Thursday, August 5, 2010

Debunking Horse Ads- Part 1

After the overwhelming response I received on my "I am the James Bond of the Horse World" I figured you all must be just chomping at the bit to hear all my ground breaking philosophies... my life-altering words of wisdom, my brilliant deductions!



But before I begin you need to know the catch. The catch is that no matter how good I might be (humble too) at reading through the bullshit, the fact is that there is no way, short of strapping that slippery sucker of a horse seller to a pressure cuff, retina scanner and shooting him up with a hefty dose of truth serum (Now there is an idea!) there is no sure fire way to separate fact from fiction. To make matters worse some horses owners dont even know that they are lying. They can be oblivious to lameness and, bless their heart, deluded by love and ignorance in to thinking their fluffy is the second coming of Big Ben.

Such is life.

But one would think there is some information in a horse ad you cant count as being "fact" such as the basics:

Age. Sex. Breed. Height. Color.

Not so.

One would also assume that all such facts would be included in even the most basic of horse ad.

Not so.

Here are some of the "general" rules I apply in the interest of time.

Sex: GENERALLY you can bank on the legitimacy of this information... except... in the case of a gelding with some "studly" characteristics (big jowl, muscled neck) in which case it is always good to ask when they were gelded. You might be shocked to find that "kid safe gelding" was used as a breeding stud just months earlier. If you are very serious about a gelding it also helps to google their reg. name and see if any "Sired by" pops up. I've found such geldings MULTIPLE times.

Age: For a registered horse the listed age is most often correct. However, because horse age is most often listed as year of birth beware those who suck at math. They either deduce incorrectly when coming up with the birth year (a 12 year old was not born in 1997) or when coming up with the age from the year (a 1997 is not a nine year old.)

If a horse is listed as a "three year old" be sure to ask if it will be three-year-old all year long or just until it's mid-summer "birthday" (they bucked the universally accepted January 1st birthday.)

If the age is not included in the ad the horse is ancient. If the horse is Grade and doesn't show any signs of age it will be five. If its age is beginning to show then it will always be 12 and anything that can no longer pass as 12 is "unknown age but still acts like he is 12".

Breed: If the breed is missing from the ad it is either a Standardbred, Thoroughbred, Appy, Arab or a mix of heaven-knows-what or all of the above. Read Quarab as full Arab, Morab as even 'crazier than usual Arab' and Sporthorse as anything that doesnt pass as anything else. Unpapered "warmbloods" are Thoroughbreds or (if the owner is really reaching) Standardbred. And be warned that those skimpy tailed/thin maned grade QH's are often Appys that have shed the stigma of their papers.

Height: Mots people give a "guesstimate" of their horses height and they usually error the side of whatever works best for the market. A simple rule can be applied here: read anything in the 14 hand range as "small"; anything between 15 and 16 hands as "medium" and anything 16 + as "large" and just completely disregarding any of the point fractions as totally immaterial.

Color: Dont even get me started. Half of the blue roans are gray. Duns are red duns or bays with even the faintest hint of counter-shading. Palominos are sorrels with flaxen mane and tails. Some folks try really hard to be smart and include details about how their sorrel mare has a recessive creme gene or could possibly be champagne or how their gelding is bay with dun factor. If getting the color wrong is the only error in their ad then count your blessings.


  1. The worse group at height are Arabs folks. I was told Hank was 15.2. I asked her n the phone " A true 15.2, or Arabian 15.2" She swore he really was that tall. lol Ummmm, just barely over 15. Still nice size for a nice stoute Arab.

  2. LOL, Chelsi!!! You crack me up! : ) definitely hit the nail on the head with this one. My biggest pet peave is size. Everyone thinks that their horse is 16 hands or taller. Really?????

    And what is supposed to be so cool about a giant horse anyway??? I like mine between 14 and 15 hands, but maybe that is because I am only 5'5". : )

    Oh, and about those damn crickets??? Just ignore them and keep it up, okay???? : 0

  3. Oh so true. I'm shopping for a new horse so I've been searching the online ads and I just hate them. I don't want to be pessimistic or paranoid, but I try to read between the lines. And so many of them are "kid-broke, but hasn't been ridden in X years, so may need a tune up." Most are hiding something or omitting information. And why try to make a horse taller than it is? Ridiculous. I looked at a horse a few years ago that was advertised as 16.2 hands. I measured him at under 15.2 and the seller said, "Oh, ok, well we can consider him 16 hands." Does that mean I can "consider" myself as weighing 50 pounds less than I do. Oh...wait, I already do that on my driver's license.

  4. LOL! OMG! I went through all of this with Maddie! She was 14.3hh, not 15.2hh as was listed on her lease papers. And she wasn't Quarab, of that I'm sure!

    At least everything was true with Casey and his papers backed it up. Only, they listed him shorter, but maybe that's because they f*cked up his feet and they were too short?

    Chelsi, if you have time, will you please wander over and comment on the Visitor I posted on my blog? I'd like your guess as to what he may be.

  5. New reader here, LMAO.

    I've often thought that I should see if anybody would buy my 16 hand (actually 15.3hh) mahogony bay (um, dark brown) imported Canadian Warmblood" (she actually is a Standardbred--from Canada!) for $35,000. Cash.

    Might be worth a giggle.

  6. New reader here, LMAO.

    I've often thought that I should see if anybody would buy my 16 hand (actually 15.3hh) mahogony bay (um, dark brown) imported Canadian Warmblood" (she actually is a Standardbred--from Canada!) for $35,000. Cash.

    Might be worth a giggle.