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Need some input on buying in the U.S

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  • Need some input on buying in the U.S

    Seeing as this is primarily a rider/trainer forum, I'm directing it at you guys.
    • How (in your opinion- as a potential purchaser) could U.S breeders bring riders/trainers to their horses or keep them from purchasing abroad?
    • I understand the benefit of having numerous horses that fit your criteria gathered on a "buying trip" abroad, if something similar could be arranged here, would you be more willing to look here first?
    • Just to get an idea, how many of you purchase your horses through a trainer and pay a commission vs. scouting them out yourselves and buying them?
    • How many of you purchase young, produce and flip them down the road? Wouldn't it be more economical to purchase here, rather than import? (if all else is equal)


    Thank you all for your time, I'm just trying to gain a better understanding.

  • #2
    Some type of showcase set up has been suggested to present buyers with numerous horses as opposed to traveling great distances (within the USA) to go look at a handful.

    Obviously, it should be cheaper to stay here but between a lack of 4 to 6 year olds well started over fences from 3' to 4' and a very, very, big country? It's easier to go to Europe and see 200 4 to 6 year olds jumping around in 3 countries and ship.
    And most do not buy them unstarted, the advantage to Europe is they ARE started and jumping that 3' to 4', bring a saddle and helmet and you can jump them too.

    Most buying for mid to upper level shows will use a Pro. The cost of keeping horses, unless you own your own facility, ranges from 10k to 20k+ annually and that makes it difficult to buy to flip. Double that in a poor market.

    It's just not as easy as it sounds. No simple answer.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

    Comment


    • #3
      I probably am sounding like a broken record, but we need to do a better job developing them here.

      Simply put there is no reason to go anywhere else, in general, if we have a product here that is as good as anything we could import.

      Part of the problem is that the product we have here, is in large part still subject to the cost of importing. We still import a lot of young stock, we still import bloodlines, and consequently the cost of importing them is still passed on to the buyer.

      Whether you look yourself, use a pro, an agent or a broker you still end up looking at the same horse's. Generally imported, the progeny of something imported, or the result of something imported.

      Our bloodlines, our horses, developed here across the range of disciplines and levels, and retention of those horses we do develop that are successful, basic answer to the millions of dollars spent purchasing horses abroad each year.

      Until we can change the perception that the European horses available are the cream of the crop, are better suited to our disciplines, are better developed, are a better investment, etc. etc. we will still be importing them in mass numbers and the incentive to develop here will be non-existent, and except for those few die-hards we will never develop enough of them to alter the status quo.

      Comment


      • #4
        As someone who frequently purchases abroad, I think a major issue is the cost of developing a young horse in the US.

        In Europe, I can spend 20-40K for a talented horse, excellent flat work, and significant experience 3'6" to 4'. In the US, my observation is that many youngsters have marginal flatwork and are generally jumping 3' at a comparable age. The ones that have been well developed with quality professional training are very expensive -- it takes lots of $$s here to send a young one to a good trainer and on the road to get useful experience. In addition to those expenses, you then have multiple sales commissions inflating the price.

        We desperately need an economical way to put quality training and experience on young horses. Until we do, I'm afraid the European system will continue to garner many of my horse $$s.

        Comment


        • #5
          As long as we (the buyer) can get a better deal on a nice quality animal from Europe, that is where we will shop. Horses have been extremely overpriced in the U.S for many years. It is often actually less expensive to purchase and import a young horse than to buy one here.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Ribbons View Post
            • How (in your opinion- as a potential purchaser) could U.S breeders bring riders/trainers to their horses or keep them from purchasing abroad?
            They need to produce prospects of similar quality, with similar levels of education, in similar numbers, at similar prices, with a similar level of convenience to the buyer.


            • I understand the benefit of having numerous horses that fit your criteria gathered on a "buying trip" abroad, if something similar could be arranged here, would you be more willing to look here first?
            Yes, or at least as willing - if the above criteria are met. However, so far, that isn't the case.


            • Just to get an idea, how many of you purchase your horses through a trainer and pay a commission vs. scouting them out yourselves and buying them?
            I buy for myself as a rule although I did use a trainer's connections the last time (young horse purchased in Germany.)

            • How many of you purchase young, produce and flip them down the road? Wouldn't it be more economical to purchase here, rather than import? (if all else is equal)
            All else is rarely equal, which is why it is frequently not more economical to buy in the US.

            As another poster noted above, US prospects typically don't have the level of education that the European 4-6 year olds do at similar price points.

            The last young horse I bought in Europe stepped off the plane in the US in November and showed with primary color ribbons in the baby greens 4 months later as a 4 year old - because he had a solid education on the flat, and a good work ethic. His first horseshow was WEF; it didn't phase him in the least and all he needed as prep was 15-20 minutes of flat work and a couple of cross rails. The same horse developed and marketed in the US (probably with 2-3 additional "hands in the pot" by the time an ammy customer saw him) would be 2-3x the price.
            **********
            We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
            -PaulaEdwina

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Ribbons View Post
              Seeing as this is primarily a rider/trainer forum, I'm directing it at you guys.
              • How (in your opinion- as a potential purchaser) could U.S breeders bring riders/trainers to their horses or keep them from purchasing abroad?


              Breed a better product (waiting to hear everyone howl). I'm your typical amy owner with disposable income and quite frankly, finding a decent young prospect, by and out of approved parents, going well enough under saddle for me (or my trainer) to evaulate is difficult. Breed and prepare your horses to fit the market as it stands now. Pay attention to what people actually want.
              • I understand the benefit of having numerous horses that fit your criteria gathered on a "buying trip" abroad, if something similar could be arranged here, would you be more willing to look here first?


              I do buy horses here (have bought two abroad, but not recently). I do however, (see #1 above), have an idea of what I want, age, bloodlines, type, etc., to narrow my focus, somewhat. I recently bought a 2-year-old prospect by a particular stallion that suits my fancy. It wasn't hard to find him and guess what, he did not cost a fortune. Yes, for his price, I'll take a risk and make the investment in his future training.
              • Just to get an idea, how many of you purchase your horses through a trainer and pay a commission vs. scouting them out yourselves and buying them?


              Both, but I NEVER buy a horse my trainer doesn't approve of. He's going to have to deal with the horse, after all.
              • How many of you purchase young, produce and flip them down the road? Wouldn't it be more economical to purchase here, rather than import? (if all else is equal)


              I don't necessarily buy to flip, but I think it's always in the back of my mind if the horse ends up not suiting my needs. I have a mare right now that is winning with my trainer, but she's just too much horse for me. I can ride her at home, but the shows are another story. I think I can sell her for good money NEXT year when we move her up to the first years and hopefully the economy picks up. I did purchase her here as a just-backed 3-year-old. She's 7 now and I have a bundle into her.

              Thank you all for your time, I'm just trying to gain a better understanding.
              I agree with the above posters. It's a complicated issues with a lot of factors coming into play. If I was going to offer one word of advice, it would be "know your market." I think many US breeders miss the mark on that one.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by Go Fish View Post
                I agree with the above posters. It's a complicated issues with a lot of factors coming into play. If I was going to offer one word of advice, it would be "know your market." I think many US breeders miss the mark on that one.
                Do you mind elaborating on" I think many US breeders miss the mark on that one."

                Comment


                • #9
                  The great points, that is, causally important and non-obvious ones that previous posters have made have some corrections, but they will demand too large a change in the US industry.

                  First, the possibility of seeing 200 horses for the cost of one trip. While going on a Euro horse shopping trip plus the cost of importing up those horses' prices, think how much it would cost you to fly around the country to see the few any one trainer can assemble for you. Plus, each time you return home horseless, you are more dejected because you can measure how much of the horse's purchase price is being eaten up in travel costs.

                  Second, Americans don't do the flat work. Follow me here: I think that's because they also don't teach ammies to ride well enough to want a semi-green horse. That means that the real money in horses is with either the finished ones, or in trading the less fancy, aging ones that ammies can ride. These are all the horses that generate training fees, day care fees at shows and also commisssions. Remember that a trainer makes money every time a horse sells or some ammy rides. The horse's quality is economically not a factor in the trainer's bottom line.

                  So the tough solution is to reward training that puts great flatwork bases on young horses. Places like Hilltop Farm in Maryland have tried to do this for the dressage world. But I have yet to see a trainer that's famous and well-paid for starting babies.

                  When money and prestige accrue there, we'll begin to get a better domestic breeding industry. We have tried to encourage the breeding end, and there has been some success in the last 25 years. But we really drop the ball with young horses, and that seems to undermine the efficacy of the breeding emphasis.
                  The armchair saddler
                  Politically Pro-Cat

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by mvp View Post
                    The great points, that is, causally important and non-obvious ones that previous posters have made have some corrections, but they will demand too large a change in the US industry.

                    First, the possibility of seeing 200 horses for the cost of one trip. While going on a Euro horse shopping trip plus the cost of importing up those horses' prices, think how much it would cost you to fly around the country to see the few any one trainer can assemble for you. Plus, each time you return home horseless, you are more dejected because you can measure how much of the horse's purchase price is being eaten up in travel costs.

                    Second, Americans don't do the flat work. Follow me here: I think that's because they also don't teach ammies to ride well enough to want a semi-green horse. That means that the real money in horses is with either the finished ones, or in trading the less fancy, aging ones that ammies can ride. These are all the horses that generate training fees, day care fees at shows and also commisssions. Remember that a trainer makes money every time a horse sells or some ammy rides. The horse's quality is economically not a factor in the trainer's bottom line.

                    So the tough solution is to reward training that puts great flatwork bases on young horses. Places like Hilltop Farm in Maryland have tried to do this for the dressage world. But I have yet to see a trainer that's famous and well-paid for starting babies.

                    When money and prestige accrue there, we'll begin to get a better domestic breeding industry. We have tried to encourage the breeding end, and there has been some success in the last 25 years. But we really drop the ball with young horses, and that seems to undermine the efficacy of the breeding emphasis.
                    Thank you guys for the well thought out posts, I really appreciate them. Keep the suggestions coming!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Ribbons View Post
                      Do you mind elaborating on" I think many US breeders miss the mark on that one."
                      Well, I can only speak for H/J, that's what I breed and buy for.

                      First off, take the emotional out of it. It's a business, pure and simple. If you want to make a profit, produce a product that the public wants and is willing to pay for. Business plan, anyone?

                      Know your market: The Europeans have already figured this out. Example - hunters are not shown in Europe. However, it's a HUGE market in the US, and can be very profitable, or they wouldn't bother. The Europeans are breeding, breaking, and marketing their horses to sell to the amy and junior market in the US. I don't think they necessarily had to reinvent the wheel to do this. I don't know the answer, but why can the Europeans get their 3-5 year olds going to the jumps and bascially have them "show ready" for a reasonable price? Young horses need to be doing something if you want a buyer to show interest and cough up the bucks. If it's too expensive to do that in the US, then reevaluate your business plan. I'll scream if I hear one more time, "well, I have $$$$ into Fluffy so I need to get $$$$$$ out of him." I really don't care, quite frankly.

                      I believe what drives the horse industry in the country is the amy/junior market. The poor economy currentlly aside, if you want to make money, that's what you aim for. It amazes me that the Europeans figured this out long before we did and certainly capitalized on it immediately.

                      Do some searches...this subject has been discussed extensively and you can get a lot of opinions from a variety of sources.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        As several others have said, you can get a lot more for your money when buying from Europe. The 4-6 year olds do have more experience, so if your wanting that well started and affordable youngster that could go far in your discipline, there you go!

                        Another major factor is that you can go to Europe, see 5, 10, 15 horses a day. Here? You have to drive for hours and maybe see a few in one day. That is something I hear a lot when talking about buying horses abroad- surprised nobody's mentioned it so far!
                        Originally posted by RugBug
                        Don't throw away opportunities because they aren't coming in exactly the form you want them to.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I also believe....

                          It doesn't cost NEARLY as much to show there, you don't have $1200 weeks to get REAL mileage on a horse.
                          But you must also realize, what the Europeans are selling are their second string horses, Unless you REALLY PAY OUT THE NOSE, you aren't buying the best they have to offer. So their second string horses are brought along better than horses raised and trained in the US... I remember someone mentioning, maybe even on here, they ride their horses in training 2x a day almost every day
                          " iCOTH " window/bumper stickers. Wood Routed Stall and Farm Signs
                          http://www.bluemooncustomsigns.com

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            We are looking at a green american warmblood (obviously bred and born here). His jump is a little sticky but it's clear that he can easily be a 3'6" equitation horse. When we got him home for a trial it became clear that he lacked many flatwork basics (leg yields, counter canter) and had never seen a bounce or trotted a fence.

                            If breeders here at home want to market to hunters and equitation, they need to put the basics on a horse.

                            I also agree that the costs of showing here are outrageous and limit a breeder's ability to put show mileage on a horse.
                            "Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return." --Leonardo Da Vinci

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              GRANDPRIXJUMP.......I find "their second sting horses" may not be well suited for show jumping or high level dressage but many make outstanding hunters. As the Europeans do not do hunters, their local market is very limited for them. In this case, "second string" is not exactly a bad thing!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I would like to see a hunter horse/jumper horse auction similar to the pony finals auction. That is one way the pony breeders are ahead of the warmblood breeders in this country. That solves your many horses in one place problem. I know Nona Garson does one during the winter/spring in Florida. I'd like to see another one during the fall before the Florida season.
                                Eight Fences Farm. Mansfield, MA

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I horse shopped in the U.S. on my own with my most recent purchase. I bought a yearling (now 3) and I can't say that it's very economical if you don't own your own facility and if you're going to pay for professional training.

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    I've got another kind of spin off question. If you were to buy from the breeder young (unstarted) would it be beneficial if for a reasonable price (adding up to less than you would pay for importing a going horse) they could board and have it started for you. In other words- buy let's say a yearling and 2 years later be given back a going 3 year old or older?

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Dressage.For.Life. View Post
                                      Another major factor is that you can go to Europe, see 5, 10, 15 horses a day. Here? You have to drive for hours and maybe see a few in one day. That is something I hear a lot when talking about buying horses abroad- surprised nobody's mentioned it so far!
                                      Err...yes, I mentioned it in the very first response to this one and mvp repeated it just a few posts ago. And it was 200 head in one trip.

                                      5, 10 or 15 head a day? Try 30 to 50 a day in 5 days over 3 countries. That is why people go over there-one plane ticket. One set of hotel and restaraunt charges. One rent car. A good agent contact over there will know where the sale yards are and who is presenting available horses-they sort of work together better to get these horses to the sales yards for presentation. And they have the staff to present these quickly so the buyer can decide if they want to see it jump or just the 10 minutes of flatwork says it won't suit. You can see alot that way, watch it move and say show me more or no thanks. Here presentation seems to be so much more emotional and unprofessional sometimes you even regret going to look because you don't want to hurt any feelings.

                                      Then you get back to what is being presented-it is what the US market wants to buy. 4 to 6 year olds doing courses at anywhere from 3' to 4' WITH lead changes with many UNDER 50k. Since they don't have Hunters over there or much of anything under 4' and they don't have many options for those that cannot jump any higher then that? Not much of a market for them and the price reflects the fact they are, basically, out of options or culls, if you will because there is little market for them. But their cull is our biggest seller-the 3' to 3'6" Ammy or Junior mount.

                                      If US breeders/sellers could assemble at least 50 head of 4 to 6 year olds well started on the flat and doing 3' to 4' courses WITH changes? You'd get willing buyers.

                                      Unfortunately, since that is the biggest selling horse over here, the price will reflect that fact and it will still be more economical to go to Europe.

                                      Oh, BTW, these Europeans are well started but not dead broke and they do NOT pound them into the ground over the fences as tends to happen over here as they get haul to show after show. There are still some holes (flower boxes) but the basic product is there and ready to go PDQ after stepping off the plane. It's not personal. It's business.
                                      When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                      The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by luvs2ridewbs View Post
                                        I would like to see a hunter horse/jumper horse auction similar to the pony finals auction. That is one way the pony breeders are ahead of the warmblood breeders in this country. That solves your many horses in one place problem. I know Nona Garson does one during the winter/spring in Florida. I'd like to see another one during the fall before the Florida season.

                                        Well...not meaning to offend but...many don't consign to any auction preferring to sell privately and just market them at the shows they will already be competing at. PF is good quality but still...not the first choice as a marketing venue for many. If they do have a 4 to 6 year old going Regular division height with changes, it'll sell privately.

                                        And, at an auction? You are as likely to pay waaaaay too much as save yourself any money. When you go to Europe, it's a private sale and you are not trying to outbid anybody. You also have no worries the thing will not meet the reserve and no sale so you won't get it anyway. It is, literally, like going to the department store to shop-with price tags.

                                        No, most H/J folks would pick a private sale showcase over an auction. But those that have tried this in both breed and open run into the great distances in this country and some schedualing conflicts with long standing show commitments.

                                        Like I said. No simple answer.
                                        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                                        Comment

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