylid D'Lite - my Cob filly

                                  "A horse's face always conveys clearly whether it is loved by its owner or simply used." - Anja Beran


                                  • Original Poster

                                    thanks everyone

                                    I just received an email from her that she doesn't want him if she can't take him on a two week trial so we'll move on and she can continue her search. I'm happy with keeping my guy and finding the perfect match for him or he can stay....he's quite good.


                                    • #19
                                      I'm not usually in favor of trial periods, but your description of the situation would make me inclined to, well, give it a try...

                                      First, the horse is 19, not a really young horse. IF something were to happen to him (injury, for example), it's not like he is a young prospect who has lost a lifetime of potential. Please don't think I'm being callous...I know 19 year old horses can still provide many years of enjoyment. But, in my mind, your horse's age is one of the factors that would make me consider a trial.

                                      Also, because he is a 19-year-old, I would want to make sure that he did come back to me if the buyer discovered they didn't make a good team. To try a horse in its new environment is priceless. What a seller describes as sane, confirmed trailer broke, and bombproof may well be true with the seller. However, a horse that is historically all of these things (especially if it has been with the old owner for a long time) can become a completely different animal when moved to a new place.

                                      It sounds like the prospective buyer is interested in what is best for everyone. The offer to pay for the horse up front would mean a lot to me, if I were the seller.

                                      Good luck whatever your decision!
                                      "We need a pinned ears icon." -MysticOakRanch


                                      • #20
                                        I personally won't purchase a horse without a trial period. I keep my horses for life, and so I need them to be a good match. I want to make sure the horse is the right match for us, and vice versa.

                                        I recently purchased a horse for my 12 year old daughter after a 30-day trial period. I took the horse home only when I was very serious about buying him, felt he was a good match, etc. The seller and I had a contract, and we knew each other enough to feel comfortable. It was a great match, and now the horse is ours.

                                        Conversely, a friend and I placed a very nice rescue horse in December with a very well vetted buyer. We insisted on a trial period at the horse's home barn. The woman came and rode him for 2 weeks in lessons only. She seemed very experienced ---- but little could we know that she rode well and talked a good game, but was not very competent/confident as a handler or horse manager. We executed a contract saying the sale was very "final" once she took him home, etc.

                                        The horse went home with the woman, and it was a disaster from Day One. The woman had way overestimated her skill level in riding and handling a hotter TB. The horse hated the new barn and was miserable and had trouble adjusting to a stall/paddock with no turnout. Two weeks into it, buyer 'hinted' at wanting to return the horse to us (and forfeit the very small price). We said no, you had your trial period at our barn, the horse is now yours.

                                        Big mistake. 30 days into the sale, everything went to hell, I wound up picking up this horse and bringing him home ----I feared for what this woman would do with him to "unload" him. The horse was completely miserable, the buyer making noise about suing us for selling her a "dangerous" horse (he wasn't; she was just an idiot), and the horse had a terrible leg wound that took 3 months of stall rest to heal. I sometimes wish we'd let her take him for a 1-2 week trial at her own barn ---- we would have seen very quickly that it was not the right match for either horse or human!