|Some thoughts and musings on buying, selling,
and the very small world of horses......
Ever driven 4 hours to see a well broke, natural gaited smooth riding mare, 15.0 hands
with a good disposition, only to arrive to view an animal that makes you want to ask if they
already sold the one that they described to you on the phone?
Did you enjoy the sinking feeling when you started to realize you just wasted an entire day,
not to mention $200 in fuel?
After a few such trips, I swore I would never do this to someone else. People who
misrepresent or flat out lie about a horse to sell it are crooks, plain and simple. At best,
you've lost money. It could be far worse, with injury or even death resulting.
One of the things that make me furious are people who take advantage of someone going
to buy their first horse. Horse buying is rarely a whim for new buyers..... for most people
it is the culmination of a life long dream, and ironically, those that need the most help in a
horse buying decision are usually the ones with the fewest tools at their disposal to help
them make an informed choice.
And there stands the unscrupulous seller, ready to smash their dream into little pieces
with an unsuitable horse. These sellers don't always come in the form of ugly, unkept
places with poorly groomed animals standing hock deep in mud either. You can just as
easily find them at the end of a manicured drive, lined with pretty white fences down both
sides. Some people simply believe it should be "buyer beware" , and act accordingly.
And the harm done? Farther reaching that what would appear at first glance. Even if the
new horse owner is not injured by their purchase, they may be reluctant to try again, and
the horse world may lose what could have been a Greg Best, a Lynn Palm, a John
Lyons. If this person gives up on horse ownership, at the very least the horse world has
lost one person who could have been counted amongst it's ranks. In today's world,
where hundreds of acres are being lost to development every single day, and horseback
riding advocates have to fight steadily for every trail that we have the right to enjoy, horse
folk of all breeds and riding styles simply MUST band together, and every member who
leaves our ranks should be counted as a devastating loss.
Not to mention the loss of someone's dream, who waited 10, 20, or 30 years to finally have
their childhood wishes of horses come true, only to be disillusioned by the reality.
Advice for first time buyers:
The #1 thing you can do for yourself is to take the time purchasing your first horse. Don't
jump on the first one you see, take time to think it over, and get a trusted friend who has
horse experience to help you. Never be pressured into a sale, and never fall for the line
about how if you don't take the horse NOW, someone else is coming to look later that day
who probably will. Try to adopt an attitude of "if it's not meant to be, another will come
along". Trust me, there are no shortages of horses out there to buy.
Educate yourself. While books and videos are no substitute for experience, they do help
greatly, especially in the department of giving you ideas of what type questions to ask, and
some potential problems to look for. There is no such thing as too much knowledge, and
the best horse folk never stop learning.
Be HONEST with the seller yourself. This is not the time to impress anyone with your
horsemanship skills. Don't try to give the impression that you have more experience
than you do. Horses have a funny effect on people's pride. We wouldn't dream of
pretending to already know how to ski or hangglide and would want the instruction
afforded to newbies, but for some reason it's hard for a lot of us to admit when a horse is
too much for us.
When you call us about a horse, please tell us as much as possible about your riding
abilities, and your intended use for the horse. We will try to match you with a horse, but if
we don't have anything suitable, we will be the first to admit it.
We would much rather help you find a horse elsewhere than to sell you something that
won't work. This is not our livelihood, it is our beloved hobby. We are not going to miss
any meals if we don't sell you a horse. We care deeply about all of our horses, and want
them to all go to loving homes. We would not be doing them any favors by pairing them
with humans that they're not likely to get along with well. We pride ourselves on creating
We are always happy to provide you with some additional leads to other sellers who we
know to be honest also.
The only "high pressure" tactic you might find here is some strong encouragement to join
our statewide foxtrotter affiliate, the Indiana Foxtrotters Association. I am very proud of
this group of horse folk, who work tirelessly to help promote this wonderful breed of horse,
and to put on activities that can be enjoyed by and participated in by all club members.
For information about the IFTA, please visit: