During the last weeks I spent in Texas, I was introduced to a woman, through one of my best clients. They were looking for a horse for their family. This was to be their first horse and they were ready to take the plunge into horse ownership. She called them during a group lesson one Saturday- on a Saturday when her own 7yo little girl was riding this particular horse.
They immediately headed over, and their oldest daughter got on and rode him around. He did great for her and they said they wanted to come try him again. So they did. They then went on vacation, called me- from vacation- and said they’d like to purchase him but it would have to wait until they got back and could I help them with lessons while I was here for my last week or so. I agreed to give them horsemanship lessons so long as time allowed. They came and rode him on a Monday evening and again, he did excellent. There were, as there often are with novice riders and kind horses, a few communication problems. Tuesday they came and paid me for the horse. The horse actually belongs to Zach- whom I work for (and with) in South Dakota. He brought him down on a trailer load of other horses and figured if I didn’t sell him, at least we’d end up getting to use him for lessons and I’d have another nice, kind horse to ride in my barn.
They knew the horse was from South Dakota. As with any horse purchase that I facilitate and where the owner dictates, I produced a bill of sale. In that bill of sale, Zach had agreed to give them 30 days to decide if they want to keep the horse. In that 30 day time period, he agreed to buy the horse back so long as he was sound and fit.
They had the horse for a good 10 days or so, and called us to say that he wasn’t working out. That he’d thrown 2 people. They were less than cordial though they did admit that they felt they’d caused the problem. Upon getting to the bottom of the cause of the problem (which was a lack of a keeper from their front girth to their back girth) they argued about whether my saddle even had one- and we’d specifically discussed this as there isn’t a horse on this entire planet that won’t have at least a mini-come apart.
Since the initial phone call, from the very stern voiced- husband to this woman- who was less than nice- they have been offered on at least 3 different occasions to have help getting the horse back to South Dakota. They’ve decided it’s not their responsibility, but the bill of sale dictates that they receive their refund upon the return of a sound a fit horse. They argue they bought the horse in Texas, therefore they don’t have any responsibility to return the horse any further than where the horse was purchased.
We sent a fellow professional horseman, and friend, over to asses the horse to see what the wrecks they’d managed to cause with the horse had done to him mentally, as there were still several other people interested in this horse. She agreed that at this point, we can’t sell him like he is, as he can’t be saddled. She also said that they were not really nice to her, and they were completely defensive and wouldn’t let her get a word in. All they said pretty much the entire time she was there was, we have an *unconditional* money back guarantee. Right.
After that meeting, Zach and I both got phone calls from the woman, with her telling us she wanted to share the *series of events* that had occurred that day with the fellow horseman. Neither of us returned her call as we were not interested in a he-said-she-said, and moreover, not concerned with a novice perception of where the horse was.
At this point, we’ve not heard anything back, and Zach has asked me to step away from the situation as he is worried about the fall-out and the situation in general, affecting my relationship with the client who made the referral. I went so far as to send that client an email this week asking about how their lessons with their new instructor were going and to let her know that I’d been removed from the situation. Now this client has always been very good at getting back to me, and in 4 days now, I’ve heard nothing. So I have no idea if she is upset with the situation or not. I should probably call her, or should I leave well-enough-alone? I just don’t know any more.
Anyway, the whole situation is bothering me, and I’d like, a lot to call the folks that bought him and give them a piece of my mind, and then I’d like to talk to the client that made the referral, and I just basically don’t know what to think anymore. I get that people new to the horse business don’t understand how things work, but I also understand that in a sitaution like this, the seller isn’t who loses money, it’s the buyer that has decided the horse doesn’t work for them. Furthermore, these people have NO FREAKIN’ idea how lucky they are that they did business with someone that will take the horse back- but they don’t want to lose any money- they want every penny the spent on the horse repaid- and btw- we knocked money off the price of the horse, b/c they asked. I can pretty much guarantee that the next time someone wants to ask for a discount, that they buy it, they own it and well, tough. You want a money back guarantee, you will pay what we say the horse is worth. Period.
I’m so upset.