Buying my first horse: What can I expect for..... - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 07-28-2012, 10:40 AM Thread Starter
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Buying my first horse: What can I expect for.....

Hi all....I am relatively new to riding (5 months now: hunter/jumper), and would really like to purchase a horse of my own! I have been training with a stellar trainer (she rides in every derby and grand prix offered in this area, rides multiple horses in them, and usually is in the ribbons). I trust her and her guidance! My purpose here is to do more research on my own, and not to second guess anything she's telling me. I like to be informed so I can make the best decision for me and my soon to be horse!

My budget right now is about $4,000 (I know it's not much in the hunter/jumper world, but it's where I am right now). What can I reasonably expect in this price range as far as the age of the horse, it's abilities (height of jumps, ability to do lead changes, etc). Am I silly to want to find a $4,000 horse that I can show with almost immediately?

Any comments will be appreciated.
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post #2 of 16 Old 07-28-2012, 11:41 AM
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Around here a finished horse that can do all of those things might go for as little as $7500 and that's if he is past his prime...BUT

If I had $4000 and wanted a hunter/jumper, I'd start shopping for a nice 6-7 yr old TB or TB cross that had a good start on her/him and start doing some training myself. As long as the horse had a good foundation to build on (and didn't have any physical issues) why couldn't you just keep training with your trainer and use the novice level shows as your training grounds?

I think that would be a very respectable place to start with $4000! Plus, your investment might double or more over time if you continue to work with experienced folks that are as successful as your trainer. Pretty soon you'd have people asking to buy your horse out from under you. Meanwhile, you can always ride others' horses and compete with them on higher levels....but there is something really special about bringing a horse up the levels by yourself!

Anyway, that's just what I think - horse shopping is a blast - you are going to have so much fun!
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post #3 of 16 Old 07-28-2012, 11:57 AM
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Just make sure you are prepared for all of the costs of a horse. The horse itself is the cheap part. You'll have to pay for boarding, feed, farrier, vet bills, tack, show fees, etc. and those prices can quickly get into the thousands.

Having your own horse is also much more time consuming than just taking lessons. It depends on your boarding agreement really but you may have to feed your horse several times a day, and your horse will need exercise almost daily if you want to keep it in good shape for showing.

If you decide your budget and schedule can really handle it long term, I wish you luck finding a good horse for your needs :)

Last edited by Fringe; 07-28-2012 at 12:00 PM.
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post #4 of 16 Old 07-28-2012, 12:22 PM
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couple things came to mind immediately...1st the market is really depressed right now so you will get more for your dollar and 4K should buy a nice horse. 2nd if you have been riding for 5 months or so don't "over horse" yourself...that can be a very frustrating road to go down 3rd smart to do homework but if you are using a trainer to help you find a horse remember that their expertise comes with a price....usually at least 10% of the sale price of a horse so you may want to discuss that with them so you know going in what to expect

good luck and have fun as a horse owner!
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post #5 of 16 Old 07-28-2012, 12:55 PM
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Welcome to the forum
good luck with finding a horse in your price range
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post #6 of 16 Old 07-28-2012, 02:42 PM
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A lot of the answer to your ? is geography. Have you looked at any the horse sale sites yet?
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post #7 of 16 Old 07-28-2012, 04:05 PM
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To the OP, what are your goals? Are you wanting to show HJ? Just hack around? Where do you live? The answers to these questions make a huge impact as to how "much horse" you can get for "how much money".

If you are new, I'd look into an older horse mid-teens that is sound of mind and body. 'Been there, done that" sort of critter. If you were looking for a low level HJ here with those parameters in mind, around here in mid Michigan with $4k you could most certainly find a horse that would suit.

One thought to contemplate. A lot of people sell off horses in the fall so they won't have to feed them over the winter. IME, the best time to buy a horse is in late fall or winter. Depending on the seller's circumstances sometimes you can get a better deal on a horse than if you bought that same horse over the summer. YMMV...
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post #8 of 16 Old 07-28-2012, 05:15 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all very much for the input. I live in Landrum, SC which is an area with a big-time HJ/dressage market. There are 3 barns within 10 minutes of my house. I have been looking around: For example, there is an 18 year old horse that has "been there, done that," and the owner was asking $10,000. I asked my trainer realistically what that horse should go for, she said she wouldn't pay over $5k for him....BUT, the owner won't take less than $8k, which seems a bit unrealistic to me.

My goal is to show HJ....I'm comfortable at 2' right now, but would really love to compete at 3'6'' with the horse I buy (in due time, of course).

**What are some of the good horse sale sites to check?

Thanks again all!
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post #9 of 16 Old 07-28-2012, 05:16 PM
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Cacowgirl is right. Where do you live? Have you looked at any sale sites recently?

There are plenty of great horses for sale within your budget. Assuming you'd start low level and then move up, your best bet is to find a quiet horse solidly started on jumps- however, it might be preferably to have a horse considerably more than "started", depending on your experience and what you want to do and when- with no soundness or health issues and no vices. If you can find a nice TB, they can often be adopted for relatively cheap, and in my experience they make nice jumpers.

Goods luck!

ETA: I like and
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post #10 of 16 Old 07-28-2012, 10:30 PM
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A lot of people ask for more than their horse is worth, and a lot of horses sell for under their ticketed price, so don't purely judge the market on what you see on websites, and if you don't think something is worth it, don't buy it.

I'd be reluctant to be an 18 year old, regardless of training, who knows what will happen at that age.

Being a good rider, or having a good horse, has nothing to do with the heights they can jump. I understand that you'll likely want to compete, but consider working on your riding for a couple of years. I think you'd be better off buying an average horse with good temperament and training, and even if you don't win you'll be safe and learn heaps, rather than buying a good horse with potential but too hot or too untrained, and not being able to do anything with it.

Sometimes instructors focus too much on the competition and quality of the horse, rather than it's safeness and how fun it will be for the rider. So really think about what you want, and what the horse market seems like.
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