SUCCESSFUL BUYING

 

Any transaction that results in the transfer of product for remuneration is a sale. But it is also a purchase! When it comes to horses sales or purchases
there are often horror stories about a sale or purchase gone wrong. Hind sight is always 20/20 but wouldn’t it be much better to go into such an
arrangement with all the cards on the table and all parties knowing the same things. It is important that each party understands the same things.

Today we have the added complication of distance being spanned via the internet. This for the most part can be a very good thing but can go tragically wrong if
the parties involved do not cover all the bases prior to the transfer of ownership.

The internet broadens the market area or the search area for that perfect horse and can be used to great advantage when proper safeguards are used in order to
protect against scams or disappointments caused by miscommunication or lack of communication.

Here are a few suggestions as to how to keep such transactions positive and happy events.

First it is important to know that buying a horse in person is not much different from purchasing long distance. If you are looking for specific talents,
abilities, training, size, color, pedigree or what have you, you would shop for a horse within that parameter. On the internet there are scores of web
sites devoted strictly to the buying and selling of horses. You can make a search through www.refdesk.com or any number of search engines to find these sites
to locate horses that may be of interest to you.

Another approach may be to go to the same search engine and simply type in Missouri Foxtrotter. That will bring up a list of web pages related to Missouri
Fox Trotters. Not all may have horses for sale but it will give you a list of places to explore.

Yet another method is to visit various yahoo group lists. If it is a Missouri Foxtrotter you are interested in there are a number of lists dedicated to
the breed. Joining is free and anyone on the lists would be more than happy to help you locate someone that has a horse to fit your needs.

If you are more inclined to purchase a horse first hand then you may want to search some of the throw away sale papers such as the “Little Nickle” “ Horse
Trader” “Pickle Press”…etc. Almost every area has it’s own ad papers which can often give you a good lead.

Often times feed stores, tack stores, and even veterinarians have a bulletin board that people put business cards or fliers on. Local horse clubs, boarding or training barns are also a source for leads.

Once you have found a horse you are interested in looking at whether it be on the internet or in person, it is wise to ask a lot of questions of the seller.
The list below are important questions and need to be answered before you go any further or spend any more time with this seller.

ASK! You rarely will get all the answers if you don’t ask and are lucky if you get the answers if you DO ask! But ASK!!!

1. How old is this horse
2. How long have you owned it?
3. Why are you selling it?
4. What has the horse been used for during the last
two years
5. Does the horse have any vices or bad habits ( all
horses have at least some so don’t take a simple “no”
for an answer) Get specific. Does the horse like to
be caught? Does the horse get along with other horses?
Does the horse behave mannerly among strange horses?
Does the horse respect the bit or does it pull when
other horses leave it? Does the horse ride English
or western? How does the horse stand for trimming and
shoeing? Does the horse load easily? In what sort of
trailer? Has the horse ever bolted, bucked, reared?
IF so what was the circumstance? How does the horse
respond to correction? Is the horse easy to halter?
Does the horse have any head issues?

Don’t be afraid to ASK. IF the seller is interested
in finding a good home for the animal they will be
more than happy to answer any and all questions. If
not, then perhaps they have something they don’t want
to disclose.

6. Has the horse ever been ill or lame? If so what was
the problem and how was it resolved.
7. When was the horse last seen by a vet? Who was the
vet?
8. When was the horse last vaccinated and wormed?
Ask as many questions as you possibly can and WRITE
down the answers. Don’t try to commit it all to memory
because there is so much information coming in a short
period of time you may forget some of the answers or
confuse them with other answers. You need time to
really look over the results in order to make good
decisions.

After speaking with the seller you have now decided the horse is interesting enough to want to know more. IF you are local to the horse this is the time to call
and set up an appointment time to come visit the seller and see the horse. If you are working via internet this is a time to ask for a video and more still shots of the horse. Those photos need to be clear and close up enough to be able to define
specific features such as legs and feet. You will need to see side views taken from straight on, hind view with the horse standing squarely on all four legs, and a front view with the horse standing up squarely. Many people are poor photographers so when the photos arrive do not expect them to be professional. Most generally the horse will look a bit out of balance and especially if the photographer is
standing up hill from the horse. What you actually will be looking for is whether the legs are straight, the joints sound, and conformational things such as
how does the neck set into the shoulders and is the back strong and well built.

Some people still cannot send a video but if they can and will, it is a great tool for determining the way a horse moves and how it behaves on lead. I like to
ask that the video include segments of the seller going to the pasture to catch the horse up. That is a very telling thing and one you will want to see if at
all possible.

The video should also show such things as tacking up, trailer loading, bathing, picking up feet. These things are every bit as important as how the horse
actually rides. Of course you want a good bit of video also on the horse being ridden.

When buying in person you would also want to see these things. If the seller is not willing to demonstrate how the horse behaves, then chances are the seller is
withholding some important information with regard the horse.

If the photos and video or visit to the seller has gone well the next step is to speak to the vet that has been caring for the horse over the last year or
two. Ask for his/her number and call him./her. Ask the vet if the horse has had any illnesses, accidents, or lameness issues and if so what they were, how they were treated, and what the long term prognosis is. This is very important because even if you have a vet pre-sale check up they may miss something unless they were specifically looking for it.

Now you are satisfied that all is well with the horse. You then need to decide whether you need a pre-sale examination. If so, you must expect to pay for that
examination, it is not up to the seller. The vet will go visit the horse in question and check it’s vital signs, view how it moves, check it conformationally, and then will give it a stress test on the legs. Many people find this vital, however I
have to say that I have not found it to be much benefit if you have followed all the other steps prior to getting to this point. The reason is that often the vet being called to vet a horse will really have to look to find something wrong with it but feels he is duty bound to find fault. If not, he risks his reputation or legal ramifications if that horse ever has a problem. They would rather find fault than to risk a law suit farther down the road. Not all vets, but a few I’ve run across have even told me this.

The thing that will veto the sale on most MFT’s will be the stress test. In this test the vet will flex the horse’s foot to bend the pastern and hold that foot up for a few seconds then ask the horse to trot off. Many horses will appear lame for a few strides after the foot is let down. This CAN be indication there is a problem in the leg…but many times it is simply the test was not conducted properly. Nearly
any horse will have a problem with that test if too much pressure is applied or if the position is held too long so that particular test is subjective and only affective when conducted by a very well trained vet.

If a horse goes lame following the test and does not walk out of it in a reasonable amount of time, it still does not necessarily mean there is a problem with the horse’s soundness. It may, but it may not either. Many horses, especially in this breed and in the TWH are started under saddle at very young ages. This can cause early aging to the joints by way of excessive wear to the cartilage in the joint. On x-rays this may show up as early onset arthritis. This is important to know, but at the same time, the majority of those horses still remain sound for many, many years and never go lame.

The value of this test will depend largely upon how hard you expect to ride and how often. If you are a very light rider that rides an hour or two a week,
that horse may well suit for your purpose. IF, however, you plan to participate in some exacting sport or are an avid rider that puts a lot of time in the saddle, you may want to look for a different candidate.

This particular test is very subjective for many reasons. It is an important test depending upon the use you plan to make of the individual horse. X-rays are a better test in my opinion and though they do add to the expense, they will tell much more about what is going on in the horse’s joints and are not
subject to so much interpretation.

Now you have cleared the debris of seeing if the horse is actually as presented and whether it will be suitable to your needs. Now it is time to get down to
the business end of things.

If you plan to pay cash for the horse and the horse is local basically all you need do is see that the seller transfers the registration papers on the horse. The
second thing that you must do is to get a bill of sale. Even though the transfer of ownership on the registration papers are signed, many states do not recognize transfer of ownership without an actual bill of sale.

When it is time to pick the horse up it is vital that the seller produce a current negative coggins test and a health certification. Most states require these
things to accompany a horse even if it is only being transported a few miles. Many states also require a brand inspection card or paper to be at hand wherever
the horse is. You may wish to check with your local authorities as to what requirements there are regarding such issues prior to making final payment
and picking up the horse.

If you plan to pay by personal check to a local seller, be prepared to leave the horse in the seller’s possession until your check clears the bank and
funding has been released to the seller. This is becoming more and more common due to the high incidence of bad checks today however, if you pay by
check you still need to have a signed bill of sale as proof you gave the seller the check. Otherwise a seller can say the check was for some other purpose.

If you plan to pay by pay-pal, or some other form of credit card or money transfer, be sure the transaction is acknowledged as payment for the horse, if this is not possible then have the seller email you confirmation by way of receipt so you have something to prove you have made payment on the horse.

In situations where you are making payments there may be a request for an additional sum in lieu of the seller taking those payments. Sort of interest. This
is perfectly understandable and reasonable for the seller to require considering the seller is taking the horse off the market for you and deferring the final
payment. It is up to you as the buyer to determine whether that credit charge is acceptable or not.

If you are making payments it is wise to have a contract with the seller. That contract should detail clearly what you are paying total price for the horse,
how it is to be paid, what will be the action or recourse if payment is not made on time, where the horse will reside until such time final payment is made, and who will be responsible for the horse’s expenses, veterinary care, etc until final payment is made and delivery complete.

When a horse is being purchased via internet it is frequently done on a payment plan. The same sorts of considerations should be put in place with a good
contract spelling out exactly how the transfer of ownership is to be made. It should also spell out who is responsible for the shipping costs of the horse
and other related charges.

It pays great dividends to have all the “T’s” crossed and the “I’s” dotted before consummating a deal. When both the seller and the buyer have full understanding of the transaction and agree with all the terms the entire process is much less stressful and less likely to fall into a legal haggle later on down the road.

For horses purchased via the internet one other area should be addressed in the contract. That is when the horse finally arrives at your home, what if it is not
as represented. What if any recourse will there be should the animal have issues that were not brought out during your careful questioning and vet checks?

Chances are, if you have made payments to purchase the horse, it will be an “as is” agreement where you accept the responsibility for the purchase. In that
case if the horse does not suit you or your needs, the only recourse to you will likely be the resale of the horse unless there is a glaring problem that was not
disclosed. In that case legal action may be an option but they can be very protracted and not always beneficial.

If you have paid in full for the horse it is sometimes agreed between parties that return to the seller is an option. If that is the case then prior to accepting
the agreement, be certain to get in writing should such an occurrence happen, who will pay shipping costs.

It is important to note that registries, do not get involved in legal disputes between seller and buyer. Most legal actions are required to be filed in the
state of the sale. There are relatively few recourses that are practical or affordable when a transaction goes wrong. Therefore, it is extremely important to
get everything down to the smallest detail in WRITING…even when dealing with people you have been corresponding with for a long time over the internet,
doing other business with, consider friends, or even relatives. Your very best defense is to only enter agreements that have been thoroughly researched and
then contracted clearly and completely in WRITING!

( As a side note I would like to say that I both buy
and sell via the internet and have had good
experiences in both catagories. It is the way of the
future and a very good way to broaden a search area or
sales market. It can be totally rewarding for both
parties so long as both know what they are getting and
what is expected of them.)

© 2004 Dyan Westvang All Rights Reserved

 

 

 
 

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