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How to show an event horse to buyer

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  • How to show an event horse to buyer

    I am looking for a little help. I am a h/j rider that is selling my horse that would be much better suited to eventing. I have a perspective customer coming to see her this weekend and I am not exactly sure what event riders look for when trying a horse. Obviously the basics that everyone wants in a new horse but what else do you look for and would you like to see when trying a new horse?
    Please keep in mind my mare is being sold as a prospect b/c she is a little over a year off the track and I have had a career change that is leaving me little to no time to ride. She is green but willing.


  • #2
    I like to see them WTC in the school, and pop a few jumps then. I also like to see them out of the school- again WTC and maybe a few jumps outside if it's safe.
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    • #3
      Honestly I just want to see whatever it is she does. If she is w/t great show me that, if she is w/t/c and small fences do that. Don't try to change how she has been going for you to fit what you think the person trying her will like. If there is something specific they want to see they will probably ask.

      I always get on my sales horses first, let the prospective buyer know I'm going to run him through his paces as I normally would so you can see how he goes, then I ask if there is anything more they want to see before they get on. One of the worst times I've had buying horses was when the hunter/jumper owner thought I would want to see it more collected since I was an eventer, so they proceded to hang on the poor thing and got it running through the contact as the horse had never gone like that. Nice horse but it was so frustrated when I got on that I couldn't give it a fair trial. I would have preferred she had ridden it as she normally did then let me on. I can test the horse to see if it will accept the contact without pushing it to its limit while still keeping the ride more what its used to. That way if you like the horse you can take it home and re-train what is needed over a lot more then a 20 minute ride.


      • #4
        First things first. I want to see it longed on hard and soft ground before anything. If it is older I might cut it some slack if it is a tad short on the hard ground, and then improves on soft footing. But with a youngster, if it can't do that then I very kindly thank them and tell them to let me know when it is sound and I will comeback. It can be a bit harsh, but why waste anyone's time?
        After that? Just ride it as you would normally do, and then ask if there is anything specific they would like to see.
        I love when I horse is presented well. Very clean, hooves oiled, not over due for shoes. Basic stuff.
        Good luck


        • #5
          Many eventers are looking for a good mind. So ride the horse doing what you normally do so the buyer can see the horse's normal movement. Pop it over a few jumps. If you have the ability to jump the horse say over a log in a field or some other setting outside an arena with something that looks a little different (barrel, hay bales, etc?), even better. We want the horse to be willing, sane, and thoughtful, even if they are green, because often the big factor is "will it be a fun ride XC" because after all, that is what it's all about!
          Life doesn't have perfect footing.

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          • #6
            Show what it can do, that's all you need. When we are presenting green horses, we will often offer for the potential buyer to take the horse out for a walk around the farm, etc, so they can see its good mind and that it can handle life outside the ring. We even at one point let a buyer take a horse for a little gallop out in the open to show that the little horse would listen and come back (they bought that little mare and she's been FANTASTIC...won the training 3 day this year!). Don't do anything you aren't comfortable with doing (I don't think I'd ever lunge my horse on a hard surface for someone...that's what PPEs are for), but show everything it can do.


            • #7
              I show event horses/prospects the same as any other horse. I do not have a cross country at my farm, if it is a proven eventer then I usually have video footage of it doing some cross country fences. When buyers come, usually the horse is in the field and I go and catch it up, groom it (not excessively!), tack up. if horse is normally lunged prior to riding I will do so, if not then I won't. I walk/trot/canter. If horse is capable of lengthening, leg yielding, lead changes I will show that. Obviously an evener should be more on the bit than a hunter, unless a really young horse. Then if the horse is jumping I show the buyer the horse over a few fences, usually trot a few, then canter a few individual fences, then put a few fences together as lines, turns etc. At that point I ask if they'd like tos ee anything else and then let them ride the horse. Nothing "special". If the prospective buyer wants to see a more seasoned horse go cross country, or try that themselves, I will make arrangements to haul it to a farm with some fences, at the buyers expense.


              • #8
                Show off what the horse knows, and emphasize the horse's strengths-- what makes you think he's a good eventer.

                Don't rush or hurry, but try to demonstrate his skills in a concise manner... do a condensed warmup, and use that time to show off his flatwork-- circles, changes of direction (lengthen across diagonal?), a nice leg yield each way (or perhaps just once the good way, lol), a bit of shoulder in or haunches in if he knows it. Do a trot-canter transition one way, a walk-canter transition the other way, etc. You don't have to show *everything* both ways, just make sure you are showing quality work. Don't force the horse to try something you're *just* learning... exhibit what you know he does well.

                Over fences, again demonstrate whatever he is comfortable with. In your arena, have at least one single fence, a line, and a combination set up. Have the jumps aleady set to an appropriate height (incl the warmup) so you don't waste the buyers' time setting fences. As an eventer, the horse should be comfortable jumping angles and skinnies--suitable to the horse's level, of course (practice these beforehand!). But, do not attempt anything the horse is prepared to do... be honest with the buyers and don't push your horse beyond his limits just because they want to see him jump bigger or attempt something beyond his level of training.

                Don't stress too much about being "perfect." It's not a bad thing to miss a distance or make a mistake-- people want to see how the horse deals with a bad spot, or fixes a problem. Do the best you can, and let the horse sell himself.
                “A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.”
                ? Albert Einstein



                • Original Poster

                  Thank you all! I think my main concern was that we have no real schooling area outside the ring on our facility.


                  • #10
                    If you have a field they can hack in or something, that would be good.

                    You may also consider meeting them at a local park or other trail-able facility for a second trial, if the person likes the horse.


                    • #11
                      I want to see the horse pulled out of the barn of pasture, groomed, tacked up, bridled, then gone through its normal routine. Before boots are put on i will feel their legs for any old injuries. If its normally lunged, then i want to see it lunged.

                      Then i want to see it ridden how it is normally ridden. That way i know (asumming i like the horse) what i need to work on with the horse or what the horse has that i really like. W/T/C, a few jumps if they are jumping. If there is a place to ride it outside i want to see it outside, if not thats okay. I know a lot of places dont have a place to do that.

                      Then I will get on, W/T/C and again jump if they jump. I might try a shoulder fore at the walk or try something that makes them think and see how they take it. If the horse doesnt jump i like to see it free jumped over something just big enough (normally 2'6" to 3' is big enough) to see it pick up its legs and jump.

                      Sometimes if the owner will let me, i will flex them.

                      and remember that even if the ride doesnt go amazing, doesnt mean they wont buy them. My most recent purchase was a project horse, she was a 3'9" jumper before her previous owner bought her. Then she decided to sell her because she was switching to western but couldnt sell her because she was NUTS (hence being a project horse) and she was super cheap because no one could ride her (including myself). When i tried her i could barely keep her in a trot and when we cantered (more like crazy gallop), she would buck and crow hop. In addition i had about 40 pounds in my hands in a pelham. But all in all there were a few moments that i really liked and bought her because i felt with some managment and retraining she could be really nice.

                      I brought her home, put in her 24/7 turnout, gave her some tums before i rode her, and i can ride her on the buckle in a snaffle at all gaits. She is still hot, but i plan on taking her training in feb and prelim in summer.

                      so really show your mare how you normally would ride her and all you can hope for is that the rider just clicks with her.
                      "Let the fence be the bit." - Phillip Dutton


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by yellowbritches View Post
                        Show what it can do, that's all you need. When we are presenting green horses, we will often offer for the potential buyer to take the horse out for a walk around the farm, etc, so they can see its good mind and that it can handle life outside the ring. We even at one point let a buyer take a horse for a little gallop out in the open to show that the little horse would listen and come back (they bought that little mare and she's been FANTASTIC...won the training 3 day this year!). Don't do anything you aren't comfortable with doing (I don't think I'd ever lunge my horse on a hard surface for someone...that's what PPEs are for), but show everything it can do.
                        Best advice is do not do anything you are not comfortable with, And I really hate it when buyers show up thinking they are a vet and try to "feel legs and do flex's" watch the horse go first for G--D sake you can see if it is off or not and if you can't then why would you be doing flexion's????


                        • #13
                          I agree with the others, just show the prospective buyer what the horse knows, what its gaits are like, and what you've done with it so far. Hopefully said buyer will not be expecting too much from a horse that's only been off the track and had minimal experience.

                          Be honest about temperament, manners, any soundness issues and what training questions have come up.

                          Hopefully the horse is not being marketed as an "event prospect" simply because it's "not a good enough mover or jumper" for the hunters. To me "event prospect" means "really good over fences, a great mind, good gaits, tough, sound and bold".
                          Click here before you buy.


                          • #14
                            What do I want to see when looking at a horse?

                            Like faluut, I want to see the horse groomed and handled on the ground. Forget any extra fancy stuff (e.g. hoof polish). I want to see the raw animal including the hooves.

                            I am happy to hop right on or follow a ride. The key is I want to ride the horse and see the horse ridden. I want to see them over open ground, outside the big white box. If you can't get them out I want to see lots of ground poles mixed with the jumps. It lets me see if the horse can see/think in 3 dimensions as needed on XC.

                            I want to see basic dressage, leg yields, shoulder fore, slight extension, slight collection to examine the adjustability and to see how the horse responds. Obviously this can be done as part of the warm-up.

                            All of this is relative to the experience level of the horse. For an OTT horse, not much jumping but I do want to see something to help me judge the bravery of the animal such as a series of placement rails to a small fence.

                            At some point in the purchase process I do want the horse out on XC or have them let me take the horse around XC (even a few standards and rails in a big open pasture will work to a point). I don't do this with field hunters but with others, there are just too many variables out there that can not be accounted for in the ring.

                            And at some point I do want to see the horse pressed in its understanding, e.g. do something it has never been trained to do. I want to get an idea of the horse's breaking point and how it reacts. Will it come back and try? Will it shut down?


                            • #15
                              I may be a little atypical, but I've never ridden any of the horses I bought "out", and most I've never ridden at all because they were at the track and I don't have a jock's license. Worse yet, I've only seen each one once before scheduling the prepurchase. Caveat emptor, indeed!

                              But I know what I want to see. It's nice to see the horse brought in from the field, groomed and tacked, but that's not always possible. What I do want to see is a horse that hasn't already had a schooling session and bath before I got there. So bring it out and stand it up for me in a place where I can see it clearly (and I'll be videoing everything, BTW). Walk it in a straight line towards me and away. Then trot same thing. Then lets tack it up.

                              Let me see it's regular rider on it (an ammy, I hope!), doing it's regular job. Even if it doesn't jump,I hope to see it walk and trot over ground poles, and maybe try a little crossrail. Then I will get on and see what happens.

                              I really study the videos when I get home, and usually get opinions from people I trust. I've always liked what I got with the possible exception of one horse, so I guess it worked for me!
                              They don't call me frugal for nothing.
                              Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.


                              • #16
                                Here's one that came up. If the ammy owner/rider is injured, would you be okay seeing the pro trainer put the horse through its paces (and settle for XC video of the ammy at a show)?

                                We also don't have a XC course, but a buyer could ride the horse up the driveway (WTC) up and down the hill and outside the arena. Our outdoor is big enough for at least a hand gallop to see how the horse reacts, and we could even set up a fence off a Novice gallop. Obviously most people would still want to ride the horse XC, but most courses around here close for the winter. How many would buy a horse with that setup (no XC, but out of the arena trial, small gallop, and video of horse competing)?


                                • #17
                                  I agree with Reed -- want to ride the horse "out" and about -- if need be, we can trailer somewhere for pt. 2 of the process. My young horse was started as a foxhunter, and the guy didn't even have a real ring -- so we rode in a field, but it wasn't somewhere "new" -- but in that case I was less worried about how he'd be on xc because of how he was started (and I was right -- took him much longer to learn how to focus in the ring jumping than out on xc).

                                  As with what Reed said, I like to "push" the horse just a little bit in some way, ESPECIALLY if it is green. With my young horse, it wasn't going somewhere, as that wasn't really feasible; it was putting my husband on board, first green rider for the horse. Then I got back on, and pressured him a bit. Both times his reaction was wonderful -- sensible, let go of it right away.

                                  Only thing I'd add that I don't see here is that I want to see the horse ridden WITHOUT a standing martingale. That's a piece of equipment we can't use in eventing, and while I understand that many people start young horses with them, it's going to go when the horse comes to my barn.
                                  The big man -- my lost prince

                                  The little brother, now my main man


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by asterix View Post
                                    Only thing I'd add that I don't see here is that I want to see the horse ridden WITHOUT a standing martingale. That's a piece of equipment we can't use in eventing, and while I understand that many people start young horses with them, it's going to go when the horse comes to my barn.
                                    Ha ha--I once tried a hunter horse that they thought would make a good eventer. The girl was tacking him up and I stopped her when she was putting on the martingale. She looked at me like I was from the MOON--I was going to ride the 18hh horse without a martingale? Turns out he did fine without it (though I didn't end up buying him).