Horse Shopping: proceed at own risk

It’s amazing what you can do via the wonders of the internet! I’m two months into serious horse shopping, and I’ve looked at hundreds of horses. It’s a good thing there isn’t a BUY NOW button or I might have impulse bought one by now in a fit of late night shopping.

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Pictures, videos, emails back and forth! In person, well, since these horses are scattered all over the country, I’ve only actually ridden a few. Sad to report, they often don’t look nearly as nice in person as they did in the pictures.

I’ve become a sophisticated analyzer of video.

AHA! Did you notice they never showed the left lead canter? There’s a reason for that. Did you notice all the cuts in that video? There’s a reason for that: they are taking out all the mistakes and problems. Did you notice they tilted the camera to make the horse look uphill? You think I can’t tell what you’re doing? Do you think I’m stupid? Apparently. Well, I’m not (quite that stupid). Believe me, sellers: uncut video is MUCH more impressive, even if it has a few little mistakes.

I have a Pre Purchase Exam coming up on a wonderful prospect, and yesterday my trainer reminded me, “you ARE going to run blood on her, right?” Well, yes, but I’m not really concerned about this horse having been drugged.

“Oh,” she says, “I always have the vet pull blood on the horse right after I test ride it in case they drugged it. You should have done that.”

Wow, I never thought of that. Too late for that. All these horses I’ve bought over the years, and the only drugging I thought about was someone giving them painkillers to get them through the vet check looking more sound than they actually are. I never thought of drugging to make them more rideable.

But of course people do that! Just, hopefully, not to me. In the past, my vet would always pull blood for the “Tox screen” and hold it for a year “just in case you need it.” The implication was that if the horse went nuts and was not the horse I thought I bought, we could test the blood and see if it had been drugged. Fine. But I never thought of testing it the day I rode it. Mind blown.

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I guess I’m a lamb among wolves. And yet of course not all sellers are like that. Some of them really are like me! Straightforward, wanting the right match for their horse, telling you everything about the horse, having, well, a “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” approach to buying and selling horses. Yes, I would like to buy a horse from me. My horses are always up to date on everything and I’ll tell you everything that has happened to them and any little quirks they have. I want you to be safe and happy and I really, really want my horse to be safe and happy with his or her next owner.

Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 12.17.55 PMHere’s hoping this lovely prospect mare is just what I think she is, and that my next article can be about my new horse…

6 thoughts on “Horse Shopping: proceed at own risk

  1. Wow, I feel like a naΓ―ve, overly trusting midwesterner, even though I have been in the horse industry for 20 years… I have never ran blood work on a horse I was looking at for purchase!…I guess I’ve gotten lucky! I did fly all the way to NY to try Clay before buying him though. The $350 plane ticket was worth the peace of mind before shipping a horse halfway across the country. When I got there, he was everything the videos and seller said he was. It was just a matter of whether or not I liked his feel under saddle. I decided I did. πŸ™‚ I could tell the seller was so proud of Clay (she had bred him) and didn’t really want to let him go but thought I was the right fit. There were never any red flags that said I shouldn’t trust her fully. We did a simple repurchase vet exam (with the seller’s vet even! There was little choice in rural NY) and arranged the shipping. I am really rooting for you and hope it all works out this time!! Waiting not-so patiently to hear good news!! πŸ˜€

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    • I know, sometimes you just have that gut feeling that the seller is (or isn’t) trustworthy. But there is a reason they say “buyer beware.” And there are some awfully good con men/women out there, unfortunately. By the way, ALWAYS ride the horse, never buy a horse without riding it first. It’s worth the cost of the plane ticket. So glad things worked out well with Clay!

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  2. I do a lot of “beauty” shots for breeders & people selling their horses. I hate to admit it, but some of the shots are expressly for the internet. Meaning I’ll enhance the shots to give a “WOW” effect. (Especially when you’re sitting there late at night looking at your hundredth horse online). You see this magnificent mahogany Arabian, high-stepping, mane fluttering in the wind, get to the barn and your dream of being asked to ride in your local parade, because you have the most beautiful horse in 5 counties ends up in the wash pit. On behalf of photographers and videographers, we apologize.
    And yes, get the blood tests! πŸ˜‰

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  3. It’s exhausting. I’m pretty sure I bought my first horse drugged. She was chalked up as “inexperienced and sensitive.” So the test ride was all about riding straight, and large circles. Right. She’d been around.

    OK, stay positive, and I DO hope your little prospect comes in with flying colors!!

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  4. This is such an eye opener. when i buy a horse a always i assume that everything is fine and the seller is being honest to me. I didn’t even know that drugging a horse are also possible. I should be careful next time. But so far all my horses are healthy and well. Thanks!

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