As previously mentioned, I'm in the search for a new horse... It used to be fun, but now I'm a little frusterated about finding the right horse at the right price. So now, I'm thinking about Europe...
In the end, which would get me the most 'bang for my buck?' What are the pros and cons of each? If you've imported, did you go with an agent? Would you do anything differently? Share your experience?
I'm looking for an FEI Schoolmaster. Which, in your opinion, would be the best way to go?
have never imported , but what i can say.. is that friends that have, & even with a good vet check have had previous issues come up that were not found or discussed before import.. language problem .. maybe ..
I would think the cost for transport from coast to coast and your travel and visit would still be much more reasonable in costs then across the oceans..
If I was purchasing a schoolmaster, instead of something green or something for a pro, I would think that suitability and 'clicking' would top the list of wants. I would want to ride it a few times, maybe even take it on trial or try it at a show that it is scheduled to be at so I can see how it is away from home. I wouldn't hesitate to import a baby, or a pro's horse, or something you expect to have to put time into, or something intended for resale, but a schoolmaster is what he is- and to me it takes more than one ride or one weekend to see if its a good fit.
I would want to ride it a few times, maybe even take it on trial or try it at a show that it is scheduled to be at so I can see how it is away from home.
Agree. When you buy in Europe, you can't check out the horse's background and vet records like you can in the USA. Also, I think there are all kinds of middle-men commissions getting tacked on to the European imports.
I have imported many horses and I have bought US horses and bred and trained my own horses to the top levels of dressage. To buy a school master I believe your best horse for the $ is in the US. Why, because in the US the only people that buy horses are Americans. Most Americans do not value dressage schoolmasters. Vs in Europe, they do value schoolmasters and they also have multiple country's looking to buy the same horses. In the US we only have other Americans. As much as we would like to think the market is good in the US to sell a horse, we are wrong. Other country's buy from Holland and Germany, because they win at the shows. They breed many more horses for the sport and they also have many more top riders to bring horses along. They also have a lot more people like you looking to buy the same horse. It really comes down to supply and demand. We now have a good sized supply and not much demand.
Good luck, with where ever you search.
With the dollar weaker the advantage to shopping in Denmark where I take buyers is still geography and numbers.Dk has more good horses within much shorter distances Germany or Holland.With young horses one can see freeschooling and then chose which are to be seen under saddle we have averaged 115 to 120 in an average 5 day trip.How long will it take to see that many good ones here at home?
I have both imported and bought USA breds. You do have to be careful in both cases.
But that said there are a lot more schoolmasters in Europe than there are here so you get a wider choice.
But take a trainer who knows you and how you ride, and have the horse well vetted.
My current guy came from Denmark and I have nothing but good to say abot the experience of buying horses in Denmark. Nice people easy to deal with, horses were honestly represented. I've bought 6 horses from there in the past 3 years and all of them have been just what I was told they were.
I cannot say the same for buying in Germany! I wouldn't even think about Holland, sorry guys, I just have seen too many fast operators that are Dutch. I'm sure that there are wonderful honest straightforward horse agents in Holland and Germany but I have yet to meet one.
SO I'd say, make sure you have a good reputable agent, ask for references and follow them up.
Melyni (PhD) PAS, Dipl. ACAN.
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Buyer Beware!! Make sure you have a really great trainer (not just in your own mind) that will go with you and help and someone that can speak the language that you trust also.
Best advice! There is no protection for a US buyer overseas. I know many people who have purchased horses in Germany and Holland, and so many things not disclosed. Vet checks are useless UNLESS you have all the files sent to your vet in the US, otherwise, realize the overseas vets are taking care of their clients NOT any U.S. citizen. Every person I know who imported a horse EXCEPT those who are big name trainers has been ripped off. So unless you have a big name trainer (and that means, big enough name so he/she is known in Germany or Holland) to represent you, be extra, extra, extra careful.
Again- Agreed, if looking overseas work with someone you trust! Try working with an American that lives and trains there. They know the language, the in's and outs, they have their own network of trusted business associates.
Off the top of my head-
Denmark- Heather Blitz
Germany- Catherine Haddad
Can't think of an American in Holland, but do have friends that have imported a dozen or so from a trusted contact in Holland for the last 7 years or so.
PM me if you would like me to attempt to get that contact information.
I do have a trainer here that is German and even though I got seriously burned on my imported from Germany GP mare I would trust one of these guys to select one for me or help me select one and I swore I would never by overseas again.
I think your budget is key in making your decision. You can get a school master here in the US pretty easily with any soundness issues disclosed and a verifible show history.
But it will cost you more than 35K for a PSG horse (as an example).
On the other hand, you can probably by a horse with the description of what you want in Europe for that price, but will you have the other things I mentioned? Depends on how good your agent is. It's much harder to return a horse that is a problem if you buy in Europe.
Lastly, I will say in my experience (buying abroad and here) - with some exceptions you get what you pay for. If a horse is cheap - find out why!
I have certainly sold horses for under market value, but have had a good reason why I let them go for cheaper, and explained that reason.