This turned out to be a thoroughly depressing exercise.
It took me a full DOZEN ads before I found a single one that did not make me want to bang my head against the wall. Seriously, eleven advertisements that neatly illustrated why we have an "unwanted horse" problem in the United States: Crappy horse keeping, bad and indiscriminate breeding, clueless people, thoughtless/selfish people, just plain IDIOTIC people. I will say that almost all the horses looked to be well-fed - there's not a really scrawny one in the bunch. Hard to see the feet of most so can't tell about them.
Here are some of the more craptastic ads so you can see what I'm talking about. I have outtakes of the ad copy from most of these (my favorite parts, in quotes, spelling/grammar uncorrected). I hope I do not bore you, but I just felt driven to share after I became aware of the sheer quantity of badness here. Probably not a whole lot different from Craig's List ads across the country, alas...
1. Sweet Horse 6 yr old Blu Roan - $500
"Unfortunatly we are not giving her the time she needs and know with some time she could be ridden"
Comments: I am no Western rider, but even I can tell that that incredibly cheap-looking saddle is about 8" too far back. It's just as well that the mare is unbroken because anyone sitting on her kidneys like that would doubtless find themselves in for a heck of a rodeo ride. Other than that, at least this girl is fat and shiny. Too bad "there's no time" for her.
2. Super sweet Gelding - $1600
“Can come when called sometimes. I am selling him cause I don't have the time like I did for him."
Comments: Whoo boy, now there's a ringing endorsement! CAN come when called SOMEtimes. Well, my teenagers are perfectly capable of getting up and crossing the room when I call them, but that doesn't mean they have a) heard me or b) want to, so they often don't. :-) (I suppose I could put that in an ad if I was trying to sell them) Nice helpful confo shot, too. Where was the photographer standing, on the roof of the barn? Horse is pretty fat, that I can tell.
And wait a minute, haven't we heard that line about "no time" before?
3. 5 y/o AQHA mare - $1500
"I don't have the time to commit to a greenie, would be willing to trade for an older, well-broke horse (geldings preferred)"
Comments: I'm not sure if it's just the way the mare is standing, but that might be a spectacular set of cow hocks right there. Otherwise, she's not half-bad looking. What infuriated me about this ad, however, is here we have the very common tactic of someone thinking another person is going to be willing to trade their rideable, broke horse for a youngster with no training. Why would anybody do that??? And once again... dude, if you didn't have the time for a greenie, then WHY DO YOU HAVE ONE?! If you bred her yourself (likely scenario) then double shame on you. Moron.
4. 8yr old Grade Gelding- sell or trade - $350
"His right fore leg is turned out and while he isn't lame or clumsy he doesn't like to hold a trot or lope when ridden by an adult. We bought him to teach our children to ride on and he's been great for that."
Comments: This one is just plain sad. Poor guy, he's served the purpose for which they wanted him and now it's "hustle him out the door." They're even willing to trade him for goats. Sure, LOTS of people will want a horse with a leg that looks like it's going to snap at any second. Or, how about the first person waving a couple hundred bucks in cash (that would be Mr. Kill Buyer) gets him?5. Two gentlemen in need of some good homes
"Horse 1: He does wear a halter but is not halter broke. He is a very smart 5 year old Paint Stallion. He is gentle and can be calm that is including with children. $350 Horse 2: He has been saddled and when he was it was a smooth ride as far as we know. I do have to admit it has been a few years since then, but I would think its like riding a bike its something you never forget how to do. $375"
Comments: Horse 1: Ah yes, the usual unhandled backyard stallion. WHY WHY WHY does this guy have his nuts??? They can't even be bothered to halter break him, although he "wears a halter?" And another "can" qualifier. Oh, brother. I have to say, though, this guy is pretty good-looking, conformation-wise. He could really be a nice boy for somebody with that ever-elusive time.
Horse 2: Let me get this straight. The horse will remember how to go under saddle because he knows how to ride a bike, or the rider will remember how to ride because a horse is nothing more than a hairy bicycle? :-) From the lovely condition of this animal, he looks to have been unridden for quite a few years. I don't get it. Why. Do. People. Have. Horses. if they are not going to do a damn thing with them (I'm not talking about retirees).
Nice try with the "gentlemen" bit, too. Are people supposed to think you have some Chippendales dancers up for grabs? At these prices, once again the horses will be lucky if the KBs don't snap them up, especially the chunky one.
6. Several Horses that need some good homes A.S.A.P.
"Timber-is a 6 year old female Mustang. She was purchased from the B.L.M. She was pregnant when purchased, gave birth to her colt here at our home. We are asking $425 Chico-is a 2 year old Mustang Stallion. From the B.L.M. He was born here with us. His mother is Timber. Asking $250 O.B.O. Dakota- is a 5 year old Paint Stallion. He was born and was a private purchase in Helena, MT. Asking $350 O.B.O.Two Socks-is a 10 year old male Quarter Horse gelding. He was also born and was privately purchased in Helena, MT. He is Green Broke and loads great. Asking $375 O.B.O.
Baby-is a 14 year old female Mustang. Purchased from the B.L.M. She is also Green Broke and loads great. Asking $625 O.B.O."
Comments: Giant, humongous, sigh here. Why the hell do these people have all of these horses in the first place, if they suddenly have to be homeless? Sounds like only two of them are even green-broke. Why did they go to all the trouble of purchasing BLM mustangs, only to throw them to the four winds? Why have they not gelded the two year old "accident?" Why did they buy the Paint stallion (shown above), only to do nothing with him? Because they had the space - plenty of that in MT - and they were purty? I will admit that nothing here looks hungry or wormy, at least.
P.S. Five is more than "several."
7. This little girl needs a good home A.S.A.P.
Comments: Bwaakk! Holy smoke, that is some goose rump there. I'm surprised her tail hasn't fallen clean off. She won't win any beauty contests with that head/eye, either. However, she does look sweet which is how she's advertised. The thing that gets me about this one is the all-too-familiar scenario of buying a cute baby horsie for your kid, so they can grow up together (you'll note the mare was a yearling when they got her), only to have the kid lose interest. Just kills me considering that I was a child who was dying for a horse and never got one, and I know there are plenty of others like me!
We also have another attempt at anthropomorphization in the headline here: "Look! We're selling a kid here, who just happens to have fur and four legs! Come and git 'er!"
"she is saddle broke. She is desensitised. My 6 year old and 9 year old can ride her"
Comments: And one of them IS, of course, with no helmet or tack. Gee, I'm so surprised. We should all ride yearlings with no helmets or tack, right? Cute little filly. Hope someone gets her out of the hands of these fools before she is ruined... or the children are ruined when she wakes up and isn't a baby anymore.
And finally, what to my wondering eyes should appear but this ad. Right from the headline you can tell these people might actually have a clue. I am not a registration snob but the fact that the mare is registered speaks well of the owners. The ad is well-written (this is the whole thing), they've provided appropriate vet/farrier care, the photos are good, the child astride is actually wearing a helmet, and all the important details are provided: age, height, breed, training, rider recommendation. Guess which horse I would make tracks to see out of this bunch? And I don't even want a Walking Horse! (But I do think she's really pretty :-))
"Belle is a 16 years old registered Tennessee Walker mare. She has a beautiful black and white tobiano pattern. She is 14 hands, calm, strong, and an excellent trail horse. She could also be used as a dude horse. Belle is intelligent and a quick learner, making ground work with her enjoyable. Belle does not wear or need shoes and has a nice gait. She gets along with dogs and farm animals, loads easily into a trailer, and loves to be brushed and groomed. She has had a recent vet check and is up to date on worming and vaccinations. She is recommended for intermediate riders."