Horse Journal OnCall: What If The New Horse Is Different Once You Get Him Home?

Our reader wonders who may be at fault.
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Our reader wonders who may be at fault.

What happens if it is the horse's temperament/ training in question? Say you try and buy a "beginner" horse that performs perfectly at the sellers but at the new farm it acts up and tests owners? 

Will that new horse be the "same" horse you knew at the seller's barn?

Will that new horse be the "same" horse you knew at the seller's barn?

Contributing Writer Susan Quinn, Esq., responds:

There are a few perspectives from which to approach this question: the horse, the seller and the buyer. And as much as we hate to answer your question by asking questions of our own, to give a reasonable answer we need more information.

First, you say that the horse “acts up and tests owners.” It’s not clear from the question you posed what the horse is actually doing by acting up and testing owners. Many horses when placed in a new environment with new people may act differently than the way they did in their previously familiar surroundings. Just as a buyer is sizing up the new horse, the horse is also sizing up its new owner and riders and testing the waters to see what the limitations and boundaries are. That is not the same, however, as a horse who is behaving in a flagrantly dangerous manner that could harm people or property.

From the seller’s perspective: Was the seller aware that the buyer wanted a “beginner” horse? How did the seller represent the horse to the buyer? Was the seller aware of any problems with the horse’s temperament or training? If so, were these problems disclosed to the buyer prior to purchase?

From the buyer’s perspective: How much experience did the buyer have with horses before deciding to buy this horse? Was the buyer inexperienced as to horses and reasonably relying on the seller’s representations as to the suitability of the horse for the buyer’s purposes? Or was the buyer knowledgeable and experienced in horses? If the buyer was inexperienced, did he/she have a knowledgeable person (a trainer/instructor) guiding and advising them as to the horse purchase? Did the buyer purchase the horse sight unseen or did the buyer observe the horse and “test drive” it before buying it? Did the buyer take the horse on a trial bases prior to buying it? Did the buyer have their vet perform a pre-purchase exam complete with drug screen? How long has the horse now been in the possession of the buyer? Has the buyer incurred any damages or expenses as a result of buying this horse? Was there a written and signed contract as to the transaction? If so, did the contract have any provision for return of the horse?

It’s not an easy answer, as you can see, but I hope I’ve provided enough considerations to help you answer your question. We welcome more specific information regarding this question. You can email us at horsejournal@aimmedia.com.

Be sure to consult these articles as well:

When Your Horse Turns Out To Be A "Lemon"

Pre-Purchase Trial? Get It In Writing

Equine Pre-Purchase Contract Sample