BUYER BEWARE by Jarle Kvale


by Jarle Kvale

When folks are sellin’ horses,
they’ve been known to lie and cheat
And the unsuspecting buyer’s
easily duped by their deceit—

But I’ve set some rules for buyin’
to prevent you actin’ rash,
And I’ll share ’em with you freely,
though I’m usually wantin’ cash.

Don’t ever buy for color—
9 of 10 times you’ll get stuck—
Avoid a horse that’s coughing—
never buy a horse named “Buck”—

I wouldn’t take a crazy one
whose eyes resemble bugs—
Be wary of those deadheads—
it might only be the drugs.

Just say “no” to former racers—
turning left is all they know—
You’ll forever ride in circles
while you try to teach them ‘whoa’.

If a horse is billed as gentle
and the type to suit a kid—
Best bring along a seatbelt—
wear a helmet on your lid—

And if they claim the horse is green
and merely needs some work,
You’ve the right to be a skeptic
while the owner hides his smirk.

Course always buy from strangers—
don’t react in disbelief—
If a closer look upon your friends
reveals a common thief.

And stay away from ring sales,
though the deal may seem compellin’—
The situation’s risky—
might be me who’s down there sellin’.

© 2015, Jarle Kvale, used with permission

Jarle Kvale, North Dakota horseman, radio broadcaster, and host of the cowboy poetry and Western music Back at the Ranch radio show, heads for the Western Folklife Center’s 32nd National Cowboy Poetry Gathering early next year (January 30-February 4, 2017).

He joins Amy Hale Auker, Mike Beck, Luke Bell, Jerry Brooks, Cowboy Celtic, Doris Daley, John Dofflemyer, Carolyn Dufurrena, Maria Lisa Eastman, Don Edwards, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Dom Flemons & Brian Farrow, Patricia Frolander, DW Groethe, Kristyn Harris, Andy Hedges, Brenn Hill, Teresa Jordan, Ross Knox, Daron Little, Corb Lund, Waddie Mitchell, Doug Moreland & the Flying Armadillos, Joel Nelson, Rodney Nelson, Shadd Piehl, Vess Quinlan, Henry Real Bird, Brigid Reedy, Randy Rieman, Kent Rollins, Jack Sammon, Martha Scanlan & Jon Neufeld, Trinity Seely, Sean Sexton, Sourdough Slim & Robert Armstrong, R.P. Smith, Dave Stamey, Gail Steiger, Rod Taylor, Ian Tyson, Keith Ward, Andy Wilkinson, and Paul Zarzyski. Find more about the event at and on Facebook.

Jarle Kvale includes “Buyer Beware” on his recent CD, Custom Made. It includes 14 original poems, mostly humorous, delivered in his engaging, understated style.

This photo, courtesy of Jarle Kvale, is of “Beau.”

Find more of Jarle Kvale’s poetry and more about him at; check out “Back at the Ranch” on Facebook; and tune into the current and past shows at

(Please respect copyright. You can share this poem and this photograph with this post, but for other uses, please request permission.)