Sorry in advance for my rant... oh, how I dread horse shopping... I'm currently looking with my trainer who is doing a fantastic job of networking at shows, calling other trainers to see what they have available, setting up appointments to go see potential horses with me. So far I think we have seen about 6 horses and just starting to feel like dating and just how difficult it is to find a match.
I'm fairly experienced Adult Amateur and looking for a 3' horse. A few have been close but just not quiet 'it'. One had a bad/sticky lead change, one was a little too big for me (I'm 5'2 and anything over 16.1 is much more difficult physically for me to put together), a few just really grass green, and of course there are those who misrepresent horses, like the one that apparently had a 'thing' that no one care to mention and his 'thing' was to make a quick exit out the ring in a rear/hop/spin type move (I stayed on but was not amused that it was not even mentioned, as I often ride alone some nights after work). Typically I can get on and within a few minutes be able to tell if it's going to work out or not, and if they are my type of ride.
So I guess my question out of all that is how long/how many horses did it take in your search for your current horse? I know I haven't seen a ton of horses (6) but been looking for about 3-4 months now, and just wondering when I'll find my 'horsey mr. or miss right'
Last edited by 50ShadesOfHay; Dec. 9, 2014 at 04:12 PM.
I agree with you so much. I am not a rider myself, so my experience comes only from shopping with/for my teenage daughter, who still is pretty much at the packer stage. I've also observed the horse-shopping experiences of other teens at the barn.
It gets very discouraging... one starts to believe that only horses with something wrong with them (either behaviorally or physically) are put up for sale.
The misrepresentations are so depressing--and dangerous. My daughter tried a "hunter/jumper" who did everything he could to avoid going over the jump--refusing 4 times and dumping her twice in a 10 minute ride. If the horse hates to jump that much, maybe it's time to stop billing it as a hunter/jumper? Then we had the horse on trial at our barn who was apparently medicated for the 2 weeks the trial was to last... on day 14, he went lame and blew up in horrific hives--thankfully before any money changed hands.
The last horse I bought (2'6" hunter for older adult to live on my farm and not on a program), which worked out very well, I committed to not buying unless I could get a decent trial period, and I insisted on open vet records.
I looked at a zillion videos, but looked in person at about 10. Actually, they were all nice horses. But I am quite certain about what I like. Took one to PPE but it did not pass. Lame on a circle. Next one spent a week at trainers and had good enough PPE. I do not require PPE perfection in a made horse as long as I get open vet records and it has been going around doing the job I want it to do or more.
Also, my friends tease me about my "beater" truck, but I call it my "horse shopping truck". Keeps the prices in line.
OMG it's the worst. I already have a title for my horse shopping memoir-- "Broken Down, Unbroke, No Breaks." You have my sympathy. What ended up working the best from me is finding horses through word of mouth from honest friend-of-a-friends or else buying young from a reputable breeder.
I usually look at and try/sit on about a dozen or so. I call on many multiples more and reject them without going to see them. I do a return trip on maybe 3-4 and then I buy. I generally know what I want and I am pretty good about weeding through listings/talking to sellers so I don't even bother going if I know it won't work.
I'm looking as well, in the last 2 weeks I've sat on a mare who's price went from 15k to 20k in the 3 days between my contact with trainer and me coming to try the horse. If that wasn't bad enough, they said the horse was quiet and a packer- it was HOT and fiesty. I *like* a little bit of fiesty in my horses, but don't up the price and call it a packer if it's clearly NOT.
Another, I was told horse has great dressage basics. Funny, any time I put a slight amount of pressure on with my calf the thing tries to buck me off. Also, the thing still had staples in it's face- 'oh ya, he likes to run up the vet bills that's for sure! See he has a scar here and here too!"--at least they were honest about that part??
I'm looking too, not fun. The videos...just want to see a few minutes of walk, trot and canter each way, a few jumps in succession, a lead change. Don't tell me they are jumping 3'6" when they may have jumped 1 jump at 3'6".
The few that I may actually go look at are recommendations from friends or trainers who I can trust. My current horse who is leaving on Friday is looking better and better, maybe the grass isn't greener!
A friend has been looking for a fancy, young, uphill, no-spook hunter for about six months. She looked all over the US and has been to Europe. She's vetted at least three so far. One had moonblindness and another, despite looking completely sound, appeared to have a fractured leg on the xrays.
It's a little like finding good employees - you kind of want that person sitting at their desk who isn't looking for a new job instead of the person sending out a jillion resumes. So, maybe you want that horse that isn't actively on the market, but the owner is open to an offer. Perhaps the best way to find them is sitting at the Adult Hunter ring, picking out the one you want, then asking about it?
I feel ya. Buying my mare was a NIGHTMARE. I tried out one horse that would.not.move. Just the stickiest, laziest thing. Probably could have worked him out of it, but not for the price they were asking. Then went out of state to try a mare that was just the opposite. I felt like I was on a runaway train! She was nice just waaaay too sensitive for me. Then finally found my mare, who was a happy medium. Unfortunately she injured herself and I haven't had a real ride on her in the nearly 2 years I've owned her.
After coming to grips with the fact that she will most likely never be sound, I started shopping. When I saw Cash's ad, I was stunned. He was perfect in every way, almost too perfect. Something felt right though, so I took 4 days off. I drove 1,000 miles there, had a vet check before I even saw him, tried him out, fell in love-he was exactly as represented, loaded him up the next morning and drove 1,000 miles back. He is the horse of my dreams and I couldn't be happier! Just keep swimming, I'm sure you'll find the right one!
Horse shopping is a drag, but it's always worth it in the end! For my current horse, we looked for about three months. My trainer tried probably about 10 horses without me. I tried three of them and took two on trial. The first one we had on trial I only rode at home once before we knew he wasn't it. When I tried my mare, we knew on day one of the trial that she was it.
I've lost count on how long I've been searching, but I've tried or looked at like 10ish horses, 2 went to ppe, and failed. I'm just so tired of misrepresented green horses who are also lame. How does a 3.5 y/o flex bad in 3 out of 4 legs? Is there a utopia of green sound horses that I'm missing? On the flip side I also have one for sale and I do not for the life of me understand people who tell me they want to come look at my horse and I never hear from them again. The whole process sucks!
I want to be like Barbie because that bitch has everything!
All so true - horse shopping is one of those things that seems like it should be fun, but really just isn't! I will be in your shoes in another year or so, when I'm ready to move on from my lease horse, and I dread it. Good luck!!
I think I got lucky...I tried 2, and bought the second. But liked the first quite a bit and would have gone back to try him again if I hadn't already bought #2.
To be fair, I HATED my horse when I first tried him. I hadn't been riding regularly while looking, and he was just very different from my first horse. I wasn't even going to ride him again, but we were in town and my coach said it was worth it to go back a second time. VERY glad she did!
He has turned out to be better than I ever thought, and was exactly as represented. A solid citizen, jumps anything from anywhere, confidence builder. (I'm also an AA rider, 5'1" - somehow I ended up with a 16.3 horse). Has his changes, took me to 3' within a year, moves off the leg easily (so I don't find my short legs an issue with him), and has the best brain. Easy to take to shows, no prep, and just a generally pleasant horse to be around. Passed his PPE with flying colours.
I looked for a long time online before even finding something I wanted to try, though. But I live in an area with not as many H/J horses, and my budget wasn't huge. I agree with posters above who say that it seems like it should be fun, but isn't. Like saddle shopping!
I bought my guy in the spring and probably tried 10-15 before I picked him. The process seems like it should be fun, but can just be so miserable. Some sellers hardly respond, others are literally trying to drop their horse at my barn's doorstep, some post video and pictures but turns out oops! those are 2 years old, she's actually stiff and footsore now and nobody knows why, others post 1 tiny photo and can't take a video but the horse is totally great, just drive out and see! My previous horses had both come to me, so this was the first time I had to go find one. Not an experience I care to repeat, if I can help it.
Like you, I also know what I like within a few minutes of sitting on it. The horses that I had the least information on prior to seeing were the biggest duds. I wanted very badly to take everyone else's advice since I didn't have the best track record with horse selection ("complicated" horses were just so much more interesting...) but in the end, I really just know when I click with a horse. My advice is to not waste time or money on horses you're lukewarm about or hardly know anything about. Save your energy for the ones that get you really excited.
I also tried one that had a "thing" of which I was not informed. It was a dirty stop. Fun day, that one.
If the pony spits venom in your face or produces a loud roar, it is probably not a pony. Find another. -The Oatmeal
I looked at hundreds of ads online, went out to see 6, and ended up going back and buying the first one I saw. The entire process took a month. But I was mainly/specifically looking at green horses so quite different expectations.
I'm casually looking right now. Not beating the bushes, just putting the word out to those I trust, browsing ads, and pre-qualifying before I even go sit on them. I have been frustrated this time by having three horses that sounded great sell before I could even get out to see them (one the day before I was scheduled to go). I'm supposed to go look at one this week that I'm anxious to see if he turns out to be everything he's supposed to...but I'm also dreading the call that says, oops he's getting vetted as I'm pulling out the driveway.
In the past, I did spend one whole summer trying horses and saw 30+ in that time -- didn't get on them all as some were rejected pretty quick. Vetted 2, or 3? Can't remember for sure. Finally gave up on the going horse and bought another youngster. I'm getting too old to do that this time (go with a young one), but I'm also being pretty darn picky and not bothering to look at most that have been presented to me. Something will turn up. Or I'll take up knitting.
hate.it. Shopped for a client for almost two years. Bought one early on that should not have passed the PPE (issues were hidden), had to get rid of that one, and in round two looked at over 30 horses, vetted 6 that failed, and now we have one for a year lease/purchase but it really didn't quite tick all the boxes. Attractive, sane, and a good citizen are apparently more rare than a unicorn.
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You know what they say....the only thing worse than buying a horse is selling a horse (and vice versa)
I've had some instances where I've found "the" horse literally the second I decided to think about looking, and others where I've looked at a ton and never found what I wanted. Spent one year trying to buy a 3yo mare. Looked at quite a few (mares and geldings) and vetted one (vet who's usually okay with just about anything said, "RUN!"). Finally gave up the idea of finding a sound and scopey 3yo and bought a yearling gelding.
Now I work with breeders who I hope to be able to go to forever more into the future and just say, "find or make me 'x'
__________________________________ Forever exiled in the NW.