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What would you pay for these horses?

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  • What would you pay for these horses?

    I'm currently horse shopping (which seems like it's been taking forever due to a budget that's in the 4 figures and many horses being apparently lame when going to try them or having undisclosed issues, failed PPE ect.) I'm in an area that I think tends to have horses overpriced vs the Midwest. At least from seeing ads/fb that is what I've noticed. Now I works rather not ship and shipping does ad money. But sometimes I look at horses and think hmmm this horse seems like it would be a few grand cheaper if in Michigan. As in, I could fly out, vet, and ship a horse and still come out cheaper than buying SOME of the horses in state. But of course that's a pain so really hopefully to find something here even if I pay a little more. But there is a point.

    Here is a few horses I've looked at or seen on FB. Some in state and some out of state. Curious what people think is a fair price range. Again, I will overpay a little if I really like the horse but there is at least one or two that I think seem overpriced but maybe they aren't. Looking for a dressage prospect but I'm not competitive. Do want something sound enough for 3rd level though. These aren't all ones I'm considering, just seeing what the market is.

    Horse #1 Large 16.3 TB, 3 years old. Good bloodlines, flashy color. Big feet, big bone but a few conformational issues and a nasty scar on a joint. Green obviously, only walk trot and canter.Nice mover despite conformation. Will soften but not consistently round. Gets canter leads well. Ground manners just okay. Lunges pretty well. Sane horse. But young. About 20 rides post track.. Hasn't been off property. Easier keeper.

    #2 decent size OTTB 15.3. 5 years old flashy Chestnut. Comes with a few X-rays (clean.) Super sane. Freely forward but not hot. Good gaits, soft in the mouth. Decent feet and bone size. Caring owner. Still needs a bit more weight. W/t/c learning about contact/coming round. Gets canter leads. Good ground manners, lunges. Has been off property and lightly jumped at home. Handful of rides of track but making huge strides quickly.

    #3 grade horse (probably QH) owned by rescue but with a trainer. Smaller, under 15 hands. plain Bay 5 years old. Cute build but conformation wise has an issue that's not super ideal.
    Super mind and very quiet. Off property once. Mostly ridden in ring. W/t/c soft in bridle but not consistent with leads. They are there just not consistent. No lateral. Feet aren't great and I suspect will there a competent farrier/potentially strict schedule/maybe wedges... Ground manners are excellent but not great at lunging. 120 days of training.

    ​​​​​​Curious to what price range people would expect for these? Just curious if my expectations of a budget for non warmblood green and average movers is realistic. I think horse # 1 is priced slightly high but given the cost of shipping, I'd be willing to pay that or close to it. #2 is reasonably priced even out of state. #3 I wonder if he's a bit high.

  • Original Poster

    Also, I do not personally care or sometimes don't want a young horse ridden "on the bit." For one sometimes I think they are too young and not far enough in their training. But sellers seem to think that's a selling point. I don't want one that's terribly against the contact but I usually have an easy time dealing with that later on in the training. I'm usually looking at the mind and soundness first.

    But some sellers see it as a big selling point. I can see it but how much more does that make the horse worth? That alone? This is probably where I differ.


    • #3
      Around here, we have a lower end TB track.

      Below is for sound and decent conformation horses under 5.

      Typically the price off the track is free or under $1000.

      The price for a started but green OTTB would be well under $5000 depending on how much promise he showed. I'd say $3000?

      For the $5000 to $10000 range you could expect him to be entering in local jumping shows.

      People aren't really going for ottb that much for dressage, so if you wanted one for that you'd probably get one started as a jumper.

      I would not personally look for a green horse that's being muscled into a "going round." You will have a bunch of retraining to do.

      The rescue QH would go for the rescue adoption fee probably $1000 or less. Remember there is a reason someone tried to send that horse to auction. Could just be green but could be unsound.


      • Original Poster

        Scribbler our local track is similar to yours although once restarted they typically are $5,000 to $7,000. That's here. I definitely think in reality I could ship a similar (sometimes nicer) Ottb for that or less.

        The grade horse supposedly was in bad place when much younger. But obviously a PPE would be needed. He's the higher priced of them all.


        • Original Poster

          Scribbler I agree about the going round thing. I am more disappointed to see it if anything lol. But I did throw it out there as I think sellers think of it as a more finished horse that's worth more if they do that. Even if it's just see sawing their mouths to death.


          • #6
            Depending on the personality of the horse, your training skill set, and your facilities (turnout, pasture) you might be just as far along to get a "raw" OTTB off the track, give him a little let down, and start him from scratch. Some OTTB trainers/flippers are very good, but some are just younger pros just starting out who possibly don't add that much real value to the horse . It really depends on the horse, though. Some remain fire breathing dragons and some are just born more calm. Not as calm as the QH though.

            However, honestly if the QH can't take the correct lead after 4 months under saddle, and has some conformation or foot issues, I'd be wary. Good QH are naturally balanced horses that excel at the canter and gallop (at least for short distances!) and should be catty and handy. You are certainly never buying a QH for the trot, so it's not like you have a big floaty young WB with a 9 trot at liberty, but needs a bit of work finding his legs under him at the canter. Or a STTB that was never allowed to canter in harness. If a QH is having problems with canter, either can't pick up one lead, or is disunited, or has a wierd prong thing going on behind, I would run run run away. A QH without a nice canter, at least at liberty and on the longue, really has nothing to recommend him


            • #7
              Check the Canter web site for horses near you. Race horse trainers usually want their racing flunk outs to go to a good home.

              Here is the link for horses coming off Delaware Park. Horses are $500 to $3k

              Here is Canter in MD. $1500-$3k

              I personally would prefer something off the track that I can retrain vs something that a trainer has put in time for retraining.

              I can do everything that someone taking a horse off the track for turning into a pleasure horse and don't want to pay for that or deal with any "training mistakes" that might happen along the way.

              Of course, getting a horse off the track is an unknown unless the trainer is willing to ride them for you. A lot of race horse trainers hack their horses as part of their training regimen.
              Do not confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress.
              Alfred A. Montapert


              • Original Poster

                So horse #2 actually sounds really nice to me and like a very good fit for my life. Green enough but less unknown. But has out of state. Although well in budget.

                #3 is priced just below $7k. He is fun and a cute mover. He does have both leads but got the answer wrong at least once with both me and the trainer showing him. Then he picked it up correctly. But he's only the horse really that I've tried that's had any issue at all with that.

                I guess in my mind OTTBs and grade horses that are green, restarted but no show miles, should be around $3k to $5k. With show miles or more off property experience, the beginning of lateral ect I would expect the price to be a little higher.


                • Original Poster

                  I did look at the track but decided buying straight off wasn't for me. Too much unknown and with what I'm wanting it makes sense to at least be able to ride the horse first. Even if I think the training received isn't great value (sometimes it is!)

                  I just think for $3k to 5k for green "offbreeds" that are only w/t/c under saddle is fair. Anything more starts to sound high to me unless they are full of potential (outstanding movers, great bloodlines ect.)


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Lunabear1988 View Post
                    So horse #2 actually sounds really nice to me and like a very good fit for my life. Green enough but less unknown. But has out of state. Although well in budget.

                    #3 is priced just below $7k. He is fun and a cute mover. He does have both leads but got the answer wrong at least once with both me and the trainer showing him. Then he picked it up correctly. But he's only the horse really that I've tried that's had any issue at all with that.

                    I guess in my mind OTTBs and grade horses that are green, restarted but no show miles, should be around $3k to $5k. With show miles or more off property experience, the beginning of lateral ect I would expect the price to be a little higher.
                    Yeah, but prices are going to be higher if the carrying costs for the trainers are higher, like higher board and higher feed and higher gas prices. Also how long the trainer has kept the horse, and how eager they are to sell.

                    I would also think that almost every price especially going into winter is going to be negotiable downwards to some extent.

                    Also, the faster the trainer can turn around an OTTB project the more money they are making.

                    Get an OTTB for $500, put a dozen rides on him, sell him within 2 months for $3000: there's a small profit there after you subtract board costs. Keep the same horse all winter, get into the more difficult or time consuming aspects of fine tuning the training, keep him long enough that his particular resistances and boredoms start to show up, but pay board on him all this time: trainer is going to want a lot more sales price just to cover expenses.

                    I would try an offer on a horse they haven't had for very long and might not really be expecting to sell this fast. They might see the wisdom in offloading him now, rather than spending six months of time and money trying to put him in the next highest price range.


                    • #11
                      A rescued grade QH 5 year old gelding under 15 hands with 120 days for just under $7k???? Let me know where you live so I can move and set up shop!
                      Imho, keep looking....
                      *Eta, I understand about the cost of keeping a horse being higher depending where one lives. Still shocked at that price tag though.


                      • #12
                        1 $2500 (good bloodlines for what?)
                        2 $4000
                        3 $2000


                        • Original Poster

                          Scribbler oh definitely. But horses are really worth what people are willing to pay. I'm happy to pay more for a horse with more training, more time ect.

                          The QH(that's a guess) has the most training. Just seems high to me for what's still a pretty green horse. I would say he's not the type Western folk (reiners, Western pleasure ect) would really be interested in at that price. And for the Dressage and H/J crowd, well he's small. Putting him more likely marketed towards kids, teens or small adults (me.) I think that would be a factor if I was pricing a grade, unproven horse. Just under $7k feels high to me.

                          I'm going to see him again but I need to see if they will negotiate because if not then I think it's not a second thought for about my decision!


                          • #14
                            I would say $7000 for a small grade rescue horse with only basic training is crazy high.

                            Around here you can get a really good ranch broke working and trail horse, a registered QH with good all round conformation, for about $5000. Well, not right here in the city but 3 or 4 hours drive up into ranch country. And you can still get a kid's jumper,a TB of maybe 12, ready to go do OK in two fott six or nine, with kiddie show miles, for $5000, certainly under $10,000.

                            Both QH and OTTB are in surplus generally across North America, and really it's the quality of the training and the ability or potential that sets their price. WB are not in surplus and you can charge a premium for the WB glamor.


                            • Original Poster

                              Training Cupid
                              #1 good bloodlines for racing but also for sport (eventing, Dressage.) He was $5500.

                              #2 you are on the money!!

                              #3 is $6500.


                              • #16
                                Lunabear1988 go try #2!


                                • #17
                                  I don’t know about for dressage, but for event horses, those unknown QH types often turn out to be the best. Maybe that’s whats driving his price?


                                  • #18
                                    I would pass on the QH.

                                    Too many things are possibly problems. The feet, especially. Don't buy a horse with problem feet. A horse that needs quality farrier work to bring the hooves into balance, and good shape, ok. Or a horse that needs to be on a hoof supplement all the time to grow quality hoof horn, maybe...if you have the time and attention to do that. But don't buy one with problem feet.

                                    The inconsistency with leads, might be a horse that just isn't made to carry weight on his hind end and raise his withers. I prefer a horse that has natural lead changes, they tend to have ability to collect.

                                    And you also don't know why the horse was a rescue in the first place. Could be no fault of the horse. Could be a horse problem that's not hard to fix. Could be something for which you might have to retire or euthanize.

                                    I would consider taking a horse like the QH, riding it and getting it fostered and trained to add value and either keep or sell... but I don't think I would pay that kind of money for that horse.


                                    • #19
                                      The prices on the two TBs seem pretty standard to me-- around here, a big nice gelding who looks suitable to event/ show often goes for more straight off the track or in the first month or two than it does after a year of training (unless it actually competes successfully at BN/ Novice and is marketed by someone who knows what they're doing). At that stage you're still paying for potential, after six months to a year it's often clear that the potential isn't there or temperament or soundness is questionable.

                                      The price for the QH type does seem crazy high, I would expect it to be more like $1500 at this stage.


                                      • #20
                                        I can't comment on the price of an OTTB, but I took an OTTB broodmare (had one foal after racing) and showed her Novice eventing and qualified for First level Regional Championships when the eventing clinician offered $12K for her for a student, and the owner sold. It took me 3 months to put a bridle on her normally because she was freaked out about her ears being touched (probable forced into the gate by her ears). My first dressage show was on the homestretch of a track she raced on! FUN!!! My training and showing really impacted her sale price - also, the new owner didn't want a horse who was very difficult. So, it is worth looking at OTTBs who have *shown* potential (not just "have" potential) and are sound.
                                        Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation