At Least They're Consistent
The red flags listed here DO NOT always mean you are dealing with a dishonest trader! While many dishonest traders will use these tactics to sell horses, true or not, there can be perfectly reasonable explanations for any of them (except not signing a contract). Please, use them as intended: as an early warning system.
- Pictures in advertisements show the horse in a creek, with a dog in the saddle or someone standing in the saddle.
- Pictures show a child on the horse.
- The horse doesn't have a Coggins certificate (in states where it's expected).
- The horse is saddled and bridled when you arrive, or already sweaty.
- You Google the seller's name, address and/or phone number and see many ads for "kid-broke" or "100% bomb-proof" horses.
- The seller wants to meet you somewhere to show you the horse.
- The only place to ride is a small paddock or round pen.
- The horse is advertised as 100% child safe or kid broke.
- Seller refuses to sign a bill of sale, a contract, or anything else that may document details of the sale.
- The horse is in very poor physical condition.
- Bait & Switch- The perfect horse in the ad is no longer available, but the seller has many others for sale.
- If a male horse's penis is more relaxed than normal, it might mean the horse has been sedated.
- The seller makes excuses (recent stone bruise, hooves trimmed too short, tripped yesterday in the pasture, caught a cold,etc.) if a horse is sore, lame, or sick. A pre-purchase exam will at least let you know what to expect if you do buy.
- If the horse is unusually shaggy well into late spring and the seller says it just hasn't shed out yet, the horse might be suffering from Cushing's disease.
- The horse is ridden with any kind of very restrictive tack, or tack used in an unusual way (i.e. a short tie-down, a severe bit, or a noseband tightened down like a girth).
Click here if you are tempted to make a "pity purchase."
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