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Horse Shopping in Ireland?

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  • Horse Shopping in Ireland?

    Have any of you gone horse shopping Ireland?

    If so what pointers do you have? Who did you work with? Did you go on a trip with a US rider? Buy from an auction like gores bridge?

    Any idea what current import costs run?

    Thanks, trying to do some info gathering.

  • #2
    We have had 3 Irish Imports who have been wonderful horses. All 3 were imported by people we know, for resale. We paid more because of the middle man, but could not have asked for better horses. If you know someone who imports regularly, they can put you in touch with good sales barns in Ireland. My one friend has imported a lot of nice eventing horses from Paddy at Carlingford horses. Sue and Dan Foley at Clonshire Equestrian have sold a lot of fox hunters to Americans. It is important to work with someone who can match you with the right horse, and then can help you get a good vetting and shipping.


    • #3
      A friend of mine told me a story about shopping in Ireland. She says this happened to a friend of hers, and my friend is usually quite reliable.

      Her friend and another women went to Ireland on a foxhunting holiday. They loved the horses they rode there and arranged to buy them and ship them back to the States.

      When the horses arrived, neither of the two were the same ones they had ridden. Not bad horses but not seasoned foxhunters.

      When the person who brokered the sales was contacted, he told them that the owners had decided not to sell so they had sent two different horses that they thought would be great in the hunt field!

      Too expensive to send them back, so it turned into an expensive mistake.

      Obviously, this could happen with any overseas sale, but it diminished my desire to own an Irish foxhunter!
      Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
      EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


      • #4

        About 10K for shipping & quarantine alone.
        And while you're there; will you get one for me!!??
        I suggest instead; buy from a US breeder. Fabulous horses available here. Lotsa Irish drafts here. Just make sure you get papers!!
        Lotsa PMU's sold as "irish" or half irish or whatever.
        I loves my "Canadians"! Got 3! I'm just too poor to buy Irish besides!


        • #5
          I agree with you about the Irish Draughts (correct spelling for searches!)
          irish *drafts* don't come with any Irish Draught Society papers from here or

          irishdraught.com is the North American Society and could be a start for horses over here------

          I have a great contact from Ireland that brokers horses for Eventers & Hunters------
          PM me & I will give you his name, he is famous for matching horses & buyers!
          Going to Ireland to shop is an incredibly fun and unforgettable time!


          • #6
            Be aware that Irish horse traders see Americans as "easy money", for the most part.
            ... _. ._ .._. .._


            • #7
              Equibrit is right. That is why there is an advantage to using a middleman. We have a friend who used to import Irish horses regularly. The Irishman who sent horses to her knew that if he sent her a bad one, she would stop buying from him. Therefore, she got a lot of very nice Irish horses. I do know people who vacationed in Ireland, rode horses that they loved, and then brought them home. Those purchases worked out well.

              My current Irish horse is American bred. He is lovely. My only concern with the American bred horses is that they don't always get the good mileage and bombproofing that the horses get in Ireland. My Irish bred horse was raised by a family with 12 kids, who fox hunted him. Nothing phased him. He would jump anything and would happily take 2 or 3 kids on a bareback trail ride to the river. Irish horses, no matter where you find them, are usually wonderful.


              • #8
                As someone who is living here in Ireland, and would LOVE to sell the babies I've been raising (but have only sold one horse in my long life...), I agree with most of what everyone has said so far. Essentially, the dealers here see Americans coming - even those of us who came and stayed

                However, if you really want to come for a "buying trip", you MUST decide in advance what you are looking for and what you plan to do with it. If you want a foxhunter, that's one thing, if you want a nice all around horse, that's another thing, if you want an Eventer with the potential to be the next Custom Made, that's another thing entirely.

                And the prices for the different horses are radically different. A good, well-made foxhunter with several seasons under its belt is going to be priced differently that one that's barely had a season.

                The all-rounders/amateur horses are significantly cheaper than the ones with top potential - but even those are cheap compared to what I've seen in the US.

                (GV's are a dime a dozen.... unless you have an American accent, then they get pricey.... )

                I would be HAPPY to help anyone who is interested in buying - EVERYONE I've worked with is upfront about margins and commissions, and, frankly, I LOVE looking at horses, so it might be a lot of fun. I can also recommend a wonderful Vet, should you need one. I can also refer you to the absolute BEST person from whom to get a young event horse, and an excellent agent who, I think, knows every horse in the country (she often announces or officiates at events, so she sees them all!)

                Also, a MARE (or stallion) (over the age of 2) costs significantly more to import than a gelding because of the longer quarantine.

                Not to discourage anyone, but, if I were back in the US, I would go to the tracks or to someone (such as Bev Strauss) who gets horses from the tracks and turns them into whatever they want to be.

                American bred Irish horses are good too, of course, but what makes Irish horses special is the experience of living in Ireland Just like the ones that we used to get from ranches out West that had experienced tough ranch life before becoming eventers. I think those experiences and being able to just be horses make them far more sound, safe, and sane than those raised in a stall.

                My last issue with Irish horses is, unless you look at the horse's passport, you no longer know if you are getting an Irish horse. Continental breeding has become the big thing here, and traditionally bred horses are getting harder to find.

                By the way, ALL Irish horses MUST have a passport and, if foaled since 2001 or so, a MICROCHIP. Passports and microchips SHOULD be CHECKED by your vet (NOT the seller's vet!!!) before you buy!!

                Last, but not least, DO NOT COME NOW - wait until March or so, unless you want to hunt, we are UP to our EYEBALLS in MUD!!!
                The mud is so deep, you probably won't be allowed out to jump anyone's XC fences
                co-author of 101 Jumping Exercises & The Rider's Fitness Program; Soon to come: Dead Ringer - a tale of equine mystery and intrique! Former Moderator!


                • #9
                  Yes, geldings are cheaper than mares and stallions. This is a recent quote I obtained when I considered exporting a gelding from the UK (note, I believe Amsterdam is the only route?)

                  Ground transport from UK to Amsterdam -- 400 GBP
                  Air freight and handling from Amsterdam to JFK-- 2800 euros
                  Quarantine stateside, USDA handling, vet work, etc (this is the number that will go up if you bring over a mare/stallion)-- $2500 USD

                  I received a few other quotes that were all within a few hundred USD.


                  • #10
                    Amsterdam is the only route UNLESS you can get a spot on one of the charters that go back and forth from Shannon and Dublin for the racehorse industry. Not as many of them as there once were, however

                    I have also heard of people getting a discount by shipping two or three (a full pallet) horses at once.

                    Some people use FedEx, too.
                    co-author of 101 Jumping Exercises & The Rider's Fitness Program; Soon to come: Dead Ringer - a tale of equine mystery and intrique! Former Moderator!