The Chronicle of the Horse
MagazineNewsHorse SportsHorse CareCOTH StoreVoicesThe Chronicle UntackedDirectoriesMarketplaceDates & Results
 

View Poll Results: to buy or not to buy?

Voters
58. You may not vote on this poll
  • Buy buy buy !

    24 41.38%
  • Wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole !

    1 1.72%
  • Pursue it, seems like a good deal

    32 55.17%
  • Wait, and keep saving for something younger

    1 1.72%
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 26
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul. 17, 2009
    Posts
    226

    Default buying a Schoolmaster; when is old TOO old?

    If you had a good opportunity to buy a solid PSG schoolmaster at a well below-market price (but you had to act FAST!), who was in 5 out of 6 professional opinions serviceably sound and vetted ok, with low maintenance (SI hock yearly, no daily), who looked quite good, but would be 20 years old next show season, would you be buying him in a heartbeat or thinking twice?
    "Capture the horse's confidence to obtain his consent." -General L'Hotte



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar. 9, 2006
    Location
    Lucama, NC
    Posts
    5,868

    Default

    Probably so if price was right. I currently have a 21 yr old "schoolmaster" that does the 2' hunters. Does NOT jump higher, he never really had the scope but is DEAD HONEST and QUIET for people to learn on. He does still show and gets his share of ribbons in pretty good company, he is PRICELESS in my opinion, but we got him about 6 years ago for free as supposedly he was unsound (amazing what pulling some horrible shoes can do!!). A student of mine has a wonderful 25 yr old large pony, this pony has shown in top compnay in his day and is still teaching a little 6 yr old the ropes. He also still wins good ribbons, was district 4-H champion SS hunter last year, and WON the in-hand class and was THIRD in the in-hand at the state 4-H show (VERY competitive). A real honor for a guy his age, but he looks 1/2 that! He does have some maintenance issues with his hocks, but worth it as he is priceless also. Too many people discount the older horses. Granted I wouldn't pay the same for an older one as one even 5 yrs younger, as, face it, their useful days are limited. However, the one 5 yrs younger might just go lame tomorrow!

    However, you do need to examine your goals. If goal is to learn from this guy, and not necessarily do a lot of showing (altho he may be just fine for some showing as the two I mentioned are), then he could be what you need.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar. 25, 2010
    Posts
    1,165

    Default

    IMO it depends on how low his price is and whether or not you are willing/able to take care of a geriatric horse once he is no longer able to work at the PSG level. You may only get a couple of years of good learning from him, before the work just gets too hard. If you are able to provide him a good retirement home when the time comes and he is cheap enough, then I would go for it however.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb. 24, 2010
    Posts
    514

    Default

    Your young horse can colic and die or be struck by lightning as was the subject of another recent thread (or break a leg, etc., etc., horses are always doing things to themselves.)
    While I dread the loss of an old horse, the real truth is that a young horse can die sooner, or later.
    So buy what you want, when you want it, if the horse is right for you.
    I've bought young and old, including one who was 24 when I bought him but I rehomed him, so I wouldn't have to worry about his dying. He lived about 3 more years and I paid for his feed. Some people on here have horses in their 30s!



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul. 17, 2009
    Posts
    226

    Default

    Thanks for the replies.

    My goal would be to learn the feel for the upper level movements with him, and if he was up for it, go for my USDF silver medal. I already considered that I would be responsible for retiring him, and I am ok with that. I would just be hoping for 1 - 2 years. I would like to show, and honestly, an old horse that isn't sound enough to show probably shouldn't be subjected to teaching someone pirouettes either. I know there are a lot of solid 20+ horses out there, (we have a 35 year old pony who's never been lame a day in her life and still teaches kids the ropes!), and the price is right, just interested in hearing what people have to say!
    "Capture the horse's confidence to obtain his consent." -General L'Hotte



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul. 4, 2000
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    1,824

    Default

    Two of the nicest schoolmasters I have known were still working regularly when in their 30's. They were not showing but were ridden in lessons. Care and consideration was always given to them -- they were not pushed hard or long -- but they were well able to teach people learning 4th level and above movements. They seemed to enjoy their jobs and could even be a little naughty if a novice got it wrong too many times in a row.

    *star*
    "Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit."
    - Desiderata, (c) Max Ehrman, 1926



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb. 26, 2008
    Posts
    759

    Default

    While I do see the point in not riding an animal in pain and expecting top performance, I disagree that a horse who is not "show" sound should not be a schoolmaster. There is no reason for a student who is just learning the feel of the movements to do as many and as intense transitions as in a show test - want to know what changes feel like? Go do a few, then your horse gets a break, while in a show he still has many prescribed movements to do prior to break.

    Also, the meds you can keep your horse on - conventional and herbal, etc. are not regulated for at home use as they are in shows. We all ache as we age, but I am not planning on sitting on my duff just because "x" hurts a little, life goes on.

    I think that when people are considerate and pay attention to what their animal tells them re. pain tolerance, etc. it can be an immensely beneficial combination for a student and a horse.

    I'd say go for it!



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul. 17, 2009
    Posts
    226

    Default

    MZM, good point about medicating. I am quite pleased about the overall positive responses here...

    danger danger approaching horse buying status!
    "Capture the horse's confidence to obtain his consent." -General L'Hotte



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr. 6, 2010
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    2,084

    Default

    DD learns on a schoolmaster 20+ pony and shows that little bugger. He is worth his weight in gold to me and his owner. We just lost the schoolmaster Ms.Aimee this month and though she was no longer showing she was again worth her weight in gold. If you can afford to retire them buy buy buy if you can't or feel the maintenance is too much then don't. True schoolmasters are NOT plentiful and should be provided the love, attention, and respect their age and skills dictates.
    Adoring fan of A Fine Romance
    Originally Posted by alicen:
    What serious breeder would think that a horse at that performance level is push button? Even so, that's still a lot of buttons to push.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec. 20, 2009
    Posts
    3,222

    Unhappy

    one more response: i just leased out my 20 yr old schoolmaster to a lower level rider. He got me to PSG for the first time almost a year ago, from training level 5 yrs ago. We tried hard for the silver, but given his conformation, (long...) and my amateur level skills, the right collection was hard. He could do all the moves, and he even taught me how to ride 1-tempes. We were always just shy of that 60. Lucky me he is sound as a $, never been injected, BUT he has a heart issue and for that reason I chose not to push him any more.
    SO: If the horse is fit and serviceable, go for it! These horses are worth their weight in gold.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun. 17, 2000
    Location
    Durham/Chapel Hill nc
    Posts
    3,700

    Default

    Sounds like it could be a wonderful situation - but just checking, is the horse in fairly regular work now, and holding up fine? If he showed PSG 4 years ago and has been in a field for a while the answer is less clear.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar. 28, 2006
    Posts
    1,903

    Default

    Do you have some scores already? I am just concerned that if he had to be "fit" to campaign for a medal he may be a bit too old. My niece rode my schoolmaster to her Bronze in two years (had her First Level scores already) when he was 21/22. I did not want her to use him beyond that to compete, he is sound but I thought it would be too hard on him for the level of collection required beyond third. He would have had to be working harder on a regularbasis to compete at those levels.
    He is now my other nieces schoolmaster and she is just doing schooling shows at second level (he is now 24).
    "When you think you don't need a coach ...then you're in trouble" Don Imus 2012



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb. 18, 2008
    Posts
    732

    Default

    I think the fact that you are ok eventually retiring him with you is a huge factor.I think it's quite reasonable to expect a handful of great performance yrs with him.......I'd go for it in a heartbeat!!



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun. 12, 2007
    Location
    Westchester County, NY
    Posts
    5,786

    Default

    Assuming he is currently fit and showing PSG, I think its safe to expect another year or two at that level- even if you have to up the maintenance a little in there. I would never buy an older horse and expect to get them back to that level if they've been off for a while, or only schooling lower levels for a few years.

    The other thing to consider is that lots of these horses don't 'go lame' and need to be retired, they just need a step down in collection. It's entirely possible that in two years he will only be able to comfortably do second level- would you keep riding him, or lease him, or retire him?



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun. 30, 2009
    Posts
    6,576

    Default

    Depends who the 6th person is

    How difficult is it to keep this horse in condition at present? has he been on Recovery etc since his mid-teens? are you OK with it should he not be able to do even another season (eg, could you afford another horse to pursue your goals?)



  16. #16
    Join Date
    May. 4, 2005
    Location
    Southern CA
    Posts
    115

    Default Go for it!

    I purchased my GP schoolmaster last year at age 19. He was still working 5 days weekly at the time. As soon as my bum hit the saddle, I knew I was home...it was like meeting up with an old friend. I did not bother to vet him, he was sound. This guy is my soulmate and I would do it again in a heart-beat! I showed him 4th level last month and got both scores toward my Silver medal. (Note I had previously shown through 3rd level but had leased an Int-1 schoolmaster years ago.) Next month, I'm going to have to change my handle because we're showing PSG. He's still rocks his pi/pa tour and his pirouettes are for "9" - trainer is a USEF "R" judge so I am regularly scored in lessons.
    He has been the most amazing experience! I absolutely adore him - he is hot, hot, hot and a classic overachiever, trained up to GP by an Olympian and the experience of a lifetime.
    He works 6 days weekly, a few of those are pretty light but lots of suppling and a bit of WTC each direction. He walks in the Equiciser daily in the afternoon. I am neurotic about his care, but that is my personality...LOL! If I think he has worked hard, he gets poultice. I do have a Game Ready that is used on him daily and he is wrapped overnight - that was his regimen when I bought him and it's best not to change much at this age! He is fitter than when I bought him, covered in dapples and you can see your reflection in his coat. I listen to him closely but so far, he shows no signs of slowing down. Be diligent in his dental care, feed a diet high in forage and minimal sugar/starch, Adequan & Legend if you can...and enjoy the experience.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr. 13, 2007
    Posts
    341

    Default

    I purchased an emaciated out of work 27 year old that my daughter found on Craigslist. I called my farrier to ask about him as it turned out he did his feet. He let me know he had never seen the horse do anything and he didn't think he would be a good risk. Well my daughter had other ideas; we bought him, fed him, took him to the vet and he lived for another 2 years.

    He was fat and happy and worked 5 days a week up until he died of a stroke. My farrier could not believe how good he looked after just a few months. We brought him back slowly of course but he taught quite a few people how to do flying changes. As one other poster mentioned he could still be naughty if he wasn't asked properly.

    I'd go for the horse myself.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov. 25, 2008
    Location
    Stuttgart, Germany
    Posts
    558

    Default

    Do it! If you are in the position to be able to retire the horse then all is well. I just starting part leasing a 20 year old schoolmaster that did S level dressage years ago (PSG or so...) but the girl has been riding him more training/1st level so he's a little rusty. Collection is no problem for him because he's a Lusitano but he needs to be stronger behind still so we are working on that. I think you should go for it! (And post pictures after you get him!)



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct. 31, 2001
    Location
    West of insanity, east of apathy, deep in the heart of Texas.
    Posts
    15,797

    Talking

    Sounds to me like you should be writing a check, rather than writing posts.

    Seriously, I don't see a thing wrong with buying an older schoolmaster. If he's sound and competing now at PSG, I can't imagine that you wouldn't get at least a couple of years at FEI with him, and probably a lot more than that. If you've already verified his soundness, maintenance issues and show record, I'd go for it, especially if he's well below market value. Congrats on your new pony!
    In loving memory of Laura Jahnke.
    A life lived by example, done too soon.
    www.caringbridge.org/page/laurajahnke/



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul. 17, 2009
    Posts
    226

    Default

    Thanks to all who replied. As for this horse, each time I spoke with the owner a little more info would slip out...from "he's totally sound - no maintenance required!" to "....well he does get regular chiro" to "....well I have been giving him back and hock injections...." UH?? Injections are NOT 'no maintenance.'

    Anyway, needless to say I got some really cold feet. Thank you all for reading and hopefully someone else will find this thread useful in the future!
    "Capture the horse's confidence to obtain his consent." -General L'Hotte



Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 11
    Last Post: Feb. 9, 2012, 12:18 PM
  2. Buying babies or buying made
    By Blazergoose in forum Sport Horse Breeding
    Replies: 60
    Last Post: Sep. 11, 2011, 06:09 PM
  3. I'm a Schoolmaster!!!!
    By 2DogsFarm in forum Off Course
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: May. 19, 2011, 09:17 AM
  4. Buying a Schoolmaster...
    By Alter_Ego in forum Dressage
    Replies: 21
    Last Post: Jan. 18, 2010, 02:12 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
randomness