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Horse shopping 101?

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  • Horse shopping 101?

    OK, I apologize in advance if this has already been discussed. However, I'm going cross-eyed looking at dreamhorse, equine, horseclicks, bigeq, exchangehj, etc.....

    So tell me - if you're shopping for a show horse, what is your process? With or without a trainer? Do you look at websites and videos for hours on end, try to find some good ones, and then send them to your trainer?

    Do you use word of mouth to find everything nearby and go sit on it? Do you wait for your trainer to present something to you?

    Any other websites you use? Do you scour Youtube? Do you look at sires, or just see what you can find?

    I'm just curious how most people go about this - I'm spending hours trying to find something that is within reasonable-ish driving distance of me, and I'm not finding a whole lot, which is odd, since I'm on the East Coast.

    Thanks in advance!

  • #2
    Originally posted by KingoftheRoad View Post
    OK, I apologize in advance if this has already been discussed. However, I'm going cross-eyed looking at dreamhorse, equine, horseclicks, bigeq, exchangehj, etc.....

    So tell me - if you're shopping for a show horse, what is your process? With or without a trainer? Do you look at websites and videos for hours on end, try to find some good ones, and then send them to your trainer?

    Do you use word of mouth to find everything nearby and go sit on it? Do you wait for your trainer to present something to you?

    Any other websites you use? Do you scour Youtube? Do you look at sires, or just see what you can find?

    I'm just curious how most people go about this - I'm spending hours trying to find something that is within reasonable-ish driving distance of me, and I'm not finding a whole lot, which is odd, since I'm on the East Coast.

    Thanks in advance!
    All my horses have been through word of mouth. I get the word out to everyone, trainers, blacksmiths, vets, friends, etc. and get lots of recommendations.

    I have never bought a horse that was advertised on any of the sale websites.
    Auventera Two:Some women would eat their own offspring if they had some dipping sauce.
    Serious Leigh: it sounds like her drama llama should be an old schoolmaster by now.

    Comment


    • #3
      I'm almost done with the whole buying process myself, and I'm so glad I am (I hate horse shopping). I was looking by myself, my trainer had flaked out on me, and I started looking on all the normal sites that had listings in my price range(equine.com, dreamhorse.com, sometimes bigeq). I found some but there was really nothing, which amazed me since I'm also in the Southeast. I ended up making a call on a listing that didn't exactly interest me, but I liked the quality of the horse, and wanted to know if the seller knew of any other prospects like that one. That ended up being the best thing for me. While she wasn't a big name trainer, I'd actually never heard of her, she knew exactly what I wanted/needed, and showed me tons of prospects within my price range. I ended up going with a young mare she found me from a local breeder.

      The first time I saw the mare, we went to the breeders farm and I rode her after the breeder did. I liked her enough that I wanted to ride her again, so they brought her to farm of the trainer. We vetted her, passed with flying colors so far, and are just waiting on the blood work to get back. Websites are useful to a certain extent, as are youtube videos. I found that most people didn't even advertise the horses they had for sale, they were mostly just word of mouth finds. I would try to find a good local trainer, that understand what you want, what your budget is, and what your goals for the future are. The connections they have can mean the difference from not being able to find anything to having loads of options.
      Last edited by Libby416; Apr. 20, 2012, 11:40 AM. Reason: grammar and spelling
      www.diaryofahunterprincess.wordpress.com

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      • #4
        my process was really short and painless, actually. I think partly because I didn't really have any super specific criteria, and I worked with my trainer. I was looking for an experienced jumper who could do the 3-3'3", age and sex were not a huge factor.

        I sent a couple of ads to my trainer of horses I had found on a local equestrian website, but nothing came of those. So my trainer took me out to the local sales barn (which I wouldn't have known about without her) were I tried 3 horses, one of which ended up being the one I bought. So like I said...very short and painless process. Everything just seemed to line up and fall into place very easily with my purchase, and I can't imagine that happening again next time I buy!

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        • #5
          Unless you are sufficiently advanced AND relatively independent (keep horses at home, not in full training)...

          1. Schedule sit down meeting with trainer.

          2. Have meeting. Discuss what your goals are for new horse, and what traits are most important. Make a must have and would like list. Discuss tolerance for greenness and for maintenance of older horse. Discuss budget, and have trainer honestly evaluate must have/would like list against budget. How likely is it that you will find what you want in your budget? Discuss timetable - when do you want to have the new horse by? Finally, discuss commission- how does trainer want to be paid, how much, etc.

          If you want to do some looking online, ask trainer if she would be willing to look at the listings you like - Ask her how (email, printout, etc.). If your trainer is well-connected, word of mouth is the way to go. However, that doesn't mean you can't be using other means to look in the mean time.

          3. Proceed according to plan.

          Comment


          • #6
            I personally do NOT like having a trainer with me unless I was a complete beginner. I feel like I can make the decision myself and I also find that trainers dissaprove of every horse in my price rang (under 1,000 dollars). Recently I bought a $500 3-day event horse. They were asking three times as much but I got him for $500. When I told my trainer, she was a little annoyed I didn't ask for her advice. I find that trainers take pity on the poor and say stuff like "I could have found you a nice lease horse with much better quality than a $500". Because I am low on cash, I feel sort of annoyed that they think there's no such thing as a nice horse for $500. Ya just have to look hard. NOW, that I have vented I will say that if you're hoping to compete then maybe a trainer isn't such a bad idea, but for most of us back yard riders or the people that only show a few times a year, I think you can find one you like without a trainer.

            My gelding is the best horse I Have ever owned and I will NEVER sell him. He is worth far more than the 500 I paid for him and has a lot of talent.

            All I can say is be open to different breeds and stuff because the horse for you might look a whole lot different than you thought. Also, in my experience, you just know if the horse clicks with you or not. There's no hesitation whether he is or isn't the right one. If you like him and he passes the vet check, then who needs a trainer?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by KingoftheRoad View Post
              OK, I apologize in advance if this has already been discussed. However, I'm going cross-eyed looking at dreamhorse, equine, horseclicks, bigeq, exchangehj, etc.....

              So tell me - if you're shopping for a show horse, what is your process? With or without a trainer? Do you look at websites and videos for hours on end, try to find some good ones, and then send them to your trainer?

              Do you use word of mouth to find everything nearby and go sit on it? Do you wait for your trainer to present something to you?

              Any other websites you use? Do you scour Youtube? Do you look at sires, or just see what you can find?

              I'm just curious how most people go about this - I'm spending hours trying to find something that is within reasonable-ish driving distance of me, and I'm not finding a whole lot, which is odd, since I'm on the East Coast.

              Thanks in advance!
              I actually wrote a guide to searching for horses online. Its geared towards a somewhat younger audience but maybe you would find it helpful? As a junior I ended up finding a few horses for myself and some for friends as well when trainers had a hard time finding something that worked for whatever reason (short term lease, within price range, etc.)

              http://www.jrride.com/archives/1662

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                OK, let me clarify a bit. This will be my fourth horse, done the 4 yo green thing a couple of times, so I'm looking for something a bit older. I'm an amateur that works with a trainer, but has also bought a horse on my own before, and that was mainly by word of mouth. So I have a pretty good idea of the parameters of what I want, I just am having a hard time finding it.

                I have a pretty decent sized budget, but I'm finding horses anywhere between $15k and $60k, sometimes websites haven't been updated in a year or two, sometimes I can find a video on YouTube, sometimes not.

                If you find videos, do you then give them to your trainer and let them make the call? Or do you call folks yourself? Do you search out individual farm websites, or stick to the big boards - just looking for some strategy ideas......thanks!

                Comment


                • #9
                  If you can, I would follow joiedevie99's advice and set up a solid plan with your trainer!

                  If you are not planning on using a trainer to help you out, a plan will still help you from not going as crosseyed or making compromises on unsuitable horses because of impatience or discouragement.

                  I was trainerless at the time that I was horse shopping, so I found that having a good list of Needs, Wants, and Deal Breakers, as well as a realistic budget and goals for the horse helped keep me on track.

                  I too was stuck on the internet and I looked at ads and videos and emailed mannnyyyy owners...for months. I only went to see a handful, and of course, the last one was perfect!!

                  It can take a while to find the perfect horse, so be patient!! And best of luck!
                  Originally posted by Nickelodian
                  We jump horses. Over sticks. For fun.
                  Never take life too seriously. Nobody makes it out alive anyway.
                  Regulus RDL

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by KingoftheRoad View Post
                    If you find videos, do you then give them to your trainer and let them make the call? Or do you call folks yourself? Do you search out individual farm websites, or stick to the big boards - just looking for some strategy ideas......thanks!
                    I did it all myself. I kept my trainer in the loop, but did not bring them to try the horse. I brought the horse in on trial to vet and get their opinion then.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Always tell every horse person you can that you're looking for a horse. Just like you have connections with them, they have connections with other horse people, including friends who are selling a horse. Also, going by word of mouth *usually* means that the people selling their horses will be more honest, because they're friends with the person who sent you to them. This isn't always the case, of course, but usually it is.

                      But don't just wait on them, you can do some looking yourself. Do an advanced search (feel free to be picky if you know there are a lot of choices, even though you shouldn't really go by color or breed, if there are 17849032 pages of results you may want to start there for the sake of not overwhelming yourself).

                      You can also go to a state breed or discipline association website to look for sales barns or barns that may have horses for sale, I did most of my online searching that way.

                      Competitions and such are also good for finding ads, sometimes you can even watch the horse compete or try him/her at the showgrounds.


                      You've also probably heard this a million times, but don't buy the first horse you see without trying any others, and know that you can as many questions of the owner as you feel necessary.

                      Good luck with your horseshopping!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Two years ago I was in the horse shopping boat, and it was miserable! I was so tired of emailing/calling on horses from online ads and getting no response. I knew exactly what kind of horse I wanted so I sent an email to all of the trainers/breeders/barns that would have horses to fit the bill. Within 48 hours I had 4 appointments set up. Much better than dealing with horses advertised online.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          sent you a pm
                          www.camaloufarms.com

                          ride it like you stole it! "ralph hill"

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                          • #14
                            I recently ended my horse search and as others have said word of mouth is the best. I did not work activity with my trainer when searching and actually ended up with my current horse without her seeing him. That being said I think that the input of a respected trainer can be quite useful. I just felt like I had a better idea of what I wanted and my trainer and I tend to prefer greatly different horses. There aren't many HJ trainers in my direct vicinity so I am at an eventing barn. I am not competing at rated shows though (want to get there someday though!)

                            I found my horse by talking to another trainer in my general area that had been looking for a horse for one of her students. She had recently been up to a farm that bred Belgian Warmbloods and told me she thought they might have a horse that would work. I didn't end up getting along with that particular horse but did fall in love with Houston. I would have probably never found this horse if I hadn't talked to that trainer because he was not listed on any sales sites and the farms website isn't always regularly updated so I wouldn't have known what all they had available to me if I had even been able to find it on my own.
                            Equestrian At Hart - A blog about adventures in riding & life

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Trainer for sure: these animals are too expensive to buy and not have a professional asses before. Besides, you already said you are having trouble finding something and a good trainer won't have that problem. There are so many videos on youtube, I would look there. Be specific about what you look up, or look at trusted trainers' channels and view their videos to see if they have something you are looking for. I think it depends on the trainer whether or not they want you to look too. If I had seen anything I liked and thought might be worth taking the time to see I would definitely show it to my trainer. Trainer calls the seller. They are the deal maker.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by xxreddxheaddxx View Post
                                Trainer for sure: these animals are too expensive to buy and not have a professional asses before. Besides, you already said you are having trouble finding something and a good trainer won't have that problem.
                                Some trainers are (good at finding something) and some aren't. You can't just ASSUME that your trainer will be "good at finding something."
                                Janet

                                chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I took the approach of ONLY telling a FEW people. People whose judgement you trust and know what you like to ride. Otherwise you get to sort through the inappropriate and completely sound (which just means they haven't died yet).
                                  A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Janet View Post
                                    Some trainers are (good at finding something) and some aren't. You can't just ASSUME that your trainer will be "good at finding something."
                                    I very much agree with this.

                                    I am an experienced adult amateur. I have always purchased horses on my own, and have had very, very good results.

                                    Some of the trainers I have worked with have been OK with this approach, and others have not been thrilled, but the bottom line is that I have a very good track record of finding appropriate, fancy horses that suit me, so it's quite hard for them to criticize much. (That is particularly true with the trainers who have had had LESS success in matching other clients up with suitable horses.)

                                    As Janet points out, just because someone is a competent instructor does not automatically mean they are equally gifted at buying and selling. Some are; some are not. They are different areas of expertise.

                                    If I were in the market for a new horse, I would first reach out to the places I have purchased from before. I bought my current horse from Derek Peterson a number of years ago and would certainly call him first, as I find he often has the type of horse that suits me in a reasonable price range, and I have found him very fair and professional to deal with.
                                    **********
                                    We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
                                    -PaulaEdwina

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Now that I am older than I care to admit , I have purchased quite a few horses ranging from doing it completely on my own without trainer input to my trainer running the entire show, making the appointments with her contacts. I think the approach that works best depends on a few things.

                                      1) Are you currently in a program with a trainer? Will you be boarding your future horse there? If so, I do advise that you involve your trainer. You want to be sure he/she likes your horse and agrees that it is a good fit for what you want to be doing. Many trainers would be put off by a client who doesn't involve them at all. Some would be fine only being brought into the process at the end (ex. you do all the shopping, try horses on your own, and bring trainer in right before you are ready to seal the deal). Others want to control the process much more and expect a hefty commission for their efforts, especially if you are buying a $60K horse! Figure out what your trainer's expectations are regarding helping clients buy horses. Factor this into your decision.

                                      2) How experienced are you? How familiar are you with the market you are tapping into? You answered this somewhat; since you have already bought 4 horses I assume you are far from a beginner. But (hypothetically) if you bought all ex-racehorses right off the track for $2000, you might not be familiar with what to expect in a $60K show hunter. Similarly, if all you ever bought were experienced horses, you might not know how much an unstarted prospect goes for. Or maybe you are switching from hunters to jumpers and are less familiar with that market. Even though I have bought several horses before as well, my most recent was in a price bracket I wasn't as familiar with and therefore felt more comfortable with help from my trainer.

                                      I would sit down with your trainer and have a discussion about what you want in your new horse and how she/he prefers to proceed. If you have preferences (such as you'd like to send ads you are interested in his/her way, mention that). Good communication is always the best way to make everyone happy! Good luck

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        My current horse, who is truly my once-in-a-lifetime horse, I purchased myself. At 15. Mom came along and took pictures etc while on a weekend long buying trip, but otherwise let me handle it. The agents I worked with thought I was in my 20's from my attitude and knowledge, and that my mom was there for company. I didn't hear that until after the sale, but it cracked me up.

                                        If you're working closely with a trainer, I'd advise having their input... not necessarily because you need it, but moreso because they might know of a horse (or several) that would be a good fit for you. If you'd rather do it yourself, it's still probably best to give your trainer a heads up if you're working closely with them.

                                        Have fun & happy shopping!
                                        Trying a life outside of FEI tents and hotel rooms.

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