View Full Version : Hypothetical Event prospect pricing?

Jan. 5, 2010, 12:09 AM
I see that there are lots of these kind of questions gracing this board, but no one asks exactly what I want to know, so here we go :) At some point (hopefully) I will be looking for a new mount who I can take to Preliminary--or at least has the potential to get there. I come from a hunter/jumper background, and while I have no desire to go play in the hunters anymore, I would still like to do some jumper shows occassionally, no higher than the adult jumpers (3'6 to 3'9) or POSIBILY the low ams (4'0). My hypothetical horse would also move well enough to be respectable in dressage phases (baring mistakes of mine). The kicker? I can't see myself wanting to pay more than $10,000 (and even that feels high while typing it out). I'm not afraid of putting in the work myself, as I've never even had/shown a horse that I didn't bring up myself (atleast to some extent). How does one go about finding a horse with the aforementioned criteria? I know with young horses you never know 100% what you have and what it is going to be, but something with a good chance to be what I would want? I've looked at the conformation gallary that was posted on here a while back, and I've looked on some of the larger eventing farms websites to get thoughts on pricing, but it seems many of them are pricing young stock at $10-20 thousand. Am I crazy, and would my hypothetical horse be out there?

Divine Comedy
Jan. 5, 2010, 12:43 AM
My TB gelding, who was one of the horses in the conformation gallery, cost me $10K from a hunter barn when he was 5. He just turned eight this year, has been competing quite successfully at Prelim this past year, and while I haven't done any pure jumpers with him in a very long time, I would be comfortable of doing well at 3'6'' and attempting 3'9'' right now. I think the 4' would be pushing it currently, but I feel confident that we could try it in the future. His dressage can be quite good when we are both relaxed, but it's still a WIP.

So I would say that yes, you can find what you are looking for, but you will have to sift through the ranks first. My boy was originally priced at $15K, but I watched him come down in price as he was on the market longer. You are more likely to get what you want by sticking with TBs in my opinion.

Jan. 5, 2010, 01:27 AM
If you are willing to shop away from the coasts you will likely find what you are looking for and in this price range.

Jan. 5, 2010, 02:00 AM
Lots of factors in answering the question. Geography, as mentioned by tuppysmom, will play a part, as will how much "other than talent" you need.

You say you don't mind doing the work yourself, but you need to analyse what that means. If you don't mind greenies, but need a quiet, tractable, non-spooky personality, you're going to pay more for that than if you are comfortable on something hotter, tougher, spookier, etc. Do you need/want a big horse, or can you make do with a "pocket rocket" :winkgrin:. Do you have the ability to assess an OTTB or a recently OT TB for the talent you want, or will you need to buy a purpose bred sporthorse prospect because someone else will have sussed out the ability for you? (There is no right or wrong in any of these scenarios, BTW, just different approaches).

Also, how patient are you? Can you buy a two or three year old? Can you start a baby yourself? In general the best deals going at any breeding farm are the two year olds--because they're going to cost us money for at least another year, they tend to be in a bit of an ugly phase (which means to have an advantage as a buyer you need to know how to assess a two year old and look past the uglies), and while breeders generally know the level of talent a horse is going to have, you never know for sure until you try. At two they've probably been put through a jump chute, so you should be able to get some idea of what you'll have.

Can you find a prospect to go prelim and do 4'0 jumpers for $10K or less. Of course! But how easy that will be depends on what you need besides the raw talent.

Jan. 5, 2010, 10:39 AM
If you don't mind the work, there are plenty of OTTBs that fill this criteria. I have typically bought them in the 3-5k range with them having 30-90 days off the track, which for me allows a slightly more accurate assessment of their personality. There are lots who are very good movers and most are athletic enough to do prelim and above. There are also various WB crosses and so on out there. Lower prices in the middle of the country than either coast and typically lower prices if not being sold by a professional.

Jan. 5, 2010, 10:49 AM
You have a PM:)

Pariah Pony
Jan. 5, 2010, 10:57 AM
I didn't catch if you were willing to do the work yourself..? I know a good number of people who were looking for the same type of horse. They are DIY type riders who are capable enough of starting their horses, but also maintain with regular instruction on a monthly basis. All of their horses were started but were very green (90 days type of a deal). They were all 3-4 years when purchased. They were also all willing personalities, yet with the edge it takes to compete at a level like prelim. They all had minor conformational flaws, but as a whole their bodies worked very well together and the horses are extremely athletic. They all range in breeds and crosses. They were all purchased for less than 3k.

Regularly I look think of these various horse/rider teams when I meet people who have horses and start with a budget of 10k or better. I'm amazed that many times the horses my acquaintances own are just as nice, if not nicer and are often times (for whatever reason) more enjoyable to be around.

This phenomena has made me a real lover of the "diamond in the rough" horses, and I often find horses who make me think "If I just had more time and more money, that would be one heck of a prospect!".

There is something to be said though about a larger budget - you can often get a horse with a bit more miles, or with discipline specific breeding. In the end it really depends on your personality type and where you want to "start". If you are OK with starting at the relative beginning, and can stick to an initial training schedule, then I say go for the "diamonds in the rough".

I'm not sure if you'd be comfortable with a non traditional breed, but I ended up with an ASB (after riding mostly TBs and the occasional WB for ages), and I couldn't be more happier - it's like I stumbled across a fantastic resource that no one knows about. However, my hobby-like search for prospects isn't restricted to this (or any breed), but instead a type.. that said, I recently found a really nice mare who I think would be a great prospect for what you are describing, and she's priced at $2500. She's bred with an old line that I love (it builds a really robust and strong ASB), and has spent the first 3 or so years of her life learning to be a horse in Montana. She was brought in recently and is getting her basic training (per her ad). This is not a shameless plug of my blog, but I highlighted this horse (and horses like her) regularly. You can find her page here: http://pariahpony.wordpress.com/saddlebred-super-finds/wing-commander-lines-anyone/

As I said before, I've seen a zillion great prospects with price ranges running the gamut. I think you have plenty of horses to choose from, but I don't think you need to restrict yourself to one price point and above.

Good luck!!

Jan. 5, 2010, 11:02 AM
What scubed said. If I were in your shoes, that's what I would do. I would get help from my trainer and put the word out among my OTTB-savvy friends to keep an eye out.

The thing is, there are no guarantees that the horse will work out. Sometimes you put in a lot of work and the job does not fit the horse (been there done that). As long as you understand that, the OTTB route can be very rewarding.

I am lucky enough to have an OTTB that someone else put a ton of work into, and he's my dream horse (is a kind, lovely mover and jumper; has done Prelim and could again if I get brave enough). I'd better stop here as I tend to bore people when I gush about him...

Jan. 5, 2010, 11:08 AM
One other thought - does it have to be a youngster? There are MANY older guys who have been there/done that and can't still keep going at the upper levels, but could still go around Preliminary and decent jumpers for a few more years, for not alot of money. The catch is that many of them are a one-sale horse - they are 15 years plus, they may be a mare or be a tough ride on the flat, they've got mileage, and they may need some maintenance. However, they are often absolute gems and you can have tons of fun with them.

Jan. 5, 2010, 11:24 AM
Thanks for the replys thus far!! It is good to know that at my price point I still could find something nice. If I had my say, I would want a 2-4yr that either had just been started, or had yet to be backed but had free jumped, longe lined/lunged etc. I am a big supporter of the OTTBs, but don't really trust any of the connections I know on the track presently (sad but true). Spooky does not bother me, would rather have hot than lazy, but would want something that would atleast top out biggish--like around 16.2 to 17.
You people are great though, and I'll need advice when I actually do start hardcore horse shopping!!

Jan. 5, 2010, 11:28 AM
If you truly are comfortable looking on your own, check out some non-traditional sources, like barrel-bred horses! Most are Appendix QH with a very high percentage of TB and can be found for under 5K if you are not in TX and they are youngsters! Most of them are big and wicked athletic! I bought my mare for $800 and she is often mistaken for a warmblood! My coach has been going this route for some time now for young prospects to start and sell. Super nice horses if you ask me, particularly for the ammy!

Pariah Pony
Jan. 5, 2010, 11:37 AM
Badawg makes a great point! It's all about where you look - and looking at other disciplines can be very fruitful. They are breeding for something specific, and often produce things that would excel in other disciplines, which means your dollar can go far.

I find though that looking at non traditional horses is scary though, for many buyers :( I encourage everyone to at least consider it!

Jan. 5, 2010, 11:49 AM
We very often have prospects such as you mention well under $10K. Some are youngsters that are WB crosses, some are OTTB's that we have taken, let down and then begun retraining, and some are nice appendix QH types that CAN do the job you describe, even tho a lot of people discount them. In there we also usually have some nice apps (GREAT horses) and ponies! So yes, you can find them. Look for barns like ours that specialize in more resonably priced horses (not to say we don't have a few "pricier" horses from time to time).

Jan. 5, 2010, 12:02 PM
I found my "prospect" as a 2-yr old in a field. She'd been free jumped but not much else. I also wanted to stay in the 10k range and there were a LOT to chose from down here in that price range.

I actually went to a jumper breeder with a stallion that I really liked and asked to see his young stock. I took a day trip, saw 8 babies (yearlings and 2 year olds) and was able to find my filly, who is actually a sister to his stallion rather than an offspring of him. Had I waited a year, I would not be able to afford her.

As a general rule this breeder does not advertise his babies until their are three and started under saddle. The 3-yr-olds sell for 18-35k but he was very willing to show me (and sell me) a younger horse for less... As a general rule, his prices seem to go up 10-12k from being started under saddle so I was able to buy a NICE warmblood filly and stay in my price range... I just went in knowing that I was looking at 18-24 months of work before she gets to do her first BN horse trial.

If someone has lots of 3-4 year olds that are out of your price range and you know they are breeding horses you like (and you're willing to wait a while) see if they'll sell you something younger. The economy is picking up but if they have not put a ton of $ in, lots of them will sell the younger ones if a buyer is available.

Jan. 5, 2010, 12:12 PM
Canada is another source. Steph Butts currently has one (not for sale, but everything you want and more) from the guy who bred Zydeco, etc and I think he has many at all times, definitely in that price range, so you might contact Steph for his contact information if Canada is geographically feasible for you. I know Allison Springer has also done Canadian trips for youngsters (ask GotSpots for more about that).

Jan. 5, 2010, 12:14 PM
I am a breeder (primarily for eventing) and I do usually sell mine unstarted at 2 but they have some USDF dressage in hand shows or hunter breeding shows under their belt. They are well under 10K. They are either full connemara, TB/Trakehner or TB/Trak x Connemara.

My 4 year old is now priced over 10K, but she is also 9 months under saddle, quiet but willing and w/t/c and has schooled BN at Fannin Hill, going to Rocking Horse this month. Her price will only increase with training. Her half sister is 6 and doing Novice in TX, was told at a 4 Year Old Event Horse Test she could compete nationally! So most of mine I sell word of mouth to someone who likes the type and personality of the horses I breed.

I do think breeders are a good bet.

Jan. 5, 2010, 12:57 PM
I would say it is definitely possible. You basically just described the horse I have for sale in a nut shell, except he probably even exceeds your requirements, in that he isn't spooky at all, and has already done some cross country schooling. He is for sale for a couple thousand under 10k, so they are definitely out there!

Jan. 5, 2010, 01:21 PM
I just bought a coming 4 year old Holsteiner who was started under saddle this past summer. He's completely awesome -- quiet (as in non-spooky) but forward, a total joy to be around. He's done free jumping and a little jumping under saddle (which I won't continue until this spring/summer, re-assess how he's growing then). He's 16.2 already. I got him for half your budget.

I think you'll do just fine when you're ready to start looking! Just remember to try to have fun with the process. :) I rode a ridiculous number before I found The One and was ready to throw in the towel more than once. It's all worth it in the end!

Jan. 5, 2010, 02:21 PM
Younger generally correlates with cheaper; we've bought prospects for as little as FREE. OTTBS are usually cheap, and they come with baggage. In general, I'd recommend the attitude that cheaper correlates with higher risk and less experience; for every 10 horses we buy, perhaps 3-4 will be preliminary horses, a couple will wash out completely (old injuries, attitude, etc.), and 3-4 will be nice novice - training - and we're experienced at the art. If you're willing and experienced enough to go through several horses to get what you want, cheap works at the cost of your time and sweat equity. If you wait for someone to do the initial culling, the price goes up exponentially.

Jan. 5, 2010, 06:05 PM
and don't get caught up too much in the prelim gig.

German's say:
A damn bovine can jump 4' from a stand still.
And a cow can do PSG.

It boils down to heart. And you won't know you've got one until you gallop up to a scary ass combo or ditch and your horse doens't blink an eye.

Other than that, I've seen many a pony jump around prelim like it's a walk in the park.

Jan. 5, 2010, 07:21 PM
Saw a deer jump an advanced woodpile, in the snow, on my way home tonite. Man, if I could find a horse that jumped like that .............