The naive friend-buying-a-horse - update post 118

This is one of those stories I know the COTH hardcore live for. I think I’ve mostly solved the situation in my head - but thought I’d tell the story for your reading pleasure.

Good friend, we’ll call her April, asked me two years ago about owning a horse. I ran thru my budget, considerations, amount of time I spend. All the things. She wanted a horse then, but her DH slowed her roll at the time. April’s 16 year old daughter took “a few” lessons in the last few years. April has not.

She messaged me a week ago that she has decided to buy. No lessons. No leasing. Just “IM BUYING A HORSE”. And she doesn’t want just any horse - she wants a Friesian - and a young one. She has secured a stall at a local barn, but needs to pay full boat to hold her spot, so now she’s in a gink to find a horse to fill the stall she’s paying for - empty or not.

She found one on an online auction, went to see it, and fell in love. Sounded like a nice horse that I suspected would eclipse her 15k budget.

At the time she looked at that horse, I told her I’d help her to pick it up as it was 4 hours away. No sweat, good horse, not too far. I have a nice trailer and truck and am always up for adventure.

Couple days later I’m talking her down from this young Friesian into a schoolmaster. How about an BTDT Arabian. Morab? Appendix QH? She wants pretty. I want her on a safe mount, but hey, not my checkbook, rib cage or concussion.

Auction end is still 4 days out.

I’m sending her educated beginner horses and compile a list of half a dozen to go see. Older, some maintenance, but ones I don’t think will kill her. Three sell within this time. I’m still furiously looking for schoolmasters for her. Strategize - let’s go see half a dozen and THEN make a pick. Get a PPE, don’t buy without. Might take a couple weeks but cheaper to buy the right horse slowly than the wrong horse quickly, even forking out board for an empty stall.

So last night the auction on the one she went to see is ending. She bids, maxes her budget and still goes higher. As she’s bidding, she finds a different Friesian x on the same auction site (she hasn’t seen it, no PPE, hasn’t even talked to the seller). And decides she’s going to bid on this 5 yr old mare that is 7 hours away.

She wins the bid and is popping champagne before she’s figured out how she’s going to get her home. Good friend (me) says we will do it - cause who doesn’t love a horse road trip. April the friend doesn’t own so much as a halter but promptly gets to buying matchy-matchy bell boots, ear nets, saddle pad and breeches. All the things.

Long story short, we set out Wednesday morning to go pickup said mystery mare. No video, no PPE. Just a 120 word description that says she’s a great trail horse.

Delivering to a barn double the rate in our area, where she will be stalled 16 hours a day. (Totally understand there are different horsekeeping considerations around the country, but we live in an area where dirt is still affordable).

I have a forked prediction - either she dumb lucked a horse that will be fantastic (for a cheap price) or this will be a complete disaster and she’ll be asking me to help unload the mare after a spate of broken ribs, a five figure loss, and help sell off her matchy-matchy like-new gear.

Once we deliver the mare to her barn tomorrow night, I am only offering her advice. I refuse to be the first to ride her. I divest myself of any responsibility of her purchase. I will remind her I did not advocate for this selection.

Maybe it will all workout swimmingly. Maybe not. Friends are friends whether they take advice. Setting boundaries in my own mind is where I’m at now. And I’m good with that.

Jingles for a good transport tomorrow.


Oh boy. We are going to need updates. Even when experienced people do all the right things the horse can still go wrong. This scenario…is not that.


At least you have some excitement? And like you said, it’s not your problem.

You’ve gone above and beyond your obligations as a good friend!

So are we taking bets on possible outcomes? Just listing theoretical outcomes?

My top two choices are 1. Divorce bc DH freaks out on the bills and / or 2. Never ending carrot sticks and groundwork

On the other hand, she might be the lucky duck and have a real gem on her hands


I predict that you will arrive to find a 13hh hairy pony, that refuses to load, until so one picks it up and carry’s it on.


Oh dear, this one has train wreck written all over it.

I’m betting on crash because no matter how saintly this horse is it isn’t going to put up with a rank amateur handling it for long before it turns into a beast. And let me guess, training for said creature has not been factored in, right?


Good picks. The DH is pretty generous and tolerant. And if all goes awry he will demand for a fire sale prior to filing for divorce. Good guess though and I’d put a small stake on that possibility


Good one!

1 Like

I’m looking forward to updates!

Hopefully the haul will go smoothly at least!

1 Like

I wanted to title the thread “Watching a Train Wreck” but didn’t want to be cruel.

Training has not been factored into cost, but her barm has someone reasonably educated to keep my dear friend April from killing herself. April and DH have the resources. Whether they have the wherewithal to stay the course remains to be seen.


Lol. A 13 hh pony I can deal with!

1 Like

Good luck, OP. It’s a super interesting story and I can’t wait to hear what happens when you get there.


Update Forthcoming post delivery tomorrow. Yay


Wow, a rock and hard place comes to mind. Maybe there is still a chance to say no when she actually sees the horse?

The only time I was brought most unwillingly into a similar situation was when a friend (no longer) asked me to p/u a free horse that a coworker was giving away. Friend described horse as absolutely perfect. Supposed to be only an hour away. I go w friend mid January. It is two hours away not one. Horse won’t load. Friend and colleague try for two hours. Friend has no coat cuz she is “never cold.” Give her a blanket out of the trailer. After 2 hours of trying, colleague decided horse doesn’t like my trailer. Suggests we remove the ramp. I put the ramp up, tell friend find another hauler and we leave. Friend is upset all the way back suggesting things we should have tried. Nope. Friendship starts to die soon after. Eventually a professional hauler gets horse to friend. As far as I know it never left her place since. She no longer rides so all those plans to enjoy the FREE horse on the trails never happened. That was the last time I ever hauled someone’s horse.


I have a local friend 6 months post purchase, with a similar level of experience. She was warned not to buy the horse by a mutual friend. She bought it anyway. Then a horse trailer. I got involved temporarily to help to show her how to lead the horse where it didn’t want to go. And some basic lunging. It’s not “my” type if horse, and I don’t think that it’s got the conformation to stand up to the amount of work it’s going to take to get it broke enough for her to ride… because it was kinda “unbroke” when she bought it, “but you could sit on it”. But it was sent off to a “trainer” for a month, and was walking down the trail for the “trainer”. I do not know the “trainer”, nor have any opinion on the “trainer”. I took my friend to visit another friend of mine, who lives nearby her, with several “seasoned” trail horses, who are reliably broke and seasoned for trail riding, and I suggested that when she wants to go trail riding, this person would be a GOOD one to go WITH. Horse gets home again from the “trainer”, and owner gets on, rides it up the driveway, ACROSS THE HIGHWAY, alone, and goes on a trail ride. Alone. Everyone survives. Next day, owner gets on the horse again, alone again, goes to head off up the driveway, horse “rears”, rider throws herself off the horse. “Was thrown”. I wasn’t there, this was relayed to me by the owner. I have no reply or response. That was the last time the horse was ridden, winter set in, snowy and cold. No riding ring available at the owner’s farm. Owner suggests that she wants to bring the horse over here come spring, to use our round pen to ride the horse. I have farm insurance. I agree that this might be a good plan. I’m not going to ride the horse, trailer the horse, or train the horse for her, for free or for any money. Spring is here and she hasn’t shown up. She has not signed up for the riding clinic I have organized for this coming weekend here, with a coach who is prepared to engage in “coaching” with people who want input.

I believe that the horse will remain a “pasture ornament”, and will be admired for how “beautiful” it is. I do not think it will be ridden again. A “farm” needs to have a horse out standing in the field.

It’s OK, I still like my friend. But I don’t talk about horses with her. Or riding. Or training. I have given advice, and it was not acted upon. I give no further advice.


A friend of my husband’s bought a second horse to use as a pack horse for when he went hunting at the local auction barn. Since we were heading out there to pick up hay he asked if we would haul the horse for him. No problem. We get to the auction barn and here’s this big QH looking guy waiting for us. I looked him over and discovered he had two golf ball sized strangles swellings in his jaw line. :grimacing: We load the horse and take him to his place told him what the deal was and he’s not amused. When we get home I spent the next hour disinfecting the trailer inside and out and the truck as well.

Turns out the horse was a rogue and beat up his nice riding horse as well as giving him strangles since the idiot put them together. He ended up having to put both horses down.

Oh my. Strangles does not usually lead to that. That is scary.


oh boy

I had a coworker once (non-rider) tell me he bought a jet black (bay) stallion (gelding) for his 9 year old daughter, who had taken approx 3 months worth of once a week lessons on schoolies. The horse was a 4 year old right off the track, and he was so pleased at what a “deal” he had gotten, how they could “grow up together”. I am pretty sure the girls trainer tranq’d that horse out of his mind every ride for her for at least a year, I saw videos of the kid in her lessons and it was stumbling drunk. Anyway, it’s now years later and the girl is champion about every time out in the Opportunity (which, I may be wrong, but I think is not subject to D&M rules?) and Dad is so proud, and horse has a good home. It’s rail thin, but that’s another story…

fingers crossed your friend is subject to beginners luck!


they are subject to ALL show rules, they dont have to pay member and drug fees, however. They can be tested

1 Like

I hope this turns out okay. The ad was for a cross, right? Maybe something mellow is in there.

Thinking good thoughts for a hairy, easy going, low maintenance, gem that will stick around. Conformation doesn’t matter as long as she’s kind.