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Has anyone bought w/o trying?

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  • Has anyone bought w/o trying?

    Title pretty much sums it up. Has anyone found a horse they liked from video/pics etc and, whether you had someone try them for you, or just relied on your gut, bought the horse without actually seeing them in person?

    If so, how did it work out for you and what price ranges were those purchases?


  • #2
    Yes! I know what I like and what works for me. However, I vet them up one side and down the other.
    There is a reason that the windshield is larger than the rear view mirror!


    • Original Poster

      Definitely a given!

      What kind of distance are we talking, and what price range - under 10k, 10-20k or beyond?

      Did they work out for you?


      • #4
        I've bought a bunch off videos, i've sold a bunch too... I think its hard because you arent quite sure if the personalities click. To me, thats important. It wouldnt make much difference if i had a friend ride that horse for me, she wouldnt be able to tell me if I would like the personality, just the training it has/doesnt have and if she liked it.

        I have had more success buying youngsters off video alone. My cob mare i bought that way from a short 3min clip even. And i LOVE her. I think you can "mold" their personalities a little bit and really get to know them threw the starting process. She was 5k as a 2yr old. I think the best experience for me was doing a trial though, and its hard to get people to let their horses go for that. But hands down, best experience! Another under 10k pony though. I havent spent more than that and dont plan on it! Not in my budget!

        ETA- my cob mare was 1k miles from me (ND to OK), but i've bought from PA to OK, and CA to TX. Just keep in mind, i dont own the others! The lesson horse i have right now, i purchased off video and had delivered, he was only 3hrs away, but i just didnt have time to try him. Now there are things i dont like about him, but for the most part, he has fit the bill wonderfully and everyone loves him.
        Your Horse's Home On The Road!


        • #5
          Three times! One was a foal, and the other two were 3 years old. One came from Canada and the other from Holland. The foal purchase I regret not having seen in person. The other two worked out.

          My situation is that I don't fly, so unless I buy a horse locally, I'm sort of stuck buying sight unseen. That said, I would likely not purchase an older horse without riding it. The young ones I bought had not been ridden yet.

          Ames, I sent you a PM on Yuku. Did you get it?


          • Original Poster

            thanks everyone

            ToN - nope - haven't been on YUKU in a while - send it here or the UDBB if you dont' mind?

            I'm kind of in the same situation in that I *can* fly, but I really dont' like to. Have two potentials I'm interested in but they are a distance away.......


            • #7
              I imported my FEI schoolmaster out of Holland without trying him, and without a vet check. I had seen a video. We have been partners now for 7 wonderful years. He is completely sound, and still going strong now at 24(!). I had a lot of horse friends, and even more non-horse friends tell me I was nuts to do this, but I trusted my gut. I had a complete inner peace at the time, that this was okay to do, and I am normally a cautious person. I have never regretted my decision. He has taught me volumns.


              • Original Poster

                Carol - did you have anyone try him for you, or was it solely based on a video? Did anyone "find" him for you that had first hand knowledge of the horse, or was it mostly a shot in the dark?


                • #9
                  I have both bought and sold off of videos. I don't like selling off videos 'cause I wanna know that the horse is with someone who will really enjoy the horse for a long time.
                  I have to say I have not had any worse or better luck buying off video than, going out and trying them. I would say the price range doesn't matter, it's fairly relative. Meaning $15k to one peson may be like $5k to another, or $50k. What ever the price is, you have to ask yourself would you be okay with the horse arriving and not being totally happy with it or worse hating the horse! Right now it is not easy to sell horses so, can you sit on teh horse awhile, do you have the detication to stick with a horse and keep him going even though you hate going to the barn and riding the horse? On the other hand, maybe he/she arrives and you couldn't be happier. Is there a trainer or friend who knows the horse, have you talked to the sellers trainer? Have you gotten the vet records released? Getting vet records tells a much more thorough picture of the horse than a vetting done on one day....


                  • #10
                    I purchased my current horse without trying him. However, I and my trainer both talked to his previous owner, three prior trainers, and a trainer who had recently tried him but didn't buy. I of course had him vetted and the x-rays were overnighted to my vet.

                    I was fully aware of the "issues" he had (two years off, totally needed to be re-bridled and gotten back into shape, toes out in front and sometimes whacks himself if not shod properly, but x-rays were clean and he vetted great). But he was billed as SAFE which was my #1 concern.

                    I couldn't have gotten a nicer horse. He has turned out to be worth his weight in gold and I'm VERY happy.


                    • #11
                      Yes, I bought at a sporthorse auction without riding the mare AND without a vet check. But she went for the ridiculously low price of $2,050. I saw her being ridden as soon as I walked into the auction site and both my trainer and I thought she was adorable. I did talk to the owner before bidding. I bought her as a resale project and she was a GREAT little horse. I sold her to a family and she was a wonderful Pony Club mount for the little girl. She is for sale because the girl doesn't ride any more and I would buy her back if I didn't already have 6 horses! (And no job at the moment.)


                      • #12
                        I honestly have only gone and tried a few horses before purchase. Other then that I usually just purchase without seeing the horse. This year we already purchased 2 and both are awsome a ATA mare and a TB stallion. Last year an Oldenburg from out east who did some dressage, he is stunning, and I think 3 the year before that.


                        • #13
                          I've sold riding horses in the $10K to nearly $30K range without the buyers coming to try them in person, plus a repeat customer who bought one horse from me without coming to try it, and then bought another one the same way.

                          I've also sold (and bought) youngsters without going to see them in person, but I think that is actually pretty common with youngsters, and they're in the <$10K range. There also comes a point in your horse shopping where the cost of travelling can eat up alot of your budget, if you're looking for less expensive horses or youngsters.

                          It also goes without saying that you want to deal with someone reputable and honest, especially if you're considering buying a horse without going to see it first! Things like show results can be nice too...
                          River Oaks Farm - home of the Elite Book Friesian Sporthorse Grand Prix dressage stallion Lexington - sire of four consecutive FSA National Inspection Champions. Endorsing the FSA.


                          • #14

                            Got my schoolmaster off a video and a phone chat. Don't regret it for a minute. He is a perfect fit for my personality and a wonderful teacher. Love him to pieces. Got a youngster off a video and a phone chat - she is great too.
                            No vet checks on either horse and no problems.

                            I would not mind selling off a video and a phone chat, but I really enjoy meeting the people the horse will be with. Although a personal meeting is not always a guarantee. Sold a lovely horse - wonderful trainer, lovely AA rider/owner, they both rode the horse and did great with her, bought her; but a while later I bought the horse back - it was just not working out for them or the horse.

                            It is a gamble one way or another.
                            Good luck
                            Horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
                            ~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.


                            • #15
                              Two. One I adore and worked out fine the other I lost 18K on.


                              • #16
                                One, she was two and unstarted so I only got to see her run around and lunge. But there was something I really liked about her attitude.


                                • Original Poster

                                  million dollar question then, is how do you know when the people you are dealing with are reputable? I *almost* didn't try my guy I just had to put down last week. Had a friend go try him for me - distance was pretty far. At the last minute did go try him - even if I hadn't and bought him it would have been the best purchase ever.

                                  Obviously prefer to shop locally, but when you aren't made of big bucks and have big dreams your options become limited.

                                  For sellers - how much weight does it carry if a potential buyer gives you vet references? Would you actually call them to make sure they are going to be a good home? And likewise, how can the buyer make sure the seller is being honest?


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Ames View Post
                                    For sellers - how much weight does it carry if a potential buyer gives you vet references? Would you actually call them to make sure they are going to be a good home? And likewise, how can the buyer make sure the seller is being honest?

                                    Depends on different factors for me. If I am giving a horse away or selling at a price much less then what I wanted, I check refs to make sure the person isn't conning me, for the sake of the horse. If its a more expensive higher end horse, if the seller starts making a bunch of requests like wanting vet, farrier refs, yada yada people start running away. As a seller, I welcome potential buyers to speak to my vet and farrier if they want information. An example that comes to my mind is I have a 2 year old TB colt that has feet issues. We have had plans to put him in a sale as a 2 year old in training, but due to the feet issues we are going to bring him along and race him ourselves due to the fear of someone getting the horse and being unhappy with him and saying that we are dishonest sellers. If your want to be in business very long, you have to protect a good reputation.


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Ames View Post
                                      Carol - did you have anyone try him for you, or was it solely based on a video? Did anyone "find" him for you that had first hand knowledge of the horse, or was it mostly a shot in the dark?
                                      Absolutely, solely, a shot in the dark. He was on Equine.com with a short video of him doing a PSG test. I found him there, and contacted the owner through that site. No agent, no vet check. Prior to finding him, I wasn't even really looking. True story.


                                      • #20
                                        I've purchased a few [long distance] without trying them/seeing them in person first. Only two had any type of training under saddle. One of the two had only been backed. The others were all youngstock. As others have said it's somewhat a leap of faith. Only once was I disappointed with what was delivered to me. A year later the seller refunded my money, a gesture which was unsolicited. That pony was the one who had been "trained". The other who had been backed and actually driven before then was purchased for my daughter. When I started on my search for my daughter's mount I specifically wanted to practice the "try before you buy" method. However after almost a year of dud spuds I had to expand my search yet my dollars were still limited. I got lucky. I in no way regret the purchase. I will say that in "that" particular case who the seller was and who the prepurchase vet was made such a "leap of faith" much, much easier. I received exactly what I had thought I was purchasing.

                                        My price range is rather limited. My "pony" who is now going PSG only cost me $4000 as a two year old which is the maximum I've paid for any horse/pony here. I have 3 others I'm riding/competing and/or did but now retired due to old age who were given to me for free. Though I've sort of made purchasing youngstock a practice of trusting and knowing "your" breeder as well as bloodlines, I did "breakdown" and drive 1300 miles one way with my trailer to look at a "selection" if you will. It was the smartest thing I did 'cause who I came back with was not exactly who I set out to pick up Though to be honest, if I had never seen the one I ended up with I can't say that I would have been disappointed with the one that initiated my interest in a specific group of colts. So would I purchase without trying first if the opportunity presented itself again? most likely.

                                        I do not sell that many. I have sold sight unseen/not tried only once. All of the others I've sold have been seen, ridden and/or leased prior to purchase. I have one for sale now that I do not intend to sell sight unseen or untried. For me it depends on the horse/situation as to what I feel is necessary in order to insure a good match/satisfied buyer.
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