When I was researching for this site I had a great time searching all the horse for sale and dog for sale online classifieds competition. It truly was eye-opening. The scams were rampant and I just kept asking myself – ‘do people really fall for these?’
It has been a very long time since I had been horse shopping. I was gob-smacked. So I just wanted to bring you some of the scams (or what I see as scams) that I found at some of the sites i researched.
Shockingly Overpriced Animals – now I know that horse prices have increased since I last bought a horse (like 1986…) but I still expect to find a well-bred horse with some good training when I’m seeing an ad for a 75K animal. I know the ‘Gypsy’ horses are a fad, much like anything ‘doodle’ or ‘poo’ in the dog world. But a young horse with sketchy training for 75K? Oh but he’s a fad breed and a fad colour (pinto and buckskin) so he’s a steal right?
Brings me back memories of Arabians in the 80’s. Total craziness that almost destroyed the breed.
But when you look at the sellers page – it is chock a block full of shockingly overpriced animals. She doesn’t have a horse for sale listing for less than 35K. All are common breeds that she and her very young daughters have ‘trained to do it all’ with no recognized show results. 55K for a common draft cross with backyard training. A person could easily find a horse like this at the local auction for a few hundred and save a life from slaughter. Or adopt from a rescue.
What is even more shocking to me is that she seems to sell them. Or reports that she does. I guess that old saying about a sucker born every minute can be true in the horse world. What I see here is a scammer taking advantage of people who are new to the horse industry. It’s appalling.
Listed Multiple times in Multiple cities – I’m not sure what the point is in doing this – I guess the scammer, oops I mean seller, is betting that the shopper is only searching horse for sale ads in their local area and is not cross-referencing the ads. Which is so incredibly easy to do with a basic search. They really want you to see this overpriced horse in your search so are overposting it as though it lives everywhere. Although in their ad copy they do admit that the horse is in their home state at their farm. But they will deliver that overpriced horse to you without you even leaving the comfort of your couch, so it doesn’t matter where the animal is located right?
Yes it kind of does. I fully believe in seeing and trying out any horse you intend to buy in person. You need to meet them, ride the horse if it’s been trained to ride, spend some time hanging out with the horse and see if it’s the right match. This means traveling. Maybe a lot of traveling.
Confusing or Mismatched Info – this ad made me laugh so much – the title says the horse is a german warmblood in German, not English. The ad details say the horse is a Gypsy, and the pedigree they listed is for an Arabian. His name in the ad details is Mack, while in the description they call him Snoopy. Mack/Snoopy is three years old at the time of his ad posting (April 2022) and has had 60 days of driving training in the summer/fall of 2020, when he would have been a yearling. Then had 90 days of under saddle training at some point. His list of skills/disciplines is really impressive for a three year old with so little time spent on training him. But he’s not afraid of plastic bags, which is a total bonus.
I kept reading that ad like a trainwreck you can’t pull yourself away from looking at. I was sure that it would get better. More believable. But nope. When I got to the bottom of the ad and saw the Arabian pedigree…I just burst out laughing. It was just too much.
Do ads like this really get responses from people? Do they contact out of curiousity because they cant figure out what the f**k is actually for sale? (Sorry the picture doesn’t show all the mismatched info)
How to combat this? Do your research. Research the breed. Research the skills and training. Compare against the other listings.
Look at the listings for the same breed – what is the highest and lowest prices? what’s the average price? What training or recognized show results do the others have?
Look at the other horses that are listed in that price range. Do they have more training? Show results? Known breeding or better breeding?
Look for consistency in the ad information, if they don’t even know what they are selling, it’s probably a scam.
Get someone you trust to help you with the shopping. Go see the animal in person, take an experienced friend or trainer with you.
What is my takeaway from this? I estimate that the one site I looked at was 75-90% scam ads. Very sad and scary for someone who is truly looking for their new pet. I estimate that this site was making about 5,000 to 7,500 dollars a week from the scammers ads. Nice revenue. The site was deleting many of the scammy-est ads that I found on my first review, as I couldn’t find them again a week or so later. But they had just been replaced with different scammy ads. This was their horse for sale site, their dog for sale site was probably the same % of scam ads and at a much higher volume of ads. It has so many bad reviews on the internet. Super nice revenue for the listing provider. Not good for the shopper looking for a puppy.
The other sites were much better. A few were really great service with good real ads. It was reassuring to see that there is an honest marketplace out there.
We will always strive to keep Dog n Pony Sales as an honest market. We want every animal to be in a loving family home.