Have you ever been offered a gift horse? Gift horses, or free horses, do exist, but the decision to accept one isn’t something that you should take lightly. Before you accept a gift horse, think about these six points.
Consider Who Is Offering You the Horse
When assessing whether accepting a gift horse is a good idea, consider who is offering the horse. Is it a family friend who heard that you’re looking? Or is it a stranger who is offering the horse for free on the internet? It’s important to consider whether the person giving away the horse is someone you can completely trust.
Find Out Why the Horse Is Free
Horses, even those with just basic training, are valuable. Find out why the horse is being given away, because there is almost always a reason. It may be a health issue, a training issue, or some other issue that has occurred. Many times these issues aren’t readily apparent, but will emerge as you own the horse. Don’t be afraid to ask why the horse is being given away.
Ask About the Horse’s Health
It’s also important to ask specifically about the horse’s health. Even though the horse may be free, the cost of caring for medical issues can quickly negate those savings. If the horse has significant medical issues, refer to your vet and find out how much it would cost to treat and maintain the horse’s health. Don’t forget to also find out how those issues may affect the horse’s career later on in life.
Request a Trial Period
As with any new horse, it’s always a good idea to request a trial period with your gift horse. A trial period, generally of one week, gives you a chance to get to know the horse to make sure that you’re both a good fit.
Have a Plan
When you take on a gift horse, make sure that you have a plan for the unexpected. What if the horse comes up lame and has a serious underlying medical issue? What if you can no longer afford to care for the horse? Having a plan for these circumstances can make it easier to deal with them if they ever do arise.
Get a Bill of Sale
Even when a horse is offered to you for free, it’s important that you get a bill of sale on the horse. A bill of sale proves that you are the true owner of the horse, and is invaluable in case your ownership of the horse should ever be questioned. Request that you pay the seller $1 for the horse, and get a written and signed bill of sale. If the seller declines, then it’s best to walk away from this deal.
While a gift hose may seem an ideal option, it’s important to make sure that the horse is really right for you and what you’re looking for.