Thursday, September 1, 2011

Tough Times in a Desperate Horse Market

I dipped my toes into the horse market recently and found the waters to be cold and uninviting.

Many of the online advertisements make me feel wary and I'm reminded of this icon from my childhood:

A couple weeks ago I came upon an ad that didn't conjure up images of the Lost in Space robot.  My trainer and I went to see the horse and ride him.  We both liked him and the seller suggested I take him on trial.   The ideal situation was to take him to the training stable where my trainer could evaluate him and give me lessons on him. But the training stable required a rabies vaccination, which this horse did not have.  I offered to pay for the vaccination and the seller agreed to get the vaccination and draw up a pre-purchase trial contract.  A couple of days went by.  I left a voice message for the seller.  Then at 8:30 that night the seller called in a panic, in need of money because of an ugly divorce situation, and said I had to buy the horse tomorrow or the horse would be sold to a cattle rancher with cash in hand.  Wow!  I was stunned.  I was disappointed.  But I will not be pressured into a rapid purchase like that.

I summoned up some courage and looked at more ads today and it was sickening.  I saw ads placed by desperate people trying to unload their horses "ASAP".  I feel sorry for the horses because the most likely person to respond to these ads is the kill-buyer.

Let me tell you about a couple I just read.  I don't want to copy and paste them here, so I'll just give you the gist of them.

Ad #1 offered a "FREE" 2 year old "Polomino" quarter horse stallion. The seller pleaded, "Please rehome him ASAP...he is FREE."   While the horse is free, his tack costs $300.00 and has to go with him.  The free "Polomino" horse and tack is $300.00 today only.  If you wait until tomorrow "the re-homing fee becomes $500.00" for horse and tack.

What the heck is a "re-homing fee" on a FREE horse?  Now, doesn't that make you want to rush out to the nearest ATM? 

Ad #2 offered another free horse.  A 16 year old, "broke to ride" quarter horse that is "not a push button horse, but is a good horse."  The horse "hasn't been ridden in awhile", but the seller put her kids on it and they survived "are fine".  Seller needs to re-home the horse "ASAP" because the power has been shut off at their vacated farm.  Her rotten husband is in jail and she moved out and is raising their 6 children and didn't have the money to pay the utility bill at the farm.  You can have this horse for free under one condition...when you pick up your free horse, you need to pick up its pasture mate and return that horse to its owner in another town.  The seller can't return the pasture mate to its owner because her husband did not renew the registration on their truck & trailer before he became incarcerated.  Lace up your track shoes, you lucky horse shoppers, because the race is on.  The seller says "preference goes to whoever can get to my place first."

Too bad my horse trailer is in the shop for repairs right now.  I lose again.

Times are tough and I feel badly for people who are in difficult & desperate situations.

I feel most sorry for the horses who are the innocent victims.  Those two "free" horses probably ended up on a truck bound for a slaughter plant south of the boarder.

I don't think I'll look at any more ads today.


  1. I know what you mean about suspicious ads. Many times the spelling is pretty bad and the descriptions - what they say, or what they don't say- are sketchy. It is hard to not feel sorry for the horses under those circumstances.....

  2. I feel so sorry for the poor horses. My feeling is that most of these people shouldn't be allowed to have an animal of any kind and definitely not children. Times are tough but there are just people out there who should not have more than they can comfortably take care of. I guess that seems a little harsh but the innocents are the ones who suffer.

    You're right not to be pressured into anything. A horse is a huge commitment and shouldn't be brought into a situation unless it's the best option for both parties. Very disheartening to read about all this.

  3. How sad. Like you, I feel sorry for the horses.

  4. How dreadful. You also have to be worried about people pretending to be in dire straits hoping to off load a problem horse.

  5. The horses really are the innocent parties. Sad.

  6. Sad and, unfortunately, all too common. Good luck in your horse shopping. It sounds like you are going at it the right way -- with both antenna way, way up for snaky deals. - thanks for dropping by my blog by the way.

  7. I, too, feel sorry for the horses. So sad that many of them will have uncertain futures.

  8. It is sad when there is so little we can do about all these horses! The rescues are over-burdened, and even many of the rescue places are suspicious. I wish I could offer a solution... but thanks for bringing more awareness to the issue- and maybe you should look on horse sites (which also list free horses) rather than craigslist, to avoid the absolute shoddy and sham sales

  9. Horse ads are scary. I feel bad for those poor horses:( Craig's List seems to attract the really weird ones.

  10. I see the same kind of adds here. And the horses are the ones that suffer. There are simular adds for dogs, cats, birds, reptiles, and rodents here, too. I have as many as I can care for, and I know what my limits are but many say 'just one more'. And others don't really care but let someone else in the family keep dragging them home until something has to give and it usually the aniamls with horses first, and it's off to slaughter as some said already. Sad doesn't cover it.

  11. they are not horsemen. There is a difference between "riders' and "horsemen"...these ads prove it.