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What to do?! Perfect (and way too expensive) horse just showed up in my backyard...

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  • What to do?! Perfect (and way too expensive) horse just showed up in my backyard...

    Ok all you enablers, thought I could get some advice/vent/share all at once.

    Have been casually looking for a schoolmaster for quite some time. Husband is lukewarm on the idea but we have an agreement: I have to save cash to do this and won't dip into "our" money with the caveat that if the right horse comes along before I have all the $$ we'll figure it out.

    Enter Very-Expensive-Dreamhorse. A friend of mine introduced me to a horse her trainer has at her barn and is trying to sell. He's PERFECT but much pricier than what I've been looking at. At the same time, the owner is very motivated and the price I'd be able to get him for is an absolute steal. I could do some less than prudent financial things and make it work, but it's more than I have saved and about $15K more than I planned to spend overall. Some of this will be offset by not having to look/fly all over the country and shipping will be minimal since he's local. I also would not pay commission.

    So what do I do? Do I push the issue with the husband and make it work financially? Do I pass on this great deal and known commodity?

  • #2
    Originally posted by xrmn002 View Post
    ... Husband is lukewarm on the idea but we have an agreement: I have to save cash to do this and won't dip into "our" money with the caveat that if the right horse comes along before I have all the $$ we'll figure it out....

    So what do I do? Do I push the issue with the husband and make it work financially? Do I pass on this great deal and known commodity?

    What do you do? Pass!!! 15K more than what you had budgeted?!?!?! Holy crap, that is A LOT of money.


    • #3
      The fact that he is local and there are people you know who are familiar with his background makes a HUGE HUGE difference. You can use a vet you know for the PPE and you can try the horse 100X if you want. You can have multiple in-person discussions with the owner and see how the two of you fit. You can take lessons from a trainer who knows you and who knows the horse before purchasing the horse. When you say "perfect" did you have an instant connection with this horse? Can you drop by the barn and give him treats and socialize with him a few times? Can you start out with a lease for a few months and then purchase him? These are options that his proximity will allow you. Maybe you could do a 3 month lease and then buy him. That would allow some time to scrape together a little more dough and help you to decide if he really is your dream horse. If it were me, and I was in love, I'd be scraping the bottom of the barrel to take him home, but that's just me ; ). Drives my husband bonkers, but I think he understands.


      • #4
        Ask the owner (or trainer is she is the selling agent) if your "top budget" is realistic, and if so, could you try the horse out? It never hurts to ask - and be upfront and honest about it - this is a very nice horse, I'm in the market for a schoolmaster, and I know he's out of my budget, but is there any chance we might be able to negotiate to something within my price range? If so, I'd really, really love to try him out. Also, consider talking to hubby about upping the budget a bit because there won't be travel or transport costs...

        Asking costs nothing - and you might just find yourself with a great horse at a great deal!


        • #5
          I am a firm believer that you never spend more than you have SAVED on a horse. They are too unpredictable and vunerable to injury.

          I paid $2000 for my Pacific Star filly, yes she was unbroke and it was a fire sale but this is a true example if you are patient and are not chomping at the bit to buy a horse you will find a great deal.
          I could easily sell her for 5x's this price now and it has only been a year.


          • #6
            It is very hard for anybody who does not know you or your situation, or the horse, to give financial advice. $15,000 is an impossible difference for some, and a smidge for others. There are ways around it, if he were used once or twice a week for lessons at the trainer's barn, to help offset, or something. I usually think there are no problems, only solutions, and one solution may be to pass.
            Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


            • #7
              If your budget was already a stretch AND you're not there yet, I'd say ask if there's a chance of fitting him in the budget, and if not pass.

              I assume your budget included any shipping, travel, etc. If it didn't, figure out what your *actual* budget was and that's your wiggle room above what you were thinking of as set dollar value to negotiate if they'll get close.

              $15k is quite a lot if you were stretching for the budget you had already. Then again, if you can "borrow" from non-emergency savings and be sure your family financial situation is safe and are in a position to pay yourself back in 6 months even while paying horse expenses with a backup fun in case something happens to the horse - it may not be a big deal.

              It does really depend on your situation, but one thing I don't think you sound like you should do is work hard to convince hubby. It sounds like you have a partnership where you can tell him about the situation, that you want to try to negotiate down into your budget, and see what he says.

              My horse fell in my lap about 6 months before I was officially looking. He was priced well above my price range, and my price range was NOT flexible. His owner came down to my price range because she knew we were a great match, where he'd been far less than pleasant with multiple other people who had been interested in him.
              If Kim Kardashian wants to set up a gofundme to purchase the Wu Tang album from Martin Shkreli, guess what people you DON'T HAVE TO DONATE.


              • #8
                Work something out. Leasing, payments, or another option. If she can't sell him she may be more conducive to a creative arrangement. Of course DO NOT FORGET PAPERWORK and insurance, that would cover all needed situations.
                ... _. ._ .._. .._


                • #9
                  My thought

                  It is a risk, but you know what that 15K means to your overall budget, and part of you must think it is do-able. I guess some questions/options would be...

                  --If, next year, the lovely-but-expensive-horse has a career ending injury, what will that mean for you? Is another horse off the table? Would your riding days be over? That means BIG risk. If it means your next horse can't be a big ticket, well, maybe...
                  -- Could you lease the horse for awhile or do an extended trial to make SURE the horse is what you want? They all feel great when they are in training, but when you get used to each other, you may have a better picture of just how wonderful he is, or maybe that he's not all that.
                  -- Could you make your lowball offer and see what happens? Tell the owner that you know it is not what they hope to get, but you'd like to put your offer out there for them to consider, now or later, it stands. Hard to say how the market is for pricey horses, or whether the horse may be overpriced.

                  I really hope this works out for you, my taste always exceeds my budget and I succumb more often than not...
                  Dressage, riding, sport horse blog
                  Unique browbands for dressage and hunter riders


                  • #10
                    If you were planning to spend $5,000 and you're going to have to spend $20,000, pass.

                    If you were planning to spend $70,000 and you're going to have to spend $85,000, try to make it work.

                    Money is all relative.
                    My ears hear a symphony of two mules, trains, and rain. The best is always yet to come, that's what they explained to me. —Bob Dylan

                    Fenway Bartholomule ♥ Arrietty G. Teaspoon Brays Of Our Lives


                    • #11
                      I'm with the group of talking to the trainer/owner selling the horse, and seeing if there is any way to make a compromise/meet in the middle. I know that my trainer has come down A LOT on certain horses, because a) owner really needs to sell and b) they're going to good homes. The worst they can tell you is "sorry, no can do" and then you can go from there.

                      Oh, and it also doesn't hurt to have the convo with your hubby about this now. Perhaps your original budget too was being unrealistic for the type of horse you were looking for, and even though this horse is $15K more than you budgeted, its more in line with the pricing that you would have had to look at anyway to get what you wanted.


                      • #12
                        Talk to them. And agreed it depends on what the overall budget/listed price is.

                        If the owner has him in full training, $15k can get eaten up pretty quickly with no guaranteed sale at the end.
                        "Adulthood? You're playing with ponies. That is, like, every 9 year old girl's dream. Adulthood?? You're rocking the HELL out of grade 6, girl."


                        • #13
                          how old is the horse?


                          • #14
                            Ask the owner if they'd consider a lease with a monthly fee.
                            Horse Show Names Free name website with over 6200 names. Want to add? PM me!


                            • #15
                              My trainer once advised me to never spend more than you could afford to lose, since the horse might suffer a career ending injury soon after you buy him.

                              And my vet said don't buy a horse that leaves you eating PB&J for months after the purchase!

                              The market is soft. For the right buyer, maybe the seller will come down?

                              Don't spend so much that you can't deal with the unexpected vet bill or the horse that is lame for months (especially if you board). That amount will depend on your budget. $15K would be a deal killer for me.
                              Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                              EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


                              • #16
                                Like others have said, the financial aspect of it is all relative. We don't know what the extra 15k is in your overall budget.

                                Here's something to consider: would scraping together the additional money affect your husband at all? Would it infringe on him being able to do his hobby (if he has one, for example, my husband golfs and goes to tournaments, etc.), him being able to enjoy dinners out with you, travel, etc.? If so, p.a.s.s.

                                If not, and if this isn't as huge a bump up in your overall budget, then really think it through, get to know the horse as much as you possibly can, and make as un-emotional a decision as you can. Granted, a relationship with a horse is a hugely emotional thing for most of us, but when the dollar levels get high, we need to balance that with really clear thought.

                                Interestingly, I was just yesterday having a chat with my vet's assistant. They have a client who spent a huge amount of money on what was going to be her FEI horse. Phenomenal animal, expensive, beautiful, well trained, gifted, her dream horse. He foundered, including rotation, and now not only can she not achieve her dreams with him, but he is basically unsellable and the prognosis for enough recovery to make him a trail/easy riding horse is still guarded. Very, very sad, and these things do happen. She no longer has the money to buy a new horse and is now paying the vet bills, feed and housing bills for the foundered FEI horse, while she catches rides on friends horses whenever she can. I guess she might have found a horse to borrow, too, but what a mess for the poor lady


                                • Original Poster

                                  Thanks. These are all good suggestions. I am going to ask about the leasing option. I have a bonus coming in April that is guaranteed and will cover most of the purchase price (assuming they accept a low ball offer).

                                  If I were the owner I would worry about an injury to the horse during this time but it may help that she is staying in my friend's barn and I could keep the horse there if needed (although would prefer to move it to my barn). The horse is 10 years old, is solid I-1 and starting to school all the GP movements. I could keep the horse in training to be finished to GP. The other good thing is that the horse is at an age where it's not going to lose much value in a year and may even gain if it is confirmed GP.

                                  If I buy the horse and it gets injured tomorrow, it would be a huge disappointment but not the end of the world. I have another horse I own and one that I lease right now so there are plenty of horses to ride. Don't really need one so much as want one right now.


                                  • #18
                                    Lots of answers, and I'll add my 2 cents...
                                    If you make a lease arrangement be sure that the payments go towards the purchase price and that they aren't in addition to...Probably an obvious comment but.........

                                    Second, you dont say where you/horse are located, but it is coming into the time of year when people dont want to travel around the northern climates to look at horses in freezing arenas. I'm w/ the person who says to do a lowball offer with the explanation that it will be there if they want. But I'd also gently hint that the $x per month to board/keep him while they wait for the higher price will add up fast...

                                    Having not too long ago found my new horse far away from home, paying commission, traveling to try the horse, paying to get it across country etc added up to a big amount.
                                    We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........


                                    • #19
                                      Offer her what your budget was (what you have saved). Most horses are overpriced, esp in today's market they will negotiate. And remember there is no 'perfect horse'. Pick the one that suits you, but if you have a budget stick to it.....and going into fall/winter is a bad time to sell horses for the most part....soo you have that on your side.
                                      I.D.E.A. yoda


                                      • #20
                                        If you have two other horses they are costing you - if you had only one, the finances would be a walk in the park, so to speak, and you could put more and better energy into the one.
                                        Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique