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Newbie pricing question

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  • Newbie pricing question

    I am hoping to have a horse of my own in a year or two. My inly experience with horse pricing is with my current instructor (who based on my other post won't be my instructor for long). A big part of her business seems to be buying horses, doing some training, and selling for profit. The horses seem pretty expensive to me, 5000-10000+ and more as training continues. I'm wondering what I should be expecting to spend on my first horse. I want a well-trained, practically bomb proof older horse that I can continue learning on and do some schooling shows but also enjoy as a pleasure horse. I'm not really interested in constantly trading up as I improve but instead may add to the herd if I want to pursue higher levels. Am I really going to have to spend 10,000+ for a good horse? I know better than to buy a cheap untrained young horse!

  • #2
    Depends on your definition of a "good horse". One of the best horses I could have ever lucked into was a little grade horse of Arab and ?? ancestry who was less than 1,000. That said, this horse didn't quite have the talent and movement for dressage that my current very expensive warmblood has. I would encourage you to look around and look beyond the horses your instructor is training and turning (they are horses to make a tidy profit off of...after all). You can probably find something appropriate for what you want in a decent price range, especially if you look at non-warmbloods. If you want to do upper level and recognized (shows) dressage in a serious way.....then things change as far as pricing.

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    • #3
      Friendly advice...save your money, find the best instructor your money can buy and ride schoolmasters, i.e., learn first...then buy something. Once you own a horse, your money will get eaten up, you will get attached to the horse, and you won't have the money to study. Or....if you just want a horse and have no aspirations of moving up...you can find something like you described on some of the internet sites.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by fairtheewell View Post
        Friendly advice...save your money, find the best instructor your money can buy and ride schoolmasters, i.e., learn first...then buy something. Once you own a horse, your money will get eaten up, you will get attached to the horse, and you won't have the money to study. Or....if you just want a horse and have no aspirations of moving up...you can find something like you described on some of the internet sites.
        Excellent advice; I wish I had gotten the same many moons ago!

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        • #5
          I doubt it. My trainer gets a lot of horses through her barn - some five figure, some much less. She has helped people buy what they can afford and get the best bang for their buck. Look at the Giveaways on COTH - seems like there are some great horses there for a price that can't be beat. Depending on what breed you are interested in - other forums may have rehoming threads as well. For example, Arabian Breeders Network has some great horses available right now for free. And there's a whole raft of legit rescues who would be more than glad to help you find a good horse. Think Saddlebred Rescue, Arabian Rescue Mission, New Vocations, etc etc etc.

          Find someone you trust to help you and do some serious shopping and I think you can easily find a horse that meets your budget and your requirements.

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          • #6
            It depends on many things, including where you are in the country.

            You may be able to find a totally bombproof, 12 y/o horse for $3000 - $5000, but that horse isn't likely to have much in the way of dressage training. The horse is more likely to be a backyard pleasure type horse- going in whatever frame and way it pleases, or in a way that is not conducive to dressage. Same is true with rescues, you may find the right temperment, but you probably won't find the training. (That said, you can always try, people do get lucky once in a while.)

            Ideally, you want something that knows at least the basics. A horse with first or second level training would be ideal. This is probably going to cost you over $5000. How pretty it is, what age, what breed, how tall, how much potential someone thinks it has to advance, and whether its shown will all add on from there.

            If you're willing to take an 18 or so year old schoolmaster that needs an easier life, and commit to keeping him through retirement, you might find one for free.

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            • #7
              I agree with Fairtheewell. My mom always said the horse was just the down payment. When you add farriery work every 6 weeks, worming, vaccinations, feed/board, tack and supplies, etc. you may not have much left over for lessons.

              Also, I feel that riding as many different horses that you can is a great learning experience too, and helps make you more versatile. It will help you decide exactly what you really want to do with your riding and the type of horse that you need. Becoming a better rider before buying can only be a great asset.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by fairtheewell View Post
                Friendly advice...save your money, find the best instructor your money can buy and ride schoolmasters, i.e., learn first...then buy something. Once you own a horse, your money will get eaten up, you will get attached to the horse, and you won't have the money to study. Or....if you just want a horse and have no aspirations of moving up...you can find something like you described on some of the internet sites.
                Good advice . I also think you have the right idea of looking for a calm, experienced horse. As others have said, you may not end up with a horse that can do the upper levels for that price, reputable rescues are a good place to start. Often you can get very nice horses for far less than you would otherwise pay, that will probably be a suitable lower level dressage mount and still able to rock it in the open and schooling shows.

                If you are looking for something that has a little more ability, but can't afford the purchase price, leases can be a great option.

                Good luck
                It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things.
                Theodore Roosevelt

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                • #9
                  Everybody on here has great advice.

                  I just wanted to add that make sure to add to your horse buying budget the cost of taking a trainer with you to see horses (depending on if horses are far away, you'll probably have to not only pay a commission but her expenses as well), the Pre-Purchase Exam, and shipping from wherever the horse may be. So if you have $5,000 set aside for dream horse... subtract about $1,500 of that (unless you're looking in your own barn) for other expenses. We paid $955 for a PPE on my mare. Granted we got full x-rays and blood work done, but to me it was worth it to see what our starting point was. Just make sure that you factor EVERYTHING in, before even going to see a horse, so that you don't fall in love and then come up short.

                  Horse shopping is great fun! Good luck!

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                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by fairtheewell View Post
                    Friendly advice...save your money, find the best instructor your money can buy and ride schoolmasters, i.e., learn first...then buy something. Once you own a horse, your money will get eaten up, you will get attached to the horse, and you won't have the money to study. Or....if you just want a horse and have no aspirations of moving up...you can find something like you described on some of the internet sites.
                    This is definitely my plan and the reason I want to wait a year or two! I am looking for an older schoolmaster that I can have fun in schooling but also one that I can keep as a pet in retirement. I just need an idea of how much I should be prepared to spend on one with basic training.

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                    • #11
                      Well, I recently saw an ad for an Appendix QH here in TX about 2 months ago. He is 16.2, 13, has evented, shown in dressage, looks like a TB. He looked really nice...was in the San Antonio area on CL. The previous owner had bought a WB and was looking for a good situation for him. They started advertising him at 2000 and tried to sell him to me for 1000, but I had already committed to an OTTB. They are out there. Maybe something like that would work for you. I wouldn't call him a schoolmaster, because I would expect a schoolmaster to really be able to teach movements at higher levels. A true schoolmaster is worth their weight in gold...and can be very expensive unless you luck out.

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                      • #12
                        Yep, in spite of many good buys coming through our barn in the last year, the true upper level schoolmasters *are* expensive. Trainer sold an 18 yo for $10K (trained to GP) and a mid-teens PSG horse for $7500+. So they aren't cheap...well, at least to my bargain loving mind!

                        However, I think a few other good horses were negotiated down in private to a much more reasonable price. All depends on when wants/needs of seller match wants/needs of buyer and whether a good home becomes more important than $$$$.

                        ETA: I still maintain that knowing what you want, being thorough in your search, having some trustworthy contacts, and being patient can land you a good deal on a fine horse.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          If your goals are primarily pleasure and showing at the lower levels - there is no reason you couldn't find that in a horse under $5K. Just my 2 cents. Not everyone is looking for a Grand Prix trained horse.

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