View Full Version : Horse buying trip advice

Mar. 7, 2012, 09:57 PM
Looking for a new horse for DD. We have a small budget and high standards. We want to buy young but already jumping. We are looking for potential but also need a certain amount of rideability. We haven't found anything locally we want to buy. There are some horses we like which are going to require overnight trips to go see. What would you want to know/see before you go to see the horse? I am thinking of being there three days. What would you want to see/do while you have this small window? Any other suggestions? TIA!

Mar. 7, 2012, 10:21 PM
You are going to do best by lining up a number of horses in a certain area. If you already have horses on the drawing board, see if your professional knows of anyone in that area that can get a few more together to see on the same trip. That way you aren't concentrating your time and effort and expenses to see just one horse that may or may not resemble its description. It's also nice to ride a few and compare as you go. I personally wouldn't go overnight to see a horse unless it was represented by someone known to me, or at least someone who could be vouched for by someone known to me. I would at the very least want to see some good video of the horse before going if the seller is an unknown. And three days to me is overkill for one horse. If it's not the horse for you after you've tried it twice, it's not the horse for you.

Mar. 7, 2012, 11:51 PM
I did look outside my area when I purchased last spring. I ended up only 2.5 hrs away, but like you was willing to go overnight if the horse was right. There's a lot of horses in my area, but I was looking for something very specific within a budget.

Request video of all the things you are interested in, extensive phone interview. Remember, you are trying to find out if this horse is even worth your time/$ so read between the lines instead of getting excited. Also, it totally depends on price what is realistic to ask for, IMO. If I'm selling a horse for $500, I'm not about to put together a video.

That said, not all horses translate from video. Both my trainers said NOT to look at the horse I ended up buying because he was stiff in the hind on video. In person, he moved so well AND he was everything I was looking for. So I got him. When I brought him home, and after a few lessons, they both gushed on what a great match he was for me and what a great mover he is (and still say that's he's worth is weight in gold). He was stiff because he was out of work for 6 months and they just pulled him from the pasture to put together a few videos over a couple of days.

Wouldn't hurt to add some site-seeing/fun on your trip. That way if it's a bust at least you had a good time :D

Of note, I've only ridden all my horses 1 time before purchase. And if you have a feeling, good or ill, take heed. Good Luck!

Mar. 7, 2012, 11:57 PM
I think the other folks have offered good advice. Not sure I have much to add. But I do hope you have fun and find what you are looking for. It sounds exciting to me!

Mar. 8, 2012, 01:16 AM
I'm heading to Thermal tomorrow to shop. My trainer has about a half dozen horses lined up for me to sit on. It's my best chance to get multiple suitable sale horses in one place at the same time, so I can compare.

Mar. 8, 2012, 09:16 AM
I've done only a few horse-buying trips overnight, but intentionally looked in an area to/from or surrounding the in-laws' house, so we had a place to stay as a base of operations, and could combine shopping with a family visit. We lined up several to look at over 3 days, and based soley off of phone conversations and still photos, no video (video still not standard in Europe). I rode maybe 8 horses and ended up buying one that *wasn't* on the list but was at the barn where I tried two others.... He's still with me 4 years later and he's a keeper. Of my, er, long list of other past horses, most I bought after just one ride. The worst horse I've ever owned was one I did the 2.5-hr drive (each way) twice to ride a second time. Not that it means anything, just saying.... Most of my horses I bought either locally, at sporthorse auctions (yes, overnight trips, but kind of a different situation since I had the opportunity to see many different potential matches in one place) or as youngstock/not broke, and bought based on breeding and type. I agree with the above suggestions that if you're willing to travel to look at horses, try to get several in one area, plan on doing fun stuff while you're out there anyway, and 1-2 rides should be enough to know if horse and DD click or not. Good luck and have fun horse shopping!

Mar. 8, 2012, 10:36 PM
Also make sure to get some sort of vet records before hand... It's not fun driving far to see a horse, really loving it, and then finding out that while it's not lame now, it most likely will be within a month or so due to a previous injury. As long as you do your research before hand, you shouldn't have any problems.