Be a Brilliant Buyer – And your Professional Trader will find you a perfect partner.
The advantages of buying form a professional Trader is that their reputation rides with you. Top Tips for making right decisions when buying a horse.
Many of Horse Scouts Professional Trainers and riders also sell horses. Generally they buy in or breed horses which they train and compete before selling on. Sometimes they do the same with horses owned by sponsors or clients. This is true across all disciplines, Eventing, Showjumping, Dressage, Showing and Endurance etc. This is part of their business. Their skill is in being able to make the most of a horse, to optimise its potential at whatever level. You can be sure that a young horse will have had the best start to its training, a horse with competitive potential will have been carefully progressed and given the right opportunities and in the case of rehabilitation or retraining a horse will be back on track and ready to go on to lead a happy useful life.
When horses do well in their competitive arena (or, if they are new to the discipline or young, they will be gaining experience at grass roots level) with a top trainer on board, their successes are a reflection of the trainers skill and reputation. Horses which are bought to the market fit for purpose help a professional trader build a reputation and repeat custom. It is not in the interest of a professional rider to produce horses which are going to fail to support their business by being suitable for purpose. Professional riders have the skill and experience to ride all sorts of different horses and know how to ensure that each horse is given a prgramme which is right for them.
However as a buyer you also have responsibilities to ensure that a Professional Trader can help you make the right choice when buying a horse.
When you look through the Horses for Sale listings on a site like Horse Scout you certainly have a lot of good horses to choose from.
However, it is fair to say that buyers have an obligation to honestly represent their skill level, the accommodations they can offer a horse, and their intentions to the seller they are contacting.
There are certainly an infinite number of tales that illustrate less than ideal partnerships but to be fair to the sellers it can come down to the failure of the buyers to asses their own situation or communicate honestly with the seller. Remember that no horse is ever “finished.” They are sensitive creatures that continue to learn new behaviors throughout their lives. A novice horse person can inadvertently “undo” professional training faster than a terrier will snatch and swallow the family hamster. Here are some thoughts about buyers responsibilities.
- If you make an appointment to go look at a horse, don’t leave the seller hanging by not turning up. If you can’t make it for some reason, or will be later than scheduled, call your seller. It’s the polite thing to do, after all.
- If the horse’s price is more than you want to spend, ask the seller whether it’s negotiable before you make an appointment. If the seller says no, you won’t be wasting your time or his.
- Bring your hard hat, and wear appropriate clothing and footwear for riding. Do not assume to wear spur of to carry a whip.
- You can ask if it’s okay to bring your own saddle. A seller would need to be sure your saddle is in good repair (intact tree, leather not weak or rotten, etc), and that it fits the horse you are trying. This provides two advantages. You’ll be using tack that’s familiar, and you’ll know whether your saddle fits the horse you’re considering.
- Turn your cell phone off while you are trying a horse. It’s rude to take the seller’s time with personal calls and a suddenly ringing phone may frighten the horse.
- Do not bring your dog. Many farms have their own dogs, and the sellers won’t appreciate the disruption of yours running around. Also, your dog may chase or injure the seller’s horses, or other animals.
- If you have small children and plan to include them, bring along someone to mind the kids while you concentrate on the horse. Unattended children with horses can be extremely dangerous.
- Be honest about your abilities and level of riding. If you have an ethical seller, he will want to sell you a suitable horse. If your seller is an experienced horse person, he’ll know pretty quickly how adept you are by watching you with his horse, so don’t fudge; it’s not worth it.
- A horse is an individual and frequently develops a relationship with the person who rides it most often. If your seller rides the horse first and the horse seems very well trained, don’t be disappointed if the horse doesn’t perform quite as well when you get on. Even subtle differences in riding technique can produce very different responses from the horse. It may just be a matter of time and a little professional help before you and your new horse become a team.
- Don’t be surprised if the seller wants you to begin in a small area, like a paddock or round pen. He may want to assess your skills, for your own safety and for that of the horse. However, be wary of a seller who doesn’t offer a larger area (a ring, arena or pasture) once he’s comfortable with your abilities. Dishonest sellers know that a horse may be fine in a round pen but will bolt for the hills in a open pasture.
- Ask the seller about the horse’s daily routine and feeding schedule. A horse that is turned out every day and is eating grass or a little hay could turn into an entirely different horse if you buy it, keep it in a stall and feed it grain. Ask your seller about the level of activity the horse is accustomed to; is it ridden every day, every week, once a month? If you buy a horse that has been worked regularly, but you plan to ride once a month, your horse may not be as easy to handle after a month of leisure. Conversely, if the horse goes from being ridden once a month to your enthusiastic regime of five days a week, the horse may become sore (as you probably will). You’ll go home and relax in your hot tub. Your new horse might buck, rear, kick, toss its head, or refuse to move because that’s the only way it has to indicate pain.
- Take note of the bridle and bit used by your seller. Consider buying something similar if the horse works well and seems relaxed.
- If you are shopping for a horse for your child, its looks, cosmetic blemishes and color should be the least important factors in choosing. Look for an older horse, and plan to spend more.
Your seller might ask you:
Details of your experience with horses
What sort of support you’ll have; for example, a trainer, a very experienced friend, riding lessons, etc