Profile of a Horse Trader
Charming, Knowledgeable, Sincere, Dangerous
We'd like to make an important distinction between two situations.
1.) Some people overestimate their own abilities. They buy animals with bad habits, health problems, or no training and think they can successfully overcome problems. If they fail, it is a sad result for both owners and horses but not the focus of this website.
2.) Some people, in good faith, buy from traders who grossly and knowingly misrepresent the horses they sell. The mission of HTT is to help buyers recognize dishonest selling tactics.
Horse Traders Come in Every Shape & Size
- For the sake of brevity, we'll refer to our horse trader in the masculine, but there are plenty of women in this game too.
- For example, you might encounter a kindly senior citizen, a young woman with a baby on her hip, a cowboy, or a man in a business suit; don't let stereotypes blind your good judgement.
Horse Traders Have to Be Convincing
- He knows the first step in making a sale is to establish a connection with the buyer, so he'll tell you what you want to hear.
- He will be confident, and often friendly or funny. He'll seem like a nice guy and you'll like him.
Horse Traders Listen Carefully
- If you describe your ideal horse, the animal you're looking at will match perfectly.
- If you confide that you’ve bought horses from other traders and been unhappy, he will commiserate and tell you that he's also heard bad stories about those sellers and will assure you that you’re safe with him. Don't be fooled; most of the traders know each other and work together. They meet weekly across their region at livestock sales and auctions.
Horse Trader Selling Tactics
- A trader might shamelessly use his child to sell horses. When you see his 6 year-old daughter effortlessly turning, trotting and stopping the mare you're looking at, you'll be impressed. Traders are affectionate with their own children, and yours, too.
- A tricky trader might exhaust the animal hours before you've scheduled your appointment to look, or he might administer a sedative so the horse appears calm. The horse might be sticky with sweat or freshly bathed to hide the evidence, but he knows a worn out horse will be less likely to misbehave.
- He might dose the horse with pain killing drugs so there's no evidence of unsoundness.
- A typical trader has only a small round pen or paddock to showcase his horses. If you ask how the horse rides in a larger area or out on the trail, he assures you it is steady and exactly the same no matter where it is ridden. The trader has his other livestock in fields around the paddock or round pen so you can't try the horse yourself outside the small area.
- He is adept at trial closes (Sales tactic 101) by saying you won't find a nicer horse anywhere else, and encouraging you to agree. He'll say he has two other people scheduled to look at this particular horse later in the day. He carefully lets you know that you’d be foolish to let this perfect mount go by not making an immediate decision to buy it.
- He'll say he's had the horse for over a year, but he has too many and needs to let some of them go...or it’s his wife’s favorite but she's too busy to ride...or he felt sorry for the horse and took it out of the goodness of his heart to find it a better home.
- The horse won't have a current Coggins certificate because "it just expired." If you could see the real Coggins, you might observe that he's only owned the horse a short while.
- He may offer to let you try the horse for a week or two and return it if you’re not completely satisfied. He'll give you examples of a few fickle and unreasonable people who have returned good horses to him. He'll explain, with a sigh of resignation, that he refunded their money and sent them on their way.
- If you want to think about it overnight, he'll kindly offer to hold the horse because you’re such a wonderful home.
- If you want to document all he's said in the form of a sales contract, detailed bill of sale, or written agreement for a trial period, and he refuses, it might mean your trader hasn't been completely truthful. Proceed with caution.
This work by horsetradertricks.com is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.