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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep. 5, 2010

    Default Buying a horse on a limited budget-

    Ideas? Tips? Are there certain places to look that have horses that are in the four figures? Specialty sale websites vs sale barns? Obviously not expecting anything that is going to win finals each year, just a nice, sane, horse that would be okay for local shows and maybe some B/Cs later on...Doesn't need to be super fancy, just have a brain on it's head and be forgiving.

    Where should we look? Is it a lost cause? We are in MO.CO MD if that helps any....I know the Equirey is a pretty good source but we haven't seen much.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun. 26, 2000
    I live in Chantilly, VA but I ride in Anytown, USA


    Kimberly Clark. They come to her off the track (she hand-picks them), get to get all their bugs out at her place, you can try them at her place (you cannot at the track) and they are all started into a program right away. They learn ground manners, basic dressage, are introduced to jumping. She gets their teeth done, they are all UTD on shots, feet, and are treated for ulcers.

    I got a lovely 17.1H dapple gray 4 y.o. gelding. 10 mover, good jumper (just started him over fences) and is doing his flying changes both directions. CHEAP!! He's worth easily four times what I paid for him.

    She's in Upper Marlboro. She doesn't have them all on the site so you'll want to call her. She keeps odd hours (she's at the track early then is at her farm after) so call her before 8 a.m. on the number she lists on her site.

    I've heard nothing but great things about the horses she finds. She also often gets vids up of them on youtube. You can see several vids of past (and present) horses under leightonsporthorses on you tube.

    Mine's sales vid.
    And just a few weeks ago.

    "If you have the time, spend it. If you have a hand, lend it. If you have the money, give it. If you have a heart, share it." by me

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb. 3, 2000
    Nokesville, VA


    Look for people who need to "get the horse off the payroll".

    Death in the family. Divorce. Moving. Kid gone to college.

    Look for horses in the wrong discipline- eventers who don't do water or ditches, western horses that are too forward.

    With a low budget, you will have to look at a lot of frogs before you find your prince. But they are out there.

    Word of mouth is a good source, ask everyone you know.

    chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec. 2, 2002
    Berlin, Germany


    I agree with the other advice given here, but would add one more thing:

    Buying the horse is the cheapest part. It's the upkeep costs associated with the horse that KILL your pocketbook. I keep my horse in Eldersburg, and spend about $1k/month (sometimes a bit more, sometimes a bit less) on his expenses.

    If I were in the market for a horse at this time, here's what I would do:

    1. Assuming that I could afford the upkeep costs associated with said horse (because I wouldn't be in the market for one if I couldn't), I'd seriously consider what adding another $6k to my budget would do for the quality of the horse I can currently afford. There are a lot of fantastic places to pick up cheap horses for under $2k, but with $8k, the quality of a prospect improves pretty significantly, especially when you're willing to get a greenie.

    2. If the extra $6k would drastically improve the quality of the horse I would be able to purchase, I'd spend 6 months saving all the money I planned on putting towards upkeep during that time and put every penny of it toward the purchase of something nicer in half a year. This also gives one time to get a feel for what the financial commitment actually "feels" like on a monthly basis. Waiting another 6 months with a specific "goal" in mind can't really do any harm.

    If you try this, the worst case scenario at the end is that you've saved a good chunk of $$$ before you purchase your horse. You can still buy something for $1500, and you've got another $4500 leftover for a rainy day. Best case scenario is that you've realized your "bottom line" expenses haven't changed, and you've purchased something that's even nicer than you originally thought you could afford.
    Here today, gone tomorrow...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep. 24, 2009
    Sussex County, NJ


    I have to agree with FF. Whenever the words "inexpensive" or "cheap" appear near the word "horse", I worry. LOL

    I'm going to assume you know that horses are ridiculously expensive to keep, so you're REALLY asking where can you find a horse that's not overpriced but will do the job you want done. You're in an area just loaded with people trying to unload horses, so finding a decent one that will take you where you want to go shouldn't be too hard. I'm not in your area, so I can't refer you to anyone specific, but I've bought numerous horses from listings on and and I have horse friends who frequent and Craigslist as both buyers and sellers. I haven't had an issue with any of my purchases. My only caveat in this area is that you shop locally even if you're using an online listing site. You HAVE to be able to see, ride, vet out, and pay multiple visits to the horse even if you're only paying $500 for it.

    I like FF's suggestion that you save up so you have a slush fund prior to purchase to either increase the purchase price or as a fall-back for emergencies. I have a young friend who didn't listen to such sage advice and is now in the hole for $7K for the surgery her brand-new horse needed after a barn accident. She had not a penny saved, her father paid for the horse, and she didn't have nearly enough income to pay for the surgery up front, so she was sent to the lender here who fronts money for vet bills based on the vet's say-so even if the owner is nearly indigent. Not a good situation. She's working three jobs to pay for the horse she never gets to ride.

    Finally, take some time on those online sites and do your own comping. As an equine appraiser, I can tell you that what a seller thinks the horse is worth means nothing if similar horses in the same area didn't sell for that amount. Use the same breed, same age, same training level, and same general part of the country and take the average of the sale prices, not the asking prices. Make sure you search SOLD horses, not just horses for sale. Then you'll have a better idea of what a reasonable offer would be for the horse you're looking to buy.

    Good luck!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep. 5, 2010


    Yes yes definately! I am well aware of upkeep costs. I'd be paying about 1k a month for board. I know, my brain works in strange ways. But we already have a horse, I am simply looking for a sane, doesn't have to be super fancy, (ie the four figure price range) horse for a junior. But upkeep is not an issue.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep. 13, 2006
    At the back of the line


    I have owned somewhere near 8 horses in my life. Only 1 has been just rite above 4 figures. Most have been far below( and 1 was high 4s because the onwer knew how much I could spend. Really.)

    We dont do big things but we win point awards for the area almost every year. These horses are usually young and green but mostly sane for young and old alike and are fairly talented. Ive never lost $ selling either. Doubled $ on quite a few of them.

    Its a well kept secret that th horse market is in the tank so now you can bargain. AAMOF Im getting ready to buy again and its going to take a bulldozer to move me off my top price. To many nice ones with no home, or owners to afford them, dont pay more than 4s.
    “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug. 11, 2008


    A young OTTB that is just 'slow' is your best bet for a nice horse. Many of them are bombproof, they're already saddle broke, they're smart and loyal, and they will work themselves to death for you. If you treat them well, you'll have a wonderful compantion for life. Most of the track trainers are pretty honest about any horses they're trying to move out of racing, but don't go into this without the help of someone knowledgable, experienced and comfortable working with OTTB's.

    They do require a little transition period under saddle, but the younger ones aren't all that hard. They just need to learn a little more about moving off the leg, bending to the right, and a different way of communicating through the bit.

    I purchased my first OTTB straight off the backside as a 3 year old who hadn't broke his maiden after 6 races. I was lucky enough to have the guidance of a former H/J trainer who was training at the track, but the horse wasn't his. He's solid as a rock, bombproof, totally laid back, and didnt require any special handling or trainng at all to transition from the track to being a riding horse. He's 9 now and definitely my heart horse.

    My other OTTB is a finger lakes graduate, and he's another keeper.

    FWIW, I'm not an especially talented or gifted rider. My eye and brain are a whole lot better than my physical abilities, but I've found the OTTB's to be a whole lot less complicated than most people think.
    Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
    Witherun Farm

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun. 30, 2006
    SF Bay Area, California


    Don't forget to check with any local rescues. You just might be surprised by finding a gem or diamond in the rough.
    Proud owner of a Slaughter-Bound TB from a feedlot, and her surprise baby...!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun. 16, 2004
    ocala,florida....the place to be!


    wish you were closer. plenty down here right now before the winter circuit starts up.

    ride it like you stole it! "ralph hill"

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb. 22, 2000
    Keswick, VA


    Ask your farrier. And everyone else's farrier. Most of them know exactly what is and isn't for sale in any given area, and may have a good idea about fire sale type situations.

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