Boarding Beware! Avoiding Horse Scams

Scams for everything are out there

I decided that this an important topic that needs to be addressed because of a recent encounter with an odd sounding phone call that led to an even stranger email.

This past Friday morning I received a phone call that left me scratching my head. The voice on the other end was a woman with a heavy Indian accent relaying a message from another party who was typing their message. The phone call was painfully slow, but because I had no experience with situations like this I tried to be patient. It was somewhat difficult to follow, but I understood that the caller wanted to board their horse with me. I politely answered that we are full and cannot board at this time. After a few repetitions of my answer the caller asked me to email them with information. I was getting a little frustrated at this point with the call so I said okay so that I could get off the phone. I wrote down the email and went to my computer. They seemed to be rushed; it struck me as odd that they expected a response in the next half an hour. The whole situation had a strange air about it. I do know that hearing impaired people can use a phone service in which there is a operator reading aloud what they are typing, but why was it so hard to understand what the lady was saying?

I sat down at my computer and again polity sent them an email stating that I have no boarding available but could add them to my waiting list if they so wished, which is my standard answer for anyone asking about boarding a horse. This is the response I received shorty after sending the message:

Thanks for your response. it was due to my hear Weiring impaired that lead to the tty and i will like you to reserve a boarding for 8weeks for my BUCKSKIN PAINT HORSE, mare, 15..2 hands, DOB 3/1999, calm, registered,Base Color : Bay
Breed:Thoroughbred,Feed:Hay and Grains,Location:North Carolina,Deworming due:2nd week of every three month, Papers:Insurance,health certificate,Neg coggins,Last Boarding:06/05/08 Boarding stable: Golden Equine LLC. the Horse will stay for 8 weeks. Description: Good mannered and very sweet. Has been started under saddle with no problems. Up to date on everything. Very easy going and smart. Gentle and willing. Will be a very nice horse. No bad habits. Leads loads ties bathes and stands for vet and farrier. He is very smart and a very fast learner. He is not a spooky horse but very inquisitive. He is a smaller type and well balanced. He loads and hauls great, doesn't become stressed. He also is easy to have shod. He loves people.
I don't have much time as am busy preparing for my vacation but will have my hauler bring him..i would love to have the following info to make payment ahead to reserved a full stall boarding at you ranch,I will require a stall or pasture and food for the horse also to let you know that payment will be by certified cashier's check or money order. In view of this I need you to email me the information that would be required to send the payment and you will be issued an overdraft payment that will include the hauler charges of the horse to your location for delivery at boarding ,So the hauler would be coming to your location to deliver the horse with you. Once you get the payment mail delivered you are to deduct the money acruse to you for the boarding and send the rest balance to the hauler service Via Western Union Money Transfer so that the horse can be pickup from my home immediately. So in view of the above, here are some of the details I will need for final issuance of the check or money order to you.
(1) Full Name.........
(2) Mailing address....
(3) Your direct telephone both home and cell
{4} cost of board for 8weeks....
The boarding start immediately you have the payment with you and it will include the hauler's fee as they receive their fee at the point of delivery ...I will be looking forward to have the contract for boarding for filling and signature.
i am at the hospital at moment and will undergo a surgery soon that is why i want you to get this done for me and i will appreciate that a lot... so i can have a sound surgical done. Once you get back to me with all the above,I will proceed the check will be issued out immediately and it will be sent to you .Hope to hear from you immediately.

Thank You And God Bless You.

Susan Carter
200 Middleton Dr
Charlotte, NC 28207.

There are the BIG RED FLAGS in this email:

  1. There is no such color in thoroughbred horse, or any horse for that matter. You cannot have a paint buckskin that has a bay base color. It does not exist.
  2. Really bad grammar, it's doubtful that English is their first language.
  3. Relay services are a favorite of scammers because it puts an extra layer of separation between them and their mark.
  4. Why can they not find a barn in North Carolina? I am sure that they are plenty of good barns locally that could take the horse for a few months.
  5. Mares are female horses. They refer to the horse as “he” not “she”
  6. All horses eat hay and grain. Typically when boarding a owner will specify what brand of grain. Horses have sensitive digestive systems and switching grain can make them ill if not done properly.
  7. The never ask for pictures of the place or sound like they care about where this most perfect horse will be boarded.
  8. The entire email has a cut a paste feel to it. It loos as if it has been altered several times.
  9. This most perfect horse has no name? Typically a registered horse has a longer registered name and a short barn name. Example: I have a quarter horse who is registered as Sweet Scenario but we call him Rio for short. Whenever anyone asks about boarding they always use the horses barn name. And will send the registered name with the information.
  10. If you Google Golden Equine LLC, there is no such place. They claim that is where the horse is currently boarded. In fact you will get several results claiming that this is a scam.  If you can't validate that the boarding facility is real stay far, far away.

And the biggest flag of all: Why am I paying the shipper? You are getting a certified check for me, why not just spend the extra 5 minutes at the bank and get one for the shipper? Why do I have to go to the hassle of depositing, waiting for it to clear, writing and then sending my check to the shipper? Turns out these scammers are sending you a forged certified check that can take a week or more to bounce. The best case scenario is that you're out the cost of the shipper plus the bank fees, the worse case is that you'll be investigated for bank fraud.

This is a new level of sophistication with horse scams. There are plenty of different scams on the Internet dealing with horses and it's amazing how clever these guys can be. There was one that had ads for horses all over the horse for sale websites. Great deals on amazing horses! People would pay, sight unseen, for the horse. The buyer would also have to pay to have the horse shipped to them only to receive a horse that was nothing like the ad. Some of these horses were wild, untrained, dangerous, lame, sick or at deaths door.

Avoiding Horse Scams

  1. Check the emotions. Horses are near and dear to our hearts. It is easy to fall in love with these animals especially if you are in the market for your first horse. I always tell people to get an outside opinion, preferable a professional one, before purchasing.
  3. Have a veterinarian do a vet check to make sure that the horse is sound and there are no hidden issues. Use your own vet. NEVER use the vet recommended by the seller. The seller and the vet could be working together. Their vet might not be currently certified and licensed.
  4. Ride the horse before you buy. Ride it several different times if needed. Jump it, trail ride it, shoot a gun off of it, whatever you plan on doing with the horse make sure that the horse can do it.
  5. If it sounds too good to be true, it truly is. Horse people will tell you anything to get you to hand over your money. I relate some of them to used car salesmen. I have actually heard this, “if you ride him with a crop, he won't limp”. There is no evidence that riding a lame horse with a crop will make him sound.
  6. Never give out personal information.
  7. Never cash or deposit a check and hand over your money to a third party.

Scams are on the rise; with the economy were it is and so many people needing money I am not surprised at all by this attempt. I feel that it is important to get the information out there so no one falls victim to these scams. All horse owners must educate themselves in order to avoid losing their hard earned money to people who clearly have no morals.

If you suspect a scam, please report it to