Buyer beware – part 2

April 15th, 2021 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Buyer beware – part 2”

So here we are again with the second part of my buying blog. 

We finished the last blog at the stage of you having done all your riding and basic checks, hopefully you have found the ‘one’. So from a riding point of view your potential new horse ticks all the boxes and you are smitten!! Very exciting. You are ready to go to the next stage, deposit, to vet or not to vet and purchase. 


I have never left a deposit for a horse and I don’t think I have been asked for one. Even when I have dealt with a dealer on the continent I haven’t left a deposit. The problem is that you need to know the terms under which you are giving/receiving the deposit. 

For example, do you get the deposit back if the vet says the horse is 5 when the owner said it is 6? Is the deposit kept if you change your mind because you saw a better/shinier horse the next day? 

So deposits can be a bit of a minefield for all concerned. I totally understand why the owner might want a deposit left in good faith if they have a queue around the block of people wanting a horse. They want some commitment from the potential purchaser that they are going to go through with the sale. But please write down the amount of the deposit, what horse it is for (copy of passport) and in what circumstances the deposit will be refunded. 


I am just going to put my thoughts out there!! 

Vettings should be viewed as a moment in time. The horse was sound and healthy at that point under a specific set of circumstances. The x-rays taken again represent that moment, not three months after you have purchased the horse. 

So should you have a vetting? Generally yes. My questions to ask would be;

    • what price are you paying?
    • what can you afford to lose? 
    • do you need insurance?

If you need insurance over £4 or £5k then you will require a 5 stage vet examination. If you are paying over £10k then you normally need x-rays as well. If you are paying below that you may still want the basic 2 stage done. 

I view the vetting as an indication of the future soundness of a horse. It is not an exact science in my humble opinion, it gives you a few observations on your future dancing partner that you need to bear in mind as time progresses. If a vetting and x-rays show nothing at all, I am probably more suspicious!! No horse is perfect, just like us humans!!

If at all possible attend the vetting, if not be on hand around the time that the vetting is taking place just in case anything comes up and the vet wants to check in with you. Before the vetting make sure that your vet has the full passport name of the horse, age, and microchip number. When I see a horse I often ask for the passport to check the vaccinations and take a photo, you can then send this to the vet undertaking the pre purchase exam. 

So view this part as something you need for insurance and it gives you an indication of soundness and whether your horse is fit for the sport you want to do. For a top eventer you would want healthy heart and lungs, for a happy hacker you may accept a bit of a noise during fast work. If something comes up, don’t dismiss the horse, is it an issue you can live with? Is it a bit of wear and tear due to age? If this is your dream horse in every other respect talk it over with your vet and then take a considered decision. Do you understand my reasoning? 

Now you are ready to purchase, or are you? First of all consider if you have any doubts or concerns. Look back at the videos, pictures and email/text conversations to see whether there is anything missing. Have you done some digging across social media? Checked the horse’s competition record? Is everything consistent with what you have been told? 

Just a little anecdote about why all the ‘evidence’ can be useful. A friend purchased a horse direct from the owners (although a third party professional had recommended it) and all went well in terms of the viewing and conversations going back and forth. Luckily these were predominantly in writing. Horse was vetted and duly arrived. A number of issues occurred in the handling of the horse which in the advert was described as a confidence giving complete star/unicorn. The previous owner then started to backtrack in a couple of important areas, one of which was catching the horse in the field!! After being shown both front legs and also rear legs when trying to catch said horse on several occasions the decision was made that there were just too many handling problems to consider keeping him. On further investigation of social media it was apparent that the horse had existing problems with the original owners, all of which they had denied. The ‘evidence’ gathered and kept during the purchase process was crucial in sending the horse back and getting the money back for the new owner. 

Without the ‘evidence’ there is little chance of getting money back in a ‘private’ purchase scenario. If someone is a dealer then you have more scope within the law to get your money back. 

Don’t forget when you hand over the money to get a receipt that is signed and dated or keep details of the bank transfer. If your horse is being transported, the people in charge of transport can let you know when they have the horse and passport and most are happy to send a photo.

So buyer beware, be prepared, do your homework and keep evidence ‘just in case’. 

In my next blog I will look at bringing your precious purchase home and how to manage the transition. How can you be the best new owner for your horse?