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Dealers - good or bad?

33 replies

badgeorge · 02/10/2013 14:33

I am looking for a 14.2 + second pony for my 11 yo son. Can anyone recommend a good dealer? I am particularly interested in a Connemara - there is a dealer nr. Gatwick (not sure I am allowed to name names!) that seems to have good feedback in forums, but pricey.

I have had a very bad experience myself recently with a private sale - horse went wrong within first week of ownership with arthritis in the neck. Nothing picked up at 5 stage vetting and had the horse pts eventually. Despite the vendor being from a very high profile Gloucestershire family, big in the polo world (polo royalty you could say) and the Beaufort, she was not for taking the horse back under ANY circumstances. Obviously when she said that she loved the horse so much she would have him back in a moment if there were any problems, she was lying through her teeth. However, what's worse is that I believed her!! What an idiot. Anyway, if the vendor has no morals and won't take the horse back even if it has a pre-existing condition, the only recourse with a private sale is to prove 'misrepresentation'. However, to do that, you would have to go to court, which I couldn't afford to do. Of course, I was not covered by insurance because of the 14 day exclusion clause. So I now have no horse, no money to buy another and have had to give up riding myself as a result. You live and learn.

Anyway, I have always bought privately before and avoided dealers like the plague, but now I have had such a rough time buying privately, perhaps dealers aren't all that bad - at least they are covered by the Sale of Goods Act. I agree that the ideal is to buy locally, from someone you know (or at least know 'of'), but what do you do when what you want simply isn't available?

OP posts:
badgeorge · 02/10/2013 14:37

Also, forgot to ask, are dealers negotiable about prices? Never having dealt with one, is the price they advertise on their websites flexible? Could you make a lower offer and reasonably expect it to be accepted?

OP posts:
Lovesswimming · 02/10/2013 16:23

If it's a dealer near gatwick please do name. Answers can always come back to you via a private message. There are a good amount of Connie's going via private sale, you may get a weeks trial (may not as well) for a second pony (presume competent rider for age?) I'd say that's the best way to go.

Lovesswimming · 02/10/2013 16:28

Sales of goods act is not worth a thing and dealers know it. If you win in court they generally don't have assets for your money to returned via bailiffs. See apona stars on Facebook (those dealers ended up in court but it took a very lot of people to be stung for years first) and she still didn't get any money back. Don't rely on your rights with a dealer either. Sorry to hear what you have been through. You could have tried taking them to small claims which is the same as you would have to with a dealer. Pm me if you want to

badgeorge · 02/10/2013 21:11

Prestwood Farm - good/bad???

Thanks lovesswimming for your comments, which I have taken on board. I did take legal advice about the last horse, which cost £0,000 on top of purchase price and vets fees, and was eventually advised to cut my losses and walk away. It seems to be a minefield whichever way you go, which is why word of mouth seems to be important. However, it didn't help me a few years ago when I bought a horse for my husband on the recommendation of our local WPC, the 'Community Beat Officer' no less. It turns out to have been her best friend's horse but it was horrible so I sold it 6 months later. I must have mug written all over me!

However, the pony my children share at the moment is the genuine, like gold-dust, first ridden that everyone is looking for, so it's not all bad!

OP posts:
Lovesswimming · 02/10/2013 21:27

Ok, not the same dealer so I can't comment. Other than to say in my opinion the risk is the same for private sale or dealer unless you pay with a credit card. Then if you win a court decision the card company pays you back.
Bit like you I have a 1st ridden for my daughter, found through a pony club advert who's perfect for us but my friend had to cut her losses with a dealer who seemingly had a good reputation.
Good luck with your search x

lovebeansontoast · 03/10/2013 07:56

I have bought three times from dealers and had three lovely horses. Two of the dealers I found out subsequently had very dodgy reputations, but I had good experiences with them. Maybe I was lucky but I was very very careful. Just put everything they say in writing and get them to sign it, and you sign it as well. So, if they say they will take the horse back if there is a problem within a fortnight, create a contract which has that as part of it. I did have difficulty getting one dealer to sign it, but after saying I wouldn't take the horse unless they did, they did sign. To that end, take someone with you, so they can be doing the writing down.

The only other advice I'd give is to make sure you do everything with the horse you will want to do at home, including hacking out on your own, catching them, tacking up. All of that, ideally more than once, and definitely get them vetted. Oh and make absolutely sure the passport is the right one. It sounds overcautious, but it's such a big purchase.

I think you can negotiate on price, but be aware that if you do, and someone else comes along with the full price they may well sell it under you.

Oh and don't buy "his" tack. That was the one thing I got caught with. For "his" tack, read, "any old tat we have lying round the tack room". I had to just give in on that one, accept I'd been had and buy him all new anyway.

backinthebox · 03/10/2013 11:42

Of my last 4 horses and ponies, 3 have been from dealers - and all 3 have been fabulous! But 2 of them have been noooootttt quite exactly what the dealer described them as. As others have said, do your homework, take someone with you, write everything down, and look at what is put in front of you - use your eyes and see it for yourself, don't take the dealer's word for it. It might be that everything they tell you is the truth, and they just 'forget' to tell you something (such as the 11 yo pony you are looking at for you 4 yo child has only recently lost his 'boys!' It made no difference in the long run - the pony is superb, everything we are after, and she was selling the right pony for the right job.) Or they might let you assume something that you want to be true and not correct you. Or they might make a statement that they can't back up ('we think he's probably 5. He goes like a 5 yo!' Well, yes, he does. But he was still only 3!)

A good dealer will have excellent trial facilities, a reputation to uphold, and an interest in ensuring they get your custom and future recommendations. They will have put a reasonable amount of work into a horse that a private seller might not have. I would definitely go along and look at a horse if one I liked the look of was at a dealers.

(A footnote - private sellers can be good, but they can also be worse than dealers. A dealer is making a living and knows all the tricks. A private seller may just be stupid and lie. The one horse I have bought in recent years from a private seller was sedated and had it's legs dyed to hide white hairs from pin-firing. I would have sued the **s if I could have!)

As with everything - buyer beware!

pipsy76 · 03/10/2013 19:17

I looked at another one with a different Sussex dealer today, went with epona stars recommended dealer. Getting sick of looking at private horses not as described. Made an offer waiting to hear back.

This thread will so get pulled if we are not carefulShock

AnnaBanana101 · 03/10/2013 19:22

Pipsy is that the same dealer you got your other horse from? Have you sold him now?

I think threads only get deleted if people name dealers then say bad things as it could be defamation.

pipsy76 · 03/10/2013 19:27

No different dealer, other dealer doesn't really keep what I'm looking for, rhymes with tip topWink

pipsy76 · 03/10/2013 19:30

Troys out on lwvtb, original dealer didn't want him back on sales livery , not sure I would have sent him back anyway, however he's doing great with a confident teenager, jumping and having fun which is what he's best suited for

miggy · 03/10/2013 23:11

I think with most dealers if you buy something they have shipped in from Ireland,and you have a bit of horse sense, you will usually do ok. The horse will be a bit green but generally healthy and unspoilt. What I would never buy from a dealer is a horse from a private home, let's face it if you love your horse and it's a genuine beast that has done you proud, you are going to sell it privately rather than send it to a dealer. Massive generalisation I know, but grain of truth in there.

badgeorge · 04/10/2013 01:49

Thanks for all your helpful comments. I think the secret is to find a good dealer. Please pm me with any recommendations or info on who to avoid.

In my last disaster, I did everything I should when buying the horse. I just couldn't have foreseen that it would have an unpredictable pre-existing condition that would make it unrideable.

What really finished me off though was the whole 14 day exclusion thing with my insurance policy. I was penalised for being honest and, God forbid, if I'm ever in this situation again, I'll do it all very differently.

Why is it all useful experience seems to have to be gained the hard way????

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countingto10 · 04/10/2013 06:44

Try Julia at Southgate Farm where I got my mare from who is everything I wanted. Also had a friend whose fingers were burnt by another dealer in the area and is now very pleased with the horse she got from Julia. Another lady I know who purchased from Julia has been offered an extension of the exchange period as she is still unsure about the horse (personally think she overfaced the horse to begin with). Julia has also offered to exchanged it immediately.

Buying a horse is a leap of faith so good luck.

badgeorge · 04/10/2013 11:32

Southgate Farm does seem to have a lot of recommendations - I looked at them after they were mentioned on Epona Stars (as mentioned above!). I just wish it didn't mean a 4-5 hour drive to visit! Anyway, all this is really useful information - thanks.

Such a pain that H&H totally forbid any discussion at all on the subject of dealers.

OP posts:
Lovesswimming · 04/10/2013 11:51

you can search a dealer on H&H; old posts can be viewed that may say things like pm me. I did this and PM'D someone who was happy to message me (the thread was years old but the member was still active) it's worth a try. for example put southgate farm in the forum search box. see what comes up. you cant ask fresh though (or you can and people may pm you but your thread will be removed within about a day)
Epona Stars is great and did really help me when I had issues (as did loads of people on here)

countingto10 · 04/10/2013 12:05

I think someone on H&H actually booked a b&b in the area (flew down from Scotland IIRC) and did the rounds of Clip clop traders, Prestwood farm, Southgate Farm etc. She figured it was worth to use recommended dealers.

When I bought my mare, they had sold a horse to someone on Jersey, the horse was being shipped the next day.

Good luck.

Butkin · 04/10/2013 19:21

Not dealers as such but we buy our ponies from show producers. We generally find they are good to deal with because they have reputations to uphold whereas private individuals will sometimes say anything just to move the pony on.

raspberriesareforever · 13/10/2013 17:21

Prestwood ponies are notoriously expensive. I can recommend NT Equine who will not sell to you unless the pony is right for you. Have had a youngster from there and can vouch for them. They are based in Ewhurst, Surrey. I would like to add that I am not connected in any way but would go back to her if I was looking to buy in the future. She gets most of her ponies and horses from Ireland. Hope this helps. Honest people and honest prices too. Google NT Equine and the link will come up. Good luck.

lovebeansontoast · 13/10/2013 19:14

victrisportshores seem to have a good reputation. I think their cob site is called coolcobs. I think they're in Hampshire. May be worth a look.

Booboostoo · 17/10/2013 17:02

Do you have any contacts with your local PC? Buying an outgrown pony from another family through word of mouth is the safest way to go. In most cases you will know the pony as you will have seen it around the circuit, your instructor will be familiar with the pony and you have more of a chance of getting a suitable animal.

The other thing to consider is price. A Conny X second pony suitable for a child (I assume your son wants to do a bit of jumping SJ and XC and have all round fun while safe hacking) will realistically cost 4-6k even in this market because this is what everyone wants. If you find a pony significantly under this price range, why is it so much cheaper? There is usually a catch.

Principality · 20/10/2013 17:24

I would back up what boo is saying. We bought a pony at the end of september, 14.2 first pony for mum and son share to do a bit of everything.

He was over 400miles away round trip so before viewing him i asked to see videos, inc some they took at PC camp in the summer. I then spoke to the DC of their PC and also her instructor. Had a really detailed chat on the phone with her BHSII instructor and an email from DC to say what he had done with the PC and what she thought of him (and equally what he hadn't, she said she couldn't comment on hacking alone as she had never seen him do it for e.g.). The family asked if they could keep in touch and added us on Facebook which i thought was a good sign that they didn't want to do a runner!

He has been an absolute super star and exactly as described by family/dc and instructor. If i were to buy again I would definitely want to take up references from PC/RC. If the pony has been out and about as much as an ad is claiming s/he should be well known locally.

Good luck.


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TrustySteed · 13/05/2015 15:19

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Sierraspider · 14/05/2015 12:10

I would not trust victrisporthorses a friend bought a "safe" horse from there and it threw her off countless times and she ended up in hospital for 6 weeks with a back problem. Then againn if you see my thread on here you will see private sales go wrong too. I just bought a mare through word of mouth and so far shes been everything the owners said she is. X

Bonkey · 14/05/2015 12:32

I honestly think buying a horse is the same whether from a dealer or a private sale.

Do everything by the book, get everything down in writing, vets , second opinions, go with your gut on what you think of the seller whatever their reputation etc and then you have to take a bit of a chance. No one can see whats going to happen.

Horses are not always the same with different people - a pony that may be a complete plod for one person may turn into a frisky thing once settled in a new home.

Likewise I think a pony that has been at a dealers yard and looked after and ridden by various people may be a completely different character once they get one on one attention - not always in a bad way.

I am also a firm believer that it take a long time to connect with a new horse so health issues aside make sure you give it a good chance.

I had my old mare for 5 years - it took two for us to 'click' and then she was my horse in a million!

Good luck!

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