Try before you buy – a sobering tale of buying horses unseen

The pandemic has changed shopping habits for many, but the tale of Laddie and Angel shows that some things are best bought the old fashioned way.

Try before you buy – a sobering tale of buying horses unseen

Laddie and Angel came into the care of World Horse Welfare’s Belwade Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre in Aberdeenshire in March 2021 after the pair’s new owner had bought them both unseen online from a horse dealer 500-miles away.

Laddie, a bay Thoroughbred cross gelding, arrived in Scotland after his 10-11 hour journey and was a sad sight: dreadfully underweight and, having been recently fully clipped by the dealer, his ribs were also clearly visible with his hip bone and spine protruding through his skin – a stark contrast to the advertised stunning, schoolmaster horse that was depicted in the videos and pictures sent by the dealer to the potential buyer. Angel was in good body condition when she arrived in Scotland but was nervous, skittish and flighty – not the bombproof hacking pony advertised.

Laddie arrived at our Belwade Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre seriously underweight.

The new owners asked World Horse Welfare to help these horses when they realised the specialist care, attention and facilities needed to nurse them back to full health. After several months of specialist care and rehabilitation Laddie and Angel have a bright future.

“The new owners bought two horses unseen from a dealer in Essex and paid for them to be transported up to a remote area of the Highlands. Laddie came off the lorry a sorry soul who was in poor body condition – he was nothing like the photos and videos seen on his advert. Angel, although in good body condition, was spooky and nervous, not the bombproof pony advertised. The owners very sensibly recognised their own limits and the care needed to rehabilitate Laddie and Angel and they asked World Horse Welfare to help and both ponies were then signed over into our care.

“Laddie has made a remarkable recovery and is ready to start work with his groom at Belwade Farm. Angel has settled into her new surroundings and has responded well to the rehabilitation and handling process. Keep an eye on our website for updates and rehoming of this lucky pair.”

Field Officer Leanne McPake
After several months of specialist care and rehabilitation Laddie and Angel have a bright future.

Online shopping has become the norm for many during the Covid-19 pandemic, but World Horse Welfare warns about buying horses without meeting your potential new horse first. Laddie and Angel’s owners paid £7000 for the pair but the hidden costs incurred after buying horses unseen can be much higher. You may have to factor in ongoing veterinary costs of sick animals, specialist feeding and your time nursing your horse back to full health. Sadly, in the end your new horse may still not be fit for use.

Although some people do buy horses unseen successfully it is seldom advisable and, where possible, you should always meet the horses to check that they are as described and suitable for your requirements. If you must buy unseen, you should always check seller’s or dealer’s names and reputations online and get animals vetted before parting with your money.

If you would like to support the work of World Horse Welfare and the horses and ponies like Laddie and Angel, please consider sponsoring a stableyard from us. You can sponsor Belwade Farm’s stableyard here.

Enjoy reading stories like this?

Get our latest news and rescue stories straight to your inbox

Magazine front cover
Follow our story on social networks