Just bought a new horse and need advice please

Gillylou

New Member
Jan 8, 2018
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i have just bought a horse for my daughter from a dealer, I explained to the dealer that my daughter (14) was a total novice and I needed a horse that she could learn from. She is quite tall and he had a horse advertised at 16hh, we went along to the yard and my daughter rode the horse, firstly on a hack with two other horses and then in the arena. The horse was perfect, he was quiet, and my daughter felt safe. We told the dealer we wanted the horse but after we returned from holiday, but understood if he sold him when we were away. The dealer had other horses coming in and said he had to go straight away, reluctantly we took him early and managed to find someone to look after him who was highly experienced.
When we returned from holiday, the person looking after our horse told us that on a few occasions he had backed her into a corner with his backside and warned me to make sure this didn’t happen with my daughter.
It’s been 3 days since we returned from holiday and my daughter has been backed into in stable quite a few times and she got on his back yesterday, the horse pranced around and eventually through her off. He is so strong she couldn’t even hold onto his reins when she got back up. He’s had the run of the field whilst we have been away for our 5 day break.
I called the dealer and said this horse is not suitable for a 14 year old novice, and he said he was fine when he left here but since your 7 days are up I can offer you a swap but I won’t take him back off you and refund any money. The horse is a Dutch warm blood and actually measures 17hh definitely not a novice ride. Can anyone offer any advice, I’m so worried about the well being of my daughter around him and worried that the horse will come to harm as she can’t control him on the ground either.
 

newforest

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Mar 15, 2008
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Not much help I'm afraid.

My thoughts are what you are probably thinking. You shouldn't bought him if you were going away.
If he gave you a seven day trial and five of those you were away, in fairness to the dealer he doesn't have to refund.
Someone other than yourselves have been handling and riding. Someone he didn't see handle, ride or sell to.
His change could be a belly full of grass and simply change of environment.

You can sell him on or swap.
I do feel for you because he might be miss sold, the problem is, he was sold to you with a seven day return, but you choose to go away for five of those.
 

carthorse

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I wonder if, because he's a hand bigger than described, you could return him under the Sale of Goods Act as not as described? Might be worth a phone call to a solicitor who specialises in equine law, but do it sooner rather than later.

If this is the case & you are legally entitled to a refund I'd suggest that you get more lessons for your daughter before buying, and when you do buy take along someone experienced (such as her instructor) when you look.
 

HorseHelen

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Sep 17, 2006
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Sorry to hear this. Your first experience of horse ownership should be fun and exciting not stressful and dangerous

Was the dealer you bought from a reputable dealer? There's a group on facebook called horse dealers - the good the bad and the ugly which is really useful fir information like this. I realise it may be too late but still worth finding out in case you opt to swap the horse for another of theirs. If you haven't got facebook I'm happy to ask there if you private message me the name of the dealer.

Under consumer law the horse has to be fit for purpose and as described which it doesn't sound like it is. You have thirty days under law to reject the horse and claim a refund. The problem is you need to prove it. For example, do you have anything in writing from the seller, maybe a copy of the sales advert?

Also, was the horse vetted? Horses can be doped which a 5 stage vetting covers as they take a blood sample which can be tested later on if need be

The BHS have a legal helpline which is free if you have gold membership so it may be worth you contacting them for advice

Good luck in getting it sorted
 

Jessey

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Dec 20, 2004
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A 17hh warmblood suitable for a novice/1st horse would be a rare find....(yes I am stereotyping but stereotypes exist for a reason)

If he is used to being stabled a lot and has been put out on lots of grass that can certainly change some docile horses into looney-toons, perhaps a review of his previous management (routine, workload, turnout, feed etc.) vs the new would be helpful in the short term, but if he is aggressive then he's not the horse for a 14 year old (if he only does this around feed or under certain circumstances I wouldn't nec. class him as outright aggressive but it would still set alarm bells of for a kids horse). I would seek legal advise (you normally get this included with your horse insurance) or look to swap him for something more appropriate.
 

Native Lover

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Sorry to say this but it sounds like the dealer probably saw you coming :( your daughter has probably been well over horsed ...I would be seeking legal advice to see exactly where you stand...sell or swap the horse if you have no help with sending it back to the dealer.

If you buy again take along experienced horse person and look for something much more suitable for a young girl... as her first horse.

Perhaps a large Native or partbred native/cob would be more suitable ask at your local pony club too for people outgrowing much loved sensible pony that's been there and got the t shirt.....
 

Mary Poppins

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Oct 10, 2004
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Where do you keep the horse? Is he at home or at a livery yard? Are there other horses with him? How has his routine changed? What are you feeding him? Yes lots of questions, but keeping horses is not a straightforward task. Horses are not machines and will become unsettled in new environments.

I don't understand what you mean by being 'backed into the stable'. What does he do? If you put a headcollar on straight away when you are at the stable door and then take him out of the stable when you muck out/tack up etc. you will never be in a position where you are trapped inside the stable. If he has his back to you when you enter the stable, an offer of a polo or apple should be enough to turn him around, or failing that get a feedbucket which should make him turn around to get the headcollar on him. Safety has to come first and some horses are territorial about their space, you can easily solve his by taking him out of the stable.

You sound like you need someone experienced to help you with him, regardless of whether you keep him long term or not. He sounds like he is unsettled and scared. If he is not already on a livery yard, I would move him to one asap and get someone with experience to handle and ride him for you before your daughter gets on again. I don't think that legally you have a leg to stand on if you try and return him. If he was on a 7 day return policy, you really shouldn't have bought him knowing you were not going to be able to use the 7 days to see if he was suitable.
 

Jane&Ziggy

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Apr 30, 2010
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Many many new owners appear here on the forum saying that the quiet horse they were sold changed completely when they got him home. Horses often do change, at least to start with, because their circumstances have changed. So it's not impossible that this horse could settle down and become the nice quiet horse you tried out.

However, bad things happen too - dealers don't always play with a straight bat.

If you want to try to change the horse for the better we will help as many of us have been there! If you want to get rid of him, nobody would blame you, and you've had some good advice on the options open to you.

Good luck either way.
 
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Trewsers

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Oct 13, 2004
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Where do you keep the horse? Is he at home or at a livery yard? Are there other horses with him? How has his routine changed? What are you feeding him? Yes lots of questions, but keeping horses is not a straightforward task. Horses are not machines and will become unsettled in new environments.

I don't understand what you mean by being 'backed into the stable'. What does he do? If you put a headcollar on straight away when you are at the stable door and then take him out of the stable when you muck out/tack up etc. you will never be in a position where you are trapped inside the stable. If he has his back to you when you enter the stable, an offer of a polo or apple should be enough to turn him around, or failing that get a feedbucket which should make him turn around to get the headcollar on him. Safety has to come first and some horses are territorial about their space, you can easily solve his by taking him out of the stable.

You sound like you need someone experienced to help you with him, regardless of whether you keep him long term or not. He sounds like he is unsettled and scared. If he is not already on a livery yard, I would move him to one asap and get someone with experience to handle and ride him for you before your daughter gets on again. I don't think that legally you have a leg to stand on if you try and return him. If he was on a 7 day return policy, you really shouldn't have bought him knowing you were not going to be able to use the 7 days to see if he was suitable.

Yes I would think paying someone experienced might be the answer, and definitely get him on a livery yard. He does sound very unsettled too.
 

Trewsers

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Oct 13, 2004
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Sorry to say this but it sounds like the dealer probably saw you coming :( your daughter has probably been well over horsed ...I would be seeking legal advice to see exactly where you stand...sell or swap the horse if you have no help with sending it back to the dealer.

If you buy again take along experienced horse person and look for something much more suitable for a young girl... as her first horse.

Perhaps a large Native or partbred native/cob would be more suitable ask at your local pony club too for people outgrowing much loved sensible pony that's been there and got the t shirt.....

Yes I think they did too by the sounds of it. Similar thing happend to someone who I used to be on a yard with. They came home with a huge 17hh irish sport horse for their first horse:( when they'd been riding lovely steady riding school cobs. They didn't get their money back and sold the mare on. I don't think there was anythihg wrong with the horse, just too much for a complete beginner.
 
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newforest

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The height wouldn't be a reason to return would it? The dealer could argue that the op was happy to try them and buy them at the height they were.
If he was settled and everything the op wanted this wouldn't come into it.
What's happened is there had been a gap between trying and seeing again and now he looks huge where he didn't before. Horses generally look bigger stabled.
Did he come with tack? Maybe the prancing around is from a saddle or bit that's pinching.
 
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carthorse

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The height wouldn't be a reason to return would it? The dealer could argue that the op was happy to try them and buy them at the height they were.
If he was settled and everything the op wanted this wouldn't come into it.
What's happened is there had been a gap between trying and seeing again and now he looks huge where he didn't before. Horses generally look bigger stabled.
Did he come with tack? Maybe the prancing around is from a saddle or bit that's pinching.

In and of itself it would seem weak, but if there's an advert stating 16hh & it's clear that the horse is 17hh then it might call into doubt the truthfulness of the rest of the advert. A novice might reasonably claim they didn't spot a hand difference, but a dealer?
 
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Vicki100

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If you are going to keep him, I would probably start with a full health check:

vet to do a general MOT
Dentist for teeth
Back person
Saddle fitter
Etc

Then you can rule out any pain causing rudeness or unusual behaviour.

When I brought my mare she was a complete nightmare for around a month, very pushy, bargey etc. The dentist found she has lots of ulceration in her mouth which wouldn’t of helped also the saddle she came with did not fit at all. After that was sorted and she settled into the routine she was fine.

I would also get an instructor to ride and evaluate if she thinks he is suitable for your daughter.

I also agree with MP, how was he kept at the dealers yard and how is his routine now? Is he getting enough turn out currently? Has his diet changed? Has he gone from herd turnout to single turnout? There’s so many things that may have changed for him, it can be very upsetting for them!

Also make sure your daughter is wearing a helmet in the stable if he is acting dangerously. I remember when I was younger all the school horses would turn there bum to you when you walked in there stable to tack up, not necessarily dangerous just rude as not really wanting to work or be sociable !

As others say this seems to be a regular problem in the horse world, I think dealers see first time buyers from a mile off and take advantage which is very sad!
 

eml

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Who chose the horse for your daughter, have they ridden it?? Apart from the issues your daughter as a novice would be far better off handling something smaller. What sort of horses/pones has she been riding so far?. I suggest you take the dealer up on his trade offer and get something more suitable. As a height comparison my almost 6' daughter competes all sorts for her clients from 14hh up and doesn't look silly on any of them!!
 
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squidsin

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Feb 16, 2013
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How old is the horse, out of interest?
I have a Dutch Warmblood and love her to bits but she can be a handful. They're not novice horses.
I would definitely sell on. Put it on sales livery (with a different dealer - ask on your local riding club page for recommendations) and get rid, then find something more suitable. I wouldn't take the dealer up on his offer of a swap as he's ripped you off once and will do it again. You could try and get him to take the horse back but it could well end up being more hassle than it's worth. My advice is also - don't buy from dealers. Pretty much everyone I know who's done it has ended up with a sick, dangerous or otherwise unrideable horse. Private sellers can be unscrupulous too - and you also get dealers who pose as private sellers - so do plenty of social media spying on them and Google them etc. See if anyone's had any bad experiences. Also, take someone experienced with you.
I was ripped off with my first horse as a novice and had a horrible year of thinking 'she's just unsettled, she'll come good' while being bronced off repeatedly, so I totally understand and sympathise!
 

carthorse

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@squidsin to be fair there are plenty of good dealers out there, but they usually aren't cheap ones & all too often people want something for nothing. So they go to dealers advertising fantastic sounding horses & never question why they're being sold at a fraction of the value they should be. And a good number of private sellers who seem to say "he's never done that before!" when it's clearly a practised manoeuvre for the horse. Whoever you buy from the old "buyer beware" maxim holds true.
 

Cortrasna

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Aug 5, 2009
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I have to say I think the blanket description of Dutch warmbloods being unsuitable for a novice is a bit off course.......of course some are unsuitable as any breed/type will have instances of horses not suitable for a novice. My Dutch warmblood was actually the only horse I had at that time that I would trust to carry my less than proficient younger son safely out on a hack with me.
I suspect almost any horse would have proved totally unsuitable to this extremely inexperienced rider/owner and the circumstances under which it was purchased didn't give the horse a chance from day one did it really? Bought on 7 days trial and then feck off on holiday and hope it will settle in the new yard with others looking after it for you? Behaviour described is a frightened and insecure horse and with experienced handling it would almost certainly settle and lose the need to protect itself and its space from strangers in a strange environment - and then expect the dealer to happily take the poor horse back when you are well over the trial period.

sorry no sympathy - other than for the horse of course.
 
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