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Pricing a talented horse with....issues

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  • Pricing a talented horse with....issues

    My friend has a beautiful talented TB gelding who she purchased as a grand prix jumper/combinded training horse. He has fantastic confirmation, bold into the jump, could canter a cross country course in his sleep and jump a 4' jump in a lazy canter (training on 5'+). He's also completely sound.

    Now....the downside, he's grumpy. He can have a very bad attitude when being tacked (pinned ears and the occasional nip), he may pin his ears when you are simply petting him and recently has become aggressive when people come up behind him and threatened to kick a child twice in a single hour when they walked behind him (once with a horse, once just to get by). If she was the only one around him this isn't a problem, but she runs a training facility and kids are just a part of life (as young as 4). If she yells or gives a light smack his ears come forward and he gives an innocent "what??" look, but it's a liability she isn't willing to take. He will also have moments of deciding he wants to either rush the jump or crow hop between them and avoid contact with the bit. ...although other days, he can be completely lovely, sweet and takes the jumps like a gentleman.
    She's been supplementing him with calming aids and for ulcers but there hasn't been a change in the number of "grumpy" days.

    What would these "quirks" do to his purchase price? She was thinking of pricing him at 6,500, but is honestly worried that with as many good horses that are on the market she may have trouble giving him away. Do you think this is a reasonable price? Less?

    ***Not looking to sell him here, just get a "real world" view of what is reasonable in today's market***
    Proudly owned by 7 horses, 6 dogs, 3 cats and 1 Turkey

  • #2
    How is he about mounting--is he weird about that too? Has he been checked out by a vet? Does he exhibit stud-like behavior too--how is he in turnout? What does he do in a busy warm-up ring at a show if someone goes behind him or follows closely? Does he have a show record at those heights or is he just schooling them?

    I think those things would make a difference on what someone would be willing to put up with (and pay).

    Oh and how old is he?
    DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/


    • #3
      If he was mine he would be going for a heck of a lot more money than $6,500! Ok so he's got an attitude problem but his training and what he can accomplish (a bad day riding here and there is not a big deal either IMO) far out weighs the attitude!

      Some of the nicest horses, mine included are rotten but perform like the champs they are undersaddle. I would not turn down a nice riding horse because of his attitude.


      • #4
        What is his record in the Grand Prix? Did he earn anything? What did he do at Combined Training events? And how old is he?

        Proven talent means more can be forgiven. If he lacks any proof of that talent, as in show ring mileage and results? He becomes an unproven prospect and an unpleasant "personality" is going to deter most from taking a chance.

        Honestly, if he is on "calmers" and ulcer meds in his familiar home situation? I would not be very interested when there are so many out there that may also be unproven but are decent to be around.

        Have to add, he may need a vet work up, sounds like he might have some physical issues that need to be looked at.
        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


        • #5
          A horse that has proven themselves in the show ring can have a few flaws in terms of ground manners/quirks. The cranky days under saddle would probably be an issue in terms of pricing the horse, though, because that could translate to inconsistency in the show ring, not being an ammy friendly ride, or some kind of undiagnosed soundness issue.

          For a horse that has not yet proven himself in the show ring (I don't care how high or how great he is schooling at home) quirks and ground manners are a bigger issue, and the inconsistencies under saddle a bigger issue yet.

          In today's market, being ammy friendly is critical and that can make or break a sale horse. There aren't too many people out there spending $ on pro-ride only type horses (with the exception of high end prospects).


          • #6
            I would say thats too low! If he's really that talented, he will appeal to pros/a really good ammy who is not bothered by attitude issues. I would try to market him in that direction. I'm an AO jumper, and my horse is similar to this- he's a super freaky jumper and can be very sweet when he wants to, but most of the time can be nasty. He has to be turned out alone and will go after another horse if they walk by!
            I think you could definitely get at least 6500 for him, regardless of his quirks. But I like that type of horse so I could be biased


            • #7
              Of course it matters where your marketing the horse but if an Amateur can ride this horse in the High Adults- Mini Prix your looking at a LOT more money that 6,500 especially if it has some show miles even locally w/ video. I have a grumpy one that is older been there done that but a PIG on the ground but once his kid is on him he is a 3ft packer and he does the same things yours does (he is not for sale EVER but someone offered 20k for him at 17yrs old)

              Also when you say grumpy is that meaning ears pinned tail swishing or is it aggressive like it will actually go for you and would you consider it dangerous for an amateur to handle? When you say crow hop is it a protest or does it want the rider OFF now?

              If it is above 16h, under 12yrs old, has a decent show record, nothing major will come up on the vet check, and isn't generally difficult to ride I would say 30k (40-50k w/ out temperment issues). If it was me I would market him to other trainers if he has ability to do money classes such as mini prix at 1.40.

              I hate to say it but pricing him that low may put him in an unsafe situation for whoever purchases him. Such as people without a knowledgeable trainer who think they "know better" and can fix the horse and may get hurt, instead of just taking the horse for what he is and working around him. Generally experienced people know talent and they are prepared to pay for it. They also generally know how to deal with a "special" horse and will cater to its needs (more turnout, special feed, special training program etc.). BIG sign on stall door (HE BITES).


              • #8
                For OP, does this horse have a show record or not? And in what division if he does?

                It matters enormously in both pricing and advice we can give you.
                When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


                • #9
                  I would be curious myself as it seems jumping 4ft easy makes him a high child/adult jumper? Just schooling 5 ft does not mean anything as many horses can jump a solo 5 ft vertical jump but would never be able to get around a 4'3" and higher jump course of related distances and oxers.

                  (Maybe eventing is for him as eventers seem to tolerate quirky horses better and many keep their horses themselves so no 8 year old boarders to worry about.)


                  • #10
                    If he has legit grand prix ability and the issues you are describing are truly just an attitude problem and not a health problem, I think the horse is probably worth a lot more than $6,500.

                    Totally agree that whether or not he has competed at or near GP level is highly relevant and will affect price. If he can just jump a big jump, but hasn't proven that he can really do a GP (or similar) level COURSE successfully, that will bring his price down.

                    That said, even if he has not competed at the GP level (or even, perhaps, if he has not competed at all), if he really does seem to be the "real deal" as far as talent goes, most people that ride well enough to ride a horse of that level are not going to be concerned about the ground vices you describe in a horse with true talent.

                    I would venture to say that MOST GP horses I have known are absolutely NOT safe to be around children, or novices, or even competent amateurs. Many are stallions, and most have a little extra "something" to them that makes them a bit tricky in addition to talented.

                    I boarded at a barn with a very talented GP stallion, and I will tell you...he was certainly not "easy" for most people to deal with on the ground or to ride. He was extremely quirky. There was a whole, very odd and very specific routine involved in even the mounting process that had to be followed or he became dangerous. That horse was still worth a TON of money because he was fast and clean at the GP level, and, once you got him in the ring and accomodated his quirks, he was very rideable.


                    • Original Poster

                      Thanks for the input! He's a 2001 model, 17h, on 24x7 turnout except when the weather is bad, he will stand next to another horse in the ring while others are jumping but he will lift a hoof and pin his ears in warning if someone else comes up behind him. Out in the field or when cantering across country he's fine with horses around him (although he hates to be passed...must be the TB in him)

                      He has been to shows but she's only had him since November, and honestly, there are not a ton of "rated" show's here in Oklahoma (I think there are 10 total each year--so that's reflected in the lower price). I think he was shown in the 3' or 3'6" division at the Go Show early last year before the prior owner decided to sell him. I will honestly need to go research it to give you accurate information.

                      I do know he's been to the Oklahoma "Raise the Bar" shows which aren't rated but are a huge step up from the hick town/county shows that seem to be in abundance, and is what most of us go to inbetween the Go Shows. He was the year end champion 2'6"-2'9" last year--beating the competition by a solid 35 points (that's all the higher those show's go).

                      Everything else she has done has been over the winter to prep for the shows this year (they have a cross country course on site) She tried him in the hunter ring just for fun at the Go Show last month just to see how he did (and to make sure he wouldn't become a fire breathing dragon) and he DOES NOT belong in the hunter ring. He jumped beautifully, but is a jumper not hunter.

                      Hope that helps some!
                      Proudly owned by 7 horses, 6 dogs, 3 cats and 1 Turkey


                      • #12
                        Then at this point his price will reflect what he's done. You can say he jumps around 4ft and has schooled 5ft, but right now you would find it hard to market him as anything other than 3ft jumper in which case you initial price estimate might not be that far off.

                        Now if you could get a show record on him going clean at 4ft or up that would raise his price and make him more marketable.


                        • #13
                          The show record in the 2'6" to 2'9" jumpers is something as is the possibility he did the 3'-3'6" which would be low ch/ad.

                          But he is 11 years old, a bit late to start a GP or CT career- not saying it's impossible, but few are going to buy an 11 year old for a goal that will take years from where he is now to attain. Feel you got a ch/ad jumper there. Thats going to be reflected in what somebody would pay for him. Most buyers at that level are going to probably want a friendlier type as a kid or ammy mount but I don't think his attitude is the biggest challenge in getting him sold.

                          6500 is on the low end of that market but fair if he needs to go.

                          He is big, that's a plus but be sure you/trainer actually measure him before advertising his height.

                          Have to figure buyer needs to ship it home as well as consider buyers will have to travel to you/trainer. Think your buyer pool in OK is pretty limited but it will be hard to attract out of staters.

                          Is he tatooed? That can be traced and get you pedigree. Some people will be more interested if certain lines or famous horses appear in his pedigree, it can help.

                          Anything that can be a plus needs to be researched. Plus, at age 11? He is what he is and that is what you market, not what somebody thought at one time he could be or what he might have been. People don't pay much for dreams, they will pay for proven products even if they have a few issues.
                          When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                          The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


                          • Original Poster

                            I think the location and market here is a huge hurtle. Out east there would be a larger pool of shows to show him in and gain points on him; the Oklahoma market is primarily Western and caters to that.

                            To be frank, the people who are interested in a proven English horse are suburban couples who want to think of themselves as cultured by having their children ride English (vs Western) and thus are in the market for a kid friendly horse (those go for 15k-25k). I'm really not trying to be a snob, it's just how it is.
                            She and I are both transplants from back east so we still have the desire to compete and show at a higher level than what is readily available and why she was so happy to have landed him. (I simply bred my own WB and am now patiently waiting for her to age....) His former owner was from Ohio and brought him with her (along with her retired GP jumper) when she moved to Oklahoma.

                            I guess it would be fair to say he has GP potential but has only been proven at 3'6" at a show due to lack of showing. ...so that and the bad attitude would price him at ?????
                            Proudly owned by 7 horses, 6 dogs, 3 cats and 1 Turkey


                            • #15
                              He may be a great horse for a young and talented professional. There's nothing wrong with a bold, healthy athlete who says "Bring It!" to people or other people so long as he also says that to any course put in front of him.

                              Can your friend market him this way-- to other professionals? If I were one of these, I'd want to know that he wasn't stupid or a rogue. I'd need to see that this horse was capable of respect for the right person/rider. If I thought I could make him rideable for me as my GP prospect, I'd ignore the rest.

                              As another poster said, these big jumpers often have a Take No Sh!t or On the Muscle attitude. It's part of what makes them able to do their job.
                              The armchair saddler
                              Politically Pro-Cat


                              • #16
                                I would say no more than 10k, with the recent information. 3'6'' jumpers are a dime a dozen, and one with a bad attitude on the ground isn't going to go for as much unless it has a winning record at the big shows.

                                I'm a little skeptical of GP potential in an 11-year-old horse that has only done 3'6'', but given that my mare started doing GPs at 14... you never know. Has he jumped courses at 1.45m to 1.50m with tricky combinations? As someone said earlier, it's one thing to jump a big single, but it's a whole other ball game to jump a big, technical track.
                                Proudly blogging for The Chronicle of the Horse!


                                • #17
                                  mvp has a great idea there, market him to other professionals. And, shorty? Asking 6500 for it.

                                  You may be in OK but there is alot of H/J activity down in North Texas and quite a few trainers, I don't know about the KC or St Louis area distance wise but it is within a day and there are a good number of H/J trainers and shows there.

                                  For 6500 (or an agreeable price after some negotiation) I should think somebody would want him. Even with the attitude and if he never gets out of ch/ad, a good lease horse or something to flip for resale is always needed and your trainers price is a realistic one to at least start negotiation at.

                                  Give that a shot.
                                  When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                  The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


                                  • #18
                                    Sorry, missed that somehow.
                                    Proudly blogging for The Chronicle of the Horse!


                                    • #19
                                      Maybe I missed this, but what has your friend done to rule out pain? Has he always behaved this way or is it new?

                                      That kind of behavior just seems like bad manners to me... and as such could be addressed with groundwork (if pain is ruled out). It's a shame to have to sell him at all, if your friend really likes him.
                                      LEGADO DE RIOS


                                      • #20
                                        ehhh, he sounds like a liability in trainer friends busy teaching barn with alot of kids and probably why trainer needs to have him gone after just a few months of ownership. The kicking at the kid behind him is bad manners for sure but trainer is right to let him move on. Trainer and horse will both be happier.

                                        Much as we can wish it were so, not everybody can afford vet workups, especially on less expensive and probably uninsured horses with no symptoms that are just grumpy and always have been.

                                        I have spent $$$$ on such work ups for cranky horses that would bite and kick and found they were...cranky horses who would bite and kick. But they were always that way, did their jobs and were very good show horses. And that is what I bought them for, show horses, I have pets to cuddle and love on.
                                        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.