I learnt a few things about buying and selling horses over the weekend, so I thought I would share these little gems.
On the side of the seller: it is always better to be honest about the horse because you might not sell him to the first person who comes along but there will be fewer time wasters viewing him and the right person will come along eventually. For the buyer, there is nothing worse than getting a horse home and finding he’s not the right one for you. I think it is perfectly acceptable to view the same horse on different occasions – in the dark, on a hack or even on a rainy day to ensure he really is the right horse for you.
Sellers should do a screening process; ask key questions which will help them find out if the buyer and their lifestyle is compatible with the horse. Perhaps we should ask for videos of people riding so that we can judge if they will suit the horse before they come to ride.
The buyers side of the deal is that they should never over estimate their riding ability. Be honest. It is better to walk away from a horse than lose your confidence with him. At the same time, if you turn up to view a horse and he’s not what you expected, a buyer shouldn’t feel they have to ride them. For example, if you see the horse is more sensitive to the leg than you are used to, and it worries you, then there is no shame in saying “thanks but no thanks”. A seller will thank you for not wasting more time or riding the horse badly and damaging their schooling progress.
Buyers should dress to impress. Of course a show jacket and tie may be overkill, but clean boots are a must because you can guarantee the horse will have clean tack! Correct footwear looks much better than yard boots, which are usually fine on the horse you know really well, but with an unknown horse they can be too chunky for the stirrup irons, so better safe than sorry.
I do think buying and selling horses can be a minefield. Everyone has different standards and interpretations that must be ironed out so that the horse has the best chance of finding his new owner and both parties walk away happy.