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If you found a nice yearling in a field, and it was cheap....

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  • If you found a nice yearling in a field, and it was cheap....

    What would you do? And how big is he going to be?

    Stopped with a friend today just to watch a herd of horses in a crappy field, and the owner turns up and asks if we want to buy one!

    So I said yes (much to friend's dismay), and we went and looked at them - quite a mix - a couple of pretty 2yo TB fillies (too dainty for me, but v nice), a couple of draught crosses, the usual mishmash of paint/QH types, and one which caught our eye more than the others.

    Gelding, yearling, approx 14hh, good eye, nice head, good jowel, short sturdy cannon bones, good angles, great feet, nice neck-on-shoulder, good angles, good hips/stifle/hocks, very nice easy-going nature.

    Bay, slight blond fringes to his fetlocks which made me think a leetle Clydesdale (which I like), and like I say, maybe 14hh.

    So, not knowing his breeding, any idea how big he might end up being? We didn't get in the field (too much piles of wire barracading us out ) so couldn't do a string test, etc.

    Oh, and all for the price of not-a-lot.

    * * *

    It always makes me ponder, when you find a fieldful of young stock like that - why were they bred, ("what were they thinking????") and why then just get rid of them for next to nothing?

    He'd got them from all over the place, and was getting rid of the lot shortly, because he was fed up with horses and wimmin, but he couldn't sell the wife (I kid you not).

  • #2
    Extremely hard to guess on height, because they will 'conserve' growing during times of less than optimum nutrition, and *can* catch up IF (and that's a great big IF) it hasn't been for too long a time.

    Climate seems to have a bigger impact too. My yearlings and 2yos are tiny. However, most (exception of one) are 'normal, expected' mature size by 5 or 6. (and keep gaining until they are 7 & 8 ) So it also depends on where you are.

    My 2yo in 3 weeks is somewhere just slightly over 14h I think, and he's out of a 16h BIG old Trak mare and my 14.3h stallion with more 16h than 14h in his pedigree. So I've NO IDEA there.

    If you're in a position to take him on, worst case is you get him going under saddle and he's a little too small... but sound, sane and now started... and you make a wee bit of $$ on him??? ??? maybe?
    InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs

    Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)


    • Original Poster

      That's kind of what we're thinking....the old "you can't lose, buying a nice youngster" scenario.

      It's always interesting watching a loose herd of youngsters, seeing who's fussy, who's easy going, who's bossy, who's the sh)t disturber, who's clever on his feet.

      So I called a friend who judges a lot of sporthorse youngstock shows, so she has the all important "good eye," and we're heading back first thing tomorrow morning.

      And I also mentioned it to the vet in passing this evening, who said we should go back and see him, because you just never know; there's at least one horse heading to the Olympics who the owner saw in field as a youngster and stopped on spec and bought it for peanuts.

      Helpful vet - an enabler, clearly

      (NOT going with a fistful of 20s burning a hole in my pocket, no, definitely not).


      • #4
        It depends on your expectations. Personally, I would pass as it is so incredibly expensive to raise and train a youngster. If I made that kind of investment, I would purchase the best yearling that I could afford. Keep in mind that the mid-range horses are always the hardest to sell.


        • #5
          Depends 'how cheap' and depends if you have your own facilities where you can turn him out all year on grass/or most of the year on grass.
          A cheap horse can become very expensive if you have to board/ or feed and stable all year round.
          Has he got any nice 3yo's ? much better age to see what they will become and less time to pay out on feed etc.


          • #6
            Helpful vet - an enabler, clearly

            (NOT going with a fistful of 20s burning a hole in my pocket, no, definitely not).

            I guess I'm an optimist.

            I think there are deals to be found right now, for those in the right place to seek them. I'm still breeding this year, against all sanity. Of course, I'll be happy to KEEP both of them, should that happen... but... <shrugs>

            Can't wait to see what the enablers... I MEAN EXPERTS... have to say.
            InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs

            Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)


            • #7
              What are 3 year old draft crosses selling for in your area? How much will you have invested by then (feed, farrier, deworming, vet bills)? Can you start him yourself? Draft crosses movement tends to get "heavier" as they get older.


              • #8
                Haha I love these kinds of finds. I found my OO seven x Faust Z colt in a similair situation. The horse was basically feral and intact and 17 hh at two years old....so you can imagine. Wow..he is one talented boy though....so yes, it does happen that you can find a real diamond in the rough in a place like you describe. I would take him..and anything else that looks good, if you have the time ect.

                "Simple: Breeding,Training, Riding". Wolfram Wittig.


                • #9
                  I agree that it depends on your situation and expectations. Is it just to have some fun with a cute baby? Go for it. Have your own place to board him? Can you afford to keep him if he doesn't sell for several years? What do you hope to do with him?

                  I am a firm believer in turning over ever rock to find good horses for good deals. BUT I also believe that a nice horse costs the same to care for as a crappy one, so you might as well have the nicest one you can.

                  If you want to have some fun with him and see how he turns out, I think you should do it and enjoy him, he sounds cute and friendly. If you have to pay board every month and hope to make money on a grade draft cross unreg yearling once he is going under saddle, I would pass.

                  Good luck and post pics if you get him! Babies are soooo cute.
                  Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved. - William Jennings Bryan



                  • #10
                    Cheap in the field

                    Ben there done that....and I lucked out! Now that I am an educated horse person I am not sure I would do it again. You need to know what to look for in a young horse. BUT if the horses are cheap, what have you got to loose ( besides $$$$$$$$).
                    Best of Luck
                    I will try and post a picture of my "Field Find"


                    • Original Poster

                      Aren't horse people the best! Great forthright thoughtful answers!

                      Classic answers - all over the map which is what I love about horse people, and lots of useful stuff for me to consider.

                      We have our own farm, own hay, own straw, so our overheads for another feedbin are negligible.

                      He'd have good company and be well cared for...but then I woke up last night thinking, oh, maybe I should get two, so he has a buddy instead of pestering the big boys (or being beaten up by them).

                      We have good pros in the area for starting under saddle when the time comes, and I'm capable of doing everything else up to that stage.

                      We hunt, so even a grade horse, if it's a good hunt horse, has a market around here, but good point: people are picky on breeds - even if all they ever do is wobble around w/t dressage tests or compete at baby-green-pre-entry-novice-intro-hunters-on-the-flat. Which IMO is sad, because there are great horses out there with unknown parentage, and real duds with known breeding. But such is the way of the world, these days.

                      It's his size I'm most concerned about: I'm quite tall, but not exactly built like Charlize Theron, so if he doesn't get bigger than around 15.2hh, I'd drown him, however much of a "keeper" he could turn out to be.

                      Donella - LUCKY!!! He's not in that league (I wish)!

                      If I can stall today (which I doubt) and take pics, I'll post them for review.


                      • #12
                        I know he could catch up, and if hes part draft he could grow for a long time, but from my personal experience, I don't think he's going to reach 16h if he's 14h as a yearling. My yearling now is already 15.2 (WB x TB) and I expect him to be 16.2h when finished. I had another horse that was 14.2 as a yearling (TB x App) both parents close to 16.2h, and she finished up at 15.3.

                        ~Once you have ridden the tiger it is impossible to dismount~


                        • #13
                          It is so upsetting to read about herds of horses bred with no future for them. I hope you do well with the youngster you are looking at - the rest will probably go for meat. And what's the point of breeding without any ability to feed/train these horses?

                          Also - the price might be low but I'l bet they've had no shots or worming and you will have to put that money into the horse right away.
                          Summit Sporthorses Ltd. Inc.
                          "Breeding Competition Partners & Lifelong Friends"


                          • #14
                            Buy two. And then the one you thought would be for you will not work out and the one you bought as an extra buddy will be your super star.

                            I guess I'm not much help...


                            • #15
                              Romany, now that you said you have your own place to keep him on, I say go for it! If nothing else, you will probably be "rescuing" the poor horse from an uncertain future. Raise him, start him under saddle, and sell him as a useful animal later if he's not for you. Sounds like the seller may be the type to send them to the feedlot if he can't sell them. He sounds like he breeds without regard, he may dispose of them with the same attitude.

                              If you were boarding and were banking on this horse being the one and only one for you--I'd say no way.


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by showjumpers66 View Post
                                It depends on your expectations. Personally, I would pass as it is so incredibly expensive to raise and train a youngster. If I made that kind of investment, I would purchase the best yearling that I could afford. Keep in mind that the mid-range horses are always the hardest to sell.
                                This from a breeder who I'm sure has a horse to sell you.

                                OP if you like the horse, have money for upkeep, go get it. It woulld surely have a better home with you than with someone who does not want it.

                                At 14 hands as a yearling for a horse with possible draft - my guess 15.3 to 16 hands. Great height for an adult amateur.


                                • #17
                                  If your intentions are to keep him, then I say go for it. The worst that can happen is that he doesn't suit your needs and you sell him. Yearlings are not too far gone that you can't domesticate them into pocketpony types.
                                  Riding the winds of change

                                  Heeling NRG Aussies
                                  Like us on facebook!


                                  • #18
                                    The sire of my 2 yr old now 15hh was 14.3hh - his sire 17.3hh who knows what determines size?

                                    My boy is Clyde cross/HolsteinerTB - his mum (Clydesdale) grew 4" as a 3yr old.

                                    If you really like him then go for it. A cheap horse with good conformation will always be a plus regardless of size.

                                    As for why breed? I breed one a year and selling depends very much on the market, the weather, feed availability and fashion. I have friends who bred their mares to top warmbloods and had some really lovely foals - they ended up practically giving them away as yearlings. They've now stopped breeding, kept a couple which they'll break and then sell.


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Romany View Post
                                      That's kind of what we're thinking....the old "you can't lose, buying a nice youngster" scenario.
                                      Uhhh, YES, you can lose buying a youngster, nice or otherwise.

                                      First, as a resale project the world is not exactly clamoring for unpapered geldings of unknown parentage. Second, keep in mind you have another 2 years of feeding and caring for him THEN another 6 months-1 year of training before you can hope to sell as a (green) riding horse.

                                      And he is free to damage himself beyong repair at any time in those next 2 yrs., making him anywhere from less valuable to totally worthless.

                                      Personally, I wouldn't be beating the guy's door down unless we are talking $500 or so...look on the horse sale sites and see how many unpapered RIDING horses there are and what they are getting for them -- $2500-5000. Even at a purchase price of $500 you will have at least $2000 into him by the time he's started u/s.

                                      People never realize that often the purchase price is the best part of the deal, horse-wise.


                                      • #20
                                        If you like him, and can afford to keep him, why not? It sounds like you know what you're getting yourself into!
                                        "Adulthood? You're playing with ponies. That is, like, every 9 year old girl's dream. Adulthood?? You're rocking the HELL out of grade 6, girl."