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Buyer woes....am I missing something?

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  • Buyer woes....am I missing something?

    I'm not sure if this is the right place to put this, but I'm wondering if anyone else is having a similar experience or it's just me? I've been looking for a young dressage prospect for the last 2 years, I don't have a big budget but I also know I'm not getting a stunning FEI prospect If and when I find a horse advertized in my budget that seems like a possibility, I am having a hard time getting the sellers to actually send pics and/or video or really respond much to questions. It's getting really frustrating and discouraging.... I've gotten lots of sellers who promise to forward pics of their horse, but then just ask me to come by and see their horse because it's sooo nice they are sure It will be a perfect match. While I'm sure the horse is lovely, I don't really want to drive for 12 hours without seeing a decent pic or a video clip or knowing a bit about the horse's health and history. I don't get it...hoping someone can explain what is going wrong

    Thanks so much for reading...didn't mean to be so long winded...

  • #2
    I have no idea what your price point is (and it's none of my business!)... but I notice there are frequently posts from sellers complaining about the requests they get for extensive videos/photos etc on their lower priced horses. Maybe that is what you are running into? Two years is a LONG time to be looking for a young prospect, particularly if you are realistic about what you are looking for and don't need the animal to be a world beater.

    That said, I confess that these days it seems like it would be pretty easy to take a bit of video and upload some decent, current photos - even for an inexpensive sale horse. Putting that sort of info up on YouTube is pretty simple and would seem to be a very basic step in marketing a sale horse!
    We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


    • #3
      It may be a price point issue? I know we do video of all our horses, but we only do it a few times each year - it takes at least two people to do video, plus time to clean up the horses to make them presentable for video. When I have a two month old video showing all three gaits for a young (not yet under saddle) horse, odds are I won't be doing another video. Once under saddle, we do video more often, of course. I update pics often on Facebook, but I'm a decent photographer. For someone who isn't good w/ photography, they may have to pay someone to do it, and again, it isn't worth updating pics every time someone asks.

      I have had people say "just shoot a picture of them tied" - sorry, but bad pictures make a horse look BAD! One of my friends was looking and kept showing me pics asking if the horse was as awful as she thought - in many cases, it was just a BAD picture. She went and looked at a few and came back to tell me how much nicer they were then the pics showed.

      I do know a few people selling "under $5k" horses - and they won't do video - it isn't worth their time, and in some cases money since they may have to pay someone to help w/ video. Video is hard work!

      Personally, I think once you are dealing with a $10k or higher horse, there should be video within the last 6 to 12 months. During Winter/early Spring, many people don't update video because the horses are hairy - and even through people say they can "see through the hair", reality is, people are more likely to buy a sleek, pretty horse!


      • Original Poster

        I haven't been in a big hurry, or desperately looking for something (and frequently distracted by my mare's entertaining vet emergencies...arrrgh!) so that's why it's been so long. I am not looking for a world class horse by any means, just something that has a reasonable chance of making it to 3rd level or so. I do lean toward mares, so I guess that's a bit unusual. I am not expecting anyone to take a bunch of video - I'd just like a clear conformation shot and hopefully a brief clip of the horse moving so I have an idea of gaits. I did find a young mare I loved this fall...she didn't vet =(


        • #5
          I so miss the days that people called on the phone and actually talked to the seller and HAD to go look at the horse because we had no way to make videos. *SIGH* I'm really dating myself. LOL


          • #6
            I think you may be running into a generational thing here- I think those sellers tha are able to keep up with the times are going to continue to be successful. Granted, I don't sell horses as a profession. I still do enjoy taking video of my horses and constantly taking pictures (just clipped everyone for the spring and took shots in their new bridles). Fortunately, I can do all this on my iPhone. I understand that the video I take on my cell phone is not the highest quality, but its no horrible either- and wou work in a pinch if someone wanted something newer or more specific that my 'better more professional' video didn't show.

            On the other hand, I also agree with the sellers about constantly getting peppered with buyers wanting pictures of different views, under saddle- 'no! No! With a white pad.....' So you have to retake video, or retake a bunch of silly pictures. As a seller, if a buyer can tell me 'exactly' what they want pictures and video of before I take it, then there shouldn't be any problems.

            Different stokes, I guess


            • Original Poster

              Yikes, I can't imagine having to re-take photos with different coloured pads, or different views...do people do that? I do know that it's a lot of trouble to take video especially, I'm a single girl with a farm so I never have a second pair of hands handy either....I hate to even ask for it, but I'm up here in Canada, and if a horse is more than 4 hours away I hesitate to find someone to cover my farm work and job to go see a horse I haven't even seen a picture of, or know basic information about, or had the seller return a phone call. I'm sure it is a lot buget based...I've been told that I shouldn't bother looking if I have less than 20k in my pocket, even for a yearling or 2 year old. Is that the case?


              • #8
                Agree with HorseKrazy. While I don’t sell horses for a living, I sell somewhere between 3 – 5 horses a year. It is perfectly understandable for buyers to want photos and videos. I don’t sell in a high dollar range, but I understand that buyers want to spend their time and effort looking at horses that suit them. I also want to spend my time showing my sales horses to people who have some idea that the horse might suit them. Pictures and videos help that screening process.

                I’m not the most tech saavy person around, but there are plenty of cameras and phones that will get the clips and shots needed. I’ve moved most of my clips and photos to DropBox and will invite a buyer to view the folder. That way it’s all in one place and I will know if a buyer has looked at it.

                I can understand the OP’s frustration with the sellers she has encountered. It would make me nuts, too.
                Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule


                • #9
                  I looked for a year to find my new horse. I looked at a lot of horses and a lot of them had no video but I was told how great and easy they were. Only to get there, and one was 6 hrs away, for the horse to be well off their rockers a bit. This is a waste of my time and the sellers. To me I think it would be easier for the seller to take a 5 min clip when they put a horse up for sale than having numerous potential buyers come and take up their time for no reason when they are not being up front about the horse anyways. Some of these horses were 20k horses also and some were 5k or even less. I looked at an array of horses. Most would at least send me photos though.

                  Eta. It's really frustrating when i was very clear that I'm looking for a safe, easy horse. More of a kick ride type that can go out on a trail also. A horse that doesn't have buck, rear, or bolt in him (of course any horse can but i don't want one that has proven it will) only to get to places and one i found out the owner doesn't ride anymore because he bolts and bucks and threw here, one you had to really haul on them to stop, ones that dare you put leg on and see what happens. Ughhhh
                  Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole


                  • #10
                    When I was shopping 2-4 year olds under 20k I encountered this ALL the time.
                    chaque pas est fait ensemble


                    • #11
                      I'm shopping in the 4-7 year old range, and have had no problem getting photos and videos of most horses. There have only been a few that never showed up or refused.

                      I wonder if the age bracket is the issue? I've found it much harder to get pics/video when shopping for horses that aren't under saddle yet.


                      • #12
                        Depending on where you are in Canada, it could be the time of year. Horses and properties tend to kind of look bad right around now...whereas asking in June/July/August, it's pretty easy to pull a shiny young horse into a grassy pen and get a decent video.

                        This year is kind of brutal too, it's been cold, dry and a very long winter. My outside horses don't seem to want to let go of their winter coats quite yet, and the snow is taking its time leaving.

                        People are kind of reluctant to take videos and photos of young horses unless they get the sense that a buyer is really interested. I have had some luck asking if they have photos on Facebook/online albums already, or if I could see videos/photos of siblings/parents anywhere. That communicates that I am willing to do some of my own digging, and that I might actually know what I'm looking for. I have been offered references to buyers of related horses a few times, and that is a pretty good resource, the new owners typically have TONS of photos/video and information. I have also found that people are a lot more enthusiastic about taking photos and video when I call and talk to them, and that lets me ask about siblings/relatives already under saddle, temperament, that sort of thing. I started to look at photos/video as my LAST criterion, if the horse sounded like a really, really solid match, THEN I wanted video to confirm. Some people ask for it as an initial criteria, without learning much about the horse...I can see why sellers don't jump right on those requests. They have to truck out and take video/photos of a grey arab gelding (or whatever) then they send it to you, and find out that you'll only accept bay or chestnut fillies with no white (or whatever) which could have pretty easily been ruled out without a photo/video.
                        Lifestyle coordinator for Zora, Spooky, Wolfgang and Warrior


                        • #13
                          Depends on how bad they want to sell their horse. If a seller won't work with me I just assume they don't want to sell it too bad. I'd keep looking. Too many nice horses and cooperative sellers to bother with one who won't send out a few pics or even a video. I shouldn't matter if the horse is $1000 or $10,000. In today's world it's so easy to do, why not do it? Doesn't make sense to me either.


                          • #14
                            OP, you should be able to find a horse who can do 3rd level for $20K. For the love of God!

                            Also, that's above the price point where it's reasonable to expect someone to have pictures and a video.

                            Some unsolicited advice: This might be the time to enlist a trainer's help. I say this because it sounds like you are spending time, money and shoe leather already. Do that with a pro's help and this might be better.

                            Also, I think most horses *can* do 3rd level. They might not be born those great movers-with-golden-lab mind that will help you earn your bronze medal in a year. What makes the horse you can find/afford do that? Good training and riding.

                            So if you have to find a good horse and feed it anyway, why not get a pro on board with your project? And maybe having that professional will help you find a younger horse with less training that can end your search happily and sooner.
                            The armchair saddler
                            Politically Pro-Cat


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by dqsid View Post
                              Yikes, I can't imagine having to re-take photos with different coloured pads, or different views...do people do that? I do know that it's a lot of trouble to take video especially, I'm a single girl with a farm so I never have a second pair of hands handy either....I hate to even ask for it, but I'm up here in Canada, and if a horse is more than 4 hours away I hesitate to find someone to cover my farm work and job to go see a horse I haven't even seen a picture of, or know basic information about, or had the seller return a phone call. I'm sure it is a lot buget based...I've been told that I shouldn't bother looking if I have less than 20k in my pocket, even for a yearling or 2 year old. Is that the case?
                              There are a LOT of very, very nice 2 year olds under 20k out there. I think a combination of weather, coat length, and tendency toward awkward phases could be part of the limitation you're seeing as well. I know when I was looking (for two years, though not even intending to buy yet when I couldn't hold myself back from buying my then two year old for fear someone else would buy her) I didn't even bother keeping track of horses who didn't have photos and videos available. I didn't contact sellers about these horses since I was theoretically only window shopping, and had been following my filly online since she was 3 months old. There are a lot of places which only give slick pro videos, and some resistance you see may be from places who want that kind of perfection with the young horses in the perfect growth phase, and two years olds are often in very awkward stages!

                              You may also be coming across as too demanding that they don't want to bother with you, whether you actually are or not. I know I didn't even get my two year old vetted because I had seen her progress for over two years by then and knew she had been sound and wasn't willing to let anyone flex her that young, and know that x-rays can be deceiving, and accepted that buying her was a risk simply because she was a young horse. If you've discussed vetting, you may come across as someone who will want 100% perfect looking x-rays on a baby which can be deceiving, or wants perfect balance from a two year old when so many are butt high, wants to see more muscle/weight on a horse whose health is more served not having it yet, etc. There could be lots of reasons besides lax sellers, though their being lax is very possibly the problem, too.
                              As someone who wasn't looking for an international quality horse since I'm not an international quality rider, I found MANY nice young horses out there - I think if your budget is $20k, you could easily plan a trip down to the MD/VA area, visit multiple farms to see quite a few youngsters, set up vet checks for your top choices and pay for transportation to Canada for less than your budget. If I hadn't bought my filly I was going to do a Florida and Midatlantic (plus PA, and some other areas) trip to see options and buy with middle of this year as my goal timeframe. I don't know much about Canadian breeders, but suspect there are areas there where that would be doable as well.
                              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.


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by dqsid View Post
                                I've been told that I shouldn't bother looking if I have less than 20k in my pocket, even for a yearling or 2 year old. Is that the case?
                                For 20K you can bring a nice prospect in from Europe ...

                                check your pm box


                                • #17
                                  I can understand your frustration in shopping for young stock. In reading this I thought...yes, some of that applies to me. As a seller, I don't do a good job providing photos and videos of my young unbroke stock.

                                  Another poster brought up a good point. I really feel it has to do with the age of the horse....and a bit with how badly we want to sell the horse. If I have a horse going actively under saddle, it's in a barn with arena or good outdoor ring in the summer. We are actively training that horse, and marketing it for sale, manes are pulled, and we have a fair bit of suitable video, photos, show photos etc.

                                  I suspect I'm not like other breeders in that most of my youngstock is technically for sale, but in most cases I am not ACTIVELY marketing them. They are living in a field, with big hair, mane halfway down their necks, strong healthy and regularly handled, but we don't spend a lot of time with them taking pictures and videos. Many of us have a dayjob to subsidize the horse breeding hobby and the weekends are pretty full just doing the regular jobs that need to be done. In the heart of winter I don't have an arena to show horses, and to be honest they are in no condition to show to the "average" buyer. People say they can look through the hair and their awkward growth stages, but most can't, so for me attempting to bath that horse who's never seen a hose in it's life, in the heart of winter, keep it warm to dry out, ship it to an arena to take a video, and once again for the people to see it, that is a LOT of effort for a sale that won't likely happen. I'll get a "diamond in the rough" price at best, and in those cases I'd rather wait till April May, and have people see them as the beautiful quality horses they really are.

                                  I've already started last weekend by taking one horse at a time and at least updating some photographs....and video when possible...and even made a facebook page to upload photos faster then on my regular site. I'm trying



                                  • #18
                                    P.S.. no need to go to Europe for a quality young prospect under 20. There is lots for sale in Canada.



                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by dqsid View Post
                                      I've been told that I shouldn't bother looking if I have less than 20k in my pocket, even for a yearling or 2 year old. Is that the case?
                                      So when you say you are looking for a "young dressage prospect", you mean something not under saddle yet? Or do you mean a 3-4-5 year old? If you are really looking for a 1-2 y/o, or even a 3 y/o that isn't started yet, you might want to talk to breeders. A few in Canada that can probably give you some ideas are Dreamscape Farm in BC, Pangaea Farm in Ontario, Parkwood Stables in Ontario, Crooked Creek/Woodhaven Farm in Manitoba. These are all owners of approved warmblood stallions, and if they don't have youngsters of their own, they can very likely point you to breeders that have had foals by their stallions. Dreamscape in particular owns a veritable slew of popular stallions, and no doubt has a nice list of breeders they can refer you to.

                                      One other thing, since you mentioned you prefer mares - most breeders of well bred warmbloods charge more for fillies than for geldings, so that is something to keep in mind while shopping. But you can sometimes find a really good deal on a chestnut filly, esp. if she has no chrome and doesn't have a show stopping trot!


                                      • #20
                                        We just rehomed an OTTB. Had conformation pictures from the side, front, and back. Had pictures of his face, standing wearing a saddle, and being ridden. Also had a video of him lunging (trot and canter) and jumping over a small fence (on the lunge). Had an undersaddle video that showed where he currently was in his flatwork (very green w/t).

                                        I still had people asking for more or different pictures and more or different video.

                                        Oh, and he was free.