I'm writing a little article for the Daily Update for the Capital Challenge, and am looking for a few anecdotes about the best horse people have bought. If you've got or had a special horse, that's been your 'best buy' please share your story here, PM me or email our website:
My own example (which I obviously won't use- conflict of interest!) would be my Irish Sport Horse. I bought him in 1997 and he promptly threw me and I cracked my tailbone in an equitation class. I kept on with him and showed him in the 3'6" jumpers and then went to college. While away at school, we decided to see if he could jump higher- and he ended up competing through the Open Speeds with a pro, which was thrilling! I owned him for seven years and of all my horses he taught me the most about riding. I just got him back for retirement this year... he's doing great, and my darned tailbone still hurts all these years later. lol
My worst story? A four year old green Welsh pony named Newsworthy came up for sale in my area. We looked at him as a large green prospect. I was too big and my sister wasn't ready for a large, so our family passed on him. AAAARGH!! lol
I don't know if this is exactly what you're looking for but I have a couple that were 'great buys'.
- Welsh X Medium pony that someone was getting rid of because their child was afraid of her. I paid two hundred dollars for her and turned her from barrel racing (what a strange sport for a pony with that breeding) to hunters. She was teaching baby beginners within a week and winning at the shows on the weekend. Either she was a natural or she had the training somewhere down the line. Best pony ever! She now belongs to two former lesson students and has her own private barn which she is undoubtedly the queen of.
- Large pony of questionable pedigree that someone was advertising on Craigslist for $300. Bought her for a student who took her to the 'A' shows within a year. Safest, sanest horse I have ever been around.
- Gorgeous warmblood gelding with second level dressage training that I bought for a song because he was 'dangerous'. Might have had something to do with high octane feed and being 24/7 stall kept. I cut his feed and turned him out for six months and never got to do anything with him because a boarder of mine snapped him up. He's now showing at third level with mom and cleaning up in the hunter shows with the daughter.
I paid less than $1000 for each of them and the next time that I'm in the market for a horse it will be with the same budget, the super saver deals are always the ones that have turned out the best for me.
“Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of Solitaire. It is a grand passion.”
I have had a LOT of "best buys" but this one stands out. We used to go to a local auction when I was a lot younger, this occurred about 30 years or so ago. I went to the auction and a CUTE large pony QH type gelding 4 yr old was going thru the ring. He had a HORENDOUS looking hind leg, a bad cut which had not been taken care of properly. I had examined it, and felt there were no underlying structures involved, just LOTS of proud flesh on the skin. He was sound. So I took a chance and bid on him at $125. The auctioneer said "Honey, do you know this horses leg is cut?" in his best North Carolina draw, to which I replied "yes". I bought him and brought him home. Had the vet out that week and we cut off the proud flesh and kept it wrapped for two weeks with daily changes and medications. A student of mine, who was a capable 16 yr old rider decided she wanted him so I let her have him. The pony was named Moments Notice. She rode him that sumemr and showed him and then sold him in the fall for a nice profit. He went on to become the reserve champion large pony hunter in the state of West Virginia the next year. We lost track of him after that, but if he had not come home with me, he would have been bought buy the slaughter buyer, as that was who I was bidding against, the notorius "301" buyer!
Best buy had to be Tidbit. I was working that auction so I didn't get to see her until she was in the ring and only because I was dashing to the bathroom. She was a rank little bug and came into the ring bucking and rearing. She was actually sold as a sorrel she was so dirty. Bought her for $100 and brought her home. Washed her off and she was snow white and hell on wheels. I didn't do English so I broke her to Western and then turned her over to a little girl to jump and do dressage on. Along the way I taught her all sorts of tricks and she was bought by an Animal Trainer that was looking for a stunt double for a movie. Sold her for 5 figures and she was in several movies and shows before she died of old age.
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.
These are really inspiring to me, considering just yesterday, i pulled out my credit card and bought big chestnut horse off the internet before it went to the kill pen today....can you all keep your fingers crossed for me? Maybe I will have a story to tell like this one day...
Mine isnt as good.. But I ride a a pretty nice show barn. I was looking for a C/A jumper. I tried one relatively famous ex grad prix horse, but he failed the vetting so miserably, he went back. My budget was 23K. MAX. An old friend was a vet in Indiana, and threw some conversations she thought that her trainer might have a horse for me. I told her the good stand by, send me the video. Well I get the video, and there is the ugliest big roman headed, lanky gawky bay OTTB you have ever seen. But the video is of his 2nd place finish at NAL finals. My trainer is watching it, and exclaims half way through.. I know this horse. He leaves a stride out of the in and out in the jump off. (He does a one beautifully in the 2). We decide he is worth it and fly to the midwest and try him. I .HATE.HIM. He goes in a Straight Pelham and he will not stop. I mean SS 101 cantering a circle dragging my ass all over the place. And he jumps me loose. Ever. DAMN.TIME. After a lot of pep talks we try him again the second dy, and things get better. the third I actually like him. We fly home and I give the video to my trainer (I went to indiana with a friend). We decide to give him a try. I get bargain basement shipping because of finances, and he kicks the whole ride. His hock is an open gash and bleeding, his shoe is laying on the floor of the trailer and he looks skinnier then he didi when I saw him. We bought him.. and did the CA's. Not too well i might add. He would build out of the corners and goad me into missing. We then started the adult eq with him. He wasnt good, he was wonderful. He taught me to be pretty while really riding! And he loved me. I walked in the barn and he nickered. He was by far the least attractive Eq horse at finals, but he what he lacked in looks, he made up for in heart. He gave 220% all the time. Even if you only wanted 50%. He gave it all. I cried like a baby when they called me into test. And sobbed even harder when I got that silly dollar ribbon.. and then laughed as he TOOK OFF during the victory gallop.. and let me assure you we were not in the top three spots. He turned out to be such and incredible animal. His personality was in your pocket all the time. He would loose hair on his big ol Roman nose int he summer, and needed 412 blankets in the winter. Oh yeah, and he paddled. You could see the flash of the sock onhis right leg go by you when you cantered. But he was perfect. He's now 20 years old and has no desire to retire. He is in a college program now, and keeps those silly kids on their toes. 5-6 horses later, my 17 hand OTTB is STILL my favorite ride.
My first horse took me quite some time to find. But she is my "Best Buy". I was 10 when I started riding, and obviously couldn't wait to get a horse of my own. When I was 13, and still begging, my mom told me she would buy me when if I got straight A's through high school. No way was I waiting that long. So she told me that if I wanted a horse sooner, I had to earn the money and buy it myself. She agreed to pay the board to keep it. So I got a job at the barn I was taking lessons at, on the weekends. She put all my money into a savings account for me. (Eventually she was mucking stalls right along side me...LOL). Eventually I had $2000 and we started looking, it took me 6 months (maybe longer) and many what were we thingkings, before we came across Lexi. She was listed in the Horse News, a local horse paper, and she was 2.5 hours away.
Lexi was everything I didn't want. She was full TB (I wanted a cross), a mare (I absolutely did not want a mare), and a flea bitten grey (I hated flea bitten greys!). But I was told we were going to go look at her anyway. We get to a very nice dressage barn, full of beautiful WB's, and there is Lexi. A narrow TB with donkey ears, and dull eyes. She was extremely high strung to ride, very very foward and spooky. I hated her, but I was told I was buying her anyway, because she was such a nice horse for the price. Arguement ensued, and mom agreed that we would sell her after 6 months for more money and buy something different if I wanted.
I had that horse for 12 years, until she had to be put down at the age of 24. She made a habit of running away with me, until I finally got a trainer who taught me how to ride. And Lexi was extremely talented at givin you what you asked for. It may not have been what you wanted, but it was what you asked for, LOL. Wejust had that connection though, like we always knew what each other was thinking. She would have done anything for me. She had been roughly handled at some point, so she had some quirks, but she could jump the moon. We eventually did the High jumpers. And she was fantastic at it. We did hunter paces and trail rides, I even took her team penning, which she really didn't like until she figured out the cows were scared of her, then she loved pushing them around...LOL.
Lexi was my best friend and confidant. She continued to jump 4'6" until she was 22. Eventually the arthritis in her hips got very bad and we stuck to trail riding. She will always be my "best buy" and I miss her more than words can say.
I have recently acquired a new KWPN that I got out of a field at the age of 6. He is a clearance pony, since I paid very little for him. And he has a heart of gold with a good brain too. I am just starting him under saddle, and he is doing great. Looks like he may be an upper level jumper, we shall see. I may have another "Best buy" in the making...
Simone and I have an interesting past and she's my "best buy" I originally worked with her off the track for the owner of my barn, took her over her first course, to her first show everything I LOVED her. When the time came that I could buy a horse I ended up buying Stormy instead of Simone, who I still have and is my forever horse we had been through so much I couldnt not own her, well Simone ended up getting sold...I tried to keep in touch with her for as long as I could but eventually lost track of where she went. Well my senior year of college (about 6 years later) she ended up getting donated to my schools equine program, the second I saw her I just started to cry. I went up to the barn manager that day and told him "when I graduate I will be taking her home with me, not sure how but I will" Well that's just what I did! She was the best graduation present ever and now we are reunited and having a blast!
the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique
my best buy would have to be my pony, Mc Jagger. My trainer found him for me when i was doing the short stirrup, when he first came i thought he was the ugliest thing i had ever seen, but he turned out to be a winner. When he first came he had been in a paddock for a year because his owner who was doing the children's larges on him decided he didn't want to ride anymore so every once in a while a person working at the barn would take him around for a hack. So the pony was shipped from virginia to me in new jersey. Mickey was perfect for what i was looking for and i got him for my 10th christmas, but then shortly after he got hurt in the paddock and was off for 3 months and when he came back he acted like he was a green pony and had never been ridden before so everytime i tried to ride him he tried to buck me off. So i spent a year in the short stirrup and eventually started winning so the next year we went into the children's larges and in the beginning it was really hard for me, but soon we started winning a lot and now mickey is probably one of the best ponies i have ever bought because he goes into the ring and does his job without even looking at the jumps he knows what to do and he may not be the fanciest mover but BOY this pony can jump and thats why he will go in and beat those fancy ponies that run around the ring acting like they are the best. I still own mickey and love to ride him because he is the most comfortable thing i have ever sat on, he is leased by a girl who does the children's on him and he will soon be my sisters first pony. He is much better then he was when we first got him because he has more showing mileage but when this pony is bad, you better hold on for dear life because he bucks harder then most horses.
Best buy horse was a three year old Appy TB fresh off the track.
Everyone was afraid of him, expecially his owner. He was stalled next to my sweet little QH. He would hold his head over the stall, turn it sideways and beg for food. So of course being so cute, my Dad offered the owner to buy him for $350.00. Yes, a three year old race track reject for a 8 year old little girl. (that was me.)
The first time I rode him, bareback, because we didn't have a saddle, he bucked me off. I remember asking him to canter; it was SO smooth and nice and then all of a sudden - a huge buck out of no where and I flew over his head landed on the other side of the arena on my feet with the reins in my hand....
Being a young girl wanting to jump, I knew I had to do something with what I had. All the cowboy trainers said to me; since he's a stubborn appy and a high strung TB, you will never make a good horse out of that! Well, good thing I was a stubborn little girl.
I worked hard and we began winning ribbons everyplace we went. We did Hunters and Equitation quite well. In his later years I did competitive trail trials, barrel racing and even three day eventing. He not only did it all, but won every place we went. I taught him to ride without a bridle and we rode all over the trails.
When I grew up and started a family, he taugh my kids how to ride.
I am now 45 years old and just lost my boy two years ago. He was forty (40) years old when he died.
I still have all his ribbons, his saddle, his pictures, and his memories.
He was not only the best purchase ever, but the BEST HORSE EVER!
Last edited by doublesstable; Sep. 3, 2010 at 02:21 PM.
"Don't saw on your horses mouth it's not a piece of wood" ~ GM
I had two. The first was my pony. Just as an aside - I was nuts about horses (so my parents told me) since I could sit up straight. After years of bugging my parents even just to go to a pony ride, my mom set me up with riding lessons down the street. This was 1967. We had just moved into our new house, and this nice lady down the street had a 2 stall barn with 2 ponies. I got to take lessons on the small bay one. She and I got along very well. My parents bought her at $500 for my 8th birthday. Later that year, she qualified for MSG with an older experienced rider. The following 5 years we did very, very well (even though she occasionally bolted - yikes! ). My parents couldn't afford the A circuit, so we did local recognized and in-state A shows during the summer. My personal highlight with her was winning a stakes class at Monmouth, beating the winner of pony finals that year (which, coincidentaly, was being held at the same show; I didn't even know such a thing existed!).
After I grew out of my pony - we gave her to a 4H family, and she took wonderful care of her 4Hers ... showing into her late 20s. She lived to be at least 34 (the last I heard).
After my pony, mom and dad bought me a quarter horse that looked like a thoroughbred (in stature, and size - 16H). He had some front-end issues (narrow-chested). They paid $800. He was a doll. We showed in-state and in PA in equitation and the Non-thoroughbred divisions and won many championships. Some of my competitors inquired through the steward to see his papers, because they didn't believe he was a quarter horse!!! He eventually got sore though, and we decided it was better for him to have a less-active life, so a doctor bought him for trail riding and he visited us on occasion - a very happy pair they made!
My other two horses after that were wonderful too. I loved them both and were more than worth the money we spent.
I bought the horse of my dreams. 4 y/o 17.1 hand unbroke TB. She was AMAZING.
Broke her. She had w/t/c and jump a 2' course in 5 weeks.
at 8 weeks she went lame and radiographs showed an old broken angle.
breeder agreed to trade her out.
the only horse he had was this dorky 3 y/o dumb looking grey TB (the 1st horse's 1/2 brother) which I took on a trial basis for 30 days. I didn't really want anything to do with him.
(I took him only because he was sound and grey = easy to sell.)
1 week after bringing him home he tried to jump out his stall window. He cut his anterior digital flexor in half.
um...you break it you buy it?
So I had this POS horse for 2 months--changing out his 1/2 case every 3 days--before I could even start backing him.
the POS horse is Boomer. He turned out to be my horse of a life time.
I have yet to leave a HT where a BNT/R has not asked for him. I have yet to make it out of a hunter show where a BNT/R has not asked for him.
I have yet to make it out of a dressage show where....
I have yet to have a coach that has not wanted to buy him from me...
and so on.
I have been pretty lucky with all the horses I have owned. I've owned 5 and 3 of them were great horses.
1) Our Morgan. We bought him for $1000. He was a scruffy hairy looking guy who was just standing around in a backyard doing nothing. Once we got him all shedded out he was a gorgeous liver chestnut with flaxen mane and tail. He also jumped everything my TB's and WB's jumped and was quite successful in the large pony hunters/jumpers. We still have him and he is 25 now.
2) TB. He was a horrible mover and nothing spectacular to look at but boy did he jump. He was a steady eddy kind of guy, you just tell him where to go and he did all the work. Jumped everything you pointed him at, always got his distances, etc. We did a couple mini prix and quickly won back what we paid for him and more.
3) My current Oldenburg. Owners had to sell him quick so we got him for super cheap. He is gorgeous, imported and a super cute mover. He is very well schooled and loves to please. Can go from not jumping in months to being thrown in the show ring and will walk out with ribbons. I've had someone offer x3 what I paid for him once they found out what I got him for, but I will never be able to sell this horse.
When I was 12 my trainer started looking for a horse to replace my little 15.1h Children's Hunter. He found this 4yo, unattractive, long-backed, barely 16h, QUARTER HORSE (oh the horror!). His owner/breeder had waited to geld him until about 6 months earlier, and only did so then because he hated her and she hated him and she figured he'd kill her eventually if she didn't geld him. I went out to try him at a show and HATED him. He was dead to the leg, pinned his ears every time I asked him to go forward, and pulled every trick in the book he could think of to make me miserable. On top of that he was a bad cribber and just kind of an ass all around.
But my trainer said "BUY" and so we bought. That $3500 quarter horse was truly a once in a lifetime find. He tested me at every turn, and was the smartest animal I've ever known. I spent 2 years wanting to get rid of him and then 4 or 5 years understanding exactly what I had (the dislike/like happened to coincide with the point at which my trainer finally released us from hunters-with-the-"wrong"-horse-hell and let us start in the jumpers). Here he is carting my teenaged butt around grand prixes when I was 15 or 16: http://good-times.webshots.com/photo...94686761bCPxPV http://good-times.webshots.com/photo...94686761uiFhRt
I've never had another horse that won as much or as consistently as that horse. I swear that in my last couple of years I was merely a passenger for him. He wanted to go in and jump and WIN more than any other horse I've ever known. I wish I'd realized how incredibly rare that is when I still had him. And beyond being the greatest horse I ever owned, the icing on the cake was that he paid for my 4 years of private college. So he helped me get to where I am now as a rider AND a working professional. He was really a cool horse. He was supposed to come home to retire with me from his California home a few years ago, but he colicked and died before I could get him back. He's the only horse who has the power to still make me cry when I think about him. I never would have thought I'd feel so strongly about his mangy chestnut butt when I first sat on his back!
I have other "best finds" including my 2 current AO Jumpers. My mare's next stop was the auction house when I got her for next to nothing (she was a short stirrup hunter flunkee), and she's proven to be another once in a lifetime horse (er...maybe I should call them "rare-in-a-lifetime" horses since I've had a few now? ). And my gelding was a les than stellar racehorse who I picked up the day of his last race for under $2K, and he's turned out to be an incredible jumper as well. I moved him up to the 1.40m this year and he's got lots more scope to keep going up.
I have a soft spot for "underdog" horses. And mostly because my greatest horses have all been inexpensively found at not-so-obvious places.
Not my "buy" per se, but we all had a hand in at one point or another...
5 years ago my trainer was looking for a pony for her lesson program. They went out to look at a 4 year old Welsh X mare. She was just green broke to walk and trot, but super cute and willing, so they bought her for $700, and changed her name from Cookie to Kitkat. All that winter she went through boot camp, because she was afraid of everything and would rear when confronted with something (but never under saddle). After they broke the rearing habit, my sister got to ride her that summer in walk-trot, and another girl and I broke her to canter and jump a little. She and my sister "clicked", and each day she got better and better. We didn't see Kitkat until the next summer, whereupon the trainer had discovered she LOVED to jump and could easily clear 3'6 with a rider (btw the pony is 13.1 hh). So that summer my sister showed her in Short Stirrup, I showed her in Children's Pony Hunters, and another rider from our barn showed her in Puddle Jumpers and the 3' Amateur Adult medals. She's progressed in leaps and bounds since then, learned flying changes in 2 days, and has free jumped up to 4'6. She's worth a lot more than they paid for and has the personality and jump to match. She'd definitely be PF material except for her flat movement doesn't match up to her jump...
Different flavors of crazy, but totally NUTS. You know its true. - GreyHunterHorse
My worst story? A four year old green Welsh pony named Newsworthy came up for sale in my area. We looked at him as a large green prospect. I was too big and my sister wasn't ready for a large, so our family passed on him. AAAARGH!! lol
I have had too many successful ones to count! Probably the purchase of our successful pony hunter stallion Alvesta Picasso is the best story
....but I do have one to make you feel better about passing on Newsworthy I came across, what I thought, was the most exquisite two year old chestnut gelding hunter prospect. The horse was to die for, and had already been very successful in the IHF as a yearling and two-year old. Got a video mailed up to us and showed photos and video to my trainer, at the time. She hated the horse...said he couldn't move, fetlocks looked swollen, he was already lame, and on and on. I still thought he was just perfect and thought my trainer was cracked.
Little did I know at the time that I couldn't have been with a worse trainer - the knowledge and training was unfortunately just not there. Sigh! Anyways, as a result, I trusted my trainer and turned down the horse. Fast forward to about 6 years later, I'm showing at HITS Indio and see the exact same horse enter the ring with Peter Pletcher and lays down a winning trip in the Regular Working Hunters. January's Best was his name and he reportedly sold for one million dollars. For those who were around back then, he was one of the best in the Greens and Regulars and won everything across the Country, indoors and all!!
Just as well that I didn't get him as my trainer back then would have wrecked him anyways!!
"No Doubt" - a TB from Chuck Waters. He was a Jr/AO horse & I used him for a Childrens/Adult Jumper. I bought him as a 16 y/o, sold him when he was 18, and he's still going strong in the jumpers AND the hunters - champion in either one every weekend with little kids on his back. He's 22 now
He is absolutely the best teaching horse I've ever known. Patient as the day is long and forgiving as can be. He was wonderful for my confidence and it's awesome to see that he's still going strong and sound