But that is why I think it would be great to build "breeding regions" within the US (similar to "show" regions like Wellington and Southern CA). Imagine we had 100 WB breeders (Hano, GOV, Trak, RPSI, etc) within a 6 hour drive of NC and VA!! One could plan a buying trip to the area, similar to what you do when going to Europe, and go from farm to farm.
I know it is not that simple...you need the YH trainers to also come to this area, you need to continue to support our local show venues, etc. But it is a dream, and one can hope:)
Another thing Europe has that we don't (and I don't think ever will) is the support of the government and their registries. For example, the Hannoveraner Verband BUYS a bunch of young colts every year to raise as stallion prospects, there are auctions to place your top youngsters for sale, there are WELL attended mare shows, the Bundeschampionat, the WYH shows...all of these are venues where horses are bought and sold. We don't have that sort of infrastructure in our equine world. So we can model some things off of Europe, but not all.
We can try to develop breeding regions though. We can also work together to organizing buyers with other breeders. For example, my neighbor also breeds WBs (RPSI). I had someone call me about a foal I had for sale, but I already had a buyer. I told her about a Bugatti foal my neighbor had and she ended up buying it! If we worked together we could make a long distance trip for a potential buyer more appealing. Say a potential buyer calls you about a 4 year old you have for sale you could say to them "yes, I have mine and let me make some calls to see if there are any others in my area so if you are coming maybe you can see 3-4 while here" or "here are the name of some other local farms/ breeders. Give them a call to see if they have anything as well so you can maybe see a few horses during your trip".
I have a friend that is in the market for an AA 4th level+ dressage horse. She is waiting until our trainer goes to Fl for the winter to start looking. She wants our trainer to test out a bunch of horses while down there so she can go down 1-2 times and check out 6 or so horses on a trip.
You would be much better off organizing with a pre-established web site for a variety of reasons. Namely, a web site by breeders, for breeders and populated by breeders will do nothing to reach young horse buyers. There is already so much segregation between the two groups, without some serious money spent advertising the site prospect shoppers will never know it even exists. And secondly, despite all pre-conceived notions, web sites are not cheap to build and require a lot of time to maintain. Sure, I bet someone will tell you they can throw it together for a pleasing 4 figure number, but if you really want to set your handful of 5 figure babies apart from the hundreds one can see by simply taking a vacation to europe you are going to need an outstanding web presence.
And ultimately, lauriep is right. Seeing 60 babies online is great and all, but buyers want to see 60 babies on site. There is typically not room in the budget for multiple trips, and chances of finding Mr. Perfect on the first trip is slim to none when there are only 5 to look at.
The organized sale is a great idea, though it may take years to become a fixed destination on the circuit calendar. I have previously postulated a Young Horse Training Center on here, where breeders ship their 3 y.o. (or younger if they like) stock out to a centrally located national center where professionals who specialize in the systemized development of young horses get them going and entertain groups of buyers all year long. There's a whole thread on it somewhere, so I'm going to leave this as a bare-bones overview of the idea.
just by reading this thread, I found two websites I never knew existed...the exchange hunter jumper one and the warmbloods for sale one. Now I know. There is one central location for stuff...here on COTH. ;-) Just about everyone in America comes here to find out about stuff. I wonder if COTH would be willing to help the breeders and young horse trainers come together on COTH......or perhaps they already do and I know nothing of it. As previously mentioned, we are all so scattered around the country. The big names have huge fancy facilities and I am sure lovely horses and trainers in house. But....what about everyone else who breeds? If you are not a big gun in the business and you want to get your 3 year old backed and "out there," do you rely on where you are located or??? Sending baby off is scary as all get out. Believe me, I do know that. There is Hilltop on the east coast, DG Bar on the west coast and I am sure many many in between. Truly there are young horse trainers just as good as the big guns! In fact, near me, is a breeder who has a freakin' goldmine of horses superbly well bred! She isn't a big gun, but wow....truly lovely babies. She knows her bloodlines and has a very good mare foundation. I would prefer to send a baby to a lesser known name with references provided of course so my expenses stay down. Ok...I must stop this! Got stuff to do, but this thread just winds me up! In a good way! cheers
What Scott is trying to to do is offer riders of talented horses a forum to get tips and training in order to be successful in the Young Horse competitions. It's pretty specialized and does not address the on-going need for competent young horse trainers.
Finding competent young horse trainers that aren't going to break a breeder's budget for the year is an on-going issue and one that doesn't encourage breeders to keep horses past their 3rd year unless they have unlimited funds. In my mind it's also an issue where some trainers miss the boat as far as getting a super prospect is concerned because they want to play it "safely". In Europe this tends to be much less of an issue because Breeders send their youngsters to young horse raisers and then they're purchased by trainers that see the potential in them (or not).
The sad thing is that even if the breeder in the US has the funds to promote their youngster to a successful finish in the young horse classes, the purchase price still doesn't cover the expense incurred while getting there. The reason for that is that "Made in Europe" still garners a higher price than "Made in the US", even if the end product is the same. Ask me how I know.... :(
So, before I get off my soap box, let me ask you American buyers what it is that makes the European product so much more desirable? I would really like to know given the same amount of training and show success in a horse raised in the US vs one from Europe.
Regarding the website idea -- does anyone remember the lengthy discussions on here and the subsequent development of the "North American Sport Horse Breeder's Group" (or a similar name)? The idea was great, and the founder put a fair amount of time into it, but it has since fizzled. As dags mentioned, getting a nice website up and going isn't cheap. And getting a group to agree on things -- like how much to contribute, what things to include, or whether to contribute before they've seen the final product -- all of these things can be a challenge.
I still buy in Europe because of three reasons:
2- #'s breed annually produce large numbers of options
3- cheap to rear
The reasons I founded my business here are such:
1- offering NA the same quality Europeans offer be it in smaller numbers
2- removing the import costs
3- to be an advocate of showing NA that there is another way
4- zeroing in on what the market demand is and giving the industry a legitimate option
5- advocating change
6- showing that the change can be profitable, and is worth supporting
7- deciphering the "holes" and putting together realistic options for NA buyers, trainers and breeders
8- keeping the program small enough, due to costs and quality control, that it becomes a model for how it can be successful in NA
These are a few reasons why.
Europeans have strong systems. They have systems that have been in place for a very long time. Some good and some not so good. They are only better because those systems have been developed and refined over many more years than us. You can't condemn folks for wanting to partake or take from it. It's a benchmark that we need in order to evolve so that it fits our geographical divide, our market demand, and our capabilities.
With respect to the OP, that idea simply won't work here. What can work is a system put in place that minimizes the divide due to geography, personal gain and personal likes and dislikes. Until NA breeders, owners, buyers, trainers etc find a common ground we will continue to be at the behest of the Europeans.
We need champions who will support, develop and maintain the integrity and future of sport and breeding in NA. Not for personal gain or notoriety, but for the benefit if all those who want to make a difference.
My two cents......
The major divide here is........the dis-connect between the breeder and the showring. Until that divide is narrowed , most breeders in this country will only be foal peddlers.
I have connections to the showring. I didn't always and it is very difficult to justify continued breeding when you don't.
Breeders need to be real and get rid of the barn blindness. Love your horses for sure , but recognize them for who they are. They aren't all going to be good no matter how many times they are kissed on the nose and fed peppermints.
Only breed with very good mares
Breed with a mission
Recognize them for who they are
Get them going properly
Be prepared to keep them until 6 yrs old before top riders will even sit on them.
In short, due diligence is practically impossible here. We rely heavily on videos and photos to determine what we go see. We go see it and maybe get to sit on/view 7 horses in a trip, and that is all we base the decision on. As buschkn noted, sitting on 40 horses and viewing 100+ gives buyers confidence that they are getting the best value for what they have to spend. With a sample pool of 20 or less, buyers will always fear there's something out there that's a better bang for their buck.
We are now promoting horses from overseas, a group out of Czech, a group out of Germany whose page I'm working on now, and a Belgium stable is also considering. The price difference between their horses and similar horses that I have listed from the States is astonishing, even with import fees. The difference is so extreme that the idea of buying sight unseen is totally appealing. Even if the horse is a dud for your particular purposes there is still room to make money selling it to someone else in the States.
dags stated ..."Even if the horse is a dud for your particular purposes there is still room to make money selling it to someone else in the States."
I read from your website that you specialize in hunter/jumpers and that's the "type" of horse you import from Europe. So if one of those horses (that are so cheap that you advocate buying them sight unseen) doesn't work out (is a dud) as a hunter/jumper, what exactly would you sell it for? And please don't say dressage.....
As a breeder I always strive for excellence - breeding the best to the best - and I've been successful over the years following that formula. You can definitely find excellent horses in Europe but they're going to have a price tag that supports that excellence. So what does that tell you about the horses you import so cheaply?
I can walk all over the big indoor shows and point out horses that people are paying way too much money for. Most people don't need high octane, or the best of the best, they need something that works for them. They need something with miles, and you just cannot put those on cheaply over here. Of course a horse is of lesser quality when imported at $30K than $250K (and this is the range we work in), but that doesn't mean there won't be a job for it here.
We can all agree that there is a divide between the showring, and the breeding shed. The real question is why.
There a couple of questions that need to be answered before you can answer why, and how to fix it.
1st, who is buying? Well many are students of trainers at the barns they ride and board at. The very first person they go to(although this is probably backwards) is their trainer. Trainers make money selling horses that they already own, can ride in open classes while looking good, and get someone else to pay the bill.
So this leads us to the next question. What motivation do trainers have to contact us breeders(who may also be competitors) and suggest a horse we are selling. Keep in mind, our young stock still need to be started, and prepared. Most riders don't want that, they want horses they can compete tomorrow on. So we know they are looking for horses, under saddle, with some show experience, that is cheap enough for the trainer to make money on. They have to justify their time looking and not giving lessons. So I ask you, if you had a 4-7 year old with show experience that you paid for, are you selling it for a discount? NO So off to Germany they go where young, well prepared horses are a dime a dozen. Their "Not good enough" horses are good enough to jump 1.2-1.3m here. So we are a good market for those horses.
3rd, knowing that WB's are winning just about everything, what do you think is the answer given by most when asked "who knows more about WB's, Europeans or Americans?" I let you all ponder that...
4rth, who pays for the horse training?Horse trainers in this country are considered a cost to Rider trainers, and show barns. They may be traded for services, but a cost none the less. Many don't perceive preparing young horses as either an advantage, or a profit center.
5th, do our riders know what a good horse is? I would say that the vast majority do not. Especially if it is young. Our buyers have no clue what a good horse looks like, unless a trainer or someone higher up in the business tells them. I can't tell you how irritated I get when I hear ," I am looking for a horse that is short coupled with a lot of power." The last three riders I spoke to didn't even understand what short coupled was. Most of them learned to ride on some broken down, showmaster, hunter horse that has been handed down to every rider that showed up in the barn. Now they are looking for a horse that has at least 1.4m capacity. They don't know what that looks like.
6th and lastly, who and where can buyers learn from and trust that isn't selling them something? Who becomes the authority and not the vulture at the same time. I have a lot of respect for large organizations like Iron Spring, Hill Top, etc, but they do not have any interest in selling my horse. They have their own to sell. You might think this would be the same problem in Europe, but it isn't . For one, they don't have the sport of Hunters which in my opinion drives this ignorance. Secondly the concentration is so high, the good ones stand out, and the young riders get to ride the good, inexperienced horses, not the bad horses with lots of experience.
Just some of my own 2 cents.
Siegi, as a recent purchaser I will try to answer some of your questions. I wanted to buy american, I had the funds to buy a nice prospect, and to travel. My biggest problem was getting response from sellers, and getting information about what was out there. I spent a few hundred hours on the internet, so many sites showed foal pictures on horses currently 3-4 years. There was NO central site I could go to with current info on horses for sale. I had a terrible time getting responses from many breeders. One in particular had a youngster that sounded perfect, the owner (who posts here) was travelling and gave me the contact of the trainer who currently had the horse, I could NOT get in contact with him. Finally after several attempts I received an e-mail with a time to contact, but I never got a response to my call so surprise, I gave up. I live in the west and tried to arrange a trip east, but again communication was so poor I gave that up as well. Exception was Judy Yancey who had an interesting prospect, but I didn't want to head east for one horse. (Wish I had seen Rolling Stone Farm website earlier). Did owners think I wasn't serious? Not good enough? (Amateur with a good young horse trainer and I have bronze and silver medals). I ended up with a youngster from a CA breeder. I wouldn't have looked there (no current info), but I know some horses she bred that are NICE. I had two horses fail PPE first. Very Expensive to travel to see ONE horse. I love the idea of breeders cooperating to help line up several to see.