Red Flags When Buying a Horse

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When you’re looking at horses for sale, there are certain red flags that you need to be aware of. Here are just a few signs that something may be amiss when you’re buying a horse.

The Horse’s History Changes

Generally you’ll have an idea of the horse’s history, including show experience and training experience, before you go to visit the horse in person. But if you arrive to see a horse and discover that the seller is now telling you a different story that doesn’t match up, this can be a reason to be cautious. Inconsistencies in what the seller is telling you about the horse may indicate that the seller isn’t telling the truth.

The Seller Changes the Horse’s Price Multiple Times

In some instances, sellers may advertise a horse for a particular price, then present you with a higher price when you arrive to see the horse. This is a dishonest technique and is unfair, since it plays on your emotions and the time you’ve invested in traveling out to view the horse. Don’t fall for this technique. Bring along a copy of the horse’s sale ad with the original price, just in case, and insist that you buy the horse for that price, or not at all.

The Seller Puts Restrictions on a Pre-Purchase Exam

Sometimes you may run into buyers who put restrictions on pre-purchase exams. They may try to convince you to use their vet to perform the exam, or may try to brush off the idea of the exam entirely. Sellers should understand that pre-purchase exams are necessary, and any seller who tries to restrict the exam may have something to hide.

The Seller Mentions Other Interested Buyers

A seller should never try to pressure you into buying a horse. Mentioning that other buyers are looking at the horse later in the day is a common way of trying to get you to put a deposit down on the horse – now. This often indicates that a seller is desperate to sell a horse and should make you think twice about buying.

Things Seem Too Good to Be True

Sometimes, things seem to work out perfectly. You find a super talented horse with incredible breeding and conformation, offered for sale at an incredibly low price. You never imagined you’d be able to afford a horse like this, so you should immediately put down a deposit, right? Not necessarily. If a sale horse seems too good to be true, he often is. You can certainly look into the horse, but proceed with caution and try not to get swept up into the excitement of an incredible deal.

If you run into any of the above red flags in looking at horses for sale, then you should think very carefully about the situation before deciding to buy the horse. Remember, there are plenty of horses out there and the right one will come along.

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