Root Out Dishonesty in Horse Adverts

When horses are described and advertised inaccurately and dishonestly there can be grave consequences for any potential buyer. The ends to which some sellers will go to simply get rid of a horse for the best price possible with absolutely no regard for the horse or anyone’s safety is sadly far too prevalent in the UK and Ireland. With the Covid pandemic there is an even greater prevalence of these dishonest adverts where sellers will blatantly lie about a horse’s behaviour and suitability to make as much money as possible.  We have already this year received more advice enquiries where buyers have been duped by unscrupolous sellers and dealers.

At Right Horse Right Home all adverts are meticulously screened prior to publication and any reports of any horse not as described when one of our members goes to view is not only welcomed but always investigated thoroughly and if it is justified, the advert is removed and the membership of the seller is cancelled permanently with immediate effect. 

We always welcome feedback from any member who visits a horse and felt the horse was inaccurately or dishonestly described.  Without such information we cannot investigate and act.  Fortunately this does not happen very often at all with us but we will  remove adverts and cancel memberships if evidence suggests an advert has been written dishonestly putting buyers at risk.

We have very few trade sellers on our site, probably due to the awkward questions we ask of all sellers who list their horses with us.  Questions like: is the horse; good to hack alone, good to load, good to catch, good with noisy vehicles are not questions every seller likes to answer or be held accountable for.  All trade sellers will not have the “private sale” box ticked on their advert so they are easily identifiable by buyers. The majority of trade sellers who list their horses with us have been with us for a long time and are fully aware of the standards we insist they uphold. If the standards are not maintained they will not be permitted to remain as members.  Many buyers actually prefer to buy from trade sellers as the protection offered legally is arguably tougher than that with a private seller.

Right Horse Right Home was borne out of the concept to provide a more robust, safer way to find the right horse that also appeals to owners who have nothing to hide about their horse’s capabilities, temperament, health issues or behaviour because they too realise that by being honest about their horse they are most likely to find it a suitable home and thus prevent it from being sold on from pillar to post and have a dismal, unloved life.  

Right Horse Right Home has always appealed to honest owners who want the best for their horses hence they are happy to answer the compulsory questions that we, unlike any other website, ask.  All owners should be able to state whether their horse is good to hack alone, good to load, good to catch, good with noisy vehicles and so forth.  These behaviours are valued by all buyers and owners are fully accountable for the information they provide. We also provide advice and support on how to avoid being mis sold a horse and what steps to take if you are mis sold a horse.  

All adverts with us are fully scrutinised, they are not automatically published unlike on other websites and where contradictions or vague descriptions are apparent questions are always asked.   Owners are always encouraged to be as honest and upfront about their horses as possible as without useful, factual information people cannot make informed decisions.

If you see an advert and want to know more before becoming a member or feel the information is too vague do email us and we can help obtain more information and get the advert updated.  We are often in regular contact with the owners of the horses on the website and it is in everyones’ best interests to make adverts as informative as possible. 

Horses cost us a great deal of money to keep and to purchase and unlike any other hobby they require a time commitment 24/7 365 days of the year.  By giving a warts and all description in a world where the majority of adverts shout out only the positive aspects of the horse, (often vastly exaggerated) and its infinite yet unproven potential, can put some sellers in a difficult position. 

If you are going to describe your horse as a “schoolmaster” can it realistically be ridden by a novice in the discipline that it has mastered? If your horse will and has been known to buck, rear, nap or spin and you make no mention of this in your advert are you being honest? Are you helping the horse?  What if a buyer comes to try your horse and has a serious accident, you could be liable and sued for potentially millions of pounds.  If you bought a horse and it cost £5k and you realise that the horse is too much for you and you need to sell it to a more experienced home is it realistic to make no mention of this and expect to get the same amount for it that you paid for it having not improved its training or education? Alternatively have you considered investing in the horse, ruling out any pain related behaviour and seeking professional help to eradicate or vastly reduce whatever issue or problem you feel the horse has?

By not being honest about your horse in your advert you are;

  • Doing your horse a disservice
  • Potentially inviting unsuitable buyers / riders to try your horse
  • Risking the safety of unsuitable buyers in allowing them to try your horse
  • Risk being sued for considerable sums if a buyer is seriously injured trying your horse
  • Upsetting your horse by having unsuitable people try him/her
  • Wasting huge travelling and time expenses of buyers

This behaviour also has a knock on effect on the whole buying and selling community as it means so many of us have adapted to barely believe anything that is written in an advert or said about a horse from anyone who is trying to sell it.  This is such a shame as the majority of us, I believe, are honest, caring people who want to do right by our horses.

It would be wrong of me to make no mention of the honesty also needed by buyers and in some situations also loaners of horses.  Sellers will sometimes report to us that the riding ability that some buyers claim they or their children have falls far short of their actual ability.  If you are to describe yourself as a capable, experienced rider this really should be someone who has ridden for many years, rides regularly each week, has had past experience of competing in various disciplines, has experience of riding a variety of horses and has trained younger horses at some point during their riding career.   If this is not the case, elaborate and qualify the experience you have and the level of confidence you have as a rider. 

Horses will react differently with different riders in different environments and to keep everyone safe honesty on both sides is incredibly important.  We all love horses, this is why we come together as a community and if we are seriously injured it is not a hobby we can continue in.  Please keep it real, keep it true and do right by the horses. They trust us to care for them and it is our duty to place them in suitable, long term homes.

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