How do you buy a horse without being a time waster?(19 Posts)
You see it over and over again in adverts, "no time wasters please" or "re-advertised due to time wasters." However I have been told that looking for a horse, I should not buy the first one I see, and should expect to try a few before committing to one. The last thing I want to do is waste anyone's time, but equally I don't want to go for the wrong horse!
I am in the lucky position, of being about to start looking for a horse to buy, but I am likely to try a few, just to give me an idea of what I am after, before I expect to find the right one. It might sound daft, but I am really concerned about being branded a time waster, which surely applies to anyone who views a horse, and doesn't buy, so how do I avoid that? Or do I just need to get on with it, and stop stressing?
If you're a serious buyer, then don't worry, you won't be a time waster.
I think knowing what you're looking for helps. So don't go and view a horse which is 17hh because you like the look of him in the photos if you know you're only happy on a 15hh. And things like have an idea of what breed/build you want and your experience. So not trying a horse sold as 'not novice' ride if you are inexperienced.
It's a big (and expensive) decision, so important to get it right. And don't forget that serious and caring buyers will want their horses to go to a good home, so if you want a second look, or want to take an instructor with you then they should be happy to let you.
As long as you're sensible about it -and I'm sure you will be, or you wouldn't ask the question - then you'll be fine.
Good luck. It can take a long time to find the right horse, so definitely look at as many as you need to until you're sure you've found the right one.
I think there are people who have no intention of buying a horse and go and try out horses for a day out. But you aren't one of these people so don't worry! Have you got livery arranged?
Just don't go and view things you can't afford or are "too small" or "too big" or the wrong colour, despite having been advertised as such
Don't string people along, if it's not for you say so, don't even feel you have to ride it if you don't like what you see when you see it being ridden
Worst of all don't make appointments and just not show up, without any notice or communication.
I'm sure you wouldn't do any of the above but you would be amazed how many do !
You also need to grow a bit of a thick skin , I have been to see ponies grossly misrepresented, been very polite in my refusal to proceed and then seen them readvertised due to time wasters , usually for months afterwards!
Did see a great post on a Facebook selling site this week where horse was readvertised due to time wasters and someone who had viewed the horse commented " well it's a nice horse but owner is bat shit crazy"
Good luck it's exciting but scarey
Know what you want before you start to look , sit down with a cup of coffee ( and possibly your instructor ) and write yourself a list of essentials that need to be asked - height , age , type , build , sex , ability (of rider standard ) horses experience and standard of schooling, allergies , vices, faults and issues . How he is kept ( grass / stabled) is he good alone or in company ? Open to vet , good to catch , shoe, clip, handle, traffic, load ( trailer / horse box) turned out alone / with others etc etc does he come with tack and / rugs ( although these might not necessarily fit properly just because they are included)
It probably sounds like I am being unfair but the fact you have questioned this in the first place puts you into a pretty inexperienced bracket so I really would get help from someone who is more experienced it your instructor or yard owner .
Most of your "weeding out of unsuitable ones " can be done looking at the adverts , ring up only those that sound like they really are suitable .
Make yourself an easy to use check list and whilst chatting to owners on the phone tick off as each point is covered then ask about anything they haven't covered that is important
Money - buying a horse has a lot of unseen expense , set your budget and work backwards to how much you can afford to spend on the actual horse after you have covered the other expenses ( veterinary 5 stage pre purchase exam , transport home , tack , rugs, insurance , up front livery fees etc etc )
If you do your homework thoroughly you will not be a time waster , don't get pressured into being sold something unsuitable , you must feel happy and safe with your new horse . You don't need to buy the first one you see but on the other hand if he's perfect don't miss out but go back and try it again just to be sure ( taking your instructor preferably )
Good luck and keep us updated
Others have said the same, but write a list (mental or written) of what you want / don't want. Don't arrange to see something that isn't on that list. But also be honest with the seller
With technology now, it's so easy to get photos and videos of anything you want - eg video of horse being jumped / lunged etc, so you can decide a horse definitely isn't for you before even arranging a viewing
If you try a horse out and it isn't right for you, be honest. I was very self conscious of letting people down when we were looking for a pony and being labelled a "time waster", but I think/hope the sellers were appreciative of me saying "she's lovely, but just not right for us"
Take someone knowledgeable with you, and someone who knows you/your riding/handling capabilities. It's easy to get swept away with the excitement of going to see a horse, and before you know it, you've come home with a completely unsuitable horse!!
Try the horse out, and go back and try it out again if necessary before making up your mind.
Thanks all, it sounds like I just need to get on with it, and stop worrying. I am pretty much planning to do what you have all suggested. I have a good idea of what I want, apart from the age. Yes, livery is all sorted, I have a stable, just need a horse to fill it now!
People who form personal experience were time wasters:
- The couple who asked me to hire a school and to transport the horse to the school for them to try, then turned up 2 hrs late, rode him round for an hour and then drove off without saying anything to me and I never heard from them again.
- The woman who turned up with her side saddle to try the horse in but couldn't put it on because 'the groom does that!' Then wanted to try him over show jumps. Then wanted to try him over XC fences. Then wanted her friends to try him to see what they thought. Then wanted to take him home so she could ride him at the local point to point meeting. Then, after 4 visits that all entailed me transporting the horse to another venue of her choosing decided that I was asking too much for a hunter because she could buy an eventer for the same price (the woman was mental, yet has become rather well-known in her field as being 'endearingly eccentric!')
- The people who tried him twice at my place then asked me to take my hire to their yard (an hour away) to see if he would fit in, then decided he was so perfect they were not going to buy him as they would get really upset if something went wrong with him.
People who were NOT time wasters:
- The lady who came to see the horse mentioned above twice as she really liked him but needed a second viewing to check if she could manage his size (she couldn't, and I respected that.)
- The lady who came with her child to look at a pony and decided the pony was too forward going for her child.
If you have a good idea in your head of what you want, and go to see horses that fit those criteria, there is no problem with telling the seller the horse is not exactly what you are after when you view it. As others have said though, don't mess the owners around with dozens of bizarre requests, don't say you will call them back and then don't, don't turn up late, don't turn up to view a horse and then disappear never to be seen again. Do take a deposit in case you want to secure a purchase, do arrange a vetting promptly if you want to go ahead an buy the horse.
Being blunt, going to see a few just to have a few experimental viewings with no intention to buy IS wasting the time of the seller. Their horse is probably their pride and joy and they are looking for a good new owner for it. They won't really appreciate someone coming along to ride it who has no intention of buying. So treat each viewing as a potential purchase, but make sure you have someone knowledgeable with you at all stages of viewings and purchase. Generally I've only had to view a couple of horses before finding the one I buy - I have spent a long time fine-tuning what I am after though looking through sometimes hundreds of adverts. You can weed out the majority of non-starters at the advert-viewing stage.
If you are buying from someone who has a genuine horse they will want it to go to the right home
Wow backinthebox, that sounds like some quite extreme time wasting! One thing I definitely am is honest. I will not be messing people about, or going back for more than one look at any horse that I am not pretty sure I want.
Not sure if it's been mentioned but if you don't like it at first sight, just say so and don't go through the rigmarole of riding it anyway. It can be slightly awkward but "I just don't think he's right for me" is quite a useful get out phrase without offending anyone.
Absolutely agree about saying you don't want to proceed with the viewing if you don't like the look of the horse and know you won't want to buy him. I've walked away before a horse was tacked up.
Funnily enough I have done that before when looking for a loan horse. I went to see one that refused to go into the stable, then barged its way back out when it was persuaded in. There didn't seem to be any point getting on it after that little display, so I didn't. Good advice. I certainly don't plan on getting on anything that can't be controlled on the ground, or is clearly unsuitable.
Another type of "time waster" we've encountered are people who say they will buy one of our horses/ponies. We then put off other people from coming but the money never arrives and when we call they make all sorts of excuses and eventually stop communicating. Just be honest and say you don't want it..
As others have said when we're buying horses we very rarely go to see them without comprehensive chats over the phone and looking at photos/videos. Only when we're really keen do we go and see the horse/pony and then if we get there and have it trotted up and examine it we won't even bother riding it unless we're still really keen.
I think it is totally OK to walk away - everybody wants to see to the ideal person - and it's also totally OK to arrange a 2nd viewing and a vetting. Any more than this though and alarm bells may start to ring..
We would also not stop people coming to look without a cash deposit..
You don't sound like you'll be a time waster at all, and there are some brilliant examples of that on this thread.
I had loads of enquiries when I was looking for a sharer for my pony. Many of whom were very keen then never got back to me/didn't call when they said they would/just didn't turn up - they were time wasters! The family who trialled her for a month but found she was too strong willed in the school for them were not time wasters, and in fact now they have found a pony that does suit them it lives with mine! The sharer I have now is a little older and experienced and makes a great team with my pony and again, trialled her for quite some time definitely no time wasted there
So OP, you are genuine, you have been preparing and even the fact you've asked means you are not as rude as a lot of people. Enjoy your new horse when you find it.
There was once an hilarious thread on the Horse & Hound Forum about bizarre experiences in horse shopping. My worst was travelling 5 hours to see a horse which had stringhalt & exhibited it the moment it moved out of the box - this after my having asked seller on the phone "anything else you want to tell me about the horse before I come try him?" (Open-ended questions highly recommended); so there is time wasting on both sides. I think sellers can get lots of phone calls that are time wasting: immediate requests to drop price, ridiculous telephone tagging, making appointments & not showing up. Making an appointment, seeing the horse, trying it (or not, if not suitable) is NOT time-wasting!
I had to come back to this. I can't believe I was worried about being a timewaster. I should have been worried about having my time wasted! So far I have found two horses I wanted to buy, only for the sellers to change their mind!
Frustrating isn't it Rollingdinosaur. I spent about 6 months looking through adverts before I found one worthwhile looking at. Having said that bought the first one we tried out. Are you looking at private adverts? Dealers are unlikely to change their minds and often have a few to look at. I know a lot of people don't like dealers but there are some good ones out there.
It's just about being genuine.
I felt awful recently as I went to view a lovely mare. I loved her. Even the other half loved her. And then the day after first viewing my income took a massive hit (albeit a temporary one) and I just didn't feel it was sensible to buy another until it's sorted.
I explained and sincerely apologised and the guy was lovely about it. He was more upset for me because we were the only people who'd viewed her who he actually wanted to sell.
I find if you're being open and honest most people will be understanding.
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