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Experienced Packer v. Young Greenie...thoughts appreciated!

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  • Experienced Packer v. Young Greenie...thoughts appreciated!

    Well, horse shopping has proven to be much more difficult than I ever dreamed it would be. Looking on the bright side, I've used the past few months of being riding horseless (my guy is retired) to develop quite an active social life. My friends are thrilled that I no longer spend all my time at that elusive "barn." But, as spring approaches (maybe?? who can tell with this weather!?!), I'm itching to find my next partner. But, I'm torn...do I get a packer that I can hop on and start competing at training level or do I get a green bean?!? I need your help!! Here's the situation:

    I am an experienced rider with lots of show mileage and experience bringing up young horses. However, when I was showing extensively, I was mainly a hunter/jumper (with some unrecognized events thrown in here and there). I've evented through training level at recognized events, but I do not have as much show mileage (though tons of riding mileage) in eventing. At my barn, I am the rider that gets asked to ride the difficult horses for various owners. However, the barn owner/my trainer since I was a tiny kid is focused on hunter/jumper, not eventing. She has known me longest and thinks I shouldn't break the bank on an experienced horse and instead should buy something young and green that I could sell in a few years.

    On the other hand, I had been training with an event trainer, who has since left the area. This trainer suggested I purchase something older (like 10+) just to have some fun at training level and prelim. Then, resell or donate that horse to a college in a couple years and buy something green.

    Here's the problem:

    I want something fancy on the flat and over fences. Most of the packers I've found in my price range ($25,000 max, but preferably $15,000 - $20,000) are either not fancy and on the younger side or fancier and older than I would like (15+). By packer, I mean having gone successfully at Prelim at least 3-4 times.

    But, I'm concerned that I may regret not getting a packer. Having not focused on eventing until more recently, what if I'm making a huge mistake by buying something green?!? Will I be able to move it up through the levels? I would hope so...I moved my own horse up to training level before his retirement, but having never done Prelim, is it naive to think I could bring a horse up to that level?

    So, eventing friends, please impart upon me your wisdom. What would you do? I really don't want to break the bank (trying to be responsible with saving for retirement, etc.), but I will if I have to. Thoughts?!?

  • #2
    Why not meet in the middle. Something younger with solid mileage at novice or training that you can get on and go out with immediately and that you can move up as you are both ready?

    This is what I did, though unintentionally. I was looking for green (MAYBE a couple of BNs or Ns, but I was more likely to find something without any mileage with my budget). Toby had a solid fall season at novice and a couple of good trainings under his belt when I bought him. We did one novice to get a feel for each other, then back up to training. It was nice, as I had a young-ish horse to bring along, but I wasn't starting right back from scratch, as was what I thought I would be doing. Helped that Toby had a solid education (no icky baggage to deal with) before I got him.

    You have a decent budget, but depending on where you are shopping, you may have to make concessions no matter WHAT you want. Fancy and green can be pricey. Fancy with mileage but not too old can be very pricey. Decide what you are willing to do without and what you can NOT live without. For me, I want a great canter and gallop and good jump (though, more accurately, I want a SAFE jumper. Don't really care if they look like Rox Dene and prefer they don't!). I will sacrifice flash in the dressage ring for a great brain that tries hard, as long as I've got a good canter.
    Last edited by yellowbritches; Apr. 5, 2013, 01:48 PM. Reason: clarification
    Amanda

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    • #3
      So if I'm reading your post correctly, the real issue is not Packer Versus Green Horse.

      The real issue is whether you're able to appreciate a non-fancy horse. Is that a personal thing for you? Like, you've always loved and appreciated fancy horses, and you dream of owning one? Or is this an "I grew up in the hunter/jumper world and have been conditioned to think that fancy horses are the better purchase?" If it's the first one and you will be happier to see the head over the stall door because it's a fancy horse and that is more important to you than having a packer, then your choice has been made for you: you'd have to buy a less experienced horse. If it's the second one, consider exactly why you think the fancy horse is better for eventing. It is better because it can possibly pull some dressage scores that will put you in the ribbons? Is it better because you intend to also dabble in the H/J ring at 3' and 3'6"? Is it actually not better and it's just a holdover from your H/J days?

      Also, consider that $15K-$20K can buy you a horse that's going Novice or Training very competently, and it might even be a fairly fancy horse. So you wouldn't have to bring the horse ALL the way up the levels and might be ready to run Prelim on that horse in two or three years. Offered purely for sake of argument, this is the sort of horse I'm imagining: http://www.pheventing.com/Walter.html).

      As for the general abstract question of moving up to Prelim on a horse that's never gone Prelim, I've known plenty of folks who pulled that off. Most of them either paid their trainer to spin the horse around its first few shows at Prelim, or they took things really slow and took baby steps toward Prelim (for example, by doing a Training 3-Day and/or schooling the snot out of Prelim XC + doing a lot of Prelim combined tests while simultaneously showing at USEA recognized events at Training level.)
      Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/

      Comment


      • #4
        I think you need to adjust expectations. Prelim packer plus fancy plus young = pricey, and these days, it's rare to see that anywhere near your budget. Drop any one of those three requirements and your price will drop too, though, to be honest, Fancy plus potential plus young also = pricey. Plus, if your goal is to do your first prelims and get the mileage, it doesn't have to be "fancy" to the jumps (not like the hunters - safe does not equal perfect knees to chin everytime) and it doesn't have to be super "fancy" on the flat, either.

        If I were in your shoes and looking to move up to Prelim for the first time, I would go for experienced and not-too old (say, young teenager), and let fancy on the flat go by the wayside. You can make even a bad mover correct at Prelim - you might not win, but if it'll jump around, you're often going to get some decent ribbons, plus, you'll be safe. Far better that to hold out for super fancy on the flat and hope/pray it's going to jump so long as you're "perfect" - that's a recipe for an unsuccessful move-up.

        Comment


        • #5
          While I can't disagree with what has been said, I think there are options. A lot of it has to do with what floats your boat. I personally love the process of bringing on the youngsters. Competing at preliminary means much, much less to me on a horse that I haven't brought on myself (but I recognize that isn't true for everyone). If you buy a reasonably athletic horse with a good brain, despite your relatively lesser (compared to h/j) eventing experience, no reason to think you couldn't move up within a year or two. I bought a horse straight off the track as a 36 year old ammy who had never evented above unrecognized training level and took him to our first preliminary in 15 months (and no one but I ever competed him or really ever jumped him). Now, he was fancy, but uncooperative on the flat, but that didn't stop us from plenty of good ribbons at preliminary and a 7th place at his first intermediate. However, he's run over 100 recognized events more than 50 at the preliminary and above and he's still sound at 21. My current guy is very similar, also bought recently off the track, slightly less fancy but more tractable on the flat and easy and super smart/brave/careful over fences. My work issues prevented me from riding as much, but he is still solid at training level after less than 18 months and was ready to move up to training after 10 months (I just didn't have time to event at that point, so it was delayed). If you trust your own ability to pick a horse that works for you, peruse Dream Horse, Horseclicks, Sport Horse Nation, etc and I think you will find a ton of more than suitable horses, for example (just found on search as examples, I have no knowledge of or connection to any of these):

          http://www.dreamhorse.com/show_horse...rse_id=1856893
          http://www.dreamhorse.com/show_horse...rse_id=1814976

          If you can travel/ship, there are deals to be had in the midwest and other places a bit off the beaten eventing track.
          OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!

          Comment


          • #6
            To elaborate on GotSpots' post, it's like the old "sound, broke, cheap--choose two" saying. If you want "young", "fancy", and "Prelim miles" you are going to spend a fortune. Choose two.
            Click here before you buy.

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Thanks to all for the helpful comments! I know young + fancy + prelim miles is going to mean tons of money, which is kind of why I was leaning towards young + somewhat fancy. I just started getting nervous about whether I'd be making a huge mistake by not doing prelim with something more experienced first.

              Jn4Jenny - to answer your question, I want something fancy because I realize that now may be the only time in my life that I will be able to afford something fancy. I have a great job that pays very well, I'm not married (but recently engaged...yay!! ), I don't have any kids, I don't have a mortgage, and I'm almost done paying off my law school loans (hallelujah!). That, and I like to win. I know, I know...winning isn't everything, especially not in eventing, but it would be nice to have a horse I could take to the occasional dressage show or hunter/jumper show.

              The horse you posted is quite nice...in fact a lot nicer than what I've seen in my area for that price (I'm in VA). I've inquired about similar horses here only to find them priced at $45,000 - $50,000.

              Comment


              • #8
                I just spent a LONG time shopping, so I feel your pain.
                I agree with everyone else that there is a middle ground to be had - a horse with sufficient eventing miles that you can know he likes it and is good at it, but not so "made" that he will be super expensive.
                The second a sale horse crosses the finish line at his first prelim his price goes way up.
                I am a super ordinary amateur rider and moved up successfully to prelim on a horse who had done novice when I bought him. I am a huge sucker for fancy and a closet dressage queen, so I went for a horse changing careers...but he had evented enough that I knew he could/would enjoy the job.

                Of course it takes longer this way but you learn a ton and enjoy the process.

                Good luck!
                The big man -- my lost prince

                The little brother, now my main man

                Comment


                • #9
                  My first prelim horse I took from unbroke to prelim. I'd gone training on other horses, but not prelim (well, I jumped about 5 or 6 fences at prelim, but the horse spit the bit). When we were ready to move up, it felt, dare I say, easy. We had our green moments (he and I, both) but we weren't dangerous, had a lot of fun, and were pretty competent when I kept my s**t together and he wasn't cheeky.

                  My second horse I took prelim I also started. I hadn't jumped a prelim course since the first one....5 years in between the two. It was even easier on him (he was also a little more athletic and a lot less cheeky, and I was A LOT better of a rider).

                  I know LOTS of people who move up to prelim on a horse that hasn't gone prelim, and most of them, if they've done the homework, do just fine. You can always get a pro ride or two if you are really worried. But I don't think you HAVE to have a going horse to do your first prelims. Ideal situation? Sure! Wouldn't we all love to make each move up on a horse that's done the job! But, it doesn't always happen!
                  Amanda

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by yellowbritches View Post
                    My first prelim horse I took from unbroke to prelim. I'd gone training on other horses, but not prelim (well, I jumped about 5 or 6 fences at prelim, but the horse spit the bit). When we were ready to move up, it felt, dare I say, easy. We had our green moments (he and I, both) but we weren't dangerous, had a lot of fun, and were pretty competent when I kept my s**t together and he wasn't cheeky.

                    My second horse I took prelim I also started. I hadn't jumped a prelim course since the first one....5 years in between the two. It was even easier on him (he was also a little more athletic and a lot less cheeky, and I was A LOT better of a rider).

                    I know LOTS of people who move up to prelim on a horse that hasn't gone prelim, and most of them, if they've done the homework, do just fine. You can always get a pro ride or two if you are really worried. But I don't think you HAVE to have a going horse to do your first prelims. Ideal situation? Sure! Wouldn't we all love to make each move up on a horse that's done the job! But, it doesn't always happen!
                    THANK YOU!!! This is incredibly encouraging. I'm feeling a lot better at the idea of bringing a horse along myself. I wanted to make sure I wasn't going down a path people with more eventing experience know to avoid.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by PrinceSheik325 View Post
                      The horse you posted is quite nice...in fact a lot nicer than what I've seen in my area for that price (I'm in VA). I've inquired about similar horses here only to find them priced at $45,000 - $50,000.
                      To be fair, that horse is an exceptionally good deal and he's in Michigan, where the market isn't quite as hot. (FWIW, Phillippa Humphreys is a wonderful trainer who represents her horses honestly. So if you're interested, she is worth the phone call.) But even so, it seems to me that $15K-$20K would *easily* buy you a fancy horse going Beginner Novice or Novice. And if you look under the right rocks, sometimes it will even buy you Training.

                      Along those lines, this thread was about where to find a horse that was going Novice and ready to move up to Training, and it suggested lots of places to find them in your target price range. If you're in VA, Phyllis Dawson at Team Windchase would be my first stop. And if you're planning to go to Rolex, Meghan Moore at Team CEO Eventing is a stone's throw from the Kentucky Horse Park.
                      http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/sh...-N-and-maybe-T
                      Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Wow, just looked at Phyllis Dawson's sale page. I think in your price range Tulla Gold, Sport, and Lily would all be worth a look. Lily's prelim record is excellent. I expect her to be sold quick! Sport has a solid training record and is schooling prelim as a "push button jumper", and Tulla Gold is a training level packer with a great record. Would be worth asking if he has ability to run prelim. I wish I was in the market right now, I want Lily

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                        • #13
                          Just a note on Windchase...those horses are selling like hotcakes. If you see something you like, best to jump on it, because they are on a crazy streak there right now!
                          Amanda

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