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Horse purchase priorities

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  • Horse purchase priorities

    I'm looking at a fairly expensive horse to buy who fits my criteria for a new horse except he's more than I had budgeted. As an older rider I've come to the realization that I cannot ride cheap horses and train them up the grades nor do we have any local event trainers. What I try to save in horse purchase costs I'll probably spend on Hospital bills and lost work time. When do you bite the bullet, spend the money and just go for it?
    The ants are my friends. And they're blowin' in the wind.

  • #2
    Go for it. Green horses are not worth it if you have no trainer and not the funds to have real help. Especially for what sounds like an ammy. Bite the bullet and have fun with a made-er horse.


    • #3
      Well, I guess it depends on how much over your budget you're talking about. If you can make it work, I would so go for it! You are at the point in your life where you want to have fun, not kill yourself!


      • #4
        I think it really depends on WHY the horse is more than your budget -- e.g., was your budget unrealistic or is this horse the Lexus when you budgeted for a Camry? Knowing whether to exceed your budget or not depends on figuring that out. If the budget is truly unrealistic, I'd want to shop around enough to know that. If the horse far outshines what you budgeted for, then I'd rethink what my goals were in setting the budget.

        As far as priorities, depends on what your goals are. When I look for a horse for an amateur to have fun with, my first priority is always safe-safe-safe to the jumps. It can need a little maintenance, it can be a little bit older, but I want it to consistently jump well and safely at the level that the proposed rider wants to ride at. I don't care, particularly for a less experienced rider, if it has time faults or won't win the dressage, but I want it to be fun, sweet in the barn, and enjoy its job. There are actually quite alot of these out there - and they often aren't super expensive, in part because they might not win on the flat or they might need their hocks done or might be a little older.

        For an amateur who is looking to be hyper competitive, particularly at Prelim and above, then I'll add onto the safe-jumper requirement that the horse be fancy on the flat. This adds a bunch to the price, and if you add on "dead-easy" as well, then you're going to be looking at more money. But if your dream/goal is to be in the top-10 at a three-day, then it's going to be pricey. Even now, when horses' prices are falling with the economy, the true amateur-ride, fancy-schmancy one star horse who is super sound and allergic to wood will cost you.

        But either way, figure out what your priorities actually are, and then see if you budget is reasonable. If it is, I wouldn't break it just for a pretty face: you'll regret it the second he isn't everything you wanted him to be. If your budget's too low, then rethink whether you actually can go higher without sacrificing other important things in life, and then decide if the horse is worth it to you.

        There will always be another horse. I know it's hard when "*perfect*" is sitting in front of you, but there's always another one out there, and it's worth it to think rationally about what you'd be giving up to pay Budget + X$ for this one.


        • Original Poster

          You know, it's almost a bit, well, embarrassing that I CAN'T bring along a cheapo OTTB and that if I want a safe competent ride I'm going to have to spend some bucks.
          The ants are my friends. And they're blowin' in the wind.


          • #6
            Originally posted by 1* View Post
            You know, it's almost a bit, well, embarrassing that I CAN'T bring along a cheapo OTTB and that if I want a safe competent ride I'm going to have to spend some bucks.

            It shouldn't be embarrassing. Not everyone can bring along an OTTB well (and many people who are, should NOT be)....and not every OTTB wants to be an event horse (or would be a good one). You are paying for the time that you will not be losing finding out whether that green horse wants to even do the job or can do the job well!

            I agree with GotSpots post....and regardless...make sure you insure that pony. You can find the perfect horse and they can (and likely will if they are mine) hurt themselves the next day.
            ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **


            • #7
              Originally posted by 1* View Post
              You know, it's almost a bit, well, embarrassing that I CAN'T bring along a cheapo OTTB and that if I want a safe competent ride I'm going to have to spend some bucks.

              As I'm getting to be an older rider too, I can and have successfully brought along OTTBs from right off the track and I'm not sure I WANT to do it anymore. My current horse hunt for the first time in ages is for something bred to event. I still want it young, just not with any racing baggage. There's a point where that just makes better sense.

              The other thing I'll say is even though I've ridden young horses all my life I would NOT buy a greenie if I didn't have regular training available to me. That's a deal killer on one off the track all by itself.


              • #8
                Originally posted by 1* View Post
                You know, it's almost a bit, well, embarrassing that I CAN'T bring along a cheapo OTTB and that if I want a safe competent ride I'm going to have to spend some bucks.
                I know! It's hard to grow up, isn't it!?

                I'm sort of in the same position in dressage. More and more I'm thinking, F-it; I can't wait around on a 3-5 year old to get trained. I'm way old enough to know that tomorrow I could discover I have some life-changing illness (anyone is that old, but the odds are rising) and do I want to think I wasted even a month hunting down a horse for less money when I passed up the perfect but expensive one? It's hard enough to find the perfect horse over your budget, much less at or under.

                So if you can afford it, and you'd lie there at night and think, "I should have gone for it."

                Just do it.

                And hope he vets clean!
                Ring the bells that still can ring
                Forget your perfect offering
                There is a crack in everything
                That's how the light gets in.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by subk View Post
                  As I'm getting to be an older rider too, I can and have successfully brought along OTTBs from right off the track and I'm not sure I WANT to do it anymore. My current horse hunt for the first time in ages is for something bred to event. I still want it young, just not with any racing baggage. There's a point where that just makes better sense.
                  Gosh ain't that the truth! After a succession of OTTBs that didn't work out for various reasons, I bought myself a nice 4 year old Hanoverian. Even being green as grass, and about the slowest maturing horse on the planet, it's still been so wonderful. I had absolutely no idea just how much easier it would be to bring along something purpose bred without the baggage.

                  I would say to the OP don't stretch into financial difficulty (I certainly thought about it myself after shopping for 10 months!) but certainly spend what you need to and you can afford to get the right horse.
                  On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog


                  • #10
                    I did it and have never regretted it. I am a 56 yr. old ammie with a demanding day job and just didn't have the time to bring along a youngster as my main ride (I must admit that I also have a home bred - now 6 - and although I love him to death sometimes wonder "what am I doing?"). It's really fun to watch the youngsters grow up and learn new things but there's nothing like getting on a very experienced, safe, willing and fun horse when heading off to jump jumps that don't fall down. I say go for it!


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by 1* View Post
                      You know, it's almost a bit, well, embarrassing that I CAN'T bring along a cheapo OTTB and that if I want a safe competent ride I'm going to have to spend some bucks.
                      I have had the same thought when I realized that things weren't working out with my own OTTB. But subk and bornfree are right-- there is no shame in deciding that you do not want to play this game.
                      Taco Blog
                      *T3DE 2010 Pact*


                      • #12
                        I SUCK at bringing up the OTTB. I gave up. Call up Lisa Reid, http://www.reidtowin.com She finds them out of the woodwork. Found Winston for me and previously, a super cute TB that I actually sold for a profit.
                        Granted, Winston was a crapshoot, pulled a buggy in his previous life. But she's got a great eye and great with personality matches.
                        Even duct tape can't fix stupid


                        • Original Poster

                          It's funny; I'll spend a bazillion dollars on a truck and trailer and all the other things like a home and barn and then try to save money on the one thing that can seriously hurt me. Not that any of them is risk free, but you guys are right. Take a deep breath and hope for the best with this boy.
                          The ants are my friends. And they're blowin' in the wind.


                          • #14
                            I've always made my own horses (Arabs and OTTBs), but have my first OTTB that I really just don't have time for. He was 6 this spring and I'm now a stay-at-home mom instead of that single girl who spent every moment after work on her horses. My newest horse has some issues (big time baggage from having been abused and left in a stall to starve before being rescued) and I finally got to the point where I just want him finished come hell or high water before this winter. I sent him off to a trainer (sharing similar guilt to the OP for not doing it myself) and we'll see whether he'll make it as an eventer or not. I could have sunk the money I spent on him (he wasn't cheap) plus the $$$ I've spent on this trainer and gotten something a little further along. I'll be keeping that in mind for next time

                            Let us know how he vets out and post some photos!!!


                            • #15
                              I am in the same boat. I have been working with my National Show horse rescue now for 6 years and after training, heartach and injury I realized that he will just not make an eventer. He is hot and a very hard ride even my trainer agreed that he just doesn't have the mentality. I've had OTTB's and had a great time but now I'm a 36 yr old mom with a non horsey husband that (after seeing my break my collar bone) doesn't even want me jumping. I have decided I am going to just break down and buy a horse with some experience. I want to have fun again and not worry as much. I want to have my family come to events and enjoy them instead of holding there breath. I evented up to Prelim when I was younger and I want to enjoy eventing again. I do understand feeling embarassed though. I still feel that way sometimes. I feel a lot better after reading these posts though...Thank you for bringing up the topic...
                              My horse of a lifetime!!


                              • #16
                                I was fortunate to ride a fellow boarder's 18yr old ISH fox hunter for a week.

                                It completely reaffirmed what I want when I get my act together and go horse shopping.

                                This horse is forward with a capital "F" but has brakes, is super brave (a deer basically came out of the woods and ran us over while we were galloping along and he just gave it a look that said - out of my way), and squeals with joy, yes actual squeal noises, when jumping a stadium course. Not always the most obedient for dressage work but not a disaster and when in the mood very correct.

                                It was a JOY to ride him.

                                I like riding the babies at the barn. I learn a lot and it is very challenging in a rewarding way. There is nothing wrong with saying I want a horse to compete and have fun on where it is easier.

                                I don't think an "expensive" horse necessarily will be "perfect", but if it is I wouldn't let the $$$ be the deciding factor. (Assuming it doesn't put you in debt etc)


                                • #17
                                  I just bought a new horse this summer and spent 10x what I did for my 1st OTTB.

                                  Why? Because I'm 22 years older than I was then, am a mom, and have a job. My horse time is limited; I want to spend it having fun. And right now, fun is NOT teaching the basics to a horse.

                                  Fun is learning to ride the dressage movements she knows (she's trained thru 2nd level). Fun is owning a 6 yr old who's been out hunting already. Fun is watching the trainer school her SJ & XC at a HT and realizing "wow, this hoss has talent." Fun is planning to go to our 1st HT in a couple months.

                                  So, I lucked out & found something early on in my search that fits the bill. Cost me an arm and a leg, but is worth it in every way. She's still green over fences, so that gives me something to do where I'll feel like I've helped "make" her.

                                  You only go 'round once in this world, as far as I can tell. Make it count!
                                  ~ Horse Box Lovers Clique ~


                                  • #18
                                    Not having a lot of knowledge buying this type of horse, what should an experienced 1* or 2* horse sell for?


                                    • #19
                                      Actually, a friend of a friend just bought a very fancy, well trained Warmblood mare for a fraction of what she was really worth, because she has a breathing problem. IMO, for an adult ammy looking to go no higher than Training, that is a perfect situation. This fancy and well trained horse will piddle around with her at the LLs for years and keep her safe. At a certain stage in life, looking for greenies with UL potential just isnt the game you want to play anymore, and what you get in training and safety you may loose out on in real top level potential. But oh well!


                                      • #20
                                        Geesh - the older I get and the more horses I've retrained/trained, the more I believe in letting someone else do the dirty work . Like you, I've retrained/trained quite a few, mostly off the track. My latest is a young Trak who's barely broken, and let me tell you that the first month or two was h#ll, and I'd gladly turn over the reins, so to speak, to someone else, like our local "cowboy" who's absolutely wonderful with the babies. As it is, every chance I get and every spare dollar I get, I sink into my trainer so she can sit on him and make life easier for me.

                                        If I had to give anybody advice in buying a new horse, I'd say buy as much training as you can afford - don't sacrifice good training for fancy. Fancy isn't always easy or fun to ride - good training is always (well, usually) a good ride. If you can afford equal parts fancy and training, then do both, but don't skimp now. You'll pay for it in the long run, anyway, right?
                                        "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison

                                        So, the Zen Buddhist says to the hotdog vendor, "Make me one with everything."