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Buying/Importing a Jumper Prospect - Anyone Have Advice?

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  • Buying/Importing a Jumper Prospect - Anyone Have Advice?

    Along with many other folks here, I'm looking for a dream horse on a budget. Within the next ~12 months I'll be ready to buy a new horse, and I would love a fancy jumper prospect (preferably one that has at least been backed). I'm not ready to buy right now, but would love to start developing contacts and seeing what the market is like so I'm able to move quickly and smartly once I'm ready. As for my background, I'm a former upper-level event rider who switched to jumpers, but I've taken the past few years off from showing.

    I'm based on the West Coast and am willing to look at different regions - U.S., Canada, Europe, NZ, etc. I'd prefer a warmblood, but I'm not totally opposed to a TB if it were the right fit (though I'd prefer one that was unraced or has spent some time off the track). I don't want to burn up a ton of money traveling to visit horses in different regions, and am open to purchasing via video if the seller is reliable and has good references. I'm also open to doing an international trip to try horses, perhaps bringing my trainer along, but would need to sit on a good number of horses to make it worthwhile.

    I want a horse with a good attitude, athleticism, decent conformation, and that will pass a PPE. My goal is to do 1.30/1.40 jumpers (eventually) and my budget would be about $20k all-in, including transport, quarantine, commission(s), etc.. I'm alright with something a little quirky so long as there are no major under saddle issues. If this isn't realistic, feel free to set me straight. The horse would go into full training w/ a local barn that has experience bringing up babies.

    I realize that with young horses there are no guarantees. I once bought a young eventing prospect with good bloodlines, only for her to hate XC and go on to do the hunters instead. But since I don't have the budget for a proven superstar and I'm not looking to join the international GP circuit anytime soon, here we are!

    If anyone has suggestions for breeders, brokers, websites, etc. - or just general tips and suggestions - I would love to hear them! I've had a few friends buy through Harrington Horses in the U.K. recently, and they've had good experiences, so if anyone can comment on them too that would be great.

    Edit: I want to thank everyone for their thoughtful insight. It's allowed me to align my expectations more realistically with the market and really evaluate what I want vs. what I need. I would be content enough w/ a solid 1.20 horse, and good bloodlines aren't absolutely vital (esp. if the horse has had some time under saddle). I'm willing to wait a little longer to buy if it means I can up my budget to ~$25k or so, and I'm open to looking at imports from less common areas (like South America) or finding an event horse that prefers the jumper ring. I'd still love people's suggestions for contacts, breeders, brokers, websites, etc. for all of these options though!
    Last edited by MustangTwist; Nov. 9, 2018, 04:06 PM.

  • #2
    I think with a budget of $20K, it's going to be tough to import to the West Coast. And it's going to be even tougher if your goal is the 1.30-1.40. And bc you are importing to the west coast with our hard ground, your x-rays and the horse's feet have to be absolutely perfect. Quite a few friends of mine imported horses with almost perfect xrays but the horse's feet just could not tolerate the ground here.

    $20K on any quality horse (which 1.30+ demands) imported or not, is going to be a super young horse. I think it can be tough to ascertain on such a young horse if it will have the scope, stamina, brain and soundness for 1.30-1.40. For sure you're going to want to know about every single horse the mother has produced in addition to the stallion. But in this case, the mother will probably be most important.

    I think that budget could be tough for such a lofty goal. To me, there's a big difference between a 1.30-1.40 horse and a 1.20 horse. Will you be disappointed if you only get to the 1.20s? Or the 1.10s? It's a long time to get to either from a young horse. I would probably lean towards waiting to raise more funds to buy something a little further along when you can deduce whether or not it will jump the big sticks.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by greysfordays View Post
      I think with a budget of $20K, it's going to be tough to import to the West Coast. And it's going to be even tougher if your goal is the 1.30-1.40. And bc you are importing to the west coast with our hard ground, your x-rays and the horse's feet have to be absolutely perfect. Quite a few friends of mine imported horses with almost perfect xrays but the horse's feet just could not tolerate the ground here.

      $20K on any quality horse (which 1.30+ demands) imported or not, is going to be a super young horse. I think it can be tough to ascertain on such a young horse if it will have the scope, stamina, brain and soundness for 1.30-1.40. For sure you're going to want to know about every single horse the mother has produced in addition to the stallion. But in this case, the mother will probably be most important.

      I think that budget could be tough for such a lofty goal. To me, there's a big difference between a 1.30-1.40 horse and a 1.20 horse. Will you be disappointed if you only get to the 1.20s? Or the 1.10s? It's a long time to get to either from a young horse. I would probably lean towards waiting to raise more funds to buy something a little further along when you can deduce whether or not it will jump the big sticks.
      Thanks for your honest input - I appreciate it. My goal is to do the 1.30/1.40 jumpers, but if I got a horse that was solid, sound, and competitive at 1.20 (and pleasant to ride on the flat), I'd be happy enough (at least for the near future).

      I'm willing to take a chance on something pretty young, but as I said, I'd ideally want it to have been backed. I am worried about the horse staying sound on hard footing, as you said. Do you have any suggestions on how to ensure the best chance of success w/ that? I personally had a bad experience with importing a beautiful horse from the UK many years ago who passed the PPE, but couldn't stay sound in the U.S. - and we suspect it was an issue with his feet...

      I did consider leasing something while I save up, and it might be an option if I find the right fit, but the more talented horses in decent barns tend to have $$$ lease fees, so it might not allow me to save up much in the long run. Plus, I'd really love to have something of my own if possible.

      Realistically I can probably add $2-4k to my budget to account for contingencies, but would really prefer to stay under $20k all-in, if possible.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by MustangTwist View Post

        Realistically I can probably add $2-4k to my budget to account for contingencies, but would really prefer to stay under $20k all-in, if possible.
        European import costs to the east coast for a gelding are $8-10k, and I assume to the west coast it will be even more. Plus add the cost of a thorough PPE. That does not leave you much at all for purchase price. On that budget I con't know that trying to import makes a lot of sense. That budget means TB's, young horses, possibly event horses that don't want to event, and no guarantee of making it to 1.30/1.40 (not that there is ever really a true guarantee, lol!). You might be better off looking to Canada if you want to import - costs are basically shipping and a small fee at the border, and you get the benefit of the exchange rate.

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        • Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by Madison View Post

          European import costs to the east coast for a gelding are $8-10k, and I assume to the west coast it will be even more. Plus add the cost of a thorough PPE. That does not leave you much at all for purchase price. On that budget I con't know that trying to import makes a lot of sense. That budget means TB's, young horses, possibly event horses that don't want to event, and no guarantee of making it to 1.30/1.40 (not that there is ever really a true guarantee, lol!). You might be better off looking to Canada if you want to import - costs are basically shipping and a small fee at the border, and you get the benefit of the exchange rate.
          At least for geldings, my understanding is that imports from the U.K. are typically running about $8-10k too right now. At least that's what I have heard from my friends who imported within the last few years (including one just last month).

          As I mentioned above, I'm alright with a young horse, preferably if it's been backed and has good bloodlines. Again, I totally understand this doesn't guarantee success in the show ring. I just feel like it's probably my best shot at (eventually) getting the horse of my dreams. I also think it would be rewarding to help produce a young horse.

          I would totally love an eventer who wasn't cut out for 3-day if it had the scope and talent to be competitive at 1.20+. I'm pretty comfortable with eventers and how those horses are typically trained to go. I'm not sure what the best way is to find those horses, although I suppose I still have some eventer friends I could reach out to.

          As I said, I'd also be open to looking in places like Canada (totally agree re: good exchange rate, less transpo costs) or domestically, though my experience has been that sport horse prospects, esp. with good bloodlines from reputable sellers, are much more expensive in the U.S. I'm not saying it's impossible to find a deal, but it certainly seems harder. Another issue with looking domestically is the money I would potentially burn up traveling to different areas just to try a handful of horses each trip. The U.S. is big and domestic travel isn't always cheap. It seems like it might be more efficient to, say, pay $500 for a flight to the UK and look at 30 horses in a week.

          Anyway, if you have any good suggestions in Canada for brokers or breeders, please let me know!

          Comment


          • #6
            Agreeing with the others, importing is not the answer. I'd been talking with someone who imports from Hungary, so not even the main $$$ market. He had literally nothing to show me that would come in under 20 all in, and I was only asking for something that could eventually do the High Adults

            For that price you'd have to go extremely young, at which I'd just stick around here and get a baby from one of the top US breeders and knock on wood.

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by silver_charm View Post
              Agreeing with the others, importing is not the answer. I'd been talking with someone who imports from Hungary, so not even the main $$$ market. He had literally nothing to show me that would come in under 20 all in, and I was only asking for something that could eventually do the High Adults

              For that price you'd have to go extremely young, at which I'd just stick around here and get a baby from one of the top US breeders and knock on wood.
              Thanks, this is helpful to know. I had originally planned on looking primarily in the U.S. or Canada, but I've had friends recently buy really nice babies from Europe (mostly for a purchase price of under $15k) who convinced me it was a better and more economical option.

              If I may ask, what were your criteria? Also, what do you mean when you say "extremely young?" The age range I'm considering is probably 3-5 years old.

              Comment


              • #8
                Agree with the above that if your budget is $20K, it does not make sense to spend almost 50%, if not more, on transport/quarantine, assuming that will cost about $8k-$10K (vetting/commissions you would have to pay no matter where you purchase the horse, although perhaps they would be higher as well if you import). That leaves the amount of budget directed to actual purchase at $10K or less. With a limited budget, it just seems as if it makes more sense to direct the highest amount of funds possible toward the purchase price of the horse rather than to the logistics surrounding the purchase.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I told him something that could do 3'6" without scaring anyone, the more scope the better. Spicy and small were fine and preferred, but they don't tend to keep those types around for the US market. Unfortunately mares cost more to import so they were pretty much out. Everything I saw was doing courses, his contacts weren't marketing anything they hadn't ridden so I'm not sure what that sort of pricing/availability they had on the sub-4 year old group.

                  Well bred weanlings in the states go for 10-15k easy so it's really going to depend on what you're willing to sacrifice- time, money, or scope.

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by TBLover View Post
                    Agree with the above that if your budget is $20K, it does not make sense to spend almost 50%, if not more, on transport/quarantine, assuming that will cost about $8k-$10K (vetting/commissions you would have to pay no matter where you purchase the horse, although perhaps they would be higher as well if you import). That leaves the amount of budget directed to actual purchase at $10K or less. With a limited budget, it just seems as if it makes more sense to direct the highest amount of funds possible toward the purchase price of the horse rather than to the logistics surrounding the purchase.
                    At least for what I've seen (through casual internet searches and talking with friends in similar positions), it seems like jumper prospects for ~$10-15k in Europe are often of higher quality than those the ~$15-20k range domestically. But again, maybe I'm not looking in the right places. Do you have recommendations for good domestic brokers or breeders in the U.S. who have good prospects in that price range?

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by silver_charm View Post
                      I told him something that could do 3'6" without scaring anyone, the more scope the better. Spicy and small were fine and preferred, but they don't tend to keep those types around for the US market. Unfortunately mares cost more to import so they were pretty much out. Everything I saw was doing courses, his contacts weren't marketing anything they hadn't ridden so I'm not sure what that sort of pricing/availability they had on the sub-4 year old group.

                      Well bred weanlings in the states go for 10-15k easy so it's really going to depend on what you're willing to sacrifice- time, money, or scope.
                      Sorry it didn't work out for you, what did you end up getting?

                      A weanling might be a bit young for me, but something in the 3-5 year old range would be great. Do you have any recommendations for good domestic breeders/brokers w/ reasonable pricing?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        What does your trainer say? If they have a lot of experience bringing up young horses perhaps they have recommendations on where to find them, Also do they have European contacts? They may be able to network for you and find something suitable,

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Honestly, green jumpers that are showing 1.20 potential in the 4 years and up range in Alberta are at least $25,000....1.30 potential and higher add another $10,000 (and probably much much more!) plus these are still horses that are showing this potential thru a jump chute and still doing baby green hunters! You can definitely find some very nice ones in your price range that will get you to the 1.10m but to see the proven bloodlines and other offspring that are jumping the bigger fences, I think you’ll have to increase your budget!
                          I have cancer but cancer doesn’t have me!

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                          • #14
                            You won't find what you want for $10k in Europe. It will cost every penny of $10k to get it to Cali from Europe, and thats if the first one passes the vet. $10k in Europe gets you the same exact horse it gets you in the US. Once you're in the 40-80k range is when Europe has a better price range than the US.

                            Europeans aren't stupid, they aren't selling their 1.40 prospects even with attitude problems for $10k even as young as 3.

                            Start trudging through Facebook posts, you can find something for $20k in the US probably, but you will have to get very creative.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              My vet (who is also events) pays extra close attention to the naviculars. Those have to be perfect and the feet have to be at minimum “good”. A lot of the horses that were recently imported come with almost no heel and that plus the hard ground here can cause problems very quickly.

                              I do think you are better off looking domestically and Canada, you can start with the FB pages for Canadian horses. I think your eventing background is going to be an asset for you to bring a young jumper along, you likely have great dressage work to help a young horse’s balance and you’re probably braver than a lot of us!

                              But again if it’s possible to wait even if it means you don’t ride for 6 months to a year and you can add $10k t your budget, it will really help ensure you can at least get to the 1.20s. Otherwise I worry you’ll have to make accommodations on scope or soundness and honestly in CA, you really want to stack the deck in your favor on soundness.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                A couple of breeders in So Cal

                                Carol Parker - Cross Creek Farm (actually in AZ but horses show in California)
                                Rusty and Kandi Stewart - Grey Fox Farm (NOT Gray) - Santa Rosa Valley AKA Camarillo
                                Anneliese Kannow - Three WIshes Farm - also Santa Rosa Valley

                                Anneliese doesn’t seem to have anything at the moment, but it might be worth a call to see if she knows of other people.

                                There are others, but I just can’t think of them at the moment.
                                The Evil Chem Prof

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I ended up not buying anything so we can save up and I can have more wiggle room in either my purchase or training budgets.

                                  There's also Branscomb Farm in CA and Wild Turkey farm in Oregon. Second Three Wishes Farm as well.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by MustangTwist View Post

                                    At least for what I've seen (through casual internet searches and talking with friends in similar positions), it seems like jumper prospects for ~$10-15k in Europe are often of higher quality than those the ~$15-20k range domestically. But again, maybe I'm not looking in the right places. Do you have recommendations for good domestic brokers or breeders in the U.S. who have good prospects in that price range?
                                    10-15 in Europe is 20-25k minimum when you add shipping, commissions and vet work not included in the sale price landed at your barn. 3-5 year olds with your required “ good sport horse lines” will start there without import costs. Breeders know what they have and what a fair price is, so do the agents at the sale yards. You have to be careful assuming what somebody said they paid is actually their complete bill including everything to get it vetted, bought, shipped, quarantined and delivered. Unless you see the bills, you cant really know.

                                    Do have a suggestion , Argentina. They breed Zangersheids and other fine sport horses. It tends to run somewhat less then Europe even though the shipping distance and cost is similar. They are farther from the European hub of FEI competitions, fact their international teams are based in Europe. But they breed at home and know quite a few folks who have imported and been delighted with product and price. You won’t get a unicorn mind you but possible to find more selection in the lower price ranges then Europe.

                                    I wouldn’t lease anything. Rather save every penny as even in Argentina or Canada, 30k delivered is going to get you more of what you want then 20k even if it’s nowhere near what a well bred, sound, backed 3-5 year old with indications of scope for 1.3-4m will cost you anywhere even without shipping.


                                    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      If you'd buy off a video and would look at a thoroughbred, Jessica Redman of Benchmark Sport Horses has a constant high-end selection of Thoroughbreds for sale. She is extremely honest and reliable. A lot of her horses get sold on to top eventers, etc. Worth an open mind

                                      http://www.benchmarksporthorses.com/

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by largo View Post
                                        What does your trainer say? If they have a lot of experience bringing up young horses perhaps they have recommendations on where to find them, Also do they have European contacts? They may be able to network for you and find something suitable,
                                        I've talked pretty briefly with my trainer about it, but as the time approaches we'll have a more serious conversation. She focuses more on dressage these days (but still trains babies over fences and teaches me the occasional crossrail lesson on my 24 year old superstar). Most of the young horses in the barn are OTTBs or dressage horses. I don't think she has many contacts abroad, but I have some eventing friends who may be able to point me in the right direction.

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