Issues selling horse sight unseen

I recently adopted an ottb, with intent of training and reselling him. My situation changed and decided to post on facebook and see if there was any interest. A woman immediately responded and said she would come, cash in hand and buying him the next day, not requiring photos, videos, etc. I had clearly stated in the ad I had just gotten him, not done much with him, and didn’t know him very well. I only included one photo that didn’t show him well at all as it was all I had (I’ve owned the horse 3 weeks). I included what I did know, which is he has no previous injuries but he does have flat tender feet. The next morning she arrived. He had a cut on his hind leg and was underweight. I left his blanket off, and pointed out the cut and told her she could inspect him. She said it was okay and immediately loaded the horse, with no boots, blankets, etc. Gave me the cash and left to drive 3 hours back to her barn. Once there she longed him right away, then messaged me that he was clearly unsound and she wanted to return him for a refund, plus her travel expenses. I asked for a video, and told her I had longed him 2 days before and he was sound. She sent me 2, 10 second clips that were shaky and blurry and showed some stiffness and 2 missteps but could easily be due to the footing. She then threatened to post a buyer beware post when I took my time responding, trying to decide how to handle the situation. She was very aggressive and blew up my phone while I was responding. I said from the videos he just appeared stiff which is to be expected after a long trailer trip and I needed better videos but that she should give him a few days and try him again. She said no and that he is clearly unsound, suggesting she can find a retirement home for him. Although not in the best condition, having just moved barns he dropped weight, and has been on turnout for 4 months for wind down, the horse is in no way unsound. What is the best way to handle the situation? I had several other people interested but notified them he was sold as well as notified my barn and need to find a new facility as they had a wait list and already filled his stall.

I think you should end contact with this woman and not worry about any “buyer beware” ads she may post. My guts says she’s working a scam here but I can’t quite figure it out. If she does post anything negative about you, just ignore it. There are so many lunatics online and anyone with half a brain knows that one bad review is not worth much. You’d look worse if you took the bait and got into a public online argument with her. I’m sorry you had this negative situation.

I once had a client who was selling a horse and had a similar experience with someone showing up with a trailer ready to load the horse without really checking her out. My client felt something wasn’t right and refused to sell the horse.


What does your bill of sale say?

Are you a pro who sells horses for a living that will be seriously inconvenienced by some random buyer beware posts? I can’t imagine that she can do much more complain at this point. (Not a lawyer!). If you need the horse to stay sold, end all contact with her.

Sounds like she may or may not do right by him. If you can find the funds and the stall (or field, anything), you could take him back and try to find a less sketchy buyer.


Did you all have a contract? If there is no contract of any sort, this is a “tough luck” situation. They CHOSE to buy a horse without trying it or inspecting them properly (vet check, watching videos, other professional opinion, lunging prior to leaving, etc.). If there is no contract/agreement that you would take the horse back for whatever reason then I have no idea why she’d think the horse is returnable.

I agree with others that this buyer sounds kinda sketchy IN GENERAL but, at the end of the day, that isn’t your concern at the moment. I personally wouldn’t take the horse back or refund money in this situation.


Get the horse, give this person back her money. She is clearly not the right home for him. I agree there is some sort of scam working here but not sure what.


And if you go this route, be very firm and non-negotiable about it. All you will do is refund her money if she shows up at your barn with the horse, and gives you a bill of sale. You will not pay her travel or anything else. Be clear, be cold, be absolute.

She’s a manipulator, and seems to be rather manic about it, from your account. That’s one of the things that makes you feel pressured by her. So you have to sound, and be, authoritative and unsympathetic in tone, manner and action.

If you attempt to talk, reason with her, or react to what she is saying, she will try to verbally overwhelm you and extract as much as she can from you.

You can’t in any way come across that you care about the horse (even if you do). Any sympathy for the horse becomes a weapon in her hands, and you will pay for it if you continue to engage with her. You have to project that all you are doing is taking the horse back for a refund, to mollify a remorseful buyer in a professional manner, but without any enthusiasm for it and without mentioning the horse.

If this is a scam, it may be around extracting more and more from you for the return of the horse. If she keeps adding this bit and that bit for you to pay, for every few miles she gets closer to you with the horse. hang up on her and don’t communicate any further. If that happens.

If she really is a scammer and you don’t refund her, there is a chance that the horse will get feed & care sufficient to keep him in condition for a future buyer. You don’t need to assume that not dealing with her means doom for the horse – it’s an economic asset for her, but only if it looks like something people will want to buy.


In your situation, not having a place for the horse now, she bought the horse “as is”, no guarantee given of any other than the horse she saw, I don’t think there is any obligation on your part to take horse back.

Now, if you were a professional set up to keep and train horses as a business, then you would have sold the horse differently, with proper contracts and vetting of buyers, etc. and return policies for any horse sold. You would refer her to in the contract she would have signed.

As things stand now, not sure you need to do anything on your end?
Horse was sold “as is”, is now the new owner’s horse.


Excellent advice given already, so all I have to say is yikes OP! This woman sounds like 10 gallons of crazy in a 2 gallon bucket, and her antics just scream scam to me. Something certainly smells fishy- I can’t figure her angle. I’m not a lawyer but if you’re really worried, maybe find a lawyer who specializes in contracts or equine sales or has experience in that area and get a consultation? Her actions and behavior just seem like some sort of set up, maybe stage one or two of a scam. Be careful OP. I’d probably cut contact with this woman- if there was no contract, sounds like the horse was sold as is. I certainly wouldn’t talk to her- I’d lawyer up so if she wants to come at you with her crazy, she can deal with lawyer. I know lawyers cost $$ but it might be a small price to pay for your sanity; save you from more expensive trouble she might try to cause.


I do question that “the horse was sold sight unseen” makes any kind of sense?

Horses are bought sight unseen all the time, with pictures, videos, maybe a pedigree to go by, the higher end ones with a vet check PPE, but not having seen the horse, it was shipped to the buyer.
THAT is selling/buying sight unseen.

In this story, the horse was seen, as the buyer did buy the horse on the spot.
Once paid for, the buyer hauled it off.
That is not “sold sight unseen”, if I read that right?


Since you have no where to put him, I’d just send the buyer the contact info for all the other interested parties. Then she can ask whatever she likes to cover her costs.

Let her learn a lesson and keep the money. She could have taken the time to watch the horse move at your place before loading him up but declined. You have no way of knowing what happened to him between his 3 hour trailer ride and after she unloaded him.

If you know for certain he was sound when she purchased him and the cut was not bothering him you have no obligation to give the money back now that he is unsound. If she posts bad things you can tell truthfully how it was.

If you feel you must take him back refund the purchase price only. Travel is on her.


Wants a full refund plus expenses and oh, she can ‘find a home’ for him as a retiree so you don’t have to take him back? Nope. Sounds like a neat scam to trick you out of a horse and cover her costs.


This x1000. Here is where the phrase NO is a complete answer comes in.

I agree with Heinz 57. Either the buyer is just trying to get a free horse, or she wants to get her money back and then will sell the horse herself (or perhaps take the horse to an auction).

If you have any way of taking the horse back, I’d do it; because the buyer sounds like she’s either crazy or worse.

If you can’t, then you’re options are basically to tell her that the sale was as is and final. (I hope you have a bill of sale).

Good luck with this situation, and my fingers are crossed for the horse.

I see your point, and appreciate it. I did very quickly realize that sight unseen isn’t the correct term for it at all, that’s as she has been describing it but it is not accurate. Because she did see him. In the beginning I was hoping to resolve it by her giving him a chance to see he is exactly what I had said, but she would not. In the time I was taking to carefully try to find a solution, she became very aggressive and hostile, contacted the previous racing trainer who went to the previous owner. The owner was horrified by both the buyer and trainer. Has spread the word of the situation, as she makes her business flipping ottb’s. I have realized now the other posters are correct in that she is scamming, and have become aware that she has a reputation for this, and the references I was given were her only good one. I have offered her to return the horse for a refund, or keep him for the full price and she is insisting on law suits and such so have ended all communication with her. I do not buy or sell horses, I took this horse on as a project for myself with the intent of resale, but it is not something I do, or will be doing again after this experience. My family has been involved in the business for years and are highly reputable and I felt I was confident to do it myself, but have realized I was not prepared and failed to do things the way they should have been done to avoid this situation. I am humbled and have learned many lessons from this, and I believe we all make mistakes and owning up to and learning from them is the most important thing, especially with horses when everyone thinks they know everything.


You are absolutely right and I apologize for using the wrong term.

I very much appreciate all of your advice and have learned a ton from this whole ordeal. I’ve always read these forums, but never actually posted one and honestly didn’t expect a response, let alone all so many, but you are all great!!! Thank you so much, I very much appreciate the help you have all provided me with. I cannot express enough gratitude truly.


Sorry you are in such a tough spot.

No matter how long you have been with horses, you will always find some strange deals happening.
Once I sold a nurse a horse for her kid.
They loved horse, came back months later for another horse for DH and things fell apart right after that.
They moved to another town and another hospital and then could not pay for the new horse but on terms, paid two months and then defaulted and she had a nervous breakdown, DH stepped in and brought the horse back and dumped him at a friend’s barn.
Well, at least the horse was fine, but the whole experience was crazy, as yours is going to seem, once it is over.

Glad that you are aware now of so much more about what is happening and can be proactive.
Stopping contact and not responding is probably what your attorney would recommend, may want to check with one just in case?
Good luck!

Just make sure you save ALL the texts or emails or whatever communication you have used with her, showing the full conversations between you both from start to finish. You may also want to save your advertisement for the horse, if you haven’t already deleted it. Just in case she does try anything funny, you’re prepared.

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I second this. Save all communications from/to her, just in case. I have quite a few crazy stories from my years in horses…some buyers, some sellers, others just crazies I have had the pleasure (not) of working with at one point or another. We all learn, we all make mistakes. Hopefully the horse lands somewhere decent. It sounds like perhaps she has weaseled people out of the horse’s sales price before, by picking them up, bringing them home, and crying wolf about a lameness or issue, to try and get a refund, and somehow in the process get to keep the horse (you don’t want him back anyways, he’s lame…blah blah). I am glad you cut off communication with her, she sounds quite crazy.