Buying horses unseen: when it works (and when it doesn’t) *H&H Plus*

  • Whether due to lockdown, location or time, some riders make the daunting decision to buy a horse without first seeing it in the flesh. Andrea Oakes talks to those who have first-hand experience

    “WE call him the gazelephant,” laughs Ellis Simister, whose pandemic purchase Cornetto turned out to be rather larger than expected. “We thought we were buying a 16hh working hunter stamp, nothing too flamboyant, who might event at low level. What turned up was a just-under 17hh beast who is built like an elephant but leaps like a gazelle.”

    Ellis is one of the many who bought a horse “sight unseen” during the first lockdown last year. Happily, hers is a success story, but parting with your money without first seeing a horse in the flesh is not without risk – as Ellis knows first-hand.

    “We regularly buy Connemara ponies unseen from Ireland,” she explains. “We’ve been pretty lucky, but we have discovered some mismatches on arrival. I would never buy another without a vetting; one pony turned up with his front teeth missing and was also unsound and windsucked. The sellers told me to keep riding him and he would come right.”

    You can also read this feature in the 20 May issue of Horse & Hound magazine.

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