First of all, this posts featured image is Bella & I on the day picked her up!
Honestly you can probably ready my commentary here and figure out what I’m looking for but this is the condensed version from looking at ads to actually going to view the horse! Everything I would need to have the perfect buying experience (which I don’t know if anyone ever gets, but by having a checklist you can certainly have a near perfect experience right?).
- General Information
- Recommended Rider Level
- Show Experience
- Manners for vet & Ferrier
- Vices (buck, bite, kick, rear, bolt, cribbing?)
- Why it’s for sale
- Disclose any previous injuries I might notice (or even pin-firing marks for OTTBs)
- Easy/Hard Keeper – What they’re on and why. Supplements is a bonus.
- Price – Or trades if you’re considering a trade.
Basically, just throw it all down in all list or you can get creative and write up the ad in paragraphs and I won’t care, as long as I get this list of information somewhere in it all.
- Conformation shots (left, right, front, and back) on level ground where I can see everything from the hooves up.
- Riding shots. If I’m looking for a kid friendly horse & you say it’s a kid friendly horse do us both a favor and post pictures of a kid on it not an adult. Don’t make me second guess your information.
- At liberty shots are a bonus thing but they’re nice to have to see how the horse naturally moves on its own.
- Videos: I always love videos of horses for sale. With & without a rider. These are great for watching a horse work and picking apart little details myself. Do they prefer a light hand, do you use a heavier hand on them, how are they reacting to things around them, what do they do coming up to a jump, is their jump in pictures the same as it is on video?
This is one is a big one for me. When I contact a seller with questions I’m going to be excited about the possibilities of the horse. The longer you take the reply, the quicker my interest is going to begin to fade. Why? Because there are LOTS of horses for sale out there. What makes your horse special, I could probably find another one just as special. Also, if you’re typing with zero regards to spelling, punctuation, and you’re not professional I will likely be tempted to back-off and look else where. Regardless of being an amateur or a professional rider, if you are selling a horse this is a business transaction and I expect it to be treated as such. Not everyone in the world will feel that way, and you can happily sell your horse to one of them later on I’m sure.
Trying Out the Horse
This is the big one. If I show up and the horse is not what was promised I’m going to do you the favor of staying and trying the horse out but I’m not going to be as inclined to want to buy it. Here is the list of things I’m going to be keeping in mind as well:
- I want to groom & tack up the horse. I don’t have a groom and I want to know what I’m getting into.
- I want to ride the horse first and foremost.
- I will ask to do a PPE if I’m really interested in buying. If you don’t want me to, I’m walking away without a second thought. If you won’t let me have MY vet check them over, I’m out.
- I want to go through the walk, trot, canter, and jump (since I’m not buying anything that doesn’t jump unless it’s a baby and hasn’t started over fences).
- If I had a trainer, I’d bring them along and also have my trainer’s input.
- I do not want a list of excuses for any of the horses behavior. At that point, it is what it is and if I have a question I’m going to ask you. If you’re listing off excuses I’m for sure going to wonder why? All horses have their ups and downs, I’m aware of that. let me be aware of that.
If I get there and the horse is tacked up I’m going to be suspicious. If the horse is tacked up AND sweaty I will probably be walking away from the sale after a 5 minute ride because I’m going to believe that you’re hiding something.
If I am interested I’m going to tell you, I’m going to ask how many other people are interested, and I’m going to ask if you will call me if you get an offer so I can make one of my own. I may ask to come try the horse again, I might not. Sometimes one ride is all it takes and sometimes you want to find out if there’s going to be an adjustment period for you and the horse. Either way, your responses will directly equate to how interested I say in the horse. I’m not looking for a complicated sale and I doubt you are either. The more honest and open we both are about our intentions, the better!
Largely my purchase will end up resting on the PPE and my ride on the horse. Some things can be overlooked from a PPE, it’s more for my knowledge of what I’m getting into than looking for a perfect horse (is there really such a thing?).
I will not buy off of color, I won’t buy just because it’s got a cute personality, I won’t buy just because I like it. Okay, so I have done this but Bella was special. I probably should have stopped to think more but I knew her breeders and I trusted them. I read through the contract with them before I signed it and we all had an agreement about what was going to happen, when, and how. I bought an unbroken two year old filly. I knew the gist of what I was getting into. I’d met Bella previously, and while I’d never seen her really move I knew I liked her build. Buying Bella was NOT the ideal way to purchase a horse. I should have done a few things that I didn’t but at the time I was young, inexperienced in purchasing, and just too excited about owning my own horse to really second guess myself. Obviously that situation turned out pretty dang good. Not all situations will. Buying sight unseen is a huge risk and while people do it, it doesn’t always turn out well for them. Never buy sight unseen or without a PPE unless you know the person (I know a lot of people get their OTTBs like this through trusted contacts).
I’m sure details are left off this check-list, there’s a LOT that goes into looking at and buying a horse. So, what’s on your list that I don’t have?
EDIT: Going into any selling or buying experience (as this list can really help buyers or sellers) it’s incredibly important to be honest with yourself about the money aspect of things. If you’re asking for 5k over what the horse is worth, I’m going to skip over the ad. But this doesn’t mean you should price a horse well under it’s worth either. For buyers, being honest with yourself about what you can spend is incredibly important. Don’t get attached to a 25k horse when you know you can’t possibly spend over 10k at the most (or you know a 5k horse when you can only spend 2k). Being brutally honest with yourself, and this doesn’t meant that your top dollar or bottom dollar amounts need to be public, is so important. It will allow you to spend more time looking at your options rather than with your head, and heart in the clouds. Thanks to one of my bffs to reminding me of this important fact. Just because I fly by the seat of my pants doesn’t mean the rest of the world should.
Edited 2/2/18 to include a few things that are worth including!