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View Full Version : What to do?! Perfect (and way too expensive) horse just showed up in my backyard...



xrmn002
Oct. 4, 2011, 11:40 AM
Ok all you enablers, thought I could get some advice/vent/share all at once.

Have been casually looking for a schoolmaster for quite some time. Husband is lukewarm on the idea but we have an agreement: I have to save cash to do this and won't dip into "our" money with the caveat that if the right horse comes along before I have all the $$ we'll figure it out.

Enter Very-Expensive-Dreamhorse. A friend of mine introduced me to a horse her trainer has at her barn and is trying to sell. He's PERFECT but much pricier than what I've been looking at. At the same time, the owner is very motivated and the price I'd be able to get him for is an absolute steal. I could do some less than prudent financial things and make it work, but it's more than I have saved and about $15K more than I planned to spend overall. Some of this will be offset by not having to look/fly all over the country and shipping will be minimal since he's local. I also would not pay commission.

So what do I do? Do I push the issue with the husband and make it work financially? Do I pass on this great deal and known commodity?

TheHotSensitiveType
Oct. 4, 2011, 12:01 PM
... Husband is lukewarm on the idea but we have an agreement: I have to save cash to do this and won't dip into "our" money with the caveat that if the right horse comes along before I have all the $$ we'll figure it out....

So what do I do? Do I push the issue with the husband and make it work financially? Do I pass on this great deal and known commodity?


What do you do? Pass!!! 15K more than what you had budgeted?!?!?! Holy crap, that is A LOT of money.

FocusCalmPatience
Oct. 4, 2011, 12:03 PM
The fact that he is local and there are people you know who are familiar with his background makes a HUGE HUGE difference. You can use a vet you know for the PPE and you can try the horse 100X if you want. You can have multiple in-person discussions with the owner and see how the two of you fit. You can take lessons from a trainer who knows you and who knows the horse before purchasing the horse. When you say "perfect" did you have an instant connection with this horse? Can you drop by the barn and give him treats and socialize with him a few times? Can you start out with a lease for a few months and then purchase him? These are options that his proximity will allow you. Maybe you could do a 3 month lease and then buy him. That would allow some time to scrape together a little more dough and help you to decide if he really is your dream horse. If it were me, and I was in love, I'd be scraping the bottom of the barrel to take him home, but that's just me ; ). Drives my husband bonkers, but I think he understands.

MysticOakRanch
Oct. 4, 2011, 12:03 PM
Ask the owner (or trainer is she is the selling agent) if your "top budget" is realistic, and if so, could you try the horse out? It never hurts to ask - and be upfront and honest about it - this is a very nice horse, I'm in the market for a schoolmaster, and I know he's out of my budget, but is there any chance we might be able to negotiate to something within my price range? If so, I'd really, really love to try him out. Also, consider talking to hubby about upping the budget a bit because there won't be travel or transport costs...

Asking costs nothing - and you might just find yourself with a great horse at a great deal!

pryme_thyme
Oct. 4, 2011, 12:25 PM
I am a firm believer that you never spend more than you have SAVED on a horse. They are too unpredictable and vunerable to injury.

I paid $2000 for my Pacific Star filly, yes she was unbroke and it was a fire sale but this is a true example if you are patient and are not chomping at the bit to buy a horse you will find a great deal.
I could easily sell her for 5x's this price now and it has only been a year.

Foxtrot's
Oct. 4, 2011, 12:36 PM
It is very hard for anybody who does not know you or your situation, or the horse, to give financial advice. $15,000 is an impossible difference for some, and a smidge for others. There are ways around it, if he were used once or twice a week for lessons at the trainer's barn, to help offset, or something. I usually think there are no problems, only solutions, and one solution may be to pass.

netg
Oct. 4, 2011, 01:17 PM
If your budget was already a stretch AND you're not there yet, I'd say ask if there's a chance of fitting him in the budget, and if not pass.

I assume your budget included any shipping, travel, etc. If it didn't, figure out what your *actual* budget was and that's your wiggle room above what you were thinking of as set dollar value to negotiate if they'll get close.

$15k is quite a lot if you were stretching for the budget you had already. Then again, if you can "borrow" from non-emergency savings and be sure your family financial situation is safe and are in a position to pay yourself back in 6 months even while paying horse expenses with a backup fun in case something happens to the horse - it may not be a big deal.

It does really depend on your situation, but one thing I don't think you sound like you should do is work hard to convince hubby. It sounds like you have a partnership where you can tell him about the situation, that you want to try to negotiate down into your budget, and see what he says.


My horse fell in my lap about 6 months before I was officially looking. He was priced well above my price range, and my price range was NOT flexible. His owner came down to my price range because she knew we were a great match, where he'd been far less than pleasant with multiple other people who had been interested in him.

Equibrit
Oct. 4, 2011, 02:26 PM
Work something out. Leasing, payments, or another option. If she can't sell him she may be more conducive to a creative arrangement. Of course DO NOT FORGET PAPERWORK and insurance, that would cover all needed situations.

staceyk
Oct. 4, 2011, 02:28 PM
It is a risk, but you know what that 15K means to your overall budget, and part of you must think it is do-able. I guess some questions/options would be...

--If, next year, the lovely-but-expensive-horse has a career ending injury, what will that mean for you? Is another horse off the table? Would your riding days be over? That means BIG risk. If it means your next horse can't be a big ticket, well, maybe...
-- Could you lease the horse for awhile or do an extended trial to make SURE the horse is what you want? They all feel great when they are in training, but when you get used to each other, you may have a better picture of just how wonderful he is, or maybe that he's not all that.
-- Could you make your lowball offer and see what happens? Tell the owner that you know it is not what they hope to get, but you'd like to put your offer out there for them to consider, now or later, it stands. Hard to say how the market is for pricey horses, or whether the horse may be overpriced.

I really hope this works out for you, my taste always exceeds my budget and I succumb more often than not...

didgery
Oct. 4, 2011, 02:32 PM
If you were planning to spend $5,000 and you're going to have to spend $20,000, pass.

If you were planning to spend $70,000 and you're going to have to spend $85,000, try to make it work.

Money is all relative.

KateKat
Oct. 4, 2011, 03:23 PM
I'm with the group of talking to the trainer/owner selling the horse, and seeing if there is any way to make a compromise/meet in the middle. I know that my trainer has come down A LOT on certain horses, because a) owner really needs to sell and b) they're going to good homes. The worst they can tell you is "sorry, no can do" and then you can go from there.

Oh, and it also doesn't hurt to have the convo with your hubby about this now. Perhaps your original budget too was being unrealistic for the type of horse you were looking for, and even though this horse is $15K more than you budgeted, its more in line with the pricing that you would have had to look at anyway to get what you wanted.

Ibex
Oct. 4, 2011, 03:32 PM
Talk to them. And agreed it depends on what the overall budget/listed price is.

If the owner has him in full training, $15k can get eaten up pretty quickly with no guaranteed sale at the end.

LLong
Oct. 4, 2011, 03:32 PM
how old is the horse?

kookicat
Oct. 4, 2011, 03:39 PM
Ask the owner if they'd consider a lease with a monthly fee.

Bogie
Oct. 4, 2011, 03:41 PM
My trainer once advised me to never spend more than you could afford to lose, since the horse might suffer a career ending injury soon after you buy him.

And my vet said don't buy a horse that leaves you eating PB&J for months after the purchase!

The market is soft. For the right buyer, maybe the seller will come down?

Don't spend so much that you can't deal with the unexpected vet bill or the horse that is lame for months (especially if you board). That amount will depend on your budget. $15K would be a deal killer for me.

esdressage
Oct. 4, 2011, 04:03 PM
Like others have said, the financial aspect of it is all relative. We don't know what the extra 15k is in your overall budget.

Here's something to consider: would scraping together the additional money affect your husband at all? Would it infringe on him being able to do his hobby (if he has one, for example, my husband golfs and goes to tournaments, etc.), him being able to enjoy dinners out with you, travel, etc.? If so, p.a.s.s.

If not, and if this isn't as huge a bump up in your overall budget, then really think it through, get to know the horse as much as you possibly can, and make as un-emotional a decision as you can. Granted, a relationship with a horse is a hugely emotional thing for most of us, but when the dollar levels get high, we need to balance that with really clear thought.

Interestingly, I was just yesterday having a chat with my vet's assistant. They have a client who spent a huge amount of money on what was going to be her FEI horse. Phenomenal animal, expensive, beautiful, well trained, gifted, her dream horse. He foundered, including rotation, and now not only can she not achieve her dreams with him, but he is basically unsellable and the prognosis for enough recovery to make him a trail/easy riding horse is still guarded. Very, very sad, and these things do happen. She no longer has the money to buy a new horse and is now paying the vet bills, feed and housing bills for the foundered FEI horse, while she catches rides on friends horses whenever she can. I guess she might have found a horse to borrow, too, but what a mess for the poor lady :(

xrmn002
Oct. 4, 2011, 04:04 PM
Thanks. These are all good suggestions. I am going to ask about the leasing option. I have a bonus coming in April that is guaranteed and will cover most of the purchase price (assuming they accept a low ball offer).

If I were the owner I would worry about an injury to the horse during this time but it may help that she is staying in my friend's barn and I could keep the horse there if needed (although would prefer to move it to my barn). The horse is 10 years old, is solid I-1 and starting to school all the GP movements. I could keep the horse in training to be finished to GP. The other good thing is that the horse is at an age where it's not going to lose much value in a year and may even gain if it is confirmed GP.

If I buy the horse and it gets injured tomorrow, it would be a huge disappointment but not the end of the world. I have another horse I own and one that I lease right now so there are plenty of horses to ride. Don't really need one so much as want one right now. :confused:

2tempe
Oct. 4, 2011, 04:18 PM
Lots of answers, and I'll add my 2 cents...
If you make a lease arrangement be sure that the payments go towards the purchase price and that they aren't in addition to...Probably an obvious comment but.........

Second, you dont say where you/horse are located, but it is coming into the time of year when people dont want to travel around the northern climates to look at horses in freezing arenas. I'm w/ the person who says to do a lowball offer with the explanation that it will be there if they want. But I'd also gently hint that the $x per month to board/keep him while they wait for the higher price will add up fast...

Having not too long ago found my new horse far away from home, paying commission, traveling to try the horse, paying to get it across country etc added up to a big amount.

ideayoda
Oct. 4, 2011, 04:58 PM
Offer her what your budget was (what you have saved). Most horses are overpriced, esp in today's market they will negotiate. And remember there is no 'perfect horse'. Pick the one that suits you, but if you have a budget stick to it.....and going into fall/winter is a bad time to sell horses for the most part....soo you have that on your side.

Foxtrot's
Oct. 4, 2011, 05:14 PM
If you have two other horses they are costing you - if you had only one, the finances would be a walk in the park, so to speak, and you could put more and better energy into the one.

xrmn002
Oct. 4, 2011, 07:36 PM
Update: Decided to pass. I went through everything that needed to happen to make it would work and determined it can work. Left me feeling sick to my stomach, though, so I guess my gut is telling me to pass.

Back to original plan of looking a little and saving lots.

netg
Oct. 4, 2011, 07:50 PM
Update: Decided to pass. I went through everything that needed to happen to make it would work and determined it can work. Left me feeling sick to my stomach, though, so I guess my gut is telling me to pass.

Back to original plan of looking a little and saving lots.

Good for you. The gut is usually right!

Sorry he's not right for you, but good luck finding the one who is - the good news is you now have a standard to back you up in future decisions on this front.

dudleyc
Oct. 4, 2011, 08:24 PM
And remember it is a buyers market and likely to be so for quite some time.

If time passes and the horse is still of interest it is definitely worth putting the "if you could let the horse sell to me for "x", idea out there.

pluvinel
Oct. 4, 2011, 08:49 PM
This was many years ago, but I know a person who bought a schoolmaster (18 yrs old) horse that had taken the owner to PanAm games....list price was $18,000....she got it for $3,000....this was 30 yrs ago....so factor in inflation.

cadance
Oct. 5, 2011, 12:26 AM
DO IT!!! it sounds like an amazing opportunity that has fallen into your lap, just tell your husband "there is no such thing as 'the right time'" to do something like this. gotta jump on the chance when you have it!

mbm
Oct. 5, 2011, 01:39 AM
Offer her what your budget was (what you have saved). Most horses are overpriced, esp in today's market they will negotiate.


i was just going to say PASSSS!!! but i like the above answer too.

it is crazy, in this economy, to buy a horse that is 15,000 more than you wanted to spend.

15,000 is a LOT of $$ - it is 230 lessons @ 65 each. (that's over 4 years at 1 lesson a week) , it is a LOT of full training, etc etc.

eta: nevermind... i see you already made a decision - :)

ideayoda
Oct. 5, 2011, 11:06 AM
Did you even make an offer???? You buying the horse for 15k less is her having the horse in training through the winter...

Dune
Oct. 5, 2011, 02:32 PM
Did you even make an offer???? You buying the horse for 15k less is her having the horse in training through the winter...

That's what I would've suggested to, you just NEVER know. I bought a horse that was trained thru PSG for a measly $5000 and one that had shown thru GP (legit scores and int'l quality piaffe/passage!) for $7500....and that was back when the market was good!!:yes:

Foxtrot's
Oct. 5, 2011, 06:04 PM
If they really love you and believe you will give him a wonderful forever home...surprising how much that means to some sellers if money is not their sole motivator. I think I would keep looking, but check back often and let them know you are still out there. Keep saving while you are at it.

AnotherRound
Oct. 5, 2011, 07:55 PM
Did you even make an offer???? You buying the horse for 15k less is her having the horse in training through the winter...

For pity's sake, this!!!

There was a former member on this forum who had a horse she wanted to sell for oh, what, I don't kow, 10k? Got an offer for 6k, passed, and three months later is more than 4 k additional into the horse for board and training.

Give the owner your offer - if that horse doesn't sell, one month from now, when the owner is looking at three more months of winter board (or more) plus training rides until the spring market comes up again, offer to take the horse off her hands.

This is a no brainer, and basic horse selling.

The only reason your low offer would not have a chance is if it were a hot market.

Please don't walk away from this - use your common sense - at least try!!

xrmn002
Oct. 6, 2011, 12:12 AM
I never made my offer. I could have made an offer equal to my budget but I don't think they would have accepted.

Also, as I got to know the horse and its history better, I found out a few things that made it easier to pass. I got the impression he's been pushed pretty hard in his training. Had some concerns about soundness and running into issues long-term.

Foxtrot's
Oct. 6, 2011, 12:41 AM
...there is always something, (sigh). Nothing is perfect :(

Dune
Oct. 6, 2011, 12:41 PM
I never made my offer. I could have made an offer equal to my budget but I don't think they would have accepted.

Also, as I got to know the horse and its history better, I found out a few things that made it easier to pass. I got the impression he's been pushed pretty hard in his training. Had some concerns about soundness and running into issues long-term.


Well, good for you for not getting overly emotional about it and leaping into something you'll regret later! :yes: As my husband likes to remind me, there's always another horse. :winkgrin:

sadlmakr
Oct. 6, 2011, 03:17 PM
Glad you listened to your"gut feeling". There are lots of horses that are good and well trained out there that need homes. If this economy gets much worse there wil be many needing good homes.
The right one will come your way at the right time. In the meantime prepare for it by selling the stuff you collected over the years that you don't need. Someone out there needs it. One lady I know had the opportunity to buy a beautiful saddle for half of it's retail price. She sold many things she did not need anymore. In fact she sold her clothes and shoes and extra tack and saddlery. She got her new saddle and felt her load was lighter because she cleaned out her closets and tack room.
Another lady had a huge yard sale and sold off lots of extras and what she called her "Junk collection". But she got her saddle she wanted plus a clean garage and closets.
Plan ahead for when the "right " horse comes along.
And listen to your "intuition( gut feeling). It was given to you for a reason.
JMHO sadlmakr

ideayoda
Oct. 6, 2011, 07:45 PM
When somebody is selling a horse most often they will entertain offers, esp if they know you, the home it will get, the training, etc. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I would not just simply walk away. Tell her what you have, and that is ALL, and see. You might be surprised. I used to tell people that our horses were the price they were, fair price, no bargaining. But many people want to advertise and then people think that is what somebody paid, and the new buyer never says that they paid less either.......I would at least offer. And then you walk away knowing, or perhaps with a new horse. Stick to your budget, but at least try.

ptownevt
Oct. 9, 2011, 05:44 PM
You might be amazed at what his price goes down to if he sits for a long time. I was really surprised at how low prices are right now on the Dressage Daily classifieds. As someone else said, the market is soft, very, very soft.

Eireamon
Oct. 9, 2011, 06:36 PM
A friend of mine looked at a horse who was 25K. She loved it but it was too far out of her price range.

Fast forward one year. Horse has been in training for one whole year and is still not sold. Price is now 8K and vendor is very motivated so my friend went to try it again. She said its training has come on leaps and bounds. She is very glad she did not buy it at 25K.

Jury is now out as to whether she is going to buy as the vetting showed up a red flag which was previously unknown.

I have to feel for the vendor. They have now lost some serious money in training for the past year and now its looking like the horse is not even going to sell for 8K.

Its a tough market everywhere.

Ben_Dover
Oct. 10, 2011, 01:31 PM
If I were the owner I would worry about an injury to the horse during this time but it may help that she is staying in my friend's barn and I could keep the horse there if needed (although would prefer to move it to my barn). The horse is 10 years old, is solid I-1 and starting to school all the GP movements. I could keep the horse in training to be finished to GP. The other good thing is that the horse is at an age where it's not going to lose much value in a year and may even gain if it is confirmed GP.

If I buy the horse and it gets injured tomorrow, it would be a huge disappointment but not the end of the world. I have another horse I own and one that I lease right now so there are plenty of horses to ride. Don't really need one so much as want one right now. :confused:

You can get insurance to cover the horse when it's on trial and most sellers insist that you have to have it in the contract.