NFED Classifieds
Connecting the central southern equestrian community since 1999


Home > Classifieds

Buying or Selling a Horse or Pony | Buying or Selling a Horse Trailer

Buying or Selling a Horse or Pony

Before you even consider buying a horse, we recommend that you read the Horse Owners Guide which reproduces the excellent equine welfare document provided by DEFRA

How do I know if I am buying from or selling to a dealer?

Although it is the dealer’s responsibility to make this clear when they place an advert, some will still advertise and act as private sellers. Check the passport for previous owners and if in doubt, contact the previous owners for the animal’s history. If the seller does not have the passport or does not let you see it, walk away.

Selling a horse can be a very emotional business and there are those that will take advantage of this. People sometimes sale a horse or pony cheaply as they think it will be going to a good home. There are those that will take advantage of the situation, see a bargain and buy the animal to sell on very quickly for a profit. Others advertise for cheap horses to bring on, please be aware that in some cases they may be looking for horses to sell.

If you are in this situation, please be careful, make enquiries into the buyer and consider a written contract to have the animal back if it the buyer finds it unsuitable.

Buying a horse: Your rights

Legal advice from HORSE magazine on your rights when buying a horse

If you're planning to buy a horse, make sure you know what your legal rights are first to avoid any disputes arising.

Buying from a dealer

The Sale of Goods Act applies only if you buy an equine from a person classified as a 'dealer'. Buying from a dealer can offer the best protection.

If you find your new horse has a problem, making him unsuitable for the purpose you bought him, you're entitled to your money back – even if the dealer denies knowledge.

The Act implies certain conditions of sale – your 'statutory rights'.

These are:

1. The horse must be of 'reasonable' or 'satisfactory' quality – for instance, free of defects such as lameness – unless you have prior knowledge and accept the condition.

2. The new horse must be fit for the purpose for which it was generally sold, or any purpose made known at the time of the agreement.

3. He must be 'as described'. If your new eight-year-old turns out to be over 18, it's a breach of trading standards.

If one or all of these criteria are not met, you may be entitled to a full refund or the difference in value between the horse you thought you were buying and the one you got..

Buying privately

Buying privately is a different matter. The law 'caveat emptor' (let the buyer beware) exists.

If the horse has a problem, you must be able to prove the seller knew, or ought to have known, about it in order for you to get a refund. And suing for breach of contract can be difficult, lengthy and costly.

NFU legal/technical adviser, Nicola Cook, says: "If you innocently rely on the vendor's comments, such as believing the horse to be vice-free when it turns out to weave, then you have the right to your money back, including the full cost of the horse, compensation and other expenses incurred.

"But you have to be able to prove that the seller represented the horse wrongly or inaccurately. In court, that could simply come down to your word against theirs. For this reason, you should get a written representation from the seller when you buy a horse."

Buyer's checklist

Minimise the risk of being taken for a ride with Nicola's advice checklist.

1. Always take another person with you to act as a witness.

2. Get the horse vetted by your own or an independent vet. Tell the vet what activities you want the horse for.

3. Try the horse out at least once and watch it being ridden by its current rider. Watch how he responds when being tacked up and in the stable.

4. Face the horse with different scenarios: ride him out alone, in company and in traffic. If it's important he can jump, try him out over fences and coloured poles. Also, it's a good idea to see him being loaded.

5. Get something in writing from the vendor that confirms the horse is what they say he is. This helps to avoid confusion and provides some signed evidence to back up your claim in court, should it come to that.

6. Reputable dealers will agree in writing to take a horse back if it has a physical or behavioural problem and either refund the purchase price or offer an exchange. Don't let the dealer take the horse back to sell it on your behalf. You, and not the dealer, could be sued by the next owner if you fail to disclose a problem.

7. Ask to have the horse on loan for a week's trial period to see how he reacts in unfamiliar territory and give you time to make up your mind. Get fully insured first.

8. If there's a problem, act straight away. The longer you leave it, the more you risk losing your right to a full refund, although you'll still be able to claim damages.

9. Never buy a horse without first seeing its passport.

Scam Warning from Hampshire Horsewatch

This section contains two examples of how people thinking of buying a horse or giving money to a charity can be duped or enticed into parting with hard earned cash.

The below information was received from a member of the equine community who on face value appears to have been duped. It is passed on for general information and as a warning about entering into an arrangement, business or otherwise with horses. This story screams out a loud message of WHAT NOT TO DO

"We purchased a pony from a seller in Eastbourne, the photograph and the pony details were printed on the advert, It was a black 13.2 hh mare said to be 12 yrs which the seller had owned for 4 years. We agreed to have the pony and it was delivered to us in the Midlands. When we had an expert to look at it later in the afternoon we were told it was well into its twenties. They had omitted to send the passport and the seller said it would be in the next days post, (we have never received it to date). As we suspected the pony was not the one described so we went onto the horse mart site and typed in the name "Dee" and found that this pony was given to this lady as a companion. It was indeed 24yrs old and had never been broken in and would be very dangerous to attempt to even sit on her, this was sold to us a quiet 12 childs dream pony. We have now found there is a scam, where they are asking for a companion pony which they want for free, there are several mobile numbers which they are using and what worries me most of all, is they are very willing to put childrens’ lives at risk "

What not to do and to do:

Don't buy a horse unseen.
Don't buy a horse with out documentation
Don't pay cash
Don't be bullied into doing anything i.e. take the horse if you feel it is not the one advertised.
Check publications. People who work scams will advertise in a regular way.
Have witnesses available if you go as far as "buying" a horse unseen until it is delivered!
Insist on going to the horse's yard/home to see it…….even if you have to travel a distance.

At this time it is not known if the matter has been reported to the police.

"Don't be duped"

There is another scam circulating involving horses! Don't get encouraged to adopt a horse via an adoption advert on the internet. Only sponsor or donate money to equine causes that you know are creditable by reputation and you know actually exist, more than likely because you have visited the organisation i.e. World Horse Welfare (formerly ILPH)!!

Further Information

Loaning a Horse or Pony

There is no shortage of advice out there for those that wish to loan out or take a horse on loan. The one thing they all agree on for the protection of both parties is a written agreement. Please use the following links including the sample loan agreement produced by the BHS.

Buying or Selling a Horse Trailer

Suggested Good Practice
What could be worse than waking up to find that your trailer has been stolen? Well surprisingly you could be in a worse position if you innocently buy a stolen trailer. If your purchase is found to be stolen the owner at the point of the theft is entitled to have it returned to them. You could end up thousands of pounds out of pocket and without a trailer! Don‘t let that happen to you!
Even with the improved security devices now available horse trailers continue to be stolen. Horse Watch schemes are helping to eliminate the market for stolen trailers by raising awareness in the trailer-buying public.

Guidelines for Buying a Second-Hand Trailer

These guidelines are similar to those for buying a second-hand car. The financial outlay involved can be similar so why not take the same precautions?

• Second-hand trailers provide good value for money and buying from a recognised dealer provides some peace of mind. All their trailers should have been checked and you may have some recompense if the trailer does turns out to be stolen.
• Buying from a private owner can be cheaper but carries more risk. The golden rule is “if the deal seems too good to be true — then it probably is!” The market value for trailers is well known and if someone is offering one at well below the normal price, ask yourself why?
• Always meet the seller at their home address; don’t meet half-way in lay-bys or a car park. Then if you do have to try and recover your money, you’ve got somewhere to start.
• The seller should know his way around the trailer, with all it’s features and small problems. Beware of someone “selling it for a friend” who doesn’t appear to have an interest in horses.
• Ask to see proof of ownership such as their original sales receipt, owners manual or if the trailer. Check to see all the details refer to that trailer. An honest seller will not be offended!
• The most important physical item to check is the manufacturer’s unique serial number/registration plate, normally found on the chassis close to the hitch. It is highly unlikely that this will have fallen off during normal use of the trailer. If there is no plate then walk away — there’ll always be another trailer to look at. Most trailers with missing or damaged plates turn out to be stolen. Equally the manufacturers will stamp into the metal work of the “A” frame the serial number. Check if it is there. If not be suspicious.
• Once you’ve found the unique serial number of the trailer, check it with the main dealers. It is not unknown for thieves, handlers to replace the serial number plate with a forgery. Things are not always as they seem!!
• Check to make sure all the integral parts are with the horse trailer. The most obvious is the centre board. If it is not there or a different colour ask yourself why?
• Always get a receipt from the seller with their address and the trailer details. It is not uncommon for a stolen trailer to have been through several owners before being identified. Your seller could be innocent, but don’t let yourself be the next one in the chain. Remember if the trailer did turn out to be stolen and you have bought it then it can be seized and returned to the person who it was stolen from. Your recourse is with the person you bought it from.
• Once you have handed over the money for your trailer you want to keep hold of it and prevent it being stolen, we recommend you:

1. Buy, install as many deterrent security devices as you can afford. Seek advice from your local Horse Watch scheme or police as to what is advisable.

2. Insure it.

Guidelines for Selling a Second-hand Trailer

While there is a ready market for second-hand trailers, following some simple guidelines will help you achieve the best deal available.
• Look in the NFED Lorries & Trailers Offered category or other popular websites & magazines to get an idea what your trailer is worth.
• Make sure you can provide written evidence the trailer is yours.
• Be clear about why you are selling the trailer and do not be offended if asked.
• Do not allow a purchaser to beat you down in price. If you have done your homework carefully and you are offering the going market rate for your trailer, then there will always be someone else prepared to offer the asking price.
• If your purchaser offers to pay by cheque then do not allow them to drive the trailer away until that cheque is cleared. This may take up to 7 working days depending on your bank.
• Be prepared to give a written receipt with your name address and trailer details.
• Once sold inform trailer manufacturer immediately. This will allow the manufacturer to keep their records current for the trailers they have built and sold.


Further Information
Connecting the central southern equestrian community.