Safety Concerns: Looking For A Horse… Is My Trainer Helping? Logo

Question Category: Safety Concerns

Question: Hi, Julie:

My trainer (of 6 months) agreed to help me find an Arab or Arab Cross. She is a dressage instructor with no real fondness for the breed. Her preference is most definitely an Arab Cross. I know little about buying a horse and decided she was the authority and have turned it over to her. I know several ladies though who are strong endurance riders on the East Coast and one of them had three prospects for me to look at. She sent a video to my trainer. To my eye they all looked great. She’s given three thumbs down on each. Several other gals at my barn have been searching for more than a year. They’re not looking to buy an Arab because they only want to do dressage. But, again, all the prospects for one reason or another, she says “no”. However, a friend of hers had a horse she thought would be terrific for one of my friends. All excited, the horse arrived at the barn with a huge gash in its back leg. An injury sustained with no attention for a good month. I was shocked our trainer would have even allowed the horse to be brought to our barn for consideration. After the vet check, he determined the swelling was so severe that the horse would be good only for breeding otherwise should not be ridden. The damage was too severe.

I don’t know what to make of all this. I belong to all of the horse organizations. Everyone has horses for sale. I need a trainer to help me weed through the good vs. the bad. My confidence has gotten shaky this week in my trainer’s decision making. I should also mention, she has a friend who needs to sell an Arab cross. When I asked her if the horse was a good endurance prospect, she had no information. If you were me, what would you do?


Answer: Teresa,

If you are looking for an endurance horse, you should find a trainer that is active in that field. It is about as far from dressage as you can get. You need an expert that can guide you through the pros and cons of horses, their breeding, conformation, performance, etc. These are the people that have contacts in that realm of the horse world and would know of good prospects (you don’t need to waste time looking at inappropriate horses).
Finding a horse to buy is often a long and arduous process and I know many people that have looked for more than a year before finding the right horse. Be patient and be picky and find some help.

There are seller’s agents and buyer’s agents. You need a buyer’s agent that you can pay his/her regularly hourly fee to look at horses for you. Or you could engage a trainer to look for horses for you for a finder’s fee (be wary of commissions for buyer’s agents since that encourages the trainer to look for an expensive horse). Most often what you encounter is the seller’s agent (like with real estate), who is receiving a commission on the sale (usually 10%); therefore you may not get all the info you need about the horse. Be very leery of double-dipping agents (taking a commission from both buyer and seller).

Good luck and be patient. When you find the right horse, it will be well worth the wait. Don’t forget, the internet is a great resource for finding horses for sale, but use discretion.


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