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Innisfree

Horse people

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Thanks so much, everyone. I appreciate all the advice. Taking some information down now for privacy.

Edited by Innisfree

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I don't know if there is a social group, but you could ask here and someone might be able to help.

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What is the age, height and breed of the horse?  If, assuming from your last lines, the horse is a jumper and depending on age, there's probably a routine of 'maintenance' keeping him sound.  Or, he has dodgy x-rays or arthritic changes somewhere. These are common in the hunter/jumper world and it just becomes a game of 'how to maintain horse to keep sound'.  If you received a tip about vetting, I would by all means follow it, you never know what they haven't told you.  Best of luck!

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I don't blame you for feeling stressed because buying a horse is a tricky process, and of course the horse world is notorious for being full of shady people. My farrier and I were just talking about how crazy it is trying to buy a horse because there are so many liars out there.

Who owns the horse now? Is he owned by the barn?

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If you can only afford to buy one horse and your daughter's level is going up while the horses level is going down then I would not say it is a good long term match.  In 1-2 years you could have a senior horse that needs a lot of extra care but isn't sound for anything more than very light riding, if that.

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Ok, since the barn is getting a commission, I would not use their vet. Their vet has a financial incentive to keep them happy, so I would not trust his/her word. Do not worry about etiquette or bad feelings, just do what is in your best interest as a potential buyer. If that causes any upset, then you know they are trying to hide something.

Do you know anyone with lots of horse experience that could help you evaluate the horse? Someone who is not employed by the barn?

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10 minutes ago, Ottakee said:

If you can only afford to buy one horse and your daughter's level is going up while the horses level is going down then I would not say it is a good long term match.  In 1-2 years you could have a senior horse that needs a lot of extra care but isn't sound for anything more than very light riding, if that.

Yes, that is dd's exact concern. Right now the horse seems like a perfect match for her. But in a couple of years, who knows.

Is it really bad manners in the horse world to say no when we've already asked for a vet check? Or should we go through with the check, hoping for more specific information and a better idea of how long he might have at his current level? Maybe it's just impossible to predict?

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2 minutes ago, Selkie said:

Ok, since the barn is getting a commission, I would not use their vet. Their vet has a financial incentive to keep them happy, so I would not trust his/her word. Do not worry about etiquette or bad feelings, just do what is in your best interest as a potential buyer. If that causes any upset, then you know they are trying to hide something.

Do you know anyone with lots of horse experience that could help you evaluate the horse? Someone who is not employed by the barn?

Hmm. Not easily available. Our local horse acquaintances are all at this barn. That's a good idea, though, and I might be able to figure something out.

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It is completely reasonable to have independent vetting done as well as asking for the horse's medical records before purchasing. If someone at the barn was trying to warn me off of a horse, I'd take it very seriously. Injections and known neck issues suggest that the horse is not sound. More treatment may be needed down the road and vet bills can get very expensive. 

I would not purchase a horse that holds back the rider's development. It will be very disheartening and frustrating.

Edited by Hannah
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On ‎8‎/‎31‎/‎2018 at 10:02 PM, Innisfree said:

Thanks! The whole story here gets complicated in ways I wasn't sure about going into here, but the meat of the issue is that we're trying to buy dd her first horse and feeling overwhelmed. I don't have enough experience to know how worried I should be.

The horse we're considering atm seems good. He's experienced, safe, and dd loves him. He is well known at the barn where dd rides.

But at the barn today a staff member warned me to print out a list of questions to ask the vet. She emphasized that we should make sure we take time and understand everything he said. So far, no problem: we'd do all that regardless. Then she told me not to tell anyone else at the barn she had said that; that dd didn't deserve to have trouble with her first horse, "you know what I mean?" And then she headed off.

 So, the implication I hear is that she knows we shouldn't get this horse. Am I off base here?

Next question: the vet which the barn is steering us toward is the one they customarily use themselves. Is that a bad idea? I'm not sure how many alternatives there may be, but I know they give this vet significant business. Should we be trying to find someone neutral? Will we make them upset if we bring this up? Are there social norms around this stuff?

My impression of the barn staff has been very good up to this point. I don't want to be unnecessarily suspicious, and I don't want to be hard to work with. But this is a huge purchase for us. I am getting awfully anxious about the whole situation. It's just so much money for us, and if something goes wrong, we can't turn around and get her another horse. I mean, we'll get insurance, but as I understand it, that's for major medical expenses, right? Not just because the horse can't jump anymore, but the girl still wants to jump. So if it gets to that point, dd is just out of luck.

I feel utterly out of my depth. I was comfortable relying on the professional judgement of the staff at the stable, but now I'm not sure I can do that.

Thoughts?

The bolded is a big, fat red flag.  If you have your heart set on a horse, lease it for a year first, so you know what you are buying.  But that barn employee was trying to give you a heads-up for a reason, and the reasons are probably embedded in the questions she told you to ask the vet.  What were the questions she said to be sure and ask the vet? How old is the horse?

Edited by Reefgazer
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1 hour ago, Reefgazer said:

The bolded is a big, fat red flag.  If you have your heart set on a horse, lease it for a year first, so you know what you are buying.  But that barn employee was trying to give you a heads-up for a reason, and the reasons are probably embedded in the questions she told you to ask the vet.  What were the questions she said to be sure and ask the vet? How old is the horse?

She didn't list any specific questions, just said to print off a list from the internet. The horse is 17. And yes, I certainly took it as a big red flag.

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Cancel this vet check and save yourself the money.  Tell the barn, "upon further reflection we want to wait and find a younger horse that our DD can have for a few more years moving up with him."

There are way too many red flags with this one and a 17 year old horse with issues who's heading down in his capabilities is not a good match for a younger rider moving up - esp when it's not "planned" for merely a year or two with the intent of trading up afterward.  That latter bit would be just fine, but it's not what you can afford.

Save your money.  Look for a younger horse with experience and look outside the barn itself.

ALWAYS get your own vet for a vet check - not one associated with the seller.

Edited by creekland
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Agree with Creekland.  Neck issues can be especially painful for the horse, and problematic.  Vet checks can get extremely expensive if you start doing a lot of x-rays.

Stefanie

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Thanks very much, everyone. I appreciate the informed advice very much. I've asked for a written list of everything known now before we proceed with a vet check, so we can do some research. We may well back out of this, but I want dd to be able to look at the information and come to that conclusion herself, if possible. It's a pity she loves him so much.

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35 minutes ago, Innisfree said:

Thanks very much, everyone. I appreciate the informed advice very much. I've asked for a written list of everything known now before we proceed with a vet check, so we can do some research. We may well back out of this, but I want dd to be able to look at the information and come to that conclusion herself, if possible. It's a pity she loves him so much.

What’s worse is when you love him and can’t ride him, can’t sell him, and just have to pay for his upkeep. There are tons of lovable horses. You don’t have to own every lovable horse. 

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1 hour ago, fairfarmhand said:

What’s worse is when you love him and can’t ride him, can’t sell him, and just have to pay for his upkeep. There are tons of lovable horses. You don’t have to own every lovable horse. 

Yep, this is pretty much what I've been saying. Dd basically agrees. I'd be willing to get him, anticipating that we get a year or two of use and then sell him, but dd is very concerned about what would come next for him: a valid concern, I think. And then our purchase money would be gone if he continues downhill.

If we lease, they say we pay 1/3 of the purchase price annually, up front, and assume all vet bills. Ouch. Once we do that, there's not enough money left to buy.

Edited by Innisfree

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36 minutes ago, Innisfree said:

Yep, this is pretty much what I've been saying. Dd basically agrees. I'd be willing to get him, anticipating that we get a year or two of use and then sell him, but dd is very concerned about what would come next for him: a valid concern, I think. And then our purchase money would be gone if he continues downhill.

If we lease, they say we pay 1/3 of the purchase price annually, up front, and assume all vet bills. Ouch. Once we do that, there's not enough money left to buy.

There’s no way I’d buy into that lease. No way!

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52 minutes ago, Innisfree said:

Yep, this is pretty much what I've been saying. Dd basically agrees. I'd be willing to get him, anticipating that we get a year or two of use and then sell him, but dd is very concerned about what would come next for him: a valid concern, I think. And then our purchase money would be gone if he continues downhill.

If we lease, they say we pay 1/3 of the purchase price annually, up front, and assume all vet bills. Ouch. Once we do that, there's not enough money left to buy.

 

I'm with fairfarmhand.  This screams to me that they are looking to unload the horse and are very worried that anything could happen at any time to him, esp since they are steering you to a vet they use.  Then they'd at least have the 1/3rd value you've paid plus you'd be taking over the vet bills.

I'd be running from this "deal."

There are way too many crooked horse dealers out there, some of them seem so innocent, but like folks in many other professions, the bottom line to them is all about the money - not doing what's right.

There are many, many lovable horses out there.  You can't buy them all.

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So, what they tell me is that this deal is typical for leasing. Not true? They did not mention the terms in connection with this horse, but in general.

And adding that they don't own any horse we've considered. This is just the barn where dd rides, and my understanding was that it's usual to go through the barn when buying. They will earn a commission, but aren't the present owners.

Edited by Innisfree

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This type of lease isn't typical in my experience (which, granted, is somewhat limited.)  I wouldn't buy this horse and plan on keeping it for the long haul, it just doesn't sound like a good match for a kid that's looking to move up.  (Minus the red flags you mentioned in the OP.)  We've been pretty fortunate so far with horses, but we've had a ton of lease and purchase options available.  We have leased, half-leased, purchased, and free-leased horses over the years.  We have never gone through our barn to buy a horse, though we have had our trainer's opinion when looking.  Right now, we own one horse and free-lease (just pay board/vet/insurance) on a second.  The horse we own, my oldest will be able to ride for several years to come.  My #2 is still growing and currently rides a pony, but that won't last forever.  It's nice to have some options moving forward.  I'd be nervous to put all my eggs in one basket and have to decide one long-term horse.  And yes, it seems that more crooked people sell horses than honest ones, which is terribly frustrating.  

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2 hours ago, Innisfree said:

Yep, this is pretty much what I've been saying. Dd basically agrees. I'd be willing to get him, anticipating that we get a year or two of use and then sell him, but dd is very concerned about what would come next for him: a valid concern, I think. And then our purchase money would be gone if he continues downhill.

If we lease, they say we pay 1/3 of the purchase price annually, up front, and assume all vet bills. Ouch. Once we do that, there's not enough money left to buy.

In my experience, those lease terms would only apply to a high level competition horse. A good riding horse that isn't top-notch show quality could be leased for much less.

Also, while I have heard of barns charging commissions, that isn't typical in my experience. I have never known of a barn around here that gets involved in the buying and selling of horses like that.

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I'm beginning to think they are all about high-level competition, while we are focused on safe, competent riding, learning horse care, and companionship.

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16 minutes ago, Innisfree said:

I'm beginning to think they are all about high-level competition, while we are focused on safe, competent riding, learning horse care, and companionship.

Are there other barns in your area?   In our area 4H is a great way to focus in the goals you listed above and at a far less cost than many High level show barns.

Now, I will say that I and one of my dad's has taken lessons at a Hugh level jumping barn in our area.  The instructor is top notch and focuses on the goals you mention.  She knew my objective was a safe trail ride for myself and there was no pressure to do/buy more with her.

 

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1 hour ago, Innisfree said:

So, what they tell me is that this deal is typical for leasing. Not true? They did not mention the terms in connection with this horse, but in general.

That type of lease and terms -is- common in the H/J world, especially at the bigger or 'better' barns. However if you're seeing red flags (and it sounds like you are), I'd run like heck.  

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1 hour ago, Innisfree said:

I'm beginning to think they are all about high-level competition, while we are focused on safe, competent riding, learning horse care, and companionship.

 

This can be common at higher level barns.  We've sold (and leased) some of our top level competition ponies at similar places.  A lease has never been due up front though.  It's been a contract over a period of time and paid monthly with the barn taking their cut since they found us the buyer/leaser.

But in your case it really sounds like they are trying to unload a problem on you rather than helping you get a truly suitable horse for you.  Big barns do that too.  They expect parents will simply have the money to do the next step in a year or two even if they say they don't have the money now.  Most folks at higher level barns have money.

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Is your DD riding this horse now? Is she not able to continue to do that unless she buys/leases? If possible, I'd just continue doing what you are doing now while keeping an eye out for a horse that fits your requirements. This doesn't sound like that horse as far as purchasing.

 

Hi to Creekland. Glad to see you again! <insert waving emoji>

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OP, you want a horse that's ahead of your dd in skills and getting better, not getting worse. This one is probably a great horse, but his abilities are deteriorating.  Is your dd just riding a lesson horse now, so only once or twice a week?  Is there a share-board option at your barn?  It's sort of like a much cheaper lease; the companionship aspect is there from being a regular rider, but you might only have use of the horse half of the time while someone else might ride him the other half of the time.  The owner/trainer would determine how much riding and jumping the horse could handle - maybe your dd and the other student could both ride daily, or maybe they would swap days.  At our barn, the share-boarding riders paid farrier, but not vet.  All barns don't do that, though.  

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2 hours ago, RootAnn said:

Hi to Creekland. Glad to see you again! <insert waving emoji>

 

I should add, it's short term (aka - today). My dad passed away a week ago Sunday.  I'm up at my mom's place (she lives 15 minutes away from where he lived) and was expecting to help settle his estate now that it's post service.  The lawyer is dragging her feet and won't sign the executrix papers (for my sister) until next Monday (GRR!) so we're heading home tomorrow for a week and will get some things done and dr appts in there before returning here to help my mom with her chemo side effects and sister with settling his estate.  My mom is staying with her sisters in a vacation cottage starting tomorrow.  We're dropping her off on our way home.

So... today I'm twiddling my thumbs watching sports with my mom (taped sports) while killing time on the computer.  Once I've killed enough time playing games, etc, my mind wandered to here wondering what had been up and saw a horse post.  ?

I just clicked on a bumper sticker thread expecting to find something funny and it reminded me of why I don't hang out here anymore.  I've become far less tolerant of those who are less tolerant I suppose... Chalk it up to a fault I have.  Too much going on to be annoyed and my IRL friends are more similar to me.  Since I finished homeschooling in 2012... it all adds up to moving on.

I'm still on college confidential if anyone wants/needs to find me.  I still work at school when I'm home and there are still juniors and seniors seeking college info, so I try to stay as up to date as I can by reading (some) threads there.  They have a chat board too for when I need to share/vent/find info.

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Sorry about your dad Creekland but glad to see you here.

I agree that I am less tolerant of the people that have to put others down.

 

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Creekland, I'm sorry about your dad also, and sorry as well that you won't be back here for long. I was very glad you offered advice on our situation. I've appreciated your voice here over the years.

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Just checking back in...

Don't let my situation derail this thread.  That was never my intent.  There was a bit of good advice and eventually, it'd be nice to know how it all turns out!  It's a horse thread... ?

Innisfree, what are you looking for in a horse (size, capabilities, experience, etc) and what general area of the country are you located in?  One never knows who is reading...

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1 hour ago, creekland said:

Just checking back in...

Don't let my situation derail this thread.  That was never my intent.  There was a bit of good advice and eventually, it'd be nice to know how it all turns out!  It's a horse thread... ?

Innisfree, what are you looking for in a horse (size, capabilities, experience, etc) and what general area of the country are you located in?  One never knows who is reading...

 

ITA on the last. Tell everyone you can think of what you are looking for! You never know when someone might come through for you. But don't ever rush into buying a horse you have doubts about. Trust your gut. If not you might be stuck with the most expensive mistake ever. 

We had a situation earlier this year some of y'all know about,  and lost one of our horses (dd's horse). Went through some drama finding what to do with our remaining horse (my horse) we didn't want to sell, but who can't be alone in our pasture and we aren't ready to invest in a second horse. Tried leasing him to a show barn that was a bad fit, moved him to our previous barn for six months, and then after a random conversation with our farrier, ended up loaning him to dd's old dressage barn who were looking for a new lesson horse. It's been a wonderful fit. They needed another lesson horse for an intermediate rider. We needed to keep our Mr. Social busy boy engaged while we deal with dh's work situation and bide our time getting a new horse. It's been such a win-win (and I'm not having to drive to a barn twice a day). I get full board and know he's taken care of, with the flexibility to see him when I want- they get a trained horse for at least six months, and he's the center of attention with the life of Riley at the moment. All because I gabbed to our farrier. ?

Just keep telling everyone what you're looking for! You never know! 

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Yes to reaching out to all you know.  My last 2 horses came through word of mouth from the feed store.  Owner of the store knew I was looking and knew people considering selling.  She linked us up and it was a great fit.

 

When I had to sell our 2 horses this spring I was still in the thinking stages when a friend 2 hours away met up with another adoptive mom who had teen girls and they were a perfect fit for the horses and we can go see them whenever we go up to visit my friend.

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