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Truth or Lie?

March 21st, 2015 by admin

Most every good lie has a little ounce of truth hidden in it somewhere. Ask anyone who has ever purchased a horse and been disappointed. Truth is, the horse industry has been plagued with many good, lying, sellers ready to make you the deal of your life.

As a trainer I’ve heard it all. Frankly half of my business is because someone purchased a horse thinking it was one way only to discover that once they got their baby home it was completely opposite. I’d like to share some of the statements that have been said to me, these are true statements that unsuspecting, good hearted buyers have been told by sellers to convince them the horse is safe and sound. See if you can find the “hidden truth” in these statements. Let me help by following up in red letters.

  • “Yes indeed, he stands to be mounted just fine, but since he doesn’t know you I will hold the lead line while you get on.”
  • Told to a client who didn’t even get her leg over the saddle on her first ride before being bucked off and suffering a broken back.
  • “You just need to take this horse home and ride him for a few months…..that will muscle him up in no time.”
  • This first time horse owner was actually given a horse that was knocking on deaths door because of starvation and the new owner thought he just needed ridden to get back in shape.
  • “My grandkids can do anything with this horse; they even walk under his belly.”
  • I’d simply say, “Prove it.”  Not that I want kids walking under horses, but maybe the adult seller could demonstrate.
  • “Did I mention that he’s a rescue horse?”
  • This is a line that sellers will use to cover a multitude of problems and it gives rescue horses a bad name. It’s a play on the buyer’s emotions and makes them think they are doing a good deed by purchasing a horse with serious issues who other wise would be headed to slaughter.
  • “Oh, she really enjoys being in an indoor arena.”
  • Told to a woman after the purchase of her mare who she specifically wanted for trail riding.
  • “He’s dead broke!”
  • It is usually the seller who is dead broke and wanting a quick sale to get some quick cash. While there are some great horses out there that are solid broke, they are few and far between. Just beware of this statement.
  • “Her back is a little sensitive when she comes in heat.”
  • Found out later that her first and only previous experience with a saddle was not good. The mare got away from her handler; saddle slipped down under her belly, horse took off fearing for her life and ran around for over half an hour. Horses don’t forget these sorts of things.
  • “We always ride her in a tie down.”
  • What ever the reason to use the tie down in the first place really didn’t matter, it was the head bopping that the constant use of the tie down created that was the problem. This mare continued to look for a release even after she had no tie down on at all.
  • “We had her sold to someone else but they just brought her back because she was scared of their other horse.”
  • Not quite the truth, the poor buyer purchased her only to discover that she was a aggressive, demon horse who kicked the snot out of every other pasture mate in a 10 acre field.
  • “This horse has had 30 days of training.”
  • ……30 days of training, 5 years ago on a horse who hadn’t been ridden since coming home from the trainer? By the way, 30 days is a start but should no way be taken as evidence that the horse is trained.
  • “He’s a retired barrel racer.”
  • Kind way of telling the young lady who purchased him that she should never enter an arena with 3 barrels set up in a triangle pattern……who would ever have thought that a retired, aged, Western Pleasure show horse could run so fast with a young lady who had never cantered.
  • “We watch that Clinton Anderson man and that’s how we trained her.”
  • Trainer name dropping. I was the dummy this time and dang that lady could talk a good talk. Even took my horse trailer only to discover the poor little mare didn’t even know how to move a hip over and you had to nearly beat her to make her canter. Didn’t purchase the horse and was later accused of abusing the horse simply because I tapped her hip with my stick….and yes, it was a Clinton Anderson stick.

I could go on and on, but you get the point.

With modern technology and the ability to video any horse being sold, a buyer should never be surprised when they arrive to try out a prospective new horse. Doesn’t mean that the seller has to be a professional trainer or film maker, but you can tell a lot about the animal simply by watching him move. If you are in the market for a horse with a special discipline, have the seller video your prospective purchase in their element so you can see what you’re getting before you make the trip. Have a knowledgeable friend watch the video as well and remember, don’t settle for less then what you want unless you are prepared to spend the time finishing the horse or pay someone else to do it for you. In which case, simply call us – we get a lot of horses like that.