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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun. 8, 2008
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    484

    Default Buying Babies

    I've decided that my current boy will be sold before I leave Hawaii, which will put me in a position I've never really found myself in before. One where buying a baby and waiting for it to grow up is plausible.

    I can really only afford, both in time and money, one horse. Getting a youngster hasn't really ever been something I was really looking at doing. However, after I move I will likely be spending at least 2 years in a situation where i won't be able to ride. Not only that, but I have a good relationship with the couple I purchased my last horse from, and they would be willing to take care of a young horse for me at a very reasonable board and training fee. I trust these folks, and love the foundation the put on the animals they work with.

    So, I find myself with time to kill and a location to stick a babe. It's kind of dawning on me that I could get a much nicer animal than I would be able to afford otherwise. My horsey budget will depend on what I can sell my boy for, but it's not likely to go over 10k.

    I'm kind of heading into uncharted waters here. I've really only purchased horses who were already under saddle and I had a good idea of what they were capable of. I know nothing of babies. How much do they change as they grow? I know that there's a risk that the horse won't grow up to be what I want, but what can I do to spin the odds in my favor?

    I've never really looked at bloodlines, just judged the individual horse on what it could do. Which hunter lines are fancy and ammy friendly. I can handle green and spicy but I'd like to have a horse that eventually mellows into a solid partner.

    And lastly, am I crazy for even thinking about a baby? Do I really need a fancy babe to cruise around 2'6" to 3'? Or should I just do my horse free time and pick up something far more plane jane for my money when I'm settled again? Heck, would 10k even get me a nice enough baby to make the wait worth it?

    This whole process is still some years down the road, but if I'm going to look into doing something that takes a bit of research I would like to start researching.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan. 2, 2006
    Location
    Colorado
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    2,189

    Default

    Given that you have so many variables coming up in the future, I'd wait. There are OTTB's that would fit your bill nicely and they will always be available. The problem with babies is that you honestly don't know what you are going to get, despite stacking the odds in your favor, and if this is a once in a lifetime thing, I wouldn't do it. If you wait 4 years and he/she isn't a cruiser, do you have the time and resources to deal with what you have or sell and start over?



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun. 8, 2008
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    484

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Molly Malone View Post
    Given that you have so many variables coming up in the future, I'd wait. There are OTTB's that would fit your bill nicely and they will always be available. The problem with babies is that you honestly don't know what you are going to get, despite stacking the odds in your favor, and if this is a once in a lifetime thing, I wouldn't do it. If you wait 4 years and he/she isn't a cruiser, do you have the time and resources to deal with what you have or sell and start over?
    I would have both the time and resources to deal with it/sell it. I understand that with a babe, as with any green horse really, there's a chance it won't turn out to be what I want. That's the reason I'm not taking my current boy with me when I leave Hawaii. He's a great horse, but not quite what I hoped he would be.

    This would be my only feasible opportunity to buy a baby, but not my only opportunity to buy a horse. I would like to eventually find my "forever horse", but I understand that it may take a few tries to find one that's going to work. (and it may be a pipe dream)

    Not to discount your advice, you are most likely correct that I would be much better off waiting and getting a cute little ottb. That would be the safe bet, but part of me is still curious as to just how not-so-safe the not-so-safe bet is.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul. 2, 2009
    Posts
    735

    Default

    I have done it, and the bond I have with my horse after having raised her from a weanling is really incredible. It is a long road with babies, but it is fun to play with them and watch them grow and dream about the future. I sent mine out for 45 days of pro starting, and took over the rest myself. She was super easy because I had handled her alot and exposed her to so much as a baby. Just yesterday I was galloping her through a field thinking to myself "this is incredible". I would do it again in a heartbeat. Go for it! Life is short



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov. 4, 2009
    Location
    Thurmond, NC
    Posts
    423

    Default

    And lastly, am I crazy for even thinking about a baby? Do I really need a fancy babe to cruise around 2'6" to 3'? Or should I just do my horse free time and pick up something far more plane jane for my money when I'm settled again? Heck, would 10k even get me a nice enough baby to make the wait worth it?
    Having done it both ways, I love having horses from the time they are born, and I definitely think you can find a very nice baby for 10K especially now as it is a buyer's market especially if you buy in utero.

    Why I like having horses that I have raised myself or that have been raised by someone I trust:
    1) You know their whole history
    2) I got tired of reschooling other people's mistakes. At least this way, I have only myself to blame....
    3) You just have this AMAZING connection. Not that I do not also have an amazing connection with the OTTBs I have reschooled or the older prospects I have ridden, but it is just SO much fun to see them grow! Our first two babies (one a homebred and one purchased at his Mom's side) will be 4 this year and will begin competing, one with Sharon White and one with Hillary Irwin, and I just CANNOT wait to go watch!!! And, I NEVER thought in a million years I would ever be excited to be an owner....
    4) No matter what level you ride at, it is nice to have a purpose bred horse.

    On the down side, you do have that upkeep until they turn 4 years old, and they can get hurt permanently......so you probably spend the same amount in the long run. Doing it by buying a baby is kind of like a lay away plan.....

    Just my opinion. Good luck!!!!



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun. 23, 2004
    Location
    Loudoun County, VA
    Posts
    10,412

    Default

    If you want to buy an unstarted horse due to budget,I recommend looking at long yearlings and 2 year olds as the prices on these frequently are comparable to foal prices ( for well - bred foals). It is easier to evaluate the older youngsters and you will not have to wait as long to ride them. I would not recommend buying a foal unless you know what you are doing and can ride a variety of types, or else you risk being disappointed.
    Roseknoll Sporthorses
    www.roseknoll.net



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct. 13, 2006
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    3,505

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by YankeeLawyer View Post
    If you want to buy an unstarted horse due to budget,I recommend looking at long yearlings and 2 year olds as the prices on these frequently are comparable to foal prices ( for well - bred foals). It is easier to evaluate the older youngsters and you will not have to wait as long to ride them. I would not recommend buying a foal unless you know what you are doing and can ride a variety of types, or else you risk being disappointed.
    Agreed with above.

    I will say however that babies are a LONG LONG road maybe even longer than 2 years and then they have to stay sound in all that time.

    It also really depends on your skill too.



  8. #8

    Default

    you can absolutely get what you are looking for for that budget...I have done it and would do it again. Just start doing some research on stallions and breeding programs. See which stallions have offspring that are competing and talk to owners of these offspring. One stallion that may give you what you want is Escapade-his babies seem to be very easy to break and make great ammy horses. My client has a pony by him and at 4 is already clocking around the short stirrups. He just "gets it" and it makes my job easy!

    I think if you take time to enjoy the whole process from start to finish you will not be sorry.
    Cornerstone Equestrian
    Home of Amazing (Balou du Rouet/Voltaire)
    KWPN, ISR/Old NA, RPSI, and IHF stallion
    www.cornerstonefarmpa.com



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov. 28, 2003
    Location
    MO
    Posts
    4,570

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by YankeeLawyer View Post
    If you want to buy an unstarted horse due to budget,I recommend looking at long yearlings and 2 year olds as the prices on these frequently are comparable to foal prices ( for well - bred foals). It is easier to evaluate the older youngsters and you will not have to wait as long to ride them. I would not recommend buying a foal unless you know what you are doing and can ride a variety of types, or else you risk being disappointed.
    Ditto this. I (and many other breeders) don't raise the price on long yearlings, early two year olds all that much as compared with weanling prices. I feel that 10k in this economy will get you a nice young horse (others may disagree ).
    Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm."
    --Winston Churchill
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hills...h/112931293227
    www.HillsideHRanch.com



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun. 8, 2008
    Posts
    484

    Default

    I'm one who likes the journey as much (or more) than the destination. Which is why I'm confident a young horse would work for me. I'm a solid, quiet, rider and I don't get frazzled easily. (Though I think my greatest riding skill is knowing when I'm in over my head and I need to get help.) I do like the idea of a yearling or two year old, I would have thought they'd be a bit more expensive.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep. 14, 2000
    Location
    Goochland, VA
    Posts
    8,555

    Default

    Finding and starting babies is our business. Consequently, we deal with babies from a variety of different sires. So far, 6 years in, we have yet to have one come through that we thought was a throw away. Actually, almost to a horse, they have shown the potential to AT LEAST do the 3', and most showed us more. Almost all had VERY EASY dispositions, and even the "difficult" ones really weren't bad. Buying a young WB is not like going to the track and trying to find a cheap youngster that will also grow up to be ahunter.

    You can find WONDERFUL weanlings/yearlings in your price range, and providing you can give it the appropriate start in life, your chances are VERY GOOD of getting what you want.

    If you want to PM me about our favorites, feel free.
    Laurie
    Finding, preparing, showing and training young hunters, in hand and performance.
    www.juniorjohnsontrainingandsales.com



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan. 14, 2007
    Location
    Appalachian Mountains, Georgia
    Posts
    193

    Default

    I agree with previous posts that you can obtain a good quality 1-2 year old for about the same $$ as a weanling. One additional advantage to a 2 year old is that they are sufficiently mature that you can obtain Xrays of critical joints to ensure that you are purchasing a youngster that is free of OCD defects.

    Regardless of the age youngster you seek, I would also suggest you interview the breeders. Many USA breeders have older full or half siblings that will offer you a good comparison of what your youngster would be capable of when they mature. Many of these breeders also spend a LOT of time handling the youngster starting at birth so they have good ground manners and are well socialized to other horses and humans.

    Good luck with your decision. There are some excellent youngsters in the USA and I am certain that given some research you can find the perfect youngster for you.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct. 21, 2003
    Posts
    8,672

    Default

    Well right now you can get really nice weanlings for 5k or less, I know because I know of them. I know of so many nice weanlings and yearlings for sale in the sub 10k range (and in the case of a few sub5k range) that I am tempted myself. If I did have a place to put one that was cheap and that I trusted (and that I could get to more than once a month) I'd probably have one on a truck right now.

    So, I understand the desire.

    That said, the one big variable one really needs to consider IMO is the youngster getting hurt or having a major problem. Of the people I know that bought weanlings in your type of situation, I would say 25% have worked out, and 75% ended up with horses that were either totally unsuitable temperament wise, totally unsuitable for what they wanted, or worse yet, about 25% ended up with either physical issues or sustaining career ending injuries before the age of 3 years old (making them unable to be ridden or unsuitable for their goals, and unable to sell). No matter what fabulous stories people tell you (and I know they are true, and I want the same thing) the risks are real and need to be considered, even the catastrophic ones. If you are okay with all that, then the next step is just to take the leap, and enjoy the journey. Good luck!



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug. 15, 2006
    Location
    Jefferson, OR
    Posts
    799

    Default

    I say go for it.

    I'm an enabler like that.

    I got my baby quite on accident (I bought my TB mare from a QH breeder who was unable to get her in foal, so she sold her to me as a riding horse. About 10 months later I had a cute palomino Appendix colt) and he is one of the best things that ever happened to me, and I didn't even want him.

    Seriously, good, bad, or otherwise, I think all horse lovers should go through the experience of raising a youngster at least once in their horsey lifetime. I've learned so much from raising him. And no, he's probably not going to be good at anything I enjoy doing. I primarily ride dressage with a little bit of jumping thrown in for fun. He looks like he can go out and be a HUS horse or WP horse the day he gets started under saddle. He naturally does that low head carriage, and has a nice lazy lope and jog. Always has. So my options are to sell him as a WP or HUS horse, keep him and learn to like HUS, or keep him and enjoy him regardless (he doesn't HAVE to be a rockstar at dressage for us to have fun at lower levels. I also don't NEED all of my horses to be upper-level prospects). I also like the journey more than the destination.

    No matter what you decide, it's not as big of a deal as it is made to sound on here. Sometimes this board can get really "impending doom" on you. Yes, a baby might get hurt, but so can any adult horse that you buy.

    I totally think you should go for it. Coming from someone who has never raised a baby before either, it is really rewarding, regardless of how it turns out.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep. 26, 2008
    Posts
    731

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    I say go with the weanling there is nothing more fulfilling then seeing the light go on. I personally am more into foals than adult’s yes some things are a bit of hard work but that is the fun of it and really most of it is quite easy. Yes they can hurt themselves but so can adults keep them somewhere safe with good fences and good food which is what it sounds like you have access to. Re OCD etc older horses unfortunately in my experience have not proven the soundest prospects mentally and physically which is why I like to own them young that way I know what has happened with them.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr. 28, 2008
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    7,227

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    Quote Originally Posted by lauriep View Post
    Finding and starting babies is our business. Consequently, we deal with babies from a variety of different sires. So far, 6 years in, we have yet to have one come through that we thought was a throw away. Actually, almost to a horse, they have shown the potential to AT LEAST do the 3', and most showed us more. Almost all had VERY EASY dispositions, and even the "difficult" ones really weren't bad. Buying a young WB is not like going to the track and trying to find a cheap youngster that will also grow up to be ahunter.

    You can find WONDERFUL weanlings/yearlings in your price range, and providing you can give it the appropriate start in life, your chances are VERY GOOD of getting what you want.

    If you want to PM me about our favorites, feel free.
    I agree with this on the merits of babies. But I have my own farm so babies are easy for me.

    On the other hand, if you have to board for those two years -- I would seriously consider putting your $10k in an account, then every month put your board/vet/farrier money in the account instead of spending it on a horse, during those two years when you will not be able to ride. At the end of the two years, you will likely have $20k. At least. Then you can buy a nice 3 year old, or a nice but less fancy older, trained horse, depending on what your needs are at the time.

    If you are not going to be able to ride for a couple of years, sometimes a baby is not the best "getting back into horses" mount.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul. 17, 2006
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    1,102

    Default

    Another vote for buying a baby - and I board, i don't have my own place. I've been buying/breeding youngsters since 2003, I will never ever buy another "made" horse ever again (or even a green 3 or 4 yr old).

    There are just way, waaaaay too many people who don't raise their babies properly (imho), and then blame bad manners or dangerous quirks on their age (which is a load of cr*p). I've seen countless people go out and buy "made" horses or "older greenies" thinking they were taking the gamble out of horse buying and instead were disappointed (and out a LOT of money).

    The seller is not going to tell you that the horse goes nutty when you try to fly spray it.

    Chances are, when you go see a horse, the seller is not going to bathe it for you - so if the horse freaks out and breaks its halter and goes galloping off into the sunset when you pull out a hose, you won't know about it - until the papers are signed and the big fat cheque has been cashed and then bathing day rolls around, and oh dear, my 16.3hh grown horse has a meltdown at the sight of a hose. Awesome.

    If you're like me, and you enjoy working AROUND horses as much as you enjoy RIDING them, then those little things that sellers won't tell you are important. They're a big deal.

    The seller won't mention that the horse gets fresh and likes to buck like a rodeo bronc in the fall when the weather turns crisp (again, many might say that's normal - I beg to differ. A little more energy and pep, sure. Massive, unseating bucks? Unacceptable.).

    With a baby, yes it takes a while to get to the riding part, but you will know the horse like the back of your hand - that knowledge, and the confidence it will give you, is priceless. Babies are a clean slate.

    My sole piece of advice when buying a baby - if you want something sane and sensible, then make sure the dam was a good, reliable, sane riding horse herself. Not just the sire.

    Good luck!



  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by ASBJumper View Post
    My sole piece of advice when buying a baby - if you want something sane and sensible, then make sure the dam was a good, reliable, sane riding horse herself. Not just the sire.

    Good luck!
    This!!!
    Cornerstone Equestrian
    Home of Amazing (Balou du Rouet/Voltaire)
    KWPN, ISR/Old NA, RPSI, and IHF stallion
    www.cornerstonefarmpa.com



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct. 21, 2003
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    8,672

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    ASBJumper, all those things you mention could apply to buying any horse. And if they worry you, then ask the seller to bathe or fly spray or whatever else while you are at the farm looking at the horse. Also, part of any PPE includes (at least for me) seeing how a horse reacts to a vet, being examined, and even injections when prepping for xrays. If you are worried about winter behavior, then shop in the winter?

    Anyway, I just don't see how any of the above is helped much by buying a baby that one is going to be boarding out.

    I think at the end of the day one just has to weight their own motivations, skill, their risk tolerance, and what they can afford, then make a decision. There are different risks with buying a baby vs a youngster vs a made horse, and one has to be comfortable with those individual risks.

    And I don't think the difference between boarding and having your own farm can be underestimated or discounted, including the individual boarding situations for people. For example, there is a big difference between the ability to board a foal right down the road at a nice farm that is inexpensive and you can see the foal everyday vs a situation like mine (and many others who live in big cities) that have to pay a lot of money to have a foal boarded 2 hours away they can rarely see. That's not much different than buying a 3 year old raised by someone else.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul. 17, 2006
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    Ontario, Canada
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    1,102

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    Quote Originally Posted by Perfect Pony View Post
    ASBJumper, all those things you mention could apply to buying any horse. And if they worry you, then ask the seller to bathe or fly spray or whatever else while you are at the farm looking at the horse. Also, part of any PPE includes (at least for me) seeing how a horse reacts to a vet, being examined, and even injections when prepping for xrays. If you are worried about winter behavior, then shop in the winter?
    They apply to babies too, yes, but it's a HELL of a lot easier to fix and a HELL of a lot less dangerous when it happens with a 500-lb, 13hh weanling than with a 1300-lb, 16.3hh, shod grown horse that's set in its ways!

    And what if seller already has a set of recent x-rays and you don't have to do any? Then you have no idea how the horse is for shots, and no way is the seller going to inject the horse with something just to show you it's good to needle.

    And as for shopping in the winter - most sellers won't bathe a horse for you if it's 5 degrees out and snowing. So your argument there is moot. Fact is, no matter what time of year you're shopping in, you can't cover ALL your bases in one, or even two, visits. Impossible.

    My examples were only a few of MANY "issues" that can crop up, and no seller can account for all of them, nor should they be expected to. Unfortunately you have to hope (and pray) that they're being 100% honest, but if you don't ask ALL the right questions, well...... they want to get the horse sold, period. That's the bottom line.
    And yes, this applies to babies too, but like I said - those problems aren't nearly as much of an issue when buying babies. It's much, much easier to fix bad habits with babies.

    I agree there's pros and cons to both - I am allowed to give my personal view on the subject. I will, never, ever buy a grown/made horse ever again. Since I've started breeding and raising my own i've stopped falling off and getting hurt, so why would I go back to older horses with baggage?? No thanks!



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