Buying from a trainer, instructor or trader…

Buying from a horse professional you think would be easy. But it’s fraught with it’s own dangers.

If you buy a horse through a stable, broke, trainer etc…there is always a commission involved that you, as buyer, know nothing about. I didn’t know about these invisible rake offs until I worked for a trainer as they are never discussed openly. If you ask them about it, most will play innocent and say “what commission? I’m taking a loss on this horse! I’m your friend!” ROFLMAO! Don’t buy that act.

If a trainer represents you, and you visit another trainers’ horse, both trainers will most likely get a commission. This means that your trainer is no longer operating as a Buyer’s Agent, but as a Seller’s Agent, and their advice could be tainted. Again, don’t believe that your trainer/instructor is doing it out of the kindness of their heart.  There’s a kickback happening either in money, positive stroking of reputation, or favors.

Just me personally, but I would prefer a trainer/instructor tell me, “for $500 I will travel to see 4 horses, ride them and give my input about them” then accept a commission based on the horses’ sell price. However, this is unrealistic. If a trainer sells you a $8,000 horse and takes modest 15% commission they can make $1200. I’ve known it to go as half the price as the owner is actually asking (owner is selling horse for $4,000 but trainer has doubled the price and takes the other $4,000).

Horse brokers, trainers, stables and dealers will know exactly how to conceal a horses’ worst points. Unscrupulous people will use drugs, deprive the horse of water, starve the horse, and/or ride the horse hard before you show up to conceal problems. Here’s a classic: seller will deliver – that way you never know that the horse won’t willingly load into a trailer.

If buying from a stable, trainer, or instructor, the best way to get around a horse being misrepresented is to LEASE THE HORSE for 2 weeks to a month to see if you are a good match. This gives you plenty of time to discover if you two are a match, as well as overcomes any trick the seller might try to hide faults or health issues.

Generally, this comes down to a written agreement where you pay the boarding fees, farrier and vet for the trial month. Dependent upon the agreement, the horse is generally still up for sale, with you being offered first chance to buy. If the horse is used in a lesson program or by it’s owner for shows etc…they may still be using the horse during your trial lease. If the horse is to be moved to your trainers’ barn during the trial period, the owner has the right to remove the horse at any time and retains full ownership until the horse is paid in full.

Let me tell you a true story I personally witnessed. OTTB comes to barn where the instructor/trainer has a deal with a TB farm. She sells them and gets kickback. She puts a teen student on the horse who rides it for 3 months to “train it” (aka put miles on it). Finally, someone decides to buy and during the vet check it is discovered that OTTB has an injury where the tendon is barely holding on. Any sort of twist and this 16.3 horse would have collasped in a crippled heap. BTW teen rider Had been jumping this TB! Talk about lawsuit waiting to happen!


Personally, I’m not saying it’s evil to buy from a horse professional but I am saying that don’t trust what they say and get a VET CHECK. They are selling horses for a living and they know exactly how to do it to reluctant buyers. Be smart and realilze they have their own agenda! Hopefully, that agenda can coincide with your needs but if not, walk away.


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