Today marks the end of the Rosie story. I’m behind in my posts, as it has been kinda frantic for the last couple of weeks, so the full details will get posted retroactively. Here’s the short version:
If you are considering buying a registered Belgian mare by the name of Heartland’s Roseberry (“Rosie”), be very, very cautious. She is a very sweet-tempered horse, well-trained for saddle and harness, and she wants to please. However, as of earlier this month (when I had her on trial), she had some issues that resulted in an outright failure on her pre-sale veterinary exam.
Okay, so that’s why horse buyers should get a vet check done—so, no harm, no foul, right? However, the seller (Laurie Hart, d.b.a. Rancho Corazon in Enumclaw, Washington) in this situation was very unpleasant to deal with during the trial period—to put it mildly.
After the mare failed her vet check, I informed the seller that I would be returning the horse unless significant changes were made in the sale agreement. Her responses made it clear that I was doing business with a semi-professional horsetrader. She tried all kinds of things to get me to keep the mare, including the good-guy/bad-guy routine, an ever-increasing reduction in the sales price (eventually offering to knock 60% off if I would keep the mare), telling me that “your vet doesn’t know what he is talking about”, and telling me “I’ll probably have to put her down if I take her back” ploy.
In the end, I took Rosie back (a 4-1/2 hour drive each way). This experience cost me over $500 in fuel, vet fees, and boarding—plus $500 in earnest money. And all of this despite a fairly solid written contract. I finally got my money back today—two weeks after I took Rosie back—after threatening a lawsuit. This was an expensive lesson, but it could have been much worse, I think.
As of this writing, the mare is listed for sale on Dreamhorse.com at $1800 with no mention whatsoever in the ad of her problems (except that she has been out to pasture for awhile), and the price has been steadily dropping—and $1800 is still several hundred dollars more than the price for which she eventually was willing to sell the mare to me. It may be that this mare can be made sound again and it may be that the seller has successfully treated the mare’s various ailments, but do your homework very, VERY carefully before buying this horse (or any horse) from this seller.