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Would you buy a good horse's sibling?

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  • Would you buy a good horse's sibling?

    So, I have the opportunity to buy my heart horse's full sibling. I wasn't really going to look for a horse until I got back to the states, but she is going to be on the market after a tune-up. I lost my heart horse to esophageal cancer, though the parents are both still alive and in their late 20's, so the line doesn't seem to have cancer problems.

    It's a mare, not a gelding like the heart horse was, but she was bred and raised in the same place, with the same family. I've kept in touch with them since I bought the first horse from them and they have never been anything but completely honest with me. They put an amazing foundation on their horses, take them everywhere and expose them to tons of stuff. They say she is a clone of her brother, with the same amazing mind the stud gifts all his babies with. She is 7, She hasn't been ridden a ton because they are usually busy with clients horses, so still a little green. (Wiggly green I can handle easy, bucky bolty green I don't want a part of. Her brother was always level headed, even when he was so green that straight lines were non-existent.)

    I can afford her, and I can afford to keep her in full training with them until I get to the states, and I can afford to ship her from where she is to where I will be. I might have a bit of a time with the husband, I promised him I wouldn't buy another horse sight unseen after the last one left me with broken bones. But I got the heart horse sight unseen from these folks, and he was everything they said he was and so very much more.

    I do worry that I wouldn't be able to see her for her, that I might compare the two too much.

    Help me COTH, you're my only hope!!!
    For the horse color genetics junky

  • #2
    I wouldn't hesitate to buy the full sibling of a horse I loved. But you'd have to go into it prepared to love the horse in front of you, and not constantly comparing her to the one you lost. That takes some self reflection, as it's a highly personal thing.

    I've bought horses sight unseen. More than once. I think if you have good video that goes a long way. And since you trust the breeders/owners, that would remove any lingering concerns. Sure, there's a chance that you get her and realize you're not a mare person. Or that her gaits aren't the same as the gelding's, or that she's not as affectionate on the ground (as a general rule, I think geldings are like dogs, whereas mares are more on the cat spectrum). If you can live with those risks, and are prepared to deal with them (selling at some point down the road, or just living with less of a bond, or whatever) than I think you should do it if you can support it financially and can get DH on board, even if grudgingly.

    So I say Do It!

    but I'm admittedly an enabler...
    A good man can make you feel sexy, strong, and able to take on the world.... oh, sorry.... that's does that...


    • #3
      I would not buy sight unseen. Unless she did a stint as a broodie, there is usually a good reason why a 7 year old that is owned by a professional breeder is still green. If you cannot make the trip to try her yourself, at least engage the services of an agent you can trust to try the horse and video the mare for you.


      • #4
        I bought the cousin of a horse I lost. This worked for me as they had enough similarities, but not so similar that it felt like a replica. Having one being a gelding and one a mare helps with seeing the new horse as a new horse and not just a replacement, I think.

        Having said that, I would also want to know why she is still green.


        • Original Poster

          Originally posted by OneTwoMany View Post
          I would not buy sight unseen. Unless she did a stint as a broodie, there is usually a good reason why a 7 year old that is owned by a professional breeder is still green. If you cannot make the trip to try her yourself, at least engage the services of an agent you can trust to try the horse and video the mare for you.
          I'm not super worried about the time off they gave her. She is the last foal of their favorite mare and the stud they have owned for 20 years. Think sentimentality got worked into the mix and they didn't want to let her go even though she wasn't being used much. They have the land to let her hang.
          For the horse color genetics junky


          • #6
            I would leap at the chance to buy a full sibling to one of my late horses.. So long as you have the financial means and wherewithal, I'd say go for it.

            Keep in mind like you said, they are their own entity. They don't know they're a sibling to the horse you lost.. but chances are, there will be some familial resemblances. Chances are they will also help heal that hole in your heart from your recent loss (hugs)

            I've purchased siblings before. I bought an OTTB that really impressed me a few years ago. I liked him so much I started looking for full siblings for my sister, who wanted to get back into riding. I couldn't buy his full sibling (she was retained for race horse breeding, they wanted $15k for her!) so I settled for a "half" sibling by the same sire. Since I knew the sire-line fairly well, I figured it would be a better gamble than buying a sibling from the mare, who was relatively unknown to me.

            I could not be more happy with the horse we came home with. He is just enough like my other TB(#1) that the good things we love about #1 are also in #2. He is a bit more of a punk, in a good way, but I would have a whole barn of these guys if I could.

            We technically bought him sight unseen. I had seen him before at the track, since I volunteered at the track he raced at, but hadn't seen him in about a year. Once he was ready to retire and taken in by an OTTB rescue I trust (Second Chance Thoroughbreds, NY), we signed the papers and off he went to us. He was exactly as they described, and was exactly what I expected. I think having the right parties in the mix make buying sight unseen much less of a gamble. You need the right connections, but many OTTB reformers or resellers buy sight unseen with connections they trust.

            AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012


            • #7
              Oh man that's tough. My heart horse is 26 and eats my money in retirement. I would certainly look at a full sibling of hers. I looked at the same breed hoping to find lightning in a bottle again, I think I did and then he failed the vet (and I had to be talked out of it even after he failed the vet, emotions are strong drivers). It was easier for me mentally and emotionally to move on and let her just be the unicorn that she is for me and look elsewhere, whether that's different breeds or just totally unrelated horses. Even then I compare certain personality traits in all horses to how she was. Or certain behavior or performance habits to how she was. If I had a full sibling or the same breed trying to do the same things I did with her, I'm not sure I could ever stop with the constant comparisons which would potentially lead to constant disappointment that this other horse was not just her clone (for clarity my retiree is a gypsy vanner who was one of the greatest jumpers you'll ever meet form and heart wise, I did everything from jumpers to eq to derbies on her, the derbies came out too late in her life we only did three of them, at the 2'6, but she ribboned in every single one out of 20-30 horses with pro riders doing the 3', back when shows did open height combined derbies. She was also a trail riding phenom).

              That's just me though. If I were you I would go look at the horse, don't buy sight unsee that's a set up for disappointment, but go with a friend or your trainer who can help you see without your rose colored glasses. I took a close friend with me to look at the other gypsy vanners who was able to kindly tell me "this is not what you're looking for" when I couldn't see past certain things that I loved because of my retiree.

              Quite frankly going and looking really helped me to close that chapter for myself also, I confirmed that others were not her, in my mind she is a one off, and that enabled me to look elsewhere fully open minded. I ended up with a welsh x tb hony which is as about opposite to a gypsy vanner as you can get and I adore him, he's wonderful. Getting to him was quite a process though, emotionally, because of trying to chase down a replica of my heart horse.


              • Original Poster

                Going to see her is not in the cards. I am in South Korea right now and she is in Oregon. (And I am moving to Texas in December.)
                For the horse color genetics junky


                • #9
                  Go for it. You know you’ll have the brain and athletic talent you want. You’ll learn the siblings quirks and love her for herself after a week. Personally, I love that she’s still a bit green at 7 - means her legs haven’t been pounded and she’ll stay sound longer.

                  I bred full siblings and, while they looked almost identical, their personalities had enough differences that I had no problem loving them for themselves.

                  Love that you have a breeder you can trust. 😁


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Twisting View Post
                    Going to see her is not in the cards. I am in South Korea right now and she is in Oregon. (And I am moving to Texas in December.)
                    Oh bummer sorry I missed that. It's a tough call. If it's a breeder you have great trust in that helps a ton. I think this is a super individual, personal choice to make. I think it's totally possible to have more than one heart horse in life.


                    • #11
                      I have a barn full of brothers and half brothers (mother in law is the breeder lol!) so I say go for it! All of my guys have very, very similar personalities, which is why I love having them in my barn so much. But they are all different in certain ways. They move, act and really all look alike though. Just a few quirks here and there which of course can be expected! Just go in knowing that and you will be totally fine. A good video and pics can tell you a lot for sure. I have actually purhased a few of my boys site unseen from other buyers (bred at home, sold to the US and then sold back to Canada. I'm the first one to jump on them once I hear they are for sale as I just love the breeding and brains of these guys!).

                      If you have the money and time, purchase her and see how it goes. Maybe they can buy her back if for some reason it doesnt work out for you?? Or do some sort of a deal?


                      • #12
                        I did it. I love my mare and I'm not a mare person and I saw her 5 year younger brother was for sale. I sent a friend to try him for me and bought him. The mare was bought and then raised by the stallion owner, he liked her and she was for sale as she wasn't a gelding. The mare has better boundaries and ground work than the younger brother who was raised by the mare owner.

                        My mare is their mother in terms of conformation and coloring with upgraded movement. She's a bit mareish if another horse gets close but loves people. My gelding is their father in terms of conformation and coloring and is the better mover of the two and he just wants friends!

                        Would I do it again yeah most likely, there's been some issues with bucking with the gelding but he's young, hadn't really been worked and possibly arrived with ulcers which were treated and he's got his own custom saddle now.

                        If it feels right do it!

                        Crayola Posse: Violet Blue


                        • #13
                          I think if you're going to buy sight unseen, this has the hallmarks of being successful. You know the breeder and have had experience with them in the past and you're familiar another horse who has the same bloodlines of the horse.

                          I think 7 is awfully old to be terribly green, and even if their intentions were golden, you may encounter a training issue when you get her. Many older horses that have sat around doing nothing can expect that life will always be that easy, and it's an adjustment going from 7 years of living the good life to working for a living. So just be aware that even if you trust their word on why she's green, 7 year old green learning to be an adult is not always an easy transition. On the flip side, you won't have to worry about pushing her physically like you do a 3 or 4 year old as she's physically matured, so that's nice.

                          Also, I've known full siblings that were very different, so I think you need to be careful in your expectations. She's a mare, not a gelding and that alone may cause some significant differences. I think if you're not mentally prepared for them to be different, you could run into the scenario where you get frustrated with her. "But heart horse was SO much easier! He didn't do this!" - or whatever. So just know that full siblings does not in any way mean that they're going to be the same type.

                          Neither of those are reasons to not move forward, but they are things to keep in mind.
                          Jennifer Baas
                          It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. (Aristotle)


                          • #14
                            My mom did. Ok, she bought the brother of her mare vs the other way 'round, but she's owned him 21 years. Yes, be sure you don't expect her to be her brother, but you do know that "genetic compound" has worked for you before.
                            I would be much more concerned about the sight unseen part (we had watched & known Mom's gelding since he was born as his breeder was a good friend & lived close by) regardless of being familiar with the genetic component.
                            "Radar, the man's ex-cavalry: if he sees four flies having a meeting, he knows they're talking about a horse!" Cptn. BJ Hunnicutt, M*A*S*H Season 4, Episode "Dear Mildred"


                            • #15
                              My sister and I owned full brother (me) and sister (her). They were very similar in appearance (bright chestnut with some white) and conformation, but VERY different in temperament and attitude.

                              The mare was a bit hot, with a "make me" attitude, but once she accepted my sister as leader, she was a very bold and confident jumper, both in the ring and cross country. If she was scared of something she would try to attack it. She competed through Prelim.

                              The gelding had a much more laid back personality (wanted to please), but was much less bold. If he was scared of something he would plant his feet. He also had arthritis in his hip, which limited his scope. He was a great kids horse, and took two young ladies through Novice level eventing, but that was pretty much his limit. He died this January, aged 36.

                              I have no regrets, but he was NOTHING like his sister.

                              chief feeder and mucker for Music, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now). Spy is gone. April 15, 1982 to Jan 10, 2017.


                              • #16
                                What kind of tune up is she getting? If you will be back stateside in 3 months or so, very possible she will still be available. Aren’t that many buyers looking for very green coming 8 year olds that have been sitting for years going into the fall and winter. Be hard to get her very saleable In just a couple of months.

                                Just a thought. Do you have to decide right now?
                                When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


                                • Original Poster

                                  Originally posted by findeight View Post
                                  What kind of tune up is she getting? If you will be back stateside in 3 months or so, very possible she will still be available. Aren’t that many buyers looking for very green coming 8 year olds that have been sitting for years going into the fall and winter. Be hard to get her very saleable In just a couple of months.

                                  Just a thought. Do you have to decide right now?
                                  I don't, and can wait, I forget about seasons and how they effect sales. 10 years in Hawaii will do that.
                                  For the horse color genetics junky


                                  • #18
                                    If a full sibling of my current horse came available in a similar situation as you describe, I'd be all over it. So count me in the "go for it" category.


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Twisting View Post
                                      Going to see her is not in the cards. I am in South Korea right now and she is in Oregon. (And I am moving to Texas in December.)
                                      Where in Texas?

                                      Why the pressure to buy her now? Like findeight said, why can’t you wait until you’re back in the states?

                                      I buy mine sight unseen all the time. But I’m willing to deal with what they bring. You sound a little more burned than that and emotionally tied is adding to the mix.

                                      My adventures as a working rider



                                      • #20
                                        It’s not so much the buying sight unseen, most people who’ve had more then a couple of horses in their lives have done that without too much trouble. it’s the being a totally absent owner a 10 hour plane ride away for over 3 months sending checks for PPE, purchase price, board and full training trusting everything will go perfectly and exactly as planned. On this kind of older Greenie, can assure you there’s a much greater chance things will not preceded without any glitches or surprises.

                                        A month? Maybe. Three months of full training with no personal visits or anyone looking in on your behalf? Not so much. Not that I’m saying they are untrustworthy, just that turning over 100% control and a whole bunch of money over to them along with the unseen, basically very green horse is quite a long leap of faith. We all know sh*t happens with horses but dealing with it from that kind of distance adds a whole new aspect.

                                        Sounds like you are already considerably emotionally involved with this horse just because it’s a sibling. Most times sight unseen works because it appears to be the perfect fit, the right time, right place and the right price. Here there’s really nothing except the breeding and certainly a challenge in the right place and time department.

                                        Have they sent sent you pictures and video of the mare? Does she remind you of your gelding? At least get some video so you can make the right choices here.

                                        Not saying no here, just saying take a deep breath here, talk to these people and see if you can figure out a way to work this out without buying immediately and just sending big checks every month for the rest of the year, Older Greenies are not flying off the shelves at the horse market, they should be able to work with you. Talking 90 days here. Max.

                                        But at least get them to upload some pics and videos before you fall in love with it. Preferably a video of somebody riding it a bit.

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

                                        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.