All good advice - I'm trying to process everything right now.....one more question, if you have a horse you need to get sold first, do you start looking, or do you wait until the horse sells, and then start looking? From what I went through the last couple of times, the looking process can take a few months, so I don't know whether I should be looking now, or waiting until I have cash in hand, so to speak......
My trainer seems somewhat quiet on this front, she hasn't really responded to some of the ads I've sent her, so I'm struggling to feel this one out and figure out what she wants me to do. If she wants me to just sit and wait for her to find something, I can do that too, but I can't tell if I'm finding crappy horses, or if she doesn't want me to look yet until I sell one of my other mares, or if she just doesn't really like horse shopping all that much. But I totally value her opinion, and know she has a very accurate perception of what I need, so I do want her help in this regard, I'm just not sure how to go about getting it.
I don't know whether I ought to find horses, go sit on them the first time and decide whether they are even worth the time, and then bring her back for a second ride, or whether I ought to let her drive the process from the beginning. But then, some of the horses I'm finding are a little bit away, so going for two trips would be much more difficult.
If your trainer isn't particularly comfortable with or interested in helping you find a new horse, maybe you could work with someone who has a specialty in that area. I'm not suggesting you change trainers. I'm suggesting perhaps working with someone for a short period of time who is good at matchmaking.
Also, if you're looking mainly online, you're only seeing horses that someone has already decided to sell. I'd suggest going to a horse show, finding a few that you like, then approaching the owner or trainer to see if the horse might be for sale. This way, you see the horse in a show environment and you'll perhaps find horses that are passively for sale. (Owner: well, I was maybe thinking of selling Pookie, but now that this person is interested, he is definitely for sale.)
The answer to your question about timing of selling an existing horse is completely dependent on your financial situation. If you can afford to carry two horses permanently, then start shopping now. If not, then you should sell first. I say 'permanently' on the off chance that the one you're selling becomes unsaleable. Yes, this happened to me....once. Then I learned.
~ Citizens for a Kinder, Gentler COTH...our mantra: Be nice. ~
Snaffle635 is absolutely spot on. Go shopping when you can afford to purchase and carry the new horse. If you can afford to carry two now, great, let the shopping begin! If you can only afford to carry one horse at a time, it would be best to sell your current horse before you start shopping.
One sure way to annoy a seller, and possibly put a little tarnish on your reputation as a buyer in the process, is to contact a busy professional (or owner), engage in multiple exchanges, ask a myriad of questions, request more video, pictures, etc. only to inform the seller at the end of the exercise that you'll get back to them after you've sold Dobbin first.
You may need to create a paper file as well if you are looking online. Sometimes horses are listed on multiple websites with slightly different descriptions. You want to avoid inquiring about the same horse twice. Print out your ads and make sure the contact info is visible. Staple any emails to the ads, and keep any ads that you reject so you don't mistakenly spend time looking at that horse again.
You can also organize your ads into regions. Maybe the horse is a little far off, and not quite appealing enough for you to drive 2.5 hours to see it. But you are hesitant to reject the horse. Another horse may come on the market later in the same area, and you can go out and look at 2 horses. Also, sometimes ads expire without the horse selling. If you have the paper ad, you can always send an inquiry to the seller even if the ad expires.
Finally, go look at everything that is a reasonable driving distance away and may fit the bill. The ad may not do the horse justice, and you are the only one who knows exactly what you are looking for. Plus, I've gone to see a horse and not liked it, but had the trainer call me up later because they got another horse in that they thought I might like, and it was not yet advertised.
Instead of looking at the sale sites, try looking at the individual trainer sites.
Maybe Springtime Acres H/J Stables and Sue Smith have 12 listed, most with videos, on the Springtime Acres website because Sue does not like the big sales sites and has had better luck just posting them on the farm website. Most of them link to youtube but it's better then trying to sort thru thousands of them yourself.
Use Google, look for Horseback Riding (that is how they are categorized), Lessons, Jumpers (Hunters gets deer blinds for sale) and so forth.
You can also look at the various HJ association websites for trainer and farm names to Google, many times there are links.
That way you do get to know who is in your area with sale horses and can, maybe, see 2 or 3 in one trip. And they may recommend others to you.
For those who say what if there is no website? Then you skip that one-no reason not to Google for the rest of them.
Really folks, it works.
When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.