Caveat emptor

(Latin for let the buyer beware)

Handling horses requires a lot more knowledge of horse behavior than inexperienced people realize. That is how some dishonest horse sellers and trainers can get away with murder when dealing with people who know little about horse behavior. Of course not all horse people are unethical. But the temptation is there.

I have known some wonderful trainers who have helped me improve my horse handling and riding skills over the years. And I have known the others. So I will attempt to explain how unethical horse people can try to fool inexperienced people about horses. Understanding the possible tricks can benefit new horse people and ultimately benefit the horse.

Whether buying horses or getting horses trained, there are methods that unethical horse people use to fool the inexperienced. For example there is the old trick of putting a burr under the saddle to make a normally nice horse act bad. There are many variations of the burr under the saddle trick. On the other hand there are ways of making a difficult horse act nice.

To make the horse seem easy to ride, a horse seller can tire out a horse before the buyer arrives. Or they can use drugs to make an intractable horse seem mellow. Or they can put a child rider on the horse. Never mind that the child has been riding horses since he was in the womb. That might be 10 years of experience, So if they say even a child can ride the horse do not be impressed.

Okay so now you bought yourself a horse but you find it needs some training and you need some help before you can enjoy your horse. So you take your horse to a trainer. You have left the horse with the trainer for 30 days but the horse does not seem to be making any progress and you suspect the trainer is not doing anything with the horse. You are probably right. You have just spent x amount of money for nothing. The trainer claims the horse is just not suited to you and they have a buyer who is willing to buy the horse but will only pay half of what the horse is worth.

To avoid getting ripped off by sellers and trainers ask around for recommendations and warnings. Be willing to pay more for an established trainer with a good reputation. They are worth it.