Buying horses: Try it before you buy it

There is much information on the Internet and in equine publications about buying and selling horses. Most of these publications and articles are geared toward the buyer and most of those buyers are considered novice horse owners.

Because these publications often take the views of their readers (the buyers), they often overlook the rights and risks of the horse sellers. Many articles encourage potential buyers to REQUIRE 30-day trials on horses before they buy them.

When I read articles that tell buyers to require sellers to allow their horses to leave the premises or even stay on the premises for a 30-day trial period, my hair stands on end and my face becomes scarlet. Is no one considering the seller?

The articles often go as far as to suggest that sellers who refuse to allow trials are trying to hide something about the horse. Not so at my house. I’m trying to protect my horse, my property and my investment.

I have had people ask for trials before. I’m very direct about my answer. I thank them for their visit but explain to them that I will NEVER allow a trial on a horse. I’m pretty much a control freak when it comes to my horses. I don’t want a potential buyer ruining one of my horses by allowing it to develop manners or habits that would make the horse harder to sell or damage it in some other way.

Many folks suggest purchasing mortality insurance on horse involved in a trial. This is a great idea if the horse dies, but what if the horse is injured to the point that it develops scars or is unsound. Who pays for the vet fees and who is left with the unhealthy horse?

In today’s sue-happy environment, I’m not opening myself up to the risky business of horse trials. If you buy a horse from me, it is for keeps but this goes both ways. When I purchase a horse, I assume all the risks involved with buying a horse. Often, I end up reselling horses because they don’t work out for me. That is part of the horse industry.

Whether or not, you decide to participate in horse trials, keep in mind that there is more than one side to horse trials and that just because not everyone is interested in participating in a trial it doesn’t mean they are a horse trader or a bad person. It might be wise to discuss the possibility of a trial with a seller before you waste their time or yours with a visit to see the horse just in case the seller is like me and not at all interested in a trial.

Remember, despite the current popular ideals, America is still a free country and everyone can do business the way it works best for them.

Read the companion post: I’m a horse dreamer, not a trader.

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