Poor Business Ethics: How NOT To Sell A Horse

I hemmed and hawed as to whether or not I should write this, but after not composing a snarky letter to the person it concerns, I figured I should just write a blog post and be done with it.

You may have been reading that we are supposed to be picking up a two year old Shire gelding this Saturday. I’ve spent the last month and a half visiting him and have stocked up on hay, equipment, and grain. I was very excited! The agreement I had with the breeder was to pay a deposit (paid), then a large down payment, then make payments until he was paid off. This is a fairly common arrangement and financially it suited us.

On Sunday at about 10:00PM, I received an email from the breeder. I will paraphrase, but it went something like this, “Hi Jenn, we gelded (Dantés) and he’s doing great! However, we were wondering if you would like a different horse, because we realized that he is going to fit our needs and we want to keep him now.”

I’m sorry, what?

So basically, after six to eight weeks of working with the horse and the breeder, a deposit, me buying hundreds of dollars worth of hay and grain, the breeder decides to back out six days before pick up.

I was appalled. However, she mentioned a three year old mare. In her email, she said, “If you would consider our alternative, we would let you keep her on a trial basis until the spring and at that time you could begin making payments.” I emailed her back and said I would come visit.

So the next day, Monday, I called her. She didn’t pick up, nor did she return my email. She eventually called back and mentioned that she had an eight year old gelding and a three year old mare, and that they could even deliver! She felt SO bad, she said. Terrible!

So I arranged to go out to their farm (AGAIN) Tuesday evening. It’s an hour and a half from my home. When I got there, I met the three year old mare. She was very so-so, not interested in people, sort of sour and bored. When I met the eight year old gelding, he was super friendly, sweet, very handsome. I accepted their apologies and told them the eight year old would perhaps work.

During my visit, I said “So the same deal with your email and I can pick him up Sunday?” The breeder responded “Yes!”

So I drove home, feeling as though the whole thing had been resolved and my time was not wasted. Though I truly wanted Dantés, I had found a suitable replacement and they breeders had made up for it by slicing the price down to an affordable one and also had a trial period.

By the time I got home, the breeder had already emailed me. To paraphrase, she said, “Jenn, we are so glad you liked Nolan! We thought about what you said, and we can’t do $1600 for him, we can do $3,000, and we will not do a trial period.” She offered to take payments but I was not in the market for a $3,000 horse. I was astounded that for a second time, she had reneged on her words.

I started crying. I had paid $500 for hay, stocked up on grain, bought a halter and a lead, put a deposit on one horse then been told he was not for sale, decided on another, and then was told she wanted nearly double for him. I politely declined and asked her to send my deposit back.

At this point, I am mostly just disgusted at her shit business skills, her inability to keep her word, and then her inability to be honest and up front.

When she responded to my decline of a $3,000 offer, she said “I am sorry we don’t have what you’re looking for.”

However, she did have what I was looking for. I had put money down on the perfect horse, a two year old gelding named Dantés. But she decided not to sell him, and then put me in a pretty crappy financial and emotional situation.

I suppose there is always next year, but if you are looking for a Shire horse in Maine or New England, steer CLEAR away from North Country Drafts in Stoneham.

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2 thoughts on “Poor Business Ethics: How NOT To Sell A Horse

  1. Wow. Thank you for telling this story. Sorry to hear that you got conned. I don’t know anything about buying horses so this provided at least a basis of what not to do. – Jasmine

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