Warning Signs When Looking at Horses for Sale


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When buying a horse and looking at horses for sale, it’s easy to let excitement get the best of you. Be careful, though – unless you’re working with a buyer who is a close friend, you always need to keep your guard up. There are a number of warning signs that may indicate that the horse is not all that the seller is promising. Here are a few to keep an eye out for.

The Owner Won’t Ride the Horse

There are certainly exceptions to the rule – if the horse is being presented as untrained, or if the horse is being sold to a non-riding home only, then you wouldn’t expect the owner to ride the horse. However, if the horse is being sold as a riding horse, then either the owner or another rider should be on hand to demonstrate the horse’s movement under saddle. If no one is willing to ride the horse, think carefully before mounting up yourself.

The Owner Won’t Allow a Prepurchase Exam

You should always have a prepurchase exam performed on any horse you’re considering buying. If the owner will not allow one, or insists that their personal veterinarian be the one to perform the exam, this is a clear indication that the horse has some sort of physical issue that the owner is trying to hide. The same idea goes for x-rays – an owner may present you with a set of x-rays that they have on hand, but should also be willing to let you have your own set of x-rays taken. If they don’t, then the horse may have serious physical issues.

The Owner Already Has the Horse Tacked Up and Waiting

When you schedule a time to come out and see the horse for sale, request that the horse be left in his stall or pasture so that you can observe the entire preparation process, including catching, grooming, and tacking up the horse. If the owner already has the horse groomed, saddled, and waiting for you when you arrive, there may be a reason behind that. If you like the horse, then request to come back another day when the horse has not been prepared.

The Owner Won’t Allow a Trial

Some horse owners do not allow trials, which is perfectly acceptable. After all, in sending a horse on trial they are entrusting that horse’s care to another person whom they don’t generally know. However, be cautious about purchasing a horse without any sort of trial or return period. You should make multiple visits out to see the horse, and be sure to arrive early to at least a few of them. Some buyers have purchased horses, only to get them home and discover that the horses had been drugged during their visits; their behavior changed completely once purchased.

Keep an eye out for the warning signs when looking at horses for sale.

TOPHORSE–browse horses for sale or place an ad to sell horses

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