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The dream: importing from Ireland

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    The dream: importing from Ireland

    I'm just daydreaming at this point, but I'd like to understand the reality/numbers....

    My long time dream is to fly to Ireland, horse shop, and import an ISH or Irish Draught for the adult jumpers. Has anybody here done this? What is the price range for one who already has a few shows on its resume? Is the cost of importing still around $10K? And does anybody know reputable agents/breeders/traders in Ireland?

    Any reasons why I shouldn't import from Ireland that I haven't thought of? I'm really nowhere near this point right now, but maybe in the next 5 years.....

    I am investigating moving overseas and shipping my horse to Europe. The quote was about 10k to fly from Chicago to Amsterdam and then a trailer ride to Sweden. This doesn't includ the required 30-day quarantine for any horse going overseas or if there's any incidentals. So I'd say your export estimate is around 10k, yes


      Depends on quarantine. Stallions are the most expensive (have to stay longer, more tests), then mares, then geldings.

      With import & quarantine for a mare to the west coast, I believe it was closer to $15k? I can’t remember since all the bills came separately. You should be able to get quotes from your nearby quarantine facility & equine airlines to get a better idea. Then add a few thousand for incidentals.

      We also insured our horse right away for the year, which I highly recommend.

      Side note- I love ISH! I rode a half sibling to Flexible for years & he was my favorite horse in the barn, even though he was also the quirkiest.

      Have so much fun!


        I have this dream too, but it’s definitely not going to be possible any time soon. I saw a beautiful Irish Draught 6 year old gelding - 50k including the 10-15k import.


          For a nice ISH going well ( and actually more broke than many who they claim to have competed at 1.20) would guest $30k- 50k+, for a quality young horse. More if your buying from northern Ireland because it’s in sterling. As someone stated, typically 10k import and quarantine costs, more for mare, even more for stallions.


            A young guy at my barn imported a fantastic horse from Ireland about 8 years ago! I believe He did have to ship him over to Belgium before shipping him to Canada as back then there were no flights direct from Ireland....I’m not sure if they still don’t have direct flights? Cost all in was around $55,000 for a horse that was already showing in the 1.20m in Ireland’s (horse was 6 at the time) and still needed some training! It wasn’t cheap, it was just there were more horses to go see in a smaller area! (They paid less fir shipping because they brought 3 back so we’re able to split the cost of the pallet!)
            Breast cancer survivor!


              A dream. But to add a bit of reality, go to Ireland, have a fantastic trip, ride along the Atlantic shore through the waves, hunt over the banks, sit in the pub and have a great craic. Then go home to buy your ISH. You will get more of what you expect via an American dealer.

              Almost any Irishman will sell you a horse: it seems to be bred onto the bone (and I don't intend to insult any Irish by saying that). Everyone knows someone who has the next Olympic medal winner just waiting for a nice American tourist to buy. And many superb horses have indeed been pulled out a shed on some boggy farm. Every horse on offer is related to a Derby winner, every dam jumped 1.75, every stallion has a pedigree back to the very dawn of time - but unfortunately they've misplaced the paperwork, whilst that lovely grey you took out hunting has had a rider on him precisely four times before. In reality, everyone knows everyone else and a network of connections move the good horses to Europe, to the UK or, indeed, to the USA. Horse trading, I respectfully suggest, is not for the novice in Ireland. For a start, open your mouth and an American accent will double the price. If you really want to find a horse there, find someone in the USA with those connections or buy at one of the big international sales like Goresbridge, and take advantage of the buyers incentive schemes and warranties.
              Last edited by Willesdon; Jul. 3, 2020, 02:50 AM.
              "Good young horses are bred, but good advanced horses are trained" Sam Griffiths


                I think that's a bit harsh re: Irish horse sellers. What you describe is easy to find in the US and many other places as well. There are honest and dishonest horse dealers the world over. I don't think Ireland distinguishes itself in that field and shouldn't be single out for disparagement. Keeping your wits about you, having local contacts, and doing your DD when buy/selling horses is a must in the US, UK, Holland - everywhere.

                To the OP, I think the suggesting of having someone with contacts in the areas where you are looking is a great idea. It's what I do for real estate purchases as well. They can give you a feel for the reputations of various sellers/farms and introduce you to the right people.


                  Something to vaguely keep in the back of your mind - I have heard repeatedly that some Irish horses (or imported horses from anywhere with a different "bug climate" than where they end up) have a very hard time adjusting to the buggier areas of North America. This is certainly true of my ISH gelding - he is a solid gold unicorn of a horse when the bugs aren't too bad, but just cannot handle the biting flies during the worst parts of the season, and turns into an up-and-down carousel horse when the deer flies come out. I have heard of several others that have been practically unusable when the flies are bad. My guy was imported as a young horse, and is now in his mid-20's, so it doesn't seem to be something he will just get over, either.

                  I lovelovelove a good Irish horse, but it might be worth trying one closer to home to be sure that your new horse is well suited to where it will be living and working. There are some wonderful Irish horses already here as well, and using your import fees etc to stretch your budget might find you something quite nice! All the best in your horse search


                    What Willesdon says is bang on. I’ve imported a couple from Ireland (including one I bred there myself). It’s definitely buyer beware and everyone has a horse to sell you.
                    Wonderful ponies for family or show!


                      The OP says the dream is hopefully going to happen "maybe in the next five years." Is it realistic to be asking prices now, when the event is so far in the future?


                        I wouldn't do it now, prices have gone way up due to various COVID related factors (which is funny because nothing is out competing - but some people need the money, and others have been living cheaply with the pubs shut and time off work). I suspect it will crash as life returns to normal. They're cheap to buy here, because they are cheap to make here - I paid less than £100 for a day of affiliated ("rated") showing as opposed to $1200 for a weekend in the amateur jumpers in the US. They also get a more well rounded education, hacking out, hunting etc. It's not all just arena prancing.

                        You can get something decent in Ireland/UK for £7500 or so, and something really special closer to £18k. Geldings are cheaper than mares to import because they don't breed and skip the "horsey STD" part of quarantine. Last I checked geldings only did 3 days and mares have to do like 30? When I flew my horse US to UK ($9800 door to door) I think half the cost was actually the quarantine, the flight itself seemed pretty cheap. But that was 5 years ago and I used a smaller company (Equiflight based in TX I will recommend all day long, btw!! One of very few quarantine facilities with turnout!!)

                        If/when you're ready to buy you can PM me and I can put you in touch with a couple of small time dealers that generally have at least a couple nice ones (the bigger barns know they can charge Americans more for the same horse), as well as some transport recommendations.


                          I can help you with language if need be.


                            Help with language?? They speak mostly English to those from outside the country.... or do you mean the speaking of Irish?
                            Last edited by MuskokaLakesConnemaras; Jul. 18, 2020, 09:19 PM.
                            Wonderful ponies for family or show!


                              What is the transport situation these days if importing from Ireland to the west coast? Where do horses typically fly from, and with COVID restrictions are they still flying through Mexico? Does anyone have recommendations for good, reputable local agents?


                                Originally posted by Rumorhasit93 View Post
                                Depends on quarantine. Stallions are the most expensive (have to stay longer, more tests), then mares, then geldings.

                                With import & quarantine for a mare to the west coast, I believe it was closer to $15k? I can’t remember since all the bills came separately. You should be able to get quotes from your nearby quarantine facility & equine airlines to get a better idea. Then add a few thousand for incidentals.

                                We also insured our horse right away for the year, which I highly recommend.

                                Side note- I love ISH! I rode a half sibling to Flexible for years & he was my favorite horse in the barn, even though he was also the quirkiest.

                                Have so much fun!
                                When I imported my horse the shipper told me they were in quarantine until they got the lab work back - if it was all in order they'd release the horse. Not sure if that's still the case or not. I didn't have any extra expenses - the shipper arranged for transport from NY to Maryland. The seller arranged everything which is often the case. Most of the time the sellers have lots of experience shipping horses overseas, they may have contacts/connections where they can get better deals on the shipping.

                                I'm on the hunt right now for a new horse and if I dont' find something by the fall, and I'm allowed to travel across the pond, getting another one from the same seller is my back-up plan. And based on what I've seen so far, I'm questioning where this should be my back up plan instead of Plan A


                                  I got a quote in May and Ireland (Generic location) to NYC was $8500 at that time.

                                  If you're serious talk to Bastian at Equi Jet. They imported Cudo and Chad for me.

                                  "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries


                                    I know someone who imports fairly regularly to the East Cost (her family breeds them, she is Irish). I think $10,000 is a safe estimate for importing costs. Could be a bit more, could be a bit less. But that's not a bad ballpark. I believe she is still flying them here with no issue, even with COVID.

                                    As for what you'll pay for the horse-- it's so variable depending on who you buy from and what you want. Same as here. You can spend $10,000 for a horse or $100,000 for a horse.

                                    Her green ones are something in the ballpark of $30,000-45,000 once they land here. And there's some markup in there but not TONS because, as I said, these are horses her family bred and not ones that she bought. They're jumper types with some 3'0 and under show experience, basic dressage, and foxhunting experience when they land here. So I suspect you could get something somewhat similar for maybe $25,000-30,000 all if you bought it right from Ireland.

                                    I do not get the impression that Ireland is the place to get a "deal." We've got had some Czech horses imported and they were ABSOLUTELY below market for what that horse would cost elsewhere. The Irish ones don't seem that way to me. You can get a nice one, and maybe save a little money, but you're not going to get one for a price that is WELL below market here. You might get a bit more bang for your buck. This is assuming something going and showing, I don't know about babies or really greenbroke ones.
                                    "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"


                                      I imported an 8 month old ISH colt in 2017. The cost of transport (breeder's farm to Dublin, direct flight to Chicago and trailering to quarantine facility from airport) and 3 days of quarantine was $10K, and that was through EIS ( I was incredibly happy with their team, and Hen arrived in wonderful condition. I received constant updates throughout the whole process. And I do agree with Small Change - Henry HATES the bugs and after 3 years here, still throws himself on the ground and has a meltdown if they are too bad. Fly sheets help, I just wish he would stop destroying them
                                      ~*Friend of bar.ka*~


                                        Originally posted by MuskokaLakesConnemaras View Post
                                        Help with language?? They speak mostly English to those from outside the country.... or do you mean the speaking of Irish?
                                        Just a light-hearted reference to the Irish market being a tough one/hearing her accent - i.e., if she had an Irish speaker on her side she might have an edge.