I guess you could say I’m a bit of a cynic. I really don’t have much enthusiasm or hope for the human population, mainly because my daily interactions with society have shown me that, as a general rule, people are undeniably, profoundly stupid. Additionally, I’ve learned that stupid people LOVE to own horses, and I seem to be one of their favorite sellers to annoy during this process. Maybe I’m just an idiot-magnet, I don’t know.
So today, as a public service, I’m going to cover the most frequently-occuring breeds of Idiot that I encounter when selling horses, and if only ONE would-be seller becomes educated about the types of jackasses they’ll encounter during the selling process, I’ll have done myself and horses everywhere a favor.
Let’s start off with the number one most common type of Idiot that I deal with, the Shitty Parent. When you call me, and say “I’m calling about your horse for sale on the Internet. Do you still have it?” Okay, first of all, how in the HELL am I supposed to know which horse you’re calling about? Please consider that 90% of people with horses on the Internet for sale have more than one listed. When I ask you “Which one are you calling about?” DO NOT answer with “Oh, I don’t know. My kid found it and wanted me to call.” Right away, this tells me three things about you, the combination of which, in my mind, ends our business relationship before it really even began:
1) You have no idea what you’re calling about, but you’re expecting me to provide ALL of the information on EVERY one of my horses for sale so we can try and play pin the tail on the donkey and figure out just which one MIGHT have caught Little Suzy’s eye, even though its probably an unbroken 3 year old stud colt and Little Suzy is going to her third EVER riding lesson tomorrow (but let’s be realistic here: if Little Suzy is like 99.9% of the horse-crazy child population, the goddamn horse could have three legs, one eye and a $15,000 price tag and she’s going to fall in love with it anyway and give you my phone number). I don’t have this kind of time, patience, or desire to share my inventory with you. Please fuck off and go to parenting classes instead, you need to be a more active participant in your kid’s life.
2) You’re stupid enough to give your kid access to the Internet and then let them hand you a list of phone numbers of complete strangers and send you on a wild goose chase, and you’ll do it. If dealing with you didn’t annoy me so much, I’d take advantage of this situation and make a killing off of you. Lucky for you, I have a conscience, a desire NOT to hurt someone else’s kid, and a very limited tolerance for stupid people. I really don’t want to deal with you beyond this initial phone call.
3) You have no real intention of buying a safe horse for your child, you just want something to keep them amused and out of your hair. If you actually cared about your child’s safety, you’d be the one spending the time researching breeds, going through online classifieds, discussing specific horses with your kid’s trainer (you DO have a trainer, right? Because you obviously have NO idea what you’re doing), and then having said trainer contact me on your behalf. Calling a dealer with no prior horse-buying experience is like walking into a new-car dealership and saying “I want to buy a red car, but it has to have airbags.” No amount of praying is going to save you, someone’s going to take your money. It might be a little, or it might be a lot, either way, you’re going to end up with something that wasn’t what you had in mind once you’ve handed over that cash and hauled the horse home.
My next most common Idiot-type is the “Well I’d like a young horse so my child and it can grow together.”-crowd. This group is, by FAR, the most lethal bunch of fucking idiots in the horse world. These are the parents at 4-H shows standing on the rail during a walk-trot class hollering to their kid “IT’S OKAY HONEY! JUST LET HIM BUCK AND GET IT OUT OF HIS SYSTEM! HE’S LEARNING TOO!” minutes before their offspring is carried off on a stretcher while the terrified horse is bolting around the arena trying to sideswipe the other inexperienced kids and horses. Green plus green equals black and blue, folks. But if you’re hell bent on the “let them grow up together mindset”, get a puppy instead. At least that puppy won’t grow to end up 1200-pounds of I-Don’t-Wanna/Screw-You-Bitch because it was never taught ANYTHING because your kid hasn’t so much as looked at it in 4 years. You see, she developed these nasty things called hormones and then boys came along and she realized her chest will get her further with them than a horse will. Now your cute weanling has turned into an adult horse you can’t do anything with, and your little princess out getting railed by the captain of the football team and screaming that she hates you on a daily basis. Last year I had a dead-serious phone call from a woman who wanted a pair of two year olds for her young daughter. Neither horse had been so much as saddled before, her daughter had spent two weeks at summer camp where she learned to ride the year prior, so they felt they were ready for horses of their own and wanted untrained horses because they’re generally cheaper. Their plan was to board these two at a barn down the road because: “They have trained horses in their pasture, so our two will learn what to do by living with them, right?”. Stupid me, in 20 years of horses, I’ve been doing it all wrong this whole time. No one ever told me horses learn by osmosis.
Coming in at a close third, we have the “Oh I have a LOT of experience” group. This statement is usually followed by “My grandparents had horses when I was a kid.” or “My neighbor has horses.” or “I pet a horse at the fair last year!”. Well super for you, Asshole! Come spend all night walking a colicing horse, or clean a sheath on an unappreciative gelding, come give I.V. fluids to a needle-phobic sick horse, or hold the forehead of one onto its skull waiting for the vet to come stitch it up (that’ll set you back a cool $400). Or hell, even pay my $350 per week hay bill for a month (that’d be great!) if you want to play horse-person for a while to get it out of your system. Listen buddy, you may know how to lead a very tolerant horse and sit in a saddle, but so do most circus chimpanzees. It kind of follows that same theory of “Anyone can have sex, that doesn’t make you fit to be a parent”. Why not look into leasing before you fork out money on one you can’t hand back when reality hits you like a runaway bulldozer? I pull close to a hundred horses a year out of the end-of-the-line auctions because of people like you. You go buy a horse because it seems like a great idea, then winter hits, you forget that horses eat YEAR ROUND and HOLY SHIT is hay expensive in the winter! By January, you dump what’s left of your horse at a kill auction for the first $50 bid that rolls around and I spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars trying to save what’s left of your horse before finding it a home with someone who will properly care for it. Thanks for keeping me in business, but please go buy yourself a four-wheeler instead.
I’d continue this hopefully informative little piece, but my phone is ringing and my inbox is full of email inquiries on horses that need to be answered. Time to go to work….wish me luck. More to come later….