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View Full Version : How do you find a new project?



hellerkm
Dec. 9, 2009, 08:18 AM
If you were looking for a green project, where would you look first? How to people stumble across the "diamond in the rough" backyard horse or pony? Do you stick with proven breeding, or do you take a chance if you see something that moves and jumps well even if its not breed well? Do you search all the online ads? Or do you find that they are over priced and not usually what they are made out to be? Do you stick close to home or do you travel to see and try horses??

Sugarbrook
Dec. 9, 2009, 08:45 AM
I would find a breeder that you know you can trust and deal with them. Check out other customers who have purchased horses/ponies from this breeder.

I suppose one could find a "backyard" pony/horse hanging around. That would be rare. IMHO. Depends on what you will expect your new find to turn out to be.

KBEquine
Dec. 9, 2009, 08:47 AM
Back in the day, folks looking for hunter projects cruised the backstretch of the closest lower level race track, looking for something that was big, correct, and had absolutely no desire to run . . . the ones who retired injured or too slow had a different mindset entirely. The ones who didn't want to run or who used to want to run but were done running, had the outlook needed to make the transition to a 2nd career.

There are still diamonds-in-the-rough on the various tracks' & CANTERs' TB retirement sites.

Of course, that was before being at least part-warmblood was all but a requirement.

If the project is for resale & needs to be at least part warmblood, I'd look for breeders, who sometimes breed family lines. We have several family lines here - I can tell you, based on momma's attitude and work ethic, and older half-siblings' attitudes & work ethic, which of the youngsters are likely to be compatible with you and your goals.

Also, breeders can't keep them all - if you look like a good home or the ability to give a foal a good future, you may get a bargain, especially in this economy.



Happy Hunting!

*Liz*
Dec. 9, 2009, 08:48 AM
I would search farm websites that have sale pages, CALL because most farms are not super UTD with their websites. Visit lots of horses, expect most to be duds but keep your eyes peeled. When you're horse shopping (I travel to horse-centric areas relatively close to me (a day's drive or less) and branch out from there - of course looking close to home is always the best place to start) ask for references to other farms or sale horses from the barns you are trying/looking at horses at. That's how I bought my greenie turned total gem :D

I bought my grade warmblood A/O jumper as an almost 5 year old who'd been basically a pet and had about 6 w/t rides in the tiniest of tiny paddocks for barely more than I paid for my nice jumping saddle. He had okay confirmation, was in my budget, had a huge heart (ie. really tried hard and wanted to please), I liked his expressive and powerful way of going, and the fact that a local vet was looking at buying the horse for herself, and with my fingers crossed, I took a chance and bought the horse. He turned out to be a total rockstar, showed up to 4'3, schooled 4'9 with ease at home, and is a total ham/in-your-pocket personality.

All in all, I say look hard, take your time, and lastly, luck IS a factor. Good luck!

gasrgoose
Dec. 9, 2009, 08:54 AM
All of the true "diamond in the rough" that have come through our barn have been because of our trainer. People respect him, his training and his results. So, when they(breeder, dressage trainer, etc..) stumble across that potential Hunter star, they send the horse/pony to him first. Then one of his lucky clients will buy the horse.

I know people who are trying to "do it" by themselves and most are not able to find the horse or train it properly.

EquineRacers
Dec. 9, 2009, 02:50 PM
Really depends on your experience as a rider, however I go to the racetrack. Well, since I work there is a bit easier, but I don't even have to ride the horse. I mostly look for soundness, conformation, and over all attitude. TBs are my first choice anyways and you can get them for cheap at the track.

maxxtrot
Dec. 9, 2009, 03:57 PM
maybe someone like me in your area can help you. i am an equine vet tech. i travel around town to all the farms. i see great prospects all the time. but they do not last very long once people know about them.

mvp
Dec. 9, 2009, 07:41 PM
Know yourself and your market. What kind of horse are you capable of making? To whom, or how to do you plan on marketing the horse?

For most ammies, it makes lots of sense to insist on a good mind. That will make the horse trainable for you and rideable for the largest number of people. When I look, I have a sort of intuitive system for figuring out a horse's mind PDQ.

After that, it's a question of looking at lots and lots of horses in order to teach yourself about great conformation, good enough conformation and deal-breaker bad conformation. To me this means a build that makes the horse unable to do the job, not the build that tells you how fast the horse will break. There's a great amount of variation with this second issue.

With respect to "the market" thing. I think there is more lee-way for choosing TBs and Appendix TBs if you want to make a modest 3' and under horse. Unfortunately, this is the way of the world in our WB-centric era. You will most likely sell a non-WB cheaper, but you will also buy *much* cheaper (especially for a young horse whose mind is great and physical traits are otherwise equal). You will also and spend less showing your modest horse greenie if you do most of that work at local shows.

quicksilverponies
Dec. 9, 2009, 07:44 PM
I agree with Sugarbrook. It is a good idea to check with reputable breeders - we often have young nice prospects ready to start or even already going undersaddle.

FrenchFrytheEqHorse
Dec. 9, 2009, 08:20 PM
I think breeding *really* matters if you're buying a mare. The potential to breed is awesome- if you have an exceptional horse. If you pick the right sire, you can even improve on the mare's flaws, which is also quite nice.

If you're buying a gelding, breeding matters a lot less. However, I say that with reservation because I think breeding says a lot about the soundness and durability of a horse. I've got a really nice gelding who's 12 years old that literally has been sound since the day I bought him at 5. All the other similarly bred horses I know (several, since we bought him from the breeder) are also incredibly sound.

On the other hand, I have a retired horse who was finished at 15, and whose breeding I don't know. His previous owner said he was a steeplechase horse, but who knows. Perhaps he's bred well, perhaps not. All I know is that I went through hell trying to keep him sound, and wasn't successful in the longrun. He now looks pretty standing out in the field eating.

This market has a lot of steals out there- especially from small-time breeders. I saw a Corlando mare the other day who's got to go- she's 4, and cost $4500. It's cost the owner way more than that to get her on the ground to this point, and she's gorgeous, but they cannot afford to keep her. It's a shame, but someone is going to get a super nice, well-bred mare for a steal.

Decide what's important to you, and what kind of risks you're willing to take.

ksully913
Dec. 10, 2009, 12:18 AM
I just got a new project, but she kind of fell into my lap. I had been searching the sites, and talking to people I know. My new gal was probably one of the luckiest finds I may ever come across. I had mentioned what I was looking for to my old boss, and within the hour I had a call about a mare they had just heard about. She was still owned by the breeder, fantastic hunter lines, and started under saddle with about 15 rides. They needed to open up a stall, so we snatched her for an absolute steal of a price.

I think as long as you are honest about your capabilities, and if you are willing to to be flexible with your criteria a bit (I had been looking for something around 5 that wanted to be a jumper, what I ended up with was a 3 year old hunter prospect), you never know what you will find. And I agree, timing and luck are crucial.

Windswept Stable
Dec. 10, 2009, 08:37 AM
We have searched for and bought many diamonds in the rough.
However, it can be a long tedious job--depending on what you are looking for. And sometimes you get junk that does not work out. And sometimes you get the diamond. If you want to show at backyard shows--it's not as hard of a job. If you want to show at rated shows and not be embarassed, the job is much harder. You can travel til the cows come home, and 85% of the time, the horse is NOT going to be what you expected. And if you do not know the seller, you are taking a huge risk with your child. ALWAYS insist on someone else riding before your child, and if you are buying from someone unknown Always have a complete drug screen drawn the day you try the horse.
Sadly, there are many dishonest people in the world that will go to any lenghts to put bread and butter on their table without regard for your child.
I agree with the other 2 posters, that a reputable breeder is the way to go.
However, with that being said and knowing that I am a breeder and DO believe strongly in pedigree, there are MANY of ponies out there doing a wonderful job and taking care of kids that do NOT have a known pedigree. So, if it does the job and meets all of your criteria, do not focus soley on a piece of paper. Your child can not ride a piece of paper that states breeding. Pretty is as pretty does. Have also been around some highly pedigreed ponies, that I would not take home to my barn. And there are also some names in pedigrees that as a barn that breaks ponies--we cringe when we hear certain names. So, pedigrees can be wonderful, and they can also be something that tells you what to avoid or what direction to head. For example- Ian McVeigh--his get are the kindest, quietest, easiest get out there performing. We would love to break them all day long!
With the economy the way it is, and with winter here--it seems like a great time to find that diamond in the rough. Have you been checking the free BB, there have been TONS of giveaways lately. Another site that has been full of CHEAP ponies is
virginiaequestrian.com All in all, it depends how much time you have and how long you are willing to look.

hellerkm
Dec. 10, 2009, 08:55 AM
All good advice, I totally agree that reputable breeders are the BEST way to go. Although there are always a few CANTER cuties that I could bundle up and bring home without needing to see more than a picture ( bad I know, and I do stop myself !) I was really just asking to find out how and where people look. I assume most people looking for a project on their own have decent horse knowledge and an understanding of confirmation and movement. Thanks for all the info, I will file it to be used at a later date!!

Ajierene
Dec. 10, 2009, 10:03 AM
The barn where I ride....

...one pony being ridden, one pony that the barn owner and I agreed needed to go to a pro (I don't get paid enough to deal with her attitude) and two more that need to be started....

...want a project?

Other than that, I would look at CANTER horses. I am not into paying to much for a project (I think about $500 would be my limit). From a reputable breeder, I likely will be paying much more.

hntrjmprpro45
Dec. 10, 2009, 09:04 PM
Talk to your farrier! We have gotten a couple project horses via our farrier (they seem to know everyone and every horse for sale) or you could talk to your vet. A lot of times they know of horses that aren't really for sale yet or aren't listed in any ads. Another benefit is that you can get their professional opinion on how the horse is built. One of our project horses was a big money maker (made about 20x what we paid) and the other one we hardly made any money (more due to the economy). And its nice to tip your farrier if you make a big sale off your horse that they hooked you up with.

Things to consider:
-Is this for resale or a keeper?
-what are you capable of as a rider?
-What is the turnover time you are interested in? (Yearlings can be bought at a nice price but take several years to become nice riding horses)
-what do you want to do with it?

I always steer clear of injured horses that need serious rehabing, "problemed" horses, and certain breed types (just preference). Make a list of things that the horse must have and stick with your list (its easy to let things slide when horse shopping).

CenterStage123
Dec. 10, 2009, 09:56 PM
:)Diamonds in the rough can be found anywhere, if you know what you are looking for and take the time to train it well.

My horse was found starving in a field of a local BNT who bred him becaue he wasn't fancy enough. We are now rocking the children's hunters, about to move up to juniors, and ribboned in the locals at Devon, higher than above BNT on his big black fancy warmblood.:D

My best friend who rides at the same barn as I do got her mare off the track. She has just started in the junior hunters, and this horse is awesome!

We have a amazingly cute pony that just started in the large greens. She is also off the track, probably never raced as she measures under 14.2, had a few babies and then was left in a field to fend for herself. She was a bit of a nutcase when she first came in, but now a 10 year old has started showing her in the large greens.

About half of the horses at our barn are OTTB's, another large portion are horses my trainer just finds in fields, and the rest are fancy warmbloods, but trust me, they are definatley the minority at our barn! :winkgrin: My trainer is AMAZING at finding diamonds in the rough. Oh, and even with our crew of ottb's and rescues, we constantly win at the A rated shows.

It is definatley possible to find good prospects, I really think its just the time, effort, and bonding you put into the horse. A horse can be as fancy as it wants to be.

Windswept Stable
Dec. 10, 2009, 10:45 PM
:)Diamonds in the rough can be found anywhere, if you know what you are looking for and take the time to train it well.

My horse was found starving in a field of a local BNT who bred him becaue he wasn't fancy enough. We are now rocking the children's hunters, about to move up to juniors, and ribboned in the locals at Devon, higher than above BNT on his big black fancy warmblood.:D

My best friend who rides at the same barn as I do got her mare off the track. She has just started in the junior hunters, and this horse is awesome!

We have a amazingly cute pony that just started in the large greens. She is also off the track, probably never raced as she measures under 14.2, had a few babies and then was left in a field to fend for herself. She was a bit of a nutcase when she first came in, but now a 10 year old has started showing her in the large greens.

About half of the horses at our barn are OTTB's, another large portion are horses my trainer just finds in fields, and the rest are fancy warmbloods, but trust me, they are definatley the minority at our barn! :winkgrin: My trainer is AMAZING at finding diamonds in the rough. Oh, and even with our crew of ottb's and rescues, we constantly win at the A rated shows.

It is definatley possible to find good prospects, I really think its just the time, effort, and bonding you put into the horse. A horse can be as fancy as it wants to be.

What do you mean -please elaborate " a horse can be as fancy as it wants to be?"

Hauwse
Dec. 11, 2009, 10:42 AM
You can absolutely find "diamonds in the rough", especially now day's with the economy, new legislation, the increasing cost of maintaining horses, and the trend toward buying bloodlines and breed type.

These conditions have created an excellent buyers market for those who have the ability to evaluate prospects.

Bottom line is all good horses, regardless of breed or type, wear the same pants.

I make my father look through on-line adds all the time, which I do not consider to be a great source, but it keeps him engaged, and he finds excellent prospects on a regular basis. Granted he can look in a horses eyes and tell whether he likes the horse, and is never far off his expectations of them.

Right now I think the tracks are the best source, or at least the lower level tracks. Almost every horse on the track is for sale, at the right price, and the tracks afford you the opportunity to look at a zillion horses in a single visit.

I think many "good" breeders are going to weather the storm so to speak because it makes no sense economically to liquidate good horses unless you are forced to. Plus I personally am not all that convinced that paper equates ability, intelligence, temperament, etc., especially when it comes to the initial investment cost.

I also think there are a lot of quality older horses available right now. By older I am talking 6+, that are very reasonably priced, and bring a lot of value to the table.

I recently saw a horse that was 8 years old, and had been doing the Jr. hunter route. The horse was not flashy or anything, a nicely built TB, 16.3HH, plain dark bay, gelding, but he was well trained in dressage, capable of doing the big hunter route successfully, winning flat classes, did not really express his scope until he got to 4'6", would make a great eq. horse, and careful enough that he could easily do the jumper route to at least 4'6" and probably further, time will tell, all for a asking price of 5K. A year ago I would have been lucky to find a horse that could pretty much do it all period, let alone for next to nothing.

Groundwork
Dec. 11, 2009, 12:49 PM
If you live close to southern NY Akindale Farm in Pawling has some nice ones. They have OTTB, some belong to TRF (tb retirement foundation) and some are horse that were born and bred at the TB breeding facility that Akindale has. Many of Akindales horse go back to D'Accord who is a Secratariat stallion. While breeding doesn't have to be important in the show world, athletism is! The contact person is Erin Pfister, she is great! They literally have fields of them...one cuter than the next!

RanchoAdobe
Dec. 11, 2009, 01:07 PM
Also, depending on where you live, check out the TB breeding farms. They often have a great selections of TB's that never went to the track because they were to slow, but still have great sporthorse bloodlines. I bought a three year old last year and he went to his first show in the baby greens last month, he has been fantastic, and I can't wait to show him in the pre-greens this year!

CenterStage123
Dec. 11, 2009, 09:46 PM
What do you mean -please elaborate " a horse can be as fancy as it wants to be?"

Well obviously there are going to be some that are not as fancy as others. But as an example of what I'm talking about above, I will use my horse. Quite frankly, he looks like a P.O.S. with most people riding him. He stomps around the ring, knocks poles, misses changes, goes with his ears back. Its ugly! haha But with me and a few select others who have spent time with him and gaining his trust, he will go around with the most pleasant experession, move wonderfully, and have nearly a ten jump. I guess it really comes into play with the rescues, they have to like and trust you and they will give you there all. If they don't know you they already know that not everyone can be trusted. I think once a horse gives 100% then you can judge it's fanciness.

Windswept Stable
Dec. 11, 2009, 11:47 PM
Well obviously there are going to be some that are not as fancy as others. But as an example of what I'm talking about above, I will use my horse. Quite frankly, he looks like a P.O.S. with most people riding him. He stomps around the ring, knocks poles, misses changes, goes with his ears back. Its ugly! haha But with me and a few select others who have spent time with him and gaining his trust, he will go around with the most pleasant experession, move wonderfully, and have nearly a ten jump. I guess it really comes into play with the rescues, they have to like and trust you and they will give you there all. If they don't know you they already know that not everyone can be trusted. I think once a horse gives 100% then you can judge it's fanciness.

I hear what you are saying, but sometimes beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Generally a horse can be as fancy as his physical attributes and training level allow him to be. Heart is another issue and he may try harder with a certain rider; but become fancier, not so much.

hellerkm
Dec. 12, 2009, 07:54 AM
I hear what you are saying, but sometimes beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Generally a horse can be as fancy as his physical attributes and training level allow him to be. Heart is another issue and he may try harder with a certain rider; but become fancier, not so much.

Our chestnut pony mare is just such a case, we have her because she MUST live out ( not many people doing the A circuit can provide this) she also will NOT allow anyone too big on her ( someone years ago fried her brain) but she takes AWESOME care of DD, and has adjusted her way of going to meets DD's ability level including presenting her with "problems" to solve and when that issue is solved she presents another one. NOt big issues but safe learning experiences. I think she hears me teach and finds things I am missing and makes up her own lessons!!! She is well put together although not a model winner due to a large scar on her back leg, moves about an 8 and jumps the MOON all while totally BABYSITTING the kid and teaching her new things. I doubt I will EVER find a pony I love as much as this one. We have had her since July and she NEVER needs a tune up ride( she won't tolerate one either so thats a good thing LOL)
To me the fact that she loves DD so much is worth maybe not winning a division due to her scar. So while I would not trade this pony for the WORLD her heart and ability don't make her a guaranteed winner. Except in my heart!!:D:D:D

MintHillFarm
Dec. 12, 2009, 06:54 PM
Check out CANTER , the FLakes site and others that offer OTTBs as well.
There are MANY nice horses, sound, bargain prices and a great selection of them to choose from...
I got several this year, all lovely horses that are good projects.

rideagoldenpony
Dec. 13, 2009, 01:47 AM
Ditto the posters above who mentioned buying from a breeder.

There are so many advantages! For one, you're (most likely) looking at an animal who has been handled correctly, does not have bad habits and has received at the least, adequate care its whole life. No hangups to overcome, no soundess issues, no mental issues.

Buying a youngster from a reputable breeding program can save you a lot of time and money in the longrun, because you are starting with a CLEAN slate, and not something that needs time (which equals money) put into it to clean up the mess from previous owners, training, care, etc. Not to mention, buying breeder direct can save you a "middleman" markup in price.

That's my two cents worth! :D

Windswept Stable
Dec. 13, 2009, 09:43 AM
Ditto the posters above who mentioned buying from a breeder.

There are so many advantages! For one, you're (most likely) looking at an animal who has been handled correctly, does not have bad habits and has received at the least, adequate care its whole life. No hangups to overcome, no soundess issues, no mental issues.

Buying a youngster from a reputable breeding program can save you a lot of time and money in the longrun, because you are starting with a CLEAN slate, and not something that needs time (which equals money) put into it to clean up the mess from previous owners, training, care, etc. Not to mention, buying breeder direct can save you a "middleman" markup in price.

That's my two cents worth! :D


Very nicely said Gretchen!

quicksilverponies
Dec. 13, 2009, 11:39 AM
Agree with Gretchen 100%. Most of us that strive to breed high quality have too much time, money and love invested in our ponies or horses to let them go without proper care, training and handling.

AmandaandTuff
Dec. 13, 2009, 11:48 AM
I think the mare I have now could go on to be a great horse for the locals. She's no A quality, but she could win around here. Unfortunately I'm not talented enough to bring out her full potential and I'm having a hard time leasing her out. She fell into my lap as a weanling from the kill lot.