Horse Classified Ads - Buyers Beware
 By Spyricale   •   24th Apr 2012   •   4,465 views   •   14 comments
Although after reading my two previous articles regarding the correct and safest pathways to take when enduring the situation of purchasing a horse, there is yet another topic we must discuss. Many people just blindly purchase a horse without taking the best precautions that will prevent them from getting scammed, lied to, cheated, misrepresented to, and countless other things warped dealers and dishonest private owners will willingly act out for greed. Just like the seller should always beware, the buyer must also beware. Beware of exactly what, you ask?

Beware the Screamers

One of the first things that comes to my mind when people ask me what to look for in classified equine ads to avoid is the easily recognizable and very common "Screamers". I'm sure many people will go on to tell me how many great experiences they have had when purchasing a horse from these creatures who seem to adore writing every single ad complete with all-Caps, and I won't deny that they have, either. But these "screamers" are not the worst you must avoid. In fact, if the entire ad was written in a professional manner with correct capitalization and grammar, it may seem like a fairly legitimate ad to you. Although, like with any dishonest ad solicitor, Screamers will also include those red flags that pop up rather commonly. The example given below is one of these Screamers who, obviously while writing the entire ad in Caps and thoroughly forgetting any type of punctuation, also included several red flags that sane buyers will and should avoid at all costs.

Horse Classified Ads

Screamers give the indication that they are screaming at you during the entire ad, thus their appropriate titling. Not only are these ads very unpleasant to read, but very questioning as well. Most Screamer ads contain at least one red flag that should cause a good equine participant's eye to search elsewhere, if not just for the screaming itself. It would be best for the buyer to busy themselves with legitimate ads that will not result in irritability after the Screamers first caused a pounding head ache with their constant streams of nonsense.

Beware the Illiterates

Another very common type of ad, that almost always will contain those dreaded red flags, is presented to you by the Illiterates. The Illiterates are a rather annoying and very frustrating creature that one can very easily discover if they aren't careful enough. Illiterates seem to make it their sole purpose in life to create nauseating sensations, throbbing head aches, and even the sometimes severely dropped intelligence quotients as the unfortunate reader's dire consequences of diving into this uneducated whirlpool. These ads should always be cautiously avoided for good reasons. Not only do these creatures never put forth near enough effort or brain cells to create a reasonably decent ad in exchange for asking a price for their horse, they often are filled to the brim with countless holes, chaos stories, backyard breeding situations, injuries, total lack of knowledge or skill, and just basic literal "what the HECK?" moments that every buyer needs and I'm sure wants to avoid.

Horse Classified Ads

Searching for, and thoroughly informing yourself on your possible future equine companion should always bloom from the very beginning as an exciting and educational experience. The example above will only, at the very least, provide you with major head injuries after you have slammed your head on your desk so many times, after attempting to decipher its illiterate depths, that it soon requires immediate medical attention. This, of course, is not and should not be what the process of purchasing a horse consists of. Remember, if you click onto an ad and you discover a lurking Illiterate, leave the page immediately for your own good. These creatures are obviously elementary drop-outs and will never deserve to experience rational humanity.

Beware the Soup-Slugs

You might find yourself scanning through a particular ad, beginning to relax and enjoy your time reading about this certain equine after you have realized that the certain ad is not a Screamer ad, nor is it an Illiterate ad. The grammar and spelling aren't top-notch, but at least some effort was put forth. You then find yourself suddenly double checking and pausing, retracing your steps to read the ad all over again, and beginning to wonder which is which or what is what. These are all indicators of having stepped on the often confusing and icky Soup-Slug ad. Soup-Slug ads might remind one of vegetable soup. Scattered, varying, messy, and mixed. Only it is slowly mobile, like a slug, making its chaotic way across the cyber world. These ads are widely known for confusing their readers when it contradicts itself, repeats things already mentioned with slight changes, and provides all-around befuddling statements.

Horse Classified Ads

Soup-Slugs will leave the inquirer very confused, wondering if the owners even know the supposed horse at all, and probably already looking elsewhere. A decent classified equine ad should leave the reader feeling well-informed about the horse and begging to learn more if the horse sounds like it might suit them well. It shouldn't cause one to short-circuit and stare blankly at the screen for several minutes while debating on whether or not the alleged horse the Soup-Slug ad is rambling about actually exists. Avoid these confusing and very contradicting, as well as repetitive, ads. Don't try to make things harder and more confusing for yourself than they originally should have been.

All in all, you could safely say that any horse ad out there is a gamble. You do not know the owners or the horse apart from what you decipher in that chosen ad. But, in a time where scamming, lying, and cheating lurk around every corner, it's best to choose only those certain ads from certain sites that do not contradict themselves, do not share awkward, dangerous, and rather ridiculous stories and situations that leave you shaking your head in total disgust, do not represent themselves as illiterate middle school drop-outs, and do not contain vague threats and desperate measures like "if Daisy isn't gone by this weekend". I could write up an entire novel regarding what to avoid when it comes to finding decent ads to follow, but it all boils down to the buyer putting their wonderful common sense to the test, keeping their radar sharp, and sifting through their chosen ads very carefully.

Types of Red Flags

As you may have already noticed, I included many of the red flags all horse buyers possessing a little common sense should, and probably will, definitely avoid at all costs. These include, but are not limited to, young horses such as two, three, and four being represented as "dead broke" or "child safe". Of course we all know that is never the case. Not only should horses this young be out to pasture enjoying themselves instead of hauling gigantic clowns around, but they are fifty times more likely to spook, misbehave, or throw a tantrum and injure someone than say a twenty-year-old gelding. You will also surely come across the horrifying ads that will be representing a stallion as child safe, kid safe, etc. Some teenagers that have caught the dreaded BSS (Black Stallion Syndrome) won't avoid these ads, but instead, will search for them because owning a stallion will be just "so cool". And when the parents are lacking even more skill, know-how, or equine common sense than the aforementioned teen, this situation will soon turn into chaos.

Some ads may also state that the horse is such-and-such height at such-and-such area, but the stated height doesn't even exist and the point of measuring the horse is completely ridiculous. Then there are those that list the horse as thoroughly sound, but then go on to tell the reader that it has a tendency to limp sometimes, buck, throw its head, rear, etc. Not only will you most often never witness these people mentioning if it's a behaviorial or pain issue, but they sometimes even go on to tell you that they can't handle them and that the horse needs to go to someone that will "teach it a lesson". You will also find those rather disgusting ads that display and/or discuss their own stupidity and lack of knowledge. Like, say, the illiterate example above. They blindly go on to tell you that they allowed their child to walk out into the stallion's pasture and attempt to climb on his back and ride him. Well, the girl got kicked in the end as a result. They are now selling the horse because it is obviously super dangerous and evil. You will come across a lot of these as well. The illiterate example above displays a person who now very obviously allows their stallion to get away with anything and everything because "it makes him happy", as if trying to compensate for the "evil" within, and the owner is now afraid of him all together. You can easily tell how much that person lacks when it comes to any type of equine knowledge or just plain common sense. I'm sure your average buyer wouldn't want to be the one imperatively telling the seller on the phone that, no, it was NOT a good idea to allow Susie out into the stallion's pasture by herself for a "ride" and that it was the OWNER'S fault in the first place.

One other major red flag is when the the creator of the ad plays on the reader's emotions and tugs at their heart strings. Dolly is going to be sent to slaughter by the end of the week if she isn't sold? That usually triggers someone to haul their trailer out there and snatch her up right then and there, no matter what. Just to prevent the horrible situation from happening. This also includes people threatening to shoot their horse, leave it out in a field to die, or lock it in a shed in case "someone wants it".

Backyard breeding situations are the worst. Not only will people tell you that their conformation-wise deformed, untrained, non-papered palomino filly will throw "kool kolor", but you'll also discover that some of these very unfortunate horses will be sold as a "package deal", meaning that they were already bred to Uncle Joe's Paint colt that you always see waddling around in that dreaded barbed wire mud pit. They apparently think that this automatically doubles or triples the price of the mare, and you'll often see ridiculous price tags attached to these ads.

Stumbling onto ads that repeat themselves over and over again, which will lead you into reading this huge novel that really wasn't necessary at all in the first place. They leave out and miss such important information and facts by doing this, as if there was nothing else to tell about the horse, so they continued in this vicious repeating cycle. You will also find those Soup-Slug ads that will contradict themselves like never before. Sometimes it's only on something minor, but other times they either change the entire horse's name, breed, age, color, height, personality, traits, performance, etc. This leaves so much to be desired, so many questions to be answered, and a very confused inquirer that doesn't even know what this horse is anymore or if it even exists. Like saying that Dixie is so wonderful and can go far with any rider, and then contradicting themselves to say that she needs an experienced rider because she is no longer the confident and wonderful mare first stated at the beginning. Which is it?

Remember to always take into consideration the gamble you are accepting, how high that gamble is considering the ad you have chosen, and how well and professional these people have presented their horse to you before you make that phone call.

Beware the Photos

I'm sure you've all stumbled across several equine ads during your search that left you straining, and even sometimes wincing, when it comes around to viewing the photos of the particular horse for sale. Doesn't it look like Jessy just walked outside with her cell phone, caught a big blob of brown in its pasture right after the sun went down, and all you can see of the horse are two glowing eyes and a black silhouette? The seller couldn't even take a small effort out of their life to take Bucky from his pasture, groom him a little, maybe tie him up, and snap a few nice shots of his conformation? And they dare to ask such ridiculous prices, or even prices at all for these horses in return for their feeble attempts? And what boggles my mind even more is the people that actually bite on these ridiculous and pathetic ads....

Photos I hate seeing the most are the ones where people use their children as selling points for the horses. The common girl in shorts and tennis shoes, grinning in such a goofy fashion while this "magnificent stallion" stands underneath her, littered with such an obvious harsh bit on his face that it's natural to wonder if this stallion really IS as calm and sane as they make him out to be. Then there are those that place their teensy two-year-old children on the back of their fugly chestnut yearling colt standing out in a pasture. The horse is most interested only in eating muddy hay off of the ground, but what is the exact reason for doing this? Instead of showing the yearling standing nicely after being groomed, they place a mere child on its back and snap a few quick, blurry photos for the ad. As if this raises the horse's price any higher or makes it much more likely to sell because they so irresponsibly sat a kid on its back......

Children riding the particular horse for sale in photos is never wrong by any means. It's wrong when the child and horse are so evidently not fitted together correctly, no safety gear has been fitted to the child to display responsible parenting, and when they point to the photos each time you question if this two-year-old colt really IS child safe (which they never are). It makes one wonder if the owner can defend the horse with any number of good qualities instead of just those "KYOOT" photos that suddenly qualify it to be this rare million dollar kid's horse. A too-big saddle with stirrups hanging a mile below the kid's tennis shoes tells you that the horse hasn't been ridden by children regularly. It's more often than not a case where they just plopped the kid on its back for a quick photo.

Kids and ponies? Much more acceptable to me. Fit the child correctly and show the pony and child safely enjoying themselves together either in the show ring, in the arena, or on the trails.

Which is more appealing to you? A sleek, shiny black Thoroughbred gelding stood up nicely on a concrete pathway with a clean, well-fitting bridle on, clearly showing what an absolute stunner he is, or the same black Thoroughbred standing in a mudpit with his head buried in a mixture of slop and hay on the ground while sagging stock fencing and jagged T-posts surround him in every which direction? How about a cute bay Welsh Pony introduced to you by displaying clear, clean photos of him and his ecstatic rider gracefully leaping over hunter fences and finally earning that blue ribbon? Or, what about the same Welsh Pony shown in blurry photos with four girls bouncing around on his bare back in the front yard as they yank and pull on a ridiculously harsh torture device shoved into his mouth with his head stuck up in the air and his mouth gaping wide to avoid the pain?

I'm sure the more appealing ones are pretty obvious to many of you, but just remember which ones you have chosen before you inquire on your evidently opposing stance. Me? I absolutely love to see clean, clear photos of a well-groomed horse fitted with nice tack that compliments them well. Maybe even some good action shots of them performing their apparent discipline(s). This leaves me wanting to see more of that gorgeous horse, and also, wanting to see a video to determine what that beauty is really capable of in motion. Would you say the same for a measly ten-second footage of Muddy Biscuit? The whole point of selling a product is to show it at its absolute best, not its worst.
Horse News More In This Category:  General      Horse News More From This Author:  Spyricale
Starlight Farm  
I didn't even read the article (I will, I just don't have time at this very second) but I'm so glad someone is writing about this. In the "Should I Buy" section I'm always telling people what to watch out for, what to do when buying a horse, etc. Thanks for writing this
  Apr 24, 2012  •  3,721 views
Oh my gosh, did you make up these ads? They are so ridiculous. Can't even believe people like that exist! It was kind of funny in a sad way. Great article though! Well written!
  Apr 24, 2012  •  3,683 views
Brilliance yet again! :D Love it!
  Apr 24, 2012  •  3,695 views
Sapphire Flames  
Great article Spy! Thanks for writing about this. :)
  Apr 25, 2012  •  3,686 views
Deleted Accounts  
thank you and love it:D
  Apr 25, 2012  •  3,718 views
Very good article. Scams are very common in the horse industry, especially with the prevalence of online shopping and the ability to literally have anything with the click of a mouse. If it sounds too good to be true -- then it probably is!
  Apr 26, 2012  •  3,717 views
Makaela Marie  
Great article! Some adverts I've seen make me want to phone them and tell them how to write an Ad that makes sense -.-
  Apr 27, 2012  •  3,713 views
Very well written, and great pointers, it's scary but you do see this!
  Apr 30, 2012  •  3,709 views
I had my first instance of on-line "shopping" in the adoption of Song of War. I however went through the Jockey Club's Thoroughbred Connection (an amazing site for thoroughbred re-homing and donation) and then through the farm...AND and on-line shipper through U-ship...I was a wreck assuming there was NO WAY the horse I had been sent pictures and video of would be the one that stepped off the trailer...but he was, and well worth my stress ulcer! However any time you can use personal contacts to verify horse,shipper and buyer--short of buying in personal and trialing/trailering your new horse, I recommend it!!
  Apr 30, 2012  •  3,709 views
Carpe Diem  
Great article! I always look out for those things.
  May 2, 2012  •  3,721 views
Double Spur Ranch  
Great article people need to be warned about this!
  May 4, 2012  •  3,699 views
RoyalCrownEstates  MOD 
Nice article spy!
very informative and very useful. thank you :)
  May 5, 2012  •  3,718 views
This such a goode acticle for spomeone looking to buy nother mare.
  May 17, 2012  •  3,709 views
Buying a horse can be the hardest thing to do. It's good that your writing these articles and informing us about the dangers and what to look out for. Thanks Spy!
  May 22, 2012  •  3,749 views
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