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Why do people buy overseas?

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  • Why do people buy overseas?

    Warning: a bit long. Scroll down to "THE QUESTION" if you're sick of my rambling

    I've recently had to retire my horse and have another for sale as the partnership has broken down. I've been looking from Ontario to Florida and in between...and realize that my dream horse is a bit rare. It's because i'm at a weird place in my riding, so partially my fault. I'm still very competitive and have upper level goals, but need help with my confidence at the same time. I don't want to buy a "confidence builder" to ride for one season, and then have to buy another horse the following year...and alas, leases in this sport are so rare (*sigh*). The last three pros who've seen me ride are emphasizing that I don't actually need a packer/made horse from a skills/ability/experience perspective, but in my mind, I'm pretty convinced that that would be the best next ride for me in the short term.

    This week someone told me about a gelding in the UK that sounds interesting and that flying him over would be about $7500 to fly into NYC. I hadn't really considered a horse from that far away, though I've been secretly coveting virtually every clifton eventer for years, lol!!!

    THE QUESTION: So i was just wondering...do people buy from NZ or the UK/Europe because what they are looking for is not available in North America (eg. quite experienced but still young?)?...or is it that the prices are better and once you ship they end up similarly in price to a "local"? Is there some other reason - like the prestige of a foreign horse?!!!

    The "rare" horse i'm trying to find is a very sound upper level schoolmaster type who is not so old that he only has one or two seasons left in him. Basically, I'm prepared to spend a significant amount (in my eye, at least!) but don't want it to be for a 14+ year old who may not be rideable much longer!

    One final thought that occurs to me is perhaps the label "schoolmaster" is only applied to horses of a certain age? Is it possible that before that they may be marketed as a very rideable or forgiving 2* horse etc.? Maybe i'm not even using the right language, lol!!!

    Thanks for your replies

  • #2
    Coming from an Ammy with no upper level aspirations (ok, maybe Prelim someday if I get very very brave ), and has confidence issues, it sounds like you're looking for the right personality fit first and foremost! Which is a lot harder to find a match for than a resume. And for which you may have to search a lot further given that you want the resume as well.

    When I bought, the right personality turned up on a 3yo. I was not shopping for a 3yo. Bought her anyways... best decision I've ever made. The resume was completely wrong, it was a fluke I even went to look, but I knew when my butt hit the saddle that this was it. If I'd kept looking for that personality fit PLUS the resume, I don't know that I would have found it in my backyard.
    "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."

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    • #3
      There are far more purpose bred event horses in the UK and NZ than in the US, and there are also far more young horse starters in Europe and events to bring them along as well.
      "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
      Thread killer Extraordinaire

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      • #4
        Clivers just imagine how much fun a horse shopping trip in the UK would be! At the very least it will be a really fun adventure.

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        • #5
          Maybe it takes a while to develop a sane, 2* packer in any country ? 14 doesn't sound All That Old to me.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by clivers View Post
            THE QUESTION: So i was just wondering...do people buy from NZ or the UK/Europe because what they are looking for is not available in North America (eg. quite experienced but still young?)?...or is it that the prices are better and once you ship they end up similarly in price to a "local"? Is there some other reason - like the prestige of a foreign horse?!!!
            In my experience it can be all of the above, really. Sometimes the prices are cheaper, sometimes there are more suitable horses, and some people just like to import. Another thing about going abroad is geographically, everything is closer in many ways. I know when I went years ago to look at horses, I was there for three days, and managed to see about 30 horses in three countries because everything is so close, and often if you are in touch with a large stud or yard (particularly when looking at young horses) they will often have many horses brought into their farm form different studs so you can try a bunch at once in one place.

            I have to say, $7500 seems like a very old price quote for bringing a horse over right now though. I would have thought it would be more expensive now, but I haven't brought anything over in a several years now. Maybe someone else can weigh in if this is the current going rate?

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            • #7
              When did 14 become old? Don't tell my horse... I agree that there are probably just more purpose-bred horses overseas if someone is looking for that type of thing.
              Life doesn't have perfect footing.

              Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
              We Are Flying Solo

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              • #8
                A big part of shopping abroad, especially in the UK and Ireland, and probably NZ, too, is the AMOUNT of horses you can see in a realtively small area. And most, especially when you have a decent price range (say 25k plus), are of good quality and going well. You can sit on a lot of great horses in a few days, especially when you are with a good agent.

                We nearly went to Ireland to shop for our client for all of these reasons. We just so happened to "find" the horse for him while in Aiken a few weeks ago (the reason I say "find" is that we actually tried the horse in May, but at the time he didn't fit our needs. This time around he was perfect). If it hadn't worked out that way, I think a shopping trip to Ireland would have been made sometime this spring.
                Amanda

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                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by Hony View Post
                  Clivers just imagine how much fun a horse shopping trip in the UK would be! At the very least it will be a really fun adventure.
                  Thanks guys,
                  Hony - wanna come? Would love company

                  I know 14 is not "old" (heck, i'm two and half times that old!!!

                  It's just that 14 for a horse that has been going 2* or 3* usually means they've had a lot of mileage on the joints and feet...and my intentions would be to take a few years on my way back up...so looking at wanting a 17+ year old to introduce me to the top levels of the sport...not sure that is a reasonable long-term gamble...

                  It would be a great plan if I could buy one 30K horse now and one 30k horse in two years, but instead i'm trying to find one 40+k horse in total.

                  am i making any sense?

                  Just saw a GORGEOUS 4 year old in NZ. My trainer is going to kill me!!!

                  PS. Luftballoons - the $7500 was for a load arriving in 2 weeks in NYC. There is another load arriving 3 weeks after that for the same price. There is an extra $1k to get them from NYC to FL, but yes, the one way trip per horse on that load of 3 is only $7500.

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                  • #10
                    Completely agree with you on the 14yr old horse - it's one thing when you know the history or don't mind buying again in a few years, but not suitable for the scenario you've described.

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                    • #11
                      I bought and imported my guy from Ireland about 3 years ago with the help of Emma Winter. It was a great experience from start to finish. I had spent many months looking here in the states and couldn't quite find what I was looking for. I went to Florida, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Each horse I looked at was just not quite right. One horse had lost confidence at the upper levels and they thought it would be fine after dropping back down and spending a few years at training/preliminary again. The problem was that they were still asking an upper level price for it. Another horse who was advertised as a training/preliminary packer flat out took off with me and didn't stop until he hit the asphalt driveway and all four feet went out from under him and we both hit the ground. $40,000 for that....thanks but no thanks ;-) All of the horses I saw were at top professionals barns, and I was a bit astounded by what these people were trying to pass off as amateur friendly quality animals. I was starting to get frustrated with the whole search. My mom was actually the one who suggested we head overseas. We hooked up with Emma, and saw 4 horses in England and another 8 or so in Ireland. And we were only there for a week!! I fell in love with my guy the first moment I laid eyes on him. He was well bred and well started. He had done some hunting and spent his 4 yr old year eventing and competing in the young event horse competitions. He had plenty of potential to move up and was a nice mover and super jumper. We ended up paying about the same price, including shipping, that we would have paid for a horse twice his age with way less potential in this country. Someone mentioned that there are more purpose bred horses over there and I completely agree. I'm honestly not sure what the exchange rate these days is so I won't make any predictions about finding better prices, but I do know that you will see many more suitable horses in a smaller geographical area in a much shorter amount of time and I think that alot of times that is where you get more bang for your buck. Good luck with your search!! :-)

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                      • #12
                        I never have and realistically probably never will, but IF I suddenly found myself with pots of idle money it would be a "bucket list" sort of thing to go to Ireland or the UK or Germany or NZ and buy a horse. I definitely would want the whole experience, not just to have the horse shipped to me.

                        Hey, is your gelding still for sale? I couldn't find the ad to send to my trainer.
                        Click here before you buy.

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                        • #13
                          Gaaah, sorry, that was not worth saying three times!
                          Click here before you buy.

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                          • #14
                            Some things to consider, but maybe they've been posted already.

                            First, a lot of really good horses aren't openly advertised. Have you considered this? Heck, I know of an incredible find who is pony sized, but has serious potential for the right adult rider. PM if interested.

                            Second, have you considered looking at young horses with the right mind and talent, and then investing a year or so in getting them trained professionally along with you as a rider? I have unknowingly stumbled into a situation like that. I have no idea how far my horse "can" go, but I suspect he wouldn't top out before most ambitious amateurs would. He's coming 6, and is a confidence builder via his personality. I am investing time in serious training to get him going and make him into a horse I've always wanted. I don't know if this would cost less or more than your current plan, but I tend to think it would be less. It' wouldn't be a good option if you are looking to start right.now, but it's a great option if you'd like to make that horse you've always wanted a reality. You just need to find the horse with the right talent, body, and mind.

                            I took my guy out to school at a show for the first time yesterday. It was a AA show, so plenty to stimulate his brain. He has only really been in training since November. I flatted him on my own and then had my trainer coach us over some little jumps in a schooling ring. I had some old baggage resurface (bad show schooling experiences) and apparently forgot how to ride a jump. He calmly got me over every.single.time and worked to fill in the gaps I created in my ride. We finished the day flatting in other rings, an open field with various competitors, and walking the grounds. I left the ring more confident and know that I got to "unload some of my baggage", and will find it easier next time. This sounds, to me, like something you are looking for.. just not exactly in the package you would prefer. It just might make it easier to find a horse in the US though, for a better total investment, if you considered this possibility.

                            Just a suggestion! Good Luck with whatever you choose to do!
                            Final Furlong Racehorse Retirement

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                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Thanks everyone. Irish Declan - Great tip re: Emma. Mike and I grew up at the same time eventing in Ontario - even though somehow i never really knew him that well (rival barns). He was my friend's first kiss, though, so always felt like we go way back, lol!!

                              Deltawave - I'm doing my bucket list thing early and while i can still be competitive at the top. Fell off a horse last weekend (trying a sales horse - how embarassing!!!) and my tailbone is So incredibly sore. Can only imagine that i'll bounce even less well in 10 more years!!

                              Here's the link. It would be great if you could pass it to your trainer Thank you in advance!
                              http://equimarket.equestrianconnecti...dnumber=109878

                              Fractious Fox: Thanks for your post. Yes, I know that a lot of the best ones are sold before they hit the open market. I ended up posting horse wanted ads on useventing and sporthorsenation hoping that i might hear of something. Most of what i'm hearing about unfortunately is the lowest end of my criteria (only tried a few prelims etc.) and the absolute top of my price range. My fault for including price in my ad...

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                              • #16
                                Do I ever wanna come! Would take some serious figuring out but Hony's off right now so maybe a possibility.

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                                • #17
                                  We've imported 3 horses, two from NZ and one from Ireland over the years. We tried very, very hard to buy American, we went to Virginia, Florida, South Carolina and Kentucky. The "big name" rider/trainer horses we looked at all pretty much had pros riding them and were usually not only obscenely expensive, but it seemed a lot of them had been pushed fast up the ranks to sell as prelim horses. Translation:they lacked a LOT of basics. The pros here seem to think that a horse that has a working student riding it somehow is equivalent to an average adult amateur rider. Uhh, NO. So, we visited a rider friend in NZ and bought a nice horse that even with import was cheaper than the US horses we looked at. We've spent a lot of money on travel, time off work, and vettings only to be disappointed routinely here. I don't know how to find a good horse here, it seems all word of mouth which is very frustrating. This is just our experience, but the breeding, quality and professionalism we've found overseas (and prices, depending on the strength of the dollar) were all better. We've also had some good experiences looking here, but the horse just didn't work out for whatever reason. They're here, but for us as adult amateurs, just damn hard to find.
                                  Last edited by riderboy; Mar. 6, 2011, 11:38 AM. Reason: content

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                                  • #18
                                    I'm sorry to hear that your guy didn't work out for you. As you know, I'm a fan of him, but I know he'll find a good situation. Hugs.

                                    On buying horses, I think there are actually a bunch of horses that would fit what you're looking for in the states: but as noted, they're often not advertised. Look for horses that have been YR horses or for whom the amateur has lost interest or moved on. I do think it's important to to buy something that had been largely ridden and competed by an ammy or junior, because you want it to be forgiving of the less than perfect ride. The problem I see with importing is that it's harder to track the horse's record, much harder to figure out if they're a good fit, it's expensive by the time you get shipping in, and often the horses need a bit of time to recover/transition. Plus, I don't happen to like the Irish horses as much as some do: they're often very lovely, but there's some quirks to many of them that isn't my favorite ride. Others may differ.

                                    All that being said, I found my horse-of-a-lifetime in Canada, of all places. He'd been an ammy ride through doing two Advanced HTs and 2 2stars, and was 12 at the time. He was reasonably priced in large part because his flatwork was in the category of Truly Terrible (but he'd jump just about anything safely and was and is a complete blast to ride XC). At 16 this year, we're still hoping for a couple more seasons (and don't tell him he's a teenager!) So don't forget to sniff around your backyard and be open to horses who are less than fancy on the flat or who have a bit more mileage. If they're staying sound doing what you want them to do, you often can overlook some jewelry on the xrays, and these good old souls can be more fun than anything.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Well, as someone who is on the other end of the stick.....

                                      We try very hard to produce suitable talented level headed young horses for the market, and watch the trail of buyers head off to purchase a lesser horse for more money overseas.

                                      It seems that people shopping out of the country are bound and determined to come home with a horse, and that same group of buyers is less likely to purchase locally.

                                      We are proud of our American product and just need riders and buyers to feel the same.
                                      Anne
                                      -------
                                      "Where knowledge ends violence begins." B. Ljundquist

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by GotSpots View Post
                                        I'm sorry to hear that your guy didn't work out for you. As you know, I'm a fan of him, but I know he'll find a good situation. Hugs.

                                        On buying horses, I think there are actually a bunch of horses that would fit what you're looking for in the states: but as noted, they're often not advertised. Look for horses that have been YR horses or for whom the amateur has lost interest or moved on. I do think it's important to to buy something that had been largely ridden and competed by an ammy or junior, because you want it to be forgiving of the less than perfect ride. The problem I see with importing is that it's harder to track the horse's record, much harder to figure out if they're a good fit, it's expensive by the time you get shipping in, and often the horses need a bit of time to recover/transition. Plus, I don't happen to like the Irish horses as much as some do: they're often very lovely, but there's some quirks to many of them that isn't my favorite ride. Others may differ.

                                        All that being said, I found my horse-of-a-lifetime in Canada, of all places. He'd been an ammy ride through doing two Advanced HTs and 2 2stars, and was 12 at the time. He was reasonably priced in large part because his flatwork was in the category of Truly Terrible (but he'd jump just about anything safely and was and is a complete blast to ride XC). At 16 this year, we're still hoping for a couple more seasons (and don't tell him he's a teenager!) So don't forget to sniff around your backyard and be open to horses who are less than fancy on the flat or who have a bit more mileage. If they're staying sound doing what you want them to do, you often can overlook some jewelry on the xrays, and these good old souls can be more fun than anything.
                                        Good advice, and well said GotSpots.
                                        I think too there are some very nice horses packing around the lower levels, underutilized, who could do the job very well.

                                        I'm sorry your boy didn't work out for you, he is a beautiful and talented horse, and I hope he finds a good home.
                                        A Fine Romance. April 1991 - June 2016. Loved forever.

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