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When looking for a prospect, which would you pick?

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  • When looking for a prospect, which would you pick?

    As I start to consider my next mount when I retire The Queen, would love your opinion on which avenue you would take.

    Baby Warmblood or an OTTB? Realistically I will not have the budget for much more. I have a breeder friend that breeds lovely, quiet, great minded babies. Have had the opportunity to ride two and work with 4. All fabulous brains. Downfall is that I’d have to buy a yearling or weanling and play the waiting game.

    Owner will cheaply board the baby at her place for however long so it can grow up with other babies in a huge field. OTTB’s obviously can be ridden and developed faster in the same price range as a baby, but are not without issues. I’ve started/brought along a good handful of babies in my younger years. I’ve also done at lot of OTTBs. Would love to hear your opinions/insights! Why would you go the route you stated?
    "And my good dreams? They all come with a velvet muzzle and four legs. All my good dreams are about horses."--In Colt Blood

    COTH Barn Rats Clique!

  • #2
    If you haven't yet retired your horse, I'd go with the great minded baby this spring. You'll have your houre while baby grows up, and as you taper/ease the Queen into retirement, baby can start getting trained up.

    but i have no idea what your timelines are like, or if that would be feasible.


    • #3
      I think you need to ask yourself what type of qualities you are looking for. Big, floaty movement? Want the A circuit hunter look? Are these babies growing up to be horses you can see yourself loving riding in the future, or no? If so, probably want to stick with the WB. If you've not yet retired your horse yet, buying a baby now would probably be good timing. Or are you happy with something that you can ride now, and while possibly more average moving/jumping, would be a fun and capable mount? Then the OTTB route can be a great option.

      I did this back in 2013. I debated between a lovely, big Holsteiner 2 yr old and getting an OTTB. The Holsteiner was already stretching my budget, but he was super nice, his siblings were in the barn and were maturing to be pretty nice and consistent, and I saw him as a horse for the future. While he grew up I knew I could lesson and help school the other young horses in the barn and still have riding time. But I had also grown up on TBs, and was feeling like I wanted to go back to TBs after spending the last several years on WBs and Irish horses (who are all mindblowingly awesome). So, like you know, those are two very different options.

      I went the OTTB route and it worked perfectly for me. As I was casually debating between the WB baby and OTTBs, a lovely prospect popped up on the CANTER website. Tried putting it out of my mind, but I kept coming back to him, called, and that weekend I was on a plane to check him out. It really was a time sensitive decision at the end of the day. Soon, who would go on to be my heart horse, was getting interest from other buyers. That, paired with the relatively low price point made it a pretty simple decision. I also wanted to be able to ride and train my horse now, versus another two years from now. Riding wise I really couldn't ride the big, loose moving WBs anymore with my bad back. A more average/humble moving TB is a much more enjoyable ride for me these days, as much as I drool over those huge moving types. It also is nice having the OTTB as more of a "known quantity" in terms of work ethic and soundness - Soon had raced 52 times with no lameness, and he continued to hold up beautifully. With a baby, that's a bit of an unknown. The nice thing about a baby is you can determine how he/she is molded and brought up, and you don't always get a full history on an OTTB.

      I liked that the budget I had (which would be entirely eaten by the purchase price of the WB) would pay for the OTTB, a new saddle if necessary, lessons, insurance, and a cash heap to use for veterinary expenses until the insurance was increased enough to be useful. I didn't have any buffer with the WB, and that made me uneasy. My mentality with the OTTB was since it would be a relatively low cost/risk investment, if the horse didn't end up working out for me, just retrain, resell, and re-evaluate my path from there.

      And that WB baby I wanted? I kept track of him, and like most of his siblings he grew up to be a big, easy packer type that is a lovely AA/AO hunter and equitation horse. Would have been happy with him too.

      But buying that OTTB was decision I've ever made in my life. Ever. You can read about Soon in my COTH blogs or my regular blog in my signature block. He saved my life. He and I had this beautiful, amazing, crazy journey that I could have never anticipated, could not have possibly scripted, and would not trade in for the world. The whole world.
      War Horse Blog
      Blogging for The Chronicle of the Horse


      • #4
        Originally posted by LilRanger View Post
        If you haven't yet retired your horse, I'd go with the great minded baby this spring. You'll have your houre while baby grows up, and as you taper/ease the Queen into retirement, baby can start getting trained up.

        but i have no idea what your timelines are like, or if that would be feasible.
        That’s actually exactly what my plan would be.
        "And my good dreams? They all come with a velvet muzzle and four legs. All my good dreams are about horses."--In Colt Blood

        COTH Barn Rats Clique!


        • #5
          I think the answer depends on what your riding and showing goals are.


          • #6
            Depends on your budget and timeline too. If you are in your late 40s, you may not want to go with a WB yearling with a 4 year horizon.
            When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

            The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


            • #7
              I've done both....and honestly next time I'd take that 2-3-4 years you wait for the baby to grow up, send what it would cost to board, trim, and do basic vet work on it for those years, then buy something fancy already going under saddle with the money you'll have then. Babies are so risky. A lot can happen to a horse in 3-4 years. I have the colic surgery bill for a 3 yo to prove it....sigh.

              That said, a good OTTB is never a bad way to go. I'm in love with my current one. He's a lovely mover but also has the best brain. In a few years he will be one of those "anyone can ride" types, with the athleticism to keep it interesting.


              • #8
                I too had this dilemma and I ended up going the WB baby route. I second fordtraktor's opinion though, you factor in regular maintenance, board, etc. and you basically have the budget for a well brought up warmblood - that is if you want to continue horseless for the time being. I was not okay with that unfortunately!

                I'm young and felt like I had the time to wait for a nice horse. I've ridden OTTBs almost my entire riding career, with only being on a handful of nice WBs here and there and so I wanted my own "fancy" horse. However, there is no guarantee with babies so I also had to take that into consideration and take the risk. I got lucky with mine, she vetted nearly perfect and is one of the smartest, solid brained horses I've ever had the pleasure of working with. No regrets on my end, HOWEVER, it is pretty painful to wait until that third year for backing/under saddle training. How I wish I had my own horse to sit on.

                In the meantime, we did lots of groundwork (she is polite as can be), and I also had the opportunity to ride a variety of other horses at my barn which increased my versatility, which I find is really beneficial.

                Ultimately, both choices are wonderful and I hope you find your perfect match!


                • #9
                  Baby WB for me too. I’ve had bad lameness issues with TBs and have yet to meet one who didn’t have something wrong. Sweet horses but I feel they got the short straw genetics wise and many people can’t afford to have a horse sit in a field their whole life.


                  • #10
                    This was my budget, too - went with a TB, he’s a lovely mover and has a very ammy-friendly brain - you can really find a gem, if you look! I am hoping to eventually get a little farmette, so I can have more than one horse - and I’m looking forward to facing this dilemma again!


                    • #11
                      Both are risky IMO. Babies are a risk in keeping them safe and sound until they are actually ready to do something, and OTTB's have their own soundness issues more often than not.

                      I liked the suggestion of collecting the money you would be spending on purchase, board and care over the downward swing years for your queen.


                      • #12
                        I've also been debating this same exact thing. I think I've landed in the camp of OTTB though because of the fact that I'm horseless right now and wouldn't want to wait for a baby to grow up before I have something to ride. You're obviously in a different position having another horse that's still ride-able, though.

                        I think either is obviously a risk but the nice thing about an OTTB would be that it would take a lot less time (and board/training/etc) to realize if the horse isn't a fit for you and send it on its way. Also, there's so many people now that flip don't have to take the big risk of getting it directly off the track. You can see how they move and jump before you buy, and while you might pay a bit of a premium for that, it would still be well within the range of a quality WB baby.
                        My CANTER cutie Chip and IHSA shows!


                        • #13
                          Done the baby WB thing 3x. Would do it every time
                          Draumr Hesta Farm
                          "Wenn Du denkst es geht nicht mehr, kommt von irgendwo ein kleines Licht daher"
                          Member of the COTH Ignorant Disrepectful F-bombs!*- 2Dogs Farm


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Nootka View Post
                            Done the baby WB thing 3x. Would do it every time

                            Do you mind if I ask why?
                            "And my good dreams? They all come with a velvet muzzle and four legs. All my good dreams are about horses."--In Colt Blood

                            COTH Barn Rats Clique!


                            • #15
                              I have a ton of time to figure it out still, so thanks for everyone's suggestions/recommendations and for sharing your experiences!

                              I will say that I have seen a *lot* of really nice OTTB's lately! Several of my friends have them and are incredibly happy with their purchases. I'm enjoying window shopping for now at least!
                              "And my good dreams? They all come with a velvet muzzle and four legs. All my good dreams are about horses."--In Colt Blood

                              COTH Barn Rats Clique!


                              • #16
                                I would rather do training right the first time and know their whole history. I've had horrible luck with OTTBs. I can buy a fancy baby for less than a made one and control most of its environment growing up. Yes, it is time consuming but I love babies.
                                Draumr Hesta Farm
                                "Wenn Du denkst es geht nicht mehr, kommt von irgendwo ein kleines Licht daher"
                                Member of the COTH Ignorant Disrepectful F-bombs!*- 2Dogs Farm


                                • #17
                                  Some good perspectives so far. The other thing to keep in mind is resale value should the horse prove to be not quite what you’re looking for. If that baby or OTTB doesn't develop into the horse you want, which will command the higher price? Almost certainly, it’s the warmblood.

                                  Yes, there are super nice OTTBs out there. And there are a ton of buyers who absolutely refuse to look at them. Having had both TBs and WBs in my life, I think that’s a shame. But it’s also the reality we live in, and it’s worth bearing in mind in case you ever have to put the horse on the market.


                                  • #18
                                    I did the WB baby thing about 8 years ago and have no regrets. I was in the same boat where it was going to be OTTB or yearling WB based on my budget. I found a yearling WB I fell in love with and after getting him vetted had him shipped from Oklahoma to Alberta and spent the next few years just playing around, grooming him and working on basic manners. He was by far the easiest horse I have ever started, and I had a lot of trust in what his responses to new things would be by the time he was being started under saddle having spent so much time with him.

                                    He grew up to be nicer than I dared to hope and gave me the opportunity to compete in hunters, jumpers, and equitation on the A circuit which I hadn't had the opportunity to do in many years. He was an absolute dream horse in every way imaginable. I did end up making the decision to sell him this year because I felt he was too nice a horse, for what I currently have time to ride and show. Being a beautiful moving, well bred, exceptionally quiet trainable gelding made it a lot easier to find a good home than had I been trying to market an OTTB. I have ridden plenty of OTTB's and think they can be amazing but they are definitely harder to sell.


                                    • #19
                                      Good points on the resale portion of it as well, that’s not something I had thought much about.
                                      "And my good dreams? They all come with a velvet muzzle and four legs. All my good dreams are about horses."--In Colt Blood

                                      COTH Barn Rats Clique!


                                      • #20
                                        Talked to breeder friend and she has a few babies that will be born this summer that would likely suit what I’m looking for. Will be fun keeping an eye on the babies at least!
                                        "And my good dreams? They all come with a velvet muzzle and four legs. All my good dreams are about horses."--In Colt Blood

                                        COTH Barn Rats Clique!