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View Full Version : Horse Shopping in Germany -- your experiences?



schneidepc
Jun. 17, 2011, 02:48 PM
I'm about to start shopping for an amateur friendly dressage schoolmaster. Must have good mind and temperment ..."uncomplicated" first and foremost. Trained/shown to PSG/I1, good gaits, not too tall, no vices, age 10-12ish. You get the picture and I do believe that you get what you pay for in life ... so I'm willing to pay the price. My dressage trainer (originally from Europe) thinks my best bet is to hook up with someone he knows in Germany and shop there. I get that there are lots of very nice well trained horses in Germany -- but also that's its a major production to go there to shop, then import. I know there are very nice horses here as well ... but of course travelling to check them out can also be a major production given that one could have to bounce around from coast to coast.
Anyway --if anyone here has gone the "go to Germany" route for horse shopping I'd appreciate any thoughts on your experience and/or advice and words of wisdom.

TickleFight
Jun. 17, 2011, 03:02 PM
I recommend contacting Catherine Haddad. She is an American, but has been training, competing, and breeding horses in Germany for nearly 20 years. If she doesn't have what you're looking for, then you can trust her to find a suitable horse. Many people have purchased and imported through her.

I have only purchased one horse (many years ago) per Catherine's recommendation, and even though this particular mare wasn't imported, I can attest to Catherine's eye for quality and talent.

Good Luck!

dressurpferd01
Jun. 17, 2011, 05:15 PM
Where do you live in the US? I may know of a suitable horse here.

schneidepc
Jun. 17, 2011, 07:43 PM
Where do you live in the US? I may know of a suitable horse here.

Far away from the Southwest ... Western New York State.

DutchDressageQueen
Jun. 17, 2011, 08:39 PM
I sent you a Private Message :)

Behind the 8 Ball
Jun. 17, 2011, 09:25 PM
I recommend contacting Catherine Haddad. She is an American, but has been training, competing, and breeding horses in Germany for nearly 20 years. If she doesn't have what you're looking for, then you can trust her to find a suitable horse. Many people have purchased and imported through her.

I have only purchased one horse (many years ago) per Catherine's recommendation, and even though this particular mare wasn't imported, I can attest to Catherine's eye for quality and talent.

Good Luck!

I second this opinion. Catherine is very honest about horses attributes and is an astute business woman. She would help you find the right horse for you.
Have fun!

Daventry
Jun. 17, 2011, 09:41 PM
Far away from the Southwest ... Western New York State.


....it's a lot closer than Europe though! And a lot cheaper for you to travel, look at and bring back to your barn. ;)

allintexas
Jun. 18, 2011, 08:59 PM
Found my current horse in Germany, and I love him. You can certainly find some great horses in Europe, and possibly cheaper than you can find one here, although I think there is a markup for American buyers. Cost about $8000 to ship here (3 1/2 years ago). It is really a great experience to go there and see the stables and horses and riders and ride over there. And you can see more horses with less travel there, in my experience.

That said, I would spend some time looking in the US first, see what you can find. There are some great horses here too. Have fun!

sansibar
Jun. 18, 2011, 09:13 PM
Go to Europe! It is so amazing, just got back 2 weeks ago. I didn't go for dressage horses, I went for a Jumper, but the horses are amazing, and there are so many horses!!! It was an amazing experience. I will recommend it to any one. Costs start at around 8k for a gelding, 10k for a mare and 12k ++++++++++ for a stallion (Some need to ship alone that is why).

PM me if you want me to check with my contacts in Holland and Germany and see if they can recommend agents who specialize in dressage horses.

Cosette
Jun. 18, 2011, 09:28 PM
I spent a year flying around the US looking for a horse like the one you describe and had no luck. I went to Germany for 4 days and now have the horse of my dreams. For me, it was absolutely worth it to go to Germany.

ivy62
Jun. 18, 2011, 09:30 PM
I would look here, there are some really nice horses here..I got my school master on line! We travelled about 3 1/2 hours and he is awesome....It is certainly worth a look before jumping the pond...

schneidepc
Jun. 18, 2011, 09:34 PM
Thanks for the responses. I think I will look here for a bit and then follow up with my trainer's contact in Germany. The advantage as I see it is definitely being able to see a number of quality horses in a limited geographic area. The downside is the major trip over and then the importing. But as I well know, you can spend a lot of time and money flying around this country looking at prospects that don't pan out.

MysticOakRanch
Jun. 19, 2011, 08:02 AM
Be careful if you try to do it "on your own" or with someone who doesn't have the connections in Germany. I've known a few people who tried to do this - it IS less expensive, less commissions, etc., but they all ended up with problems. Horses who came up with weird soundness issues, etc. One person (at the urging of a few friends) really persevered in a strong second opinion on the PPE (done overseas), and ended up there was a prior severe tendon injury - no one disclosed the prior injury and the over-seas vet hadn't ultrasounded far enough down to find it (I'm sure just an innocent oversight:mad:).

OTOH, many people have imported with great success - usually with an agent who "knew the ropes".

The recommendation to contact someone like Catherine H is an excellent one! There are also some big name importers and breeders who have some nice quality stock here in the US - for example, HW on the East Coast, DG Bar on the West Coast - well worth contacting them to see what they have, then arrange to look at other horses in the area if you visit them...

honeylips
Jun. 19, 2011, 10:08 AM
David Blake has a horse for sale that fits your list. Recently imported, psg, not too tall, gelding, beautiful color, right age as well. This horse is typical price wise for age as well if you shop in Germany. Plan on 50k euros for a solid young psg horse. Import is running 8-9k with the current exchange rate.
Also check out Alyssa pitts sales list as well.

stoicfish
Jun. 19, 2011, 04:54 PM
http://www.dreamhorse.com/show_horse.php?form_horse_id=1681528
Not my horse but thought it sounded like what your interested in.
PM if you want more info or an introduction.

schneidepc
Jun. 19, 2011, 08:41 PM
Honeylips -- thanks for your suggestions. Will look into them both.

CZF
Jun. 20, 2011, 02:21 PM
WWW.GERMANHORSECONNECTION.COM

My dad has purchased two from her, she's wonderful, has a great eye, is a vet to boot. So she's great at scouting auction horses (can look at the x-rays), and she's a Hanoverian breeder as well.

She just took our 2YO filly (that she bred, Florencio X Hohenstein) to the Mareshow, where she got her 1A rating! :)

I wouldn't think twice about handing her a big wad of cash and saying I want a horse that is XXX, XXXX and XXXX. I know she'd find something great!

ETA: You will see far more quality horses in far less time by going to Europe IMHO. There are many nice horses in N. America, but by the time you fly all over the place, pay for hotels, and pay to transport the horse, you will most likely spend at least as much as the cost of importing from Europe. I also think you can find what you are looking for a lot cheaper there than here. The fall is a great time to horse shop in Europe, with all the auctions and licensings going on. You'll have a great time! :)

ToN Farm
Jun. 20, 2011, 04:34 PM
Import is running 8-9k with the current exchange rate. Really? It's that high now for a gelding? Does that include the quarantine as well? I assume that is the price for going to the west coast? Do you know how much cheaper would it be to the east coast? I imported a mare in 2007, and the bottom line was about 9.5k.

Elegante E
Jun. 20, 2011, 04:41 PM
I viewed a horse at Horseconnection. Was a nice horse but not as amateur friendly as advertised. He was a heavy mover and not an easy ride. Honestly couldn't get the horse to trot. Not sure what the problem was, but he didn't respond till she came out and helped. Was an exhausting horse to ride. But the owner is a nice woman and the horse seemed sane, better than what others showed me on that horse shopping trip.

Giving someone a wad of cash sounds like the best way to end up with empty pockets.

paintjumper
Jun. 20, 2011, 04:58 PM
at Riverside Equestrian in Va. She has a very nice group of dressage horses. She has a grey gelding, 8 y/o I think, his name is Endgame that may be what you're looking for. If not, she may have something else that may fit your criteria. You can see him on her sales page. Just google Riverside Equestrian, Bluemont Va. Good luck.

honeylips
Jun. 20, 2011, 05:44 PM
Really? It's that high now for a gelding? Does that include the quarantine as well? I assume that is the price for going to the west coast? Do you know how much cheaper would it be to the east coast? I imported a mare in 2007, and the bottom line was about 9.5k.

A gelding to the west coast ran me in April 2011 - 4500 euros for the airfreight and trucking which is $6500. Plus the 3 days import at JetPets was $2850 plus customs tax and fedex fees for the blood samples. Plus $500 trucking from LA to my barn. Grand total $10K.
East coast may be about $1K cheaper - but not much more than that.

Cotner
Jun. 20, 2011, 08:03 PM
I just imported a horse from Germany into the east coast and it was $7500. I had an estimate from another shipper for $7000. With the euro being down due to the Greek debt crisis it will be even less. You might be able to import for under $7000.

The great thing about buying in europe is that you can see hundreds of horses in a few days driving around Northern Germany. In the US you have to fly all over the country to see a handful.

joiedevie99
Jun. 20, 2011, 10:44 PM
I bought what you are looking for in the US. I honestly can't say that I would shop here again. I tried a lot of horses that had serious holes in their training, knew the tricks but lacked basics, or just didn't have the quality to compete at that level. I also tried a few nice ones that weren't sound.

I ended up spending mid five figures, and going a year or so older than my 'max' (13). I love him, and he's been a wonderful horse for me, but it was a challenge. If you want to talk contacts, I'd be happy to let you know who I bought from via pm.

kip
Jun. 21, 2011, 11:04 PM
I found the horse of my dreams in Germany in a matter of 5 days. I know there are nice horses in the US but it requires so much traveling to see them. While I was in Germany I saw nearly 70 horses in those 5 days (without any exaduration) I ended up with an incredible mare who is a dream to ride. I knew from the second I sat on her that she would be my horse of a lifetime. I would definetley recommend heading over there to look.

schneidepc
Jun. 22, 2011, 10:59 PM
Thanks for all the responses. I'm coming to the conclusion that it may make sense to bite the bullet and make the trip to Germany. I've been in touch with my trainer's contact in Germany and he says "no problem I can find you what you're looking for". Of course price range is somewhat higher than I was thinking .... :sigh: but that's not a big suprise.

Kyzteke
Jun. 22, 2011, 11:58 PM
Thanks for all the responses. I'm coming to the conclusion that it may make sense to bite the bullet and make the trip to Germany. I've been in touch with my trainer's contact in Germany and he says "no problem I can find you what you're looking for". Of course price range is somewhat higher than I was thinking .... :sigh: but that's not a big suprise.

That's probably because both the trainer and everyone else is taking a cut, hence the mark up.

You might try contacting a number of folks in Germany, (like C. Haddad) who have good reps and visit them all (since you are there). Make it more competitive.

honeylips
Jun. 23, 2011, 09:28 AM
I agree with Kyzteke - you are working your way into a situation with many people now in the comission structure and it starts jacking the price up. YOur trainer, the connection in german who also has another connection who actually finds the horse. So then 3 people are in the deal for 10-20% each and suddenly a 50K horse becomes a 75K horse.
You are also shopping for a horse that is at its Peak both age and probably training wise - and shopping at the peak of the market is not cheap. To look at 13-15yo horses will really drop the price and you still get a great horse. But a 10yo confirmed PSG horse is very pricey as that is the top of it's market.

ToN Farm
Jun. 23, 2011, 09:33 AM
That's probably because both the trainer and everyone else is taking a cut, hence the mark up.
Agree. I don't like to pay commissions. If a trainer truly searches and finds the right horse for me, then I have no problem paying the going rate commission. But...I want to know what that commission is. I want my check for the horse to go to the owner of the horse, not the agent. If they won't allow that, then they are hiding something. it's really that simple imo.


Be careful if you try to do it "on your own" or with someone who doesn't have the connections in Germany. I've known a few people who tried to do this - it IS less expensive, less commissions, etc., but they all ended up with problems. Horses who came up with weird soundness issues, etc. One person (at the urging of a few friends) really persevered in a strong second opinion on the PPE (done overseas), and ended up there was a prior severe tendon injury - no one disclosed the prior injury and the over-seas vet hadn't ultrasounded far enough down to find it (I'm sure just an innocent oversight). Same observation. I find this happening more with the higher level horses. I believe many of them sold have had soft tissue injuries that have healed. How does a buyer know that unless they were told? At least buying here in USA you have a better chance of checking out the vet history of the horse you are buying. If it has been out of competition for a while, you might suspect a problem.

I think there are wonderful young horses to be found in Europe that have good early training. The older FEI horses, I am suspicious of problems.

I do not think there are an abundance of 10 year old, sound, small tour horses for sale in Europe or anywhere else.

ise@ssl
Jun. 23, 2011, 09:42 AM
Just a little advise about shopping in Germany. Be sure you have someone helping you who is working for you ONLY - not both you and the seller. Also don't rush into a decision. It's a pretty common fact that going to Germany for the first time to look at horses results in that "starry eyed" affect because there are so many well trained horses that it's easy to jump at a choice too quickly. Also - the riders in Germany are usually very good riders who can make even a marginal horse look great. Finally - vetting horses there for PPE is not the same as in the US. If you have a good Vet here try to have digital xrays and have them transmitted to your Vet for review BEFORE you buy/ship the horse. Also as people do here - have a complete blood screen done.

schneidepc
Jun. 23, 2011, 07:40 PM
Just a little advise about shopping in Germany. Be sure you have someone helping you who is working for you ONLY - not both you and the seller. Also don't rush into a decision. It's a pretty common fact that going to Germany for the first time to look at horses results in that "starry eyed" affect because there are so many well trained horses that it's easy to jump at a choice too quickly. Also - the riders in Germany are usually very good riders who can make even a marginal horse look great. Finally - vetting horses there for PPE is not the same as in the US. If you have a good Vet here try to have digital xrays and have them transmitted to your Vet for review BEFORE you buy/ship the horse. Also as people do here - have a complete blood screen done.

(From OP) Happily I have a great vet here and that's how I did the PPE for a horse I bought last year -- PPE vet sent her all the xrays and she reviewed as part of the exam. And ... a blood test for sure -- whether buying here or there.

Poll Evil
Jun. 23, 2011, 10:59 PM
I bought my jumper in Germany in 2007, and it was a very neat experience! At the time I lived in the Middle East, and most people who were serious about competing either go there or buy an already imported horses. I had never been to Germany before, but found it delightful and jaw-droppingly horsey! I did not have a large budget ($15,000 maximum) but found a lot of nice horses and many, many to choose from. I even was able to take the horse I was interested in to a show, and when he packed my out of shape and still sort of nervous butt around and cantered through the finish flags, I just wanted to hug him.

Having a good contact, as I did, is important. If you haven't been before, you should consider going to see the sheer number of (beautiful) horses. A few places had so many for sale--all coming out under saddle for us to see--that we called them horse factories!

I ended up importing my horse to Oman from Germany and then back from Oman to the U.S. (I know.) That was in 2009 and although I had a few meltdowns over deciding to do it or not, it went relatively well.

If I can help in any way, please don't hesitate to PM me!

Good luck.

Poll Evil
Jun. 23, 2011, 11:07 PM
Forgot to mention that I can share my contact with you as well; even though he is a jumper person, he knows a lot of people and is very well-placed in Krefeld--about an hour from the Dutch border.

Manni01
Jun. 24, 2011, 01:34 AM
Thanks for all the responses. I'm coming to the conclusion that it may make sense to bite the bullet and make the trip to Germany. I've been in touch with my trainer's contact in Germany and he says "no problem I can find you what you're looking for". Of course price range is somewhat higher than I was thinking .... :sigh: but that's not a big suprise.

If you are interested, you might contact me, while you are in Germany. I live far away from all the famous Trainers and I donĀ“t know any horses around me suitable for you, but you never know what will happen on a trip like this, and I would offer you help if necessary.

patch work farm
Jun. 25, 2011, 04:04 PM
I haven't imported in several years but the last time I did, it was about $8500 and I did my own quarantine. As a breeder, it breaks my heart every time people want to go to Europe. Yes, it is a fabulous excuse to go on a vacation, yes, you can see a lot of horses there but we have bred some really good ones here! The Mid Atlantic Hanoverian Breeders Group has some of the best/largest breeders, all within 3 hours of each other and certainly not far for you coming from NY. Yes, most of us have youngsters for sale but I thought Hilltop had a PSG gelding for sale? What you are looking for is going to be tough because, as you describe it, this is the PERFECT horse, why would it be for sale, just MHO? To quote what one poster said,

"I do not think there are an abundance of 10 year old, sound, small tour horses for sale in Europe or anywhere else."

Your search is going to be hard because unless it is a case of desperate need, divorce or illness-who would sell that horse? I hope wherever you find it, you are able to get what you want, but be prepared that it will most likely be tough unless you go younger or older.

I know several people that have gotten their dream horses from Germany (I am included here) but I also know more that got them back here and found themselves miserable with their choices, then they had to sell that horse and STILL find the one they thought they were buying. Guess my suggestion is to exhaust all possible options here before you jump on a plane.

imajacres
Jun. 25, 2011, 04:37 PM
WWW.GERMANHORSECONNECTION.COM

My dad has purchased two from her, she's wonderful, has a great eye, is a vet to boot. So she's great at scouting auction horses (can look at the x-rays), and she's a Hanoverian breeder as well.

She just took our 2YO filly (that she bred, Florencio X Hohenstein) to the Mareshow, where she got her 1A rating! :)

I wouldn't think twice about handing her a big wad of cash and saying I want a horse that is XXX, XXXX and XXXX. I know she'd find something great!

ETA: You will see far more quality horses in far less time by going to Europe IMHO. There are many nice horses in N. America, but by the time you fly all over the place, pay for hotels, and pay to transport the horse, you will most likely spend at least as much as the cost of importing from Europe. I also think you can find what you are looking for a lot cheaper there than here. The fall is a great time to horse shop in Europe, with all the auctions and licensings going on. You'll have a great time! :)

Kareen is the best. We have been partners for over a decade now, and have many many happy clients, repeat, and network clients. She is a rider, mother, breeder, vet, you name it, so knows where all the horses are, not only the ones at the sales barns.
Fluently bilingual, super dedicated.... she will arrange your trip, stays, imports, folow up, you name it.
Good luck and have fun!

Ingrid

CZF
Jun. 26, 2011, 04:44 PM
Kareen is the best. We have been partners for over a decade now, and have many many happy clients, repeat, and network clients. She is a rider, mother, breeder, vet, you name it, so knows where all the horses are, not only the ones at the sales barns.
Fluently bilingual, super dedicated.... she will arrange your trip, stays, imports, folow up, you name it.
Good luck and have fun!

Ingrid



Ingrid, Kareen is not the only person you and I have in common! :cool: The horse world sure is a small one...actually I was in the car with Kareen one time when you called her. You guys were talking chocolate and making me hungry! :P

And yes, I have to plug Kareen again, she has the NICEST young horses, and is well connected, so can find you something special. I feel so lucky that she came into our lives, I'm super excited about our babies! :)

Valentina_32926
Jun. 27, 2011, 06:02 PM
I know Shelly Francis purchases WB's in Germany - mostly Hannovarian - so if she's going over you might want to travel with her. She uses her breeding and training contacts over there and imports VERY nice horses.

Plus a smaller horse which you've indicated you are interested in could be easier to find as most people want the really big horses (17+ hands).