Buyer/Seller Safety

We've put together a few tips to help you feel safer buying and selling online.

Buying and selling horses can feel like a gamble no matter how you go about doing it. Unfortunately, scams exist and not everyone is honest. The good news is there’s lots of great horses and honest people. Here’s a little help to get you started recognizing some common red flags.

Fraud and Scams

What are the most common ways scammers try to get your money and information?


Phishing is when scammers impersonate a reputable website or company to ask for personal information. We will never send you an email requesting your login or payment information. If you receive an email like this, do not click on any links or enter any personal information.

Generic First Contact

Often, scammers will send out form emails to a large number of sellers. If you get an email that doesn’t seem to specifically refer to the content of your ad, such as “I’m very interested in your item and will send full payment immediately,” be wary.

Odd Payment Requests

Avoid payment requests that seem out of the ordinary, such as a buyer offering to send you a significant amount of money only after you send a small amount. Asking for your bank account information in order to wire your money is the sign of a scam. Do not use Western Union to buy from strangers online. This service is not meant for online transactions. See their website for more information.

Too Good To Be True

Too good to be true usually is. Whether you’re buying or selling, be cautious when approaching what seems to be an unbeatable deal. If you’re buying and the seller says they’ll let you have the horse for just the cost of shipping, chances are that your money just went to a fake shipping company and you’ll never see the animal (or the seller).

What do I do if I think a scammer contacted me?

We hope you’ll take the time to let us know if you think you’ve been contacted by a scammer through our site or pretending to be us. Our email is thesalehorse@gmail.com. You also should forward any scam emails to the FTC. Don’t reply, follow any links, or offer any personal information. After you report them, the best thing you can do is ignore these scams.

Tips for Buyers

What are some things to keep in mind when shopping for horses online?

Work With A Pro

Talk to your vet or trainer about what kind of questions you should ask the seller. These questions are dependent on your situation, so have someone experienced that knows you help you prepare. This can include vet checks/pre-purchase exams.

See The Horse In Person

If possible, try to see the horse in person. If you can’t make that work, don’t be shy about asking for extra video and pictures. Consider calling a vet or trainer in the area. Also, be wary of sellers refusing to meet you in person or picking strange meeting places.

Trust Your Gut

If you’ve got a bad feeling about something, listen to that. If someone comes across as untrustworthy, you don’t have to buy from them. The worst case scenario is you miss out on a nice horse being sold by someone you just didn’t like.

Be Patient

There’s lots of great horses out there, so don’t get impatient. If a deal seems fishy to you, or you just aren’t sure about a horse, go ahead and pass keep shopping. It’s not the end of the world, promise.

How can I be sure the horse I'm buying is exactly what I think he is?

Life is full of surprises, and so are horses (we love that, right?). Do your best to follow the tips above, research, and avoid deals that seem too good to be true.

Tips For Sellers

What do I need to be aware of when selling my horse?

Keep Your Ad Safe

Stick to the facts in your listing and leave out any personal details that could identify you.

Talk On The Phone

Initial email communication is great, but it’s best to talk on the phone to potential buyers. It’s easier to feel them out and make sure they’re legitimate.

Accept the Payment You're Comfortable With

Most articles about safely selling items online recommend only accepting cash. Often, horses are expensive enough this may be less feasible, or you don’t want the inconvenience of that much cash. Stick with what makes you feel most comfortable. Many sellers wait to send the original registration papers until a check has cleared.

Be Patient

I know, we used this one in the Buyer section. But it’s true for sellers, too. If something feels fishy in a deal, stop communication. There will be other buyers.

Can I make sure my horse is going to a good home?

It’s up to you to make sure to do your due diligence when selling.

If the type of home or planned use for the horse is important to you, consider a home visit. This isn’t generally standard practice, but it’s your horse until you sign him over. Some sellers, especially rescue organizations, require new owners to sign contracts limiting what the horse can be used for and prohibiting breeding.

AQHA and other breed registries offer a check box on the registration papers notifying the organization that you’d like to be contacted as a potential home if your horse ever becomes unwanted.

If these things are important to you, make sure you’re up front with the buyer throughout the buying process and that everything is in writing before money and registration changes hands.

Is The Sale Horse responsible if something goes wrong?

No. We connect buyers and sellers–that’s all. We make no guarantee as to the accuracy of any part of any listing or user profile.

Just like Craigslist and other online classified services, you are responsible for determining accuracy and avoiding scams. We hope you’ve found these tips helpful! If you have any questions about this, please review our Terms of Use or contact us.