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Budgeting for new horse, how much do I need?

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  • Budgeting for new horse, how much do I need?

    I am going to be looking for a new horse next year. I am thinking a prelim horse would probably be enough, at least for 2-3 seasons (as I have been out of competition for at least 4-5 years). It would not need to be a babysitter.

    Obviously something on the way up through the levels will be much pricier than one on its way down. My only worry is if I buy something mid-teens with the experience I am looking for, how much of a loss would I take once it was time to resell (as a LL dressage or event horse)? I already have one lifer retiree.

    Am I better to try to lease something first? Buy a youngster and get a pro to help out? (I have schooled my own baby and OTTBs to Training but again haven't shown in a while.) Get a 30k loan and buy something on the way up?

    I love my OTTBs but will be a new mom and want something that's got at least a few miles under its belt. Tips/suggestions/ideas?

  • #2
    How much can you afford? That will dictate the type of horse.

    I would strongly advise NOT taking out a loan for a horse (said in my BEST Suze Orman voice). What if he/she gets injured? What if he/she just isn't a good match? Can't exactly go back to the bank and plead hardship.

    All that aside, I think it would be best given your time off from competing to find something you can lease while you yourself are moving back up through the levels. You can then take time to either buy a 1K horse off the track, and spend 20K in lessons (ask me how i know...), or buy something a bit more made by putting up more cash up front.


    • #3
      A little more info on what your goals are with the new horse will be helpful.

      If you are thinking a going prelim horse, plan on 20k for the very bare minimum, 40-50k for fancy. And, really, that could be a fancy youngster moving up, or a quality schoolmaster coming down.


      • Original Poster

        Good questions. $10-$12k is what I currently have. I would like something that has done some off-property work over fences at bare bones minimum, but something that has BTDT is ideal. I literally want to be able to hop on and get going.

        I'm not at the stage I need something fancy/super talented. My short-term (2-3 years) are to go prelim and have a blast. I have done the OTTB thing so many times, and one day will be happy to do it again, but for the next few years I just want to have fun working my way up the levels without stop/starts.

        [ETA I'm okay with doing a loan to get the horse I need. I'm in a super solid financial financial position except don't want to wait X years until I've saved up the hard cash. An injured 20k cash horse is as useless as a 20k loan horse IMO! I have faced some really, really depressing equine losses in the last 10 years [i lost my priceless, future eventing superstar OTTB just recently, as a current example] and just. want. to. event. I will worry about $$ later.]


        • #5
          Honestly, I would seriously consider EXACTLY what you are looking for, because you are talking about basically the whole market at the moment.

          And BTDT can also mean a solid citizen novice packer, or a one/two/three star horse coming back down. So, solidify what you REALLY want and/or need. Then it'll be easier to narrow down the budget. Because, right now, you can spend what you have on a youngster, or 10 times that on a BTDT.


          • #6
            A horse with Prelim experience in your price range will likely either be (1) significantly older or smaller; (2) have a decent-sized hole in its training; or (3) have some soundness issues. Depending on where you are located, you might find something with Training miles on it at that price, but I think you'll have to do some digging and get lucky, as I'm seeing 20K plus prices in the NoVA area for those horses, even with limited Training experience.

            If I were you, I think I'd look toward trying to lease something, rather than buy - you might be able to find a neat horse whose owner is off to college, or something that wants to step down the levels. There are free leases available for such horses (you cover costs of care/insurance/vet/shoes etc), though many of them will only go to an approved barn or have to stay in barn.


            • Original Poster

              Originally posted by yellowbritches View Post
              BTDT can also mean a solid citizen novice packer, or a one/two/three star horse coming back down. So, solidify what you REALLY want and/or need.
              True. I guess I don't know. I do have access to a Training level SF mare that I could play around with and show until I figure stuff out. She can be a bit picky out on XC but has the scope for prelim. Maybe that is a better plan. Coach is horse shopping in Ireland right now, which is what got me thinking about budgeting.


              • #8
                To own another horse? A bazillion dollars. Then set half of it on fire just for fun.
                Life doesn't have perfect footing.

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


                • #9
                  Originally posted by wildlifer View Post
                  To own another horse? A bazillion dollars. Then set half of it on fire just for fun.
                  this was most excellent.

                  I'd say go for a lease. You mentioned resale. So it sounds like you want some prelim for a few seasons? At least that is what I read.

                  We had a buyer come down here and purchase a really fancy youngster--have it be a little too tough of a ride...last I heard she was leasing From from Phillip Dutton.
                  That's greatness.

                  You could try finding a nice lease for a bit of time and then when you are ready and have a bit more to spend blow it on a fancy young prelim horse. Or at that time then you'll have more to spend on training for a youngster.

                  : )
                  Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!


                  • #10
                    There are two on on here listed as successful training, ready for prelim in your price range. http://old.ponyclub.org/classifieds.php


                    • #11
                      Honestly, as a new mom I would play with the SF and wait until you see how your post-baby riding schedule works. The best-laid plans of new parents often go awry once the baby gets here. You may not have enough riding time to keep a horse (and yourself) prelim-fit.

                      Also, see the thread about moms losing their nerve. The horse you want now may not be the horse you want when you have a needy infant depending on you 24/7. happens a lot!

                      Pregnancy is not really a good time to buy new horses. However, it is a clear pregnancy symptom to want to purchase every horse you see. I'm due in April and New Horse has definitely been my top pregnancy craving. I've avoided it so far, but won't count myself successful until this baby is out.


                      • #12
                        Listen, EVERYBODY wants a "Prelim horse", don't they? Unless your goal in the very immediate future is to be going Prelim, why not be different and find a horse that is ready to go at the level YOU are comfortable and competent doing right now? If that's Prelim from day one, after 4-5 years off, God bless.

                        Megan Moore (Team CEO) always has at least half a dozen competitive, going, solid Novice/Training horses for sale in your price range, and they are all XC machines the way she produces them and all still young and ready for finishing.
                        Click here before you buy.


                        • #13
                          See what fordtraktor said. When I was preggers I was so full of energy and plans and thought I HAD to buy a piece of land and build a house. Was restrained by saner folks in to buying fixer-upper to remodel. I had all these ideas with what I would do with my time/energy.

                          After becoming a mom, I not longer have time or energy. My "baby" is now 11 years old (and just bought an event horse) and my house needing the renovation? Still not renovated. I have yet to find any spare time or energy.

                          Lease something fun and have a blast. It takes the fun out of it when it is not only a ride, but also supposed to be a project, investment, and maybe even competitive. Take the pressure off yourself to have any resale value or take it anywhere particular in the levels. You can do all that later once your little one starts riding with you.
                          At all times, we are either training or untraining.
                          Flying Haflinger blog: http://flyinghaflinger.blogspot.com/ Flying Irish Draught blog: http://flyingirishredhead.blogspot.com/


                          • Original Poster

                            Thanks for the tips everyone. Looks like riding the Training mare that is available to me is the best bet until I know where I'll be at with the kid/fitness/etc.

                            You COTH'ers are always so wise. Great advice.


                            • #15
                              I agree that you don't need a "prelim horse" just because you eventually might want to go prelim. I bought a little horse that had done this and that, including having ammys and kids on him and some schooling shows and he was ready to event in a month and going training level in 6 months. I ended up selling him, but he would have easily made the move to prelim and was not super fancy, but with good, correct gaits, got dressage scores in the low 30s consistently. My current guy is an OTTB that I got quite soon after he came off the track, but again, he is just competely easy and we will do our first training level event this weekend (delayed due to changes in my life as he was ready to move up last summer). Think hard about what you really need and want. I've found a good brain and soundness make up for less of virtually anything else and can often be found in a less fancy, less in possession of a record, or less marketed by a big name pro package for much less money
                              OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!


                              • #16
                                Another option - buy a younger horse (but one you can already ride at lower levels) with less experience and put it with a pro trainer. As a newer mom (my son just turned 3) I've found this to be a life saver. There are days when I'm just too tired to ride. Then the birthday parties and soccer games come along, and suddenly all this competition time and saddle time gets to be a struggle. I know that my trainer is keeping my horse going. She shows it for me and puts miles on it and I can hop on and go!

                                I know there is the "make it yourself or it doesn't really count" mind set with a lot of people, but I love the arrangement. I enjoy owning and riding a nice horse. I also like seeing my horse show even when I'm not the rider. I didn't have a HUGE amount of cash (similar budget to yours) to plunk down, but I can well afford the training board every month.... so that is the route I took.

                                Leasing is another fantastic route if you have a good one available! Put a "board payment" into savings every month while you ride the other horse and watch your budget grow!
                                The rebel in the grey shirt


                                • #17
                                  If you are just coming back after having a baby, I would ride the horse you have access to or lease a BTDT novice/training packer.

                                  My goals post pregnancy were always a bit more ambitious than my reality. That's just me, but I had a much more defined understanding of my mortality and the risk of injury.

                                  Let me also tell you that breaking your hand when you have a 3-month old baby is NOT a good idea. It's very, very difficult to change diapers one handed.
                                  Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                                  EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Bogie View Post
                                    Let me also tell you that breaking your hand when you have a 3-month old baby is NOT a good idea. It's very, very difficult to change diapers one handed.
                                    Should that happen, I would insist that Daddy take up full time diaper duty!!!