Being taken advantage of is never fun and unfortunately every industry has people that seem to be waiting to do just that. The horse industry is no stranger to this. It’s an industry that I love so much and you know how they say with horses you never stop learning. That goes for the horse industry as well. Instead of letting those times where I’ve felt “screwed over” or “taken advantage of” make me bitter, I used them to just hopefully make me smarter and help other people navigate this industry and avoid the mistakes I’ve made. It’s important to note that this goes both ways, Industry professionals and Amateurs feel it and deal with it pretty equally. Here are just a few things off the top of my head that myself, my clients, friends, or colleagues have dealt with:
1) Unless you are an experienced rider and have a lot of experience purchasing horses, training them etc. Please take a professional or someone with the experience of a professional with you when you’re searching for your own horse. It may be tempting and you may think, “Oh I’m fine, I’ve been taking lessons for 3 years and I’m in the advanced class.” I’m sure you are a very balanced rider, but unless you’ve handled tons of horses and seen tons of issues, good and bad, you need to have someone who has with you. I would say to pick someone with 10 years or more experience in the industry.
2) I can’t tell you how many times I’ve witnessed trainers who say they’re riding people’s horses 5 days a week, meanwhile, the horse is locked in his stall every day with no rides or turnout and then when the owner says they’re coming they’ll pull the horse out, lunge the crap out of them, give them a bath, and act like they just love your horse. Go look in the stalls and turnouts of any trainer you’re considering. Most people do this, but don’t just look for shiny pretty grooming and clean stalls. Look at the body condition of those horses. Are they well muscled? Do they look like athletes that are training 5 days a week? Or are their muscled weirdly formed or upside down. Do they pin their ears? Are they standing in the back or just staring at a wall looking depressed? If so, avoid that trainer. Pick a trainer who’s horses look like athletes, that come out to greet you when you walk by their stall. These are most likely horses that are being exercised regularly and happy.
3) Pick a horse who’s not perfect. I know, that’s a weird one and I sound crazy right now. But good owners and trainers disclose things about their horses instead of hiding them. They’ll disclose their quirks, health needs, maintenance needs, instead of trying to put a bandaid on them until you buy the horse and then just thinking it’s your problem now. So for this reason, I prefer to buy from people who disclose things even if they’re things that might not seem that great. I’ll take maintenance that I know about over lameness that’s being hidden. Also, I’d prefer buying a horse from someone who’s already done the diagnostics and knows what’s actually going on with their horse instead of someone who’s been ignoring it, avoiding vet bills, and trying to cover it up.
4) Don’t be afraid to ask for a second opinion. Whether that be from a trainer, horse shoer, massage therapist, veterinarian, or anything else for that matter. There’s nothing wrong with getting a few different perspectives on an issue and if anyone makes you feel like you “can’t” reach out for another opinion or they will drop you. I’ve got to say, let them drop you. Getting a second opinion puts fresh and unbiased eyes on a situation. There is NOTHING wrong with that!
5) Horse insurance is a must! Both major medical and mortality are great things to have to protect your horse and yourself. When owners have these options, in my opinion it prevents horses from having to suffer. This way if there is a problem people have the means to call up a vet and have the horse diagnosed. Instead of ignoring the issue and having the horse live in pain. It’s definitely not a place where I’d skimp when it comes to owning or leasing horses.
I’m going to leave it with these 5, but I’m sure I will think of more and keep adding to the list. I hope you’ve enjoyed this article. If you’d like to be eligible for giveaways and other great things visit www.thehorseaholic.com/giveaways. Don’t forget to Share this article with your friends using the buttons below. It helps us and we hope it helps them as well!