What Price Range to Search in? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 137 Old 06-17-2018, 01:53 PM Thread Starter
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What Price Range to Search in?

Hello everyone! I have yet another seemingly dumb question that I thought you guys might be able to help me out with. As you may have gathered from some of my previous posts, I am currently searching for my first horse and have tons of questions to go along with it. That being said, this one has been getting me.

What price range do you look in when trying to find a horse? (if you we're doing some self-finding of ads online, etc, rather than relying on word of mouth)

I'm currently on a budget of 25k firm, and have been looking at horses priced up to 30k, thinking that if the seller thought the horse and I were a nice match, that that would be a decent negotiation. I've been reading online and have heard from a few friends that they think I should be looking at horses marketed up to 40k as some sellers over-price initially so that they get what they want once they negotiate.

I personally don't feel comfortable going much over 35k, as that's already a 10k difference. Once you hit 40k, then we're getting to just a little over half of what the original asking price is.

So my question is, how much over budget (if at all) do you look when considering potential horses?
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post #2 of 137 Old 06-17-2018, 03:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ciara Myers View Post
Hello everyone! I have yet another seemingly dumb question that I thought you guys might be able to help me out with. As you may have gathered from some of my previous posts, I am currently searching for my first horse and have tons of questions to go along with it. That being said, this one has been getting me.

What price range do you look in when trying to find a horse? (if you we're doing some self-finding of ads online, etc, rather than relying on word of mouth)

I'm currently on a budget of 25k firm, and have been looking at horses priced up to 30k, thinking that if the seller thought the horse and I were a nice match, that that would be a decent negotiation. I've been reading online and have heard from a few friends that they think I should be looking at horses marketed up to 40k as some sellers over-price initially so that they get what they want once they negotiate.

I personally don't feel comfortable going much over 35k, as that's already a 10k difference. Once you hit 40k, then we're getting to just a little over half of what the original asking price is.

So my question is, how much over budget (if at all) do you look when considering potential horses?
This totally depends on what you are looking for in a horse. Would I ever spend 35k? Heck no. I look at green, young horses, or problem horses, so I can get them cheap and retrain them. The next pool of horses I will ever be buying from is Off-Track Thoroughbreds.

Are you trying to buy a push-button show horse? Then 35k is probably going to get you that.

Are you trying to buy a high-level dressage horse? Then 35k is probably a bit low.

Are you trying to buy a dead-broke trail horse? Then 35k can get turned into 3.5k.

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post #3 of 137 Old 06-17-2018, 03:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ciara Myers View Post
Hello everyone! I have yet another seemingly dumb question that I thought you guys might be able to help me out with. As you may have gathered from some of my previous posts, I am currently searching for my first horse and have tons of questions to go along with it. That being said, this one has been getting me.

What price range do you look in when trying to find a horse? (if you we're doing some self-finding of ads online, etc, rather than relying on word of mouth)

I'm currently on a budget of 25k firm, and have been looking at horses priced up to 30k, thinking that if the seller thought the horse and I were a nice match, that that would be a decent negotiation. I've been reading online and have heard from a few friends that they think I should be looking at horses marketed up to 40k as some sellers over-price initially so that they get what they want once they negotiate.

I personally don't feel comfortable going much over 35k, as that's already a 10k difference. Once you hit 40k, then we're getting to just a little over half of what the original asking price is.

So my question is, how much over budget (if at all) do you look when considering potential horses?
If you're shopping up to 25K for a FIRST horse, then you should be able to find exactly what you want in that ballpark. As a seller, I pretty much expect someone to offer me 10% below my asking and to end up meeting in the middle somewhere. So, horse is advertised at 30K, then offer $27K. To me, anything more than a 10% reduction is insulting and I will usually not even counter. Or if I do, it's not as much as I would if they'd been more reasonable with their opening offer. Further deductions can be made if the horse is found to have a condition(s) during the PPE. So, let's say you offer me $22,500 as an opener (on your 25K hypothetical horse) and we agree on $23,500 pending PPE. Then on PPE the horse is found to have some arthritic changes, is not lame but could use some maintenance to keep sound. At that point a realistic seller expects you to say that you're no longer willing to pay $23,500 for a horse who needs hock injections 2X/year (just for example). They should say, if they're at all legit, "Ok, let's reopen the negotiations. How do you feel about $20K?". At that point, I'd probably go right to about $1000 over my absolute bottom line for that horse and see what the buyer had to say.

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post #4 of 137 Old 06-17-2018, 04:19 PM Thread Starter
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Right now my trainer would like me to find something that is schooling 2nd/3rd level dressage, and 6-8 years old. I personally have a bigger list:

6 - 10 years old
schooling 2nd or higher
16h - 17h
High preference for a Friesian (go ahead and laugh LOL), Andalusian, Lusitano, or some Warmbloods
Preferably located close or in Florida

The issue that we have is that the 6-8 years old that are schooling 2nd/3rd are still greener than she would like for me. I'm struggling to find something that is schooling what she wants, not green (i.e. or can handle an advanced beginner rider), and not 15 or 16 years old.

I've found a few that would work but for one reason or another we didn't mix well together, too small (I'm on the thick side so I need a horse with a bit of bone), too short (lots of ponies on the FL market right now), or didn't PPE well. :3

At this point I'm just trying to make sure that I'm looking at absolutely everything that could be a possibility, but at the same time I don't want to get a reputation for offering way too low on sales horses.
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post #5 of 137 Old 06-17-2018, 04:46 PM
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Why do you want a horse at such a high price range? You describe yourself as an advanced beginner.. I'd tell you to buy <5k!

I know a (complete) beginner who had the money and decided she wanted a 10k horse, because more expensive is better, right? Well she bought two very sweet very good looking very highly trained horses, and was completely overhorsed to the point of breaking bones a few months in (she was "schooling leads" for 2 hours in the sun and got dumped, none of us felt too badly! that horse knew leads like clockwork and she...did not). Fancy isn't always better. She ended up having them "in training" aka the staff got to ride them and she didn't bother which we were all VERY happy with, they were great fun! Last I heard they were sitting in an overgrown pasture with dry water buckets :(

And that's a bit of an extreme example, but it makes my point very well! I doubt you're in that boat but I'm not really matching the horse to you from your description.

Why such a young horse, why schooling so high? I think if you were more realistic with level vs age (I see your list goes up to 10, that's good!) you'd find more options. I understand wanting a certain breed too, it's YOUR horse after all! But Friesians you'll be paying more JUST because it's a Friesian.. massive turnoff for me, IF they were even an appropriate dressage horse (they aren't, they are carriage horses and very difficult to ride PROPERLY for dressage). If you want one, go for it, but make sure you understand that a good part of the price is just because of the breed. I would go the route of contacting breeding barns if you want a less common breed like that.

Andalusians and Lusitanos are not over 16hh, it will be hard to find any that are that tall to begin with let alone that meet your criteria and will be for sale.

So obviously personal preference will come in to play but you need to be realistic when balancing that with your goals. Also make sure your goals are realistic for where you are at now with your first horse.

You don't want an older horse but it sounds like a schoolmaster would be ideal for you. Those are worth their weight in gold without the actual price tag a younger horse will have. A horse in it's teens will likely be a good riding horse for another 10 years.

Anyways, slightly O/T but I hope that helps give you something to think about. As far as exact numbers I like the example above. I'd be very unhappy if someone came to look at a horse and the budget was HALF my asking price. I think where you're looking now is good and to maybe expand your search a little. Also, horse shopping is fun and also makes you want to smash your head into a wall, so just be patient and don't settle.
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post #6 of 137 Old 06-17-2018, 05:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ciara Myers View Post
Right now my trainer would like me to find something that is schooling 2nd/3rd level dressage, and 6-8 years old. I personally have a bigger list:

6 - 10 years old
schooling 2nd or higher
16h - 17h
High preference for a Friesian (go ahead and laugh LOL), Andalusian, Lusitano, or some Warmbloods
Preferably located close or in Florida

The issue that we have is that the 6-8 years old that are schooling 2nd/3rd are still greener than she would like for me. I'm struggling to find something that is schooling what she wants, not green (i.e. or can handle an advanced beginner rider), and not 15 or 16 years old.

I've found a few that would work but for one reason or another we didn't mix well together, too small (I'm on the thick side so I need a horse with a bit of bone), too short (lots of ponies on the FL market right now), or didn't PPE well. :3

At this point I'm just trying to make sure that I'm looking at absolutely everything that could be a possibility, but at the same time I don't want to get a reputation for offering way too low on sales horses.
IMO you are looking for a needle in a haystack. Don't know that there are any horses that meet that description in your price range, especially in Florida. A horse like that would be in the 60K and up range.

Are you currently riding at 2nd-3rd level? If you are a training level rider than you shouldn't be looking for a 2-3 level horse.
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post #7 of 137 Old 06-17-2018, 05:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ciara Myers View Post
Right now my trainer would like me to find something that is schooling 2nd/3rd level dressage, and 6-8 years old. I personally have a bigger list:

6 - 10 years old
schooling 2nd or higher
16h - 17h
High preference for a Friesian (go ahead and laugh LOL), Andalusian, Lusitano, or some Warmbloods
Preferably located close or in Florida

The issue that we have is that the 6-8 years old that are schooling 2nd/3rd are still greener than she would like for me. I'm struggling to find something that is schooling what she wants, not green (i.e. or can handle an advanced beginner rider), and not 15 or 16 years old.

I've found a few that would work but for one reason or another we didn't mix well together, too small (I'm on the thick side so I need a horse with a bit of bone), too short (lots of ponies on the FL market right now), or didn't PPE well. :3

At this point I'm just trying to make sure that I'm looking at absolutely everything that could be a possibility, but at the same time I don't want to get a reputation for offering way too low on sales horses.

As soon as you said Warmblood, the price just doubled. For a dressage trained WB, especially a fancy Friesian, you're looking at a lot more than you want to spend. If you can look at horses that are schooling 2nd or higher, but are almost any another breed and can back off the ridiculous height requirement, you should be able to find a good horse in your range. There are lots of good, solidly built horses between 15-16 hh that could handle someone over 300 lbs with ease (not saying you are but that's about where my concerns for horse size would start).

You're also probably going to be looking at a horse who is going to need some maintenance at that price point.
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post #8 of 137 Old 06-17-2018, 05:28 PM
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I can't really offer you much advice because I'm a "basic" rider.. I can do the gaits comfortably but they ain't pretteh. I just wanted to root for Andalusians, my first choice of horse before I actually, well, got one. BOOOOO FRIESIANS (not really <3). I've been told by a few reputable dressage people that friesians are overrated as actual dressage horses and are not so common in upper levels. I ended up paying 6k for an 8yo ex-hunter, arena-green, forward and sensitive Irish Draught X, teehee But she's perfect and I love her to bits - she's teaching me how to properly understand the training that goes into even the most basic of flatwork which itself lays a foundation to better understand and apply higher level stuff, when I get there. Hopefully it also means I can take on reasonable projects as I begin to not only understand what buttons to push but also how to create the buttons in the first place which in itself leads down a biomechanics shaped rabbit hole... my head hurts now. But my second horse will be a step up in horsieness but I gotta improve a LOT LOT more before that point...

I was told 6k was too much for my first horse, especially for my level of riding and experience. I think touching something like a pro dressage horse with top-notch schooling would be like buying a time-bomb and not having the tools to diffuse it, if and when necessary. For me that is. You might think you're ready and maybe you are which is totally cool if so.

However, you have a really great budget that gives you a lot of freedom to explore - not sure if it includes tack and care etc. If it's your first horse FULL STOP I'd recommend taking the "don't buy a brand new car for your first" mindset. But I truly wish you the best in finding an amazing companion to work through all sorts of hurdles for the years to come. :)
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post #9 of 137 Old 06-17-2018, 05:39 PM
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You question was about what to offer to not insult & anger the seller but also get you a good deal.

First of all, I don't give out my budget to anyone. When I have told people that (for example) I only have 5k to spend, suddenly a bunch of horses are available that coincidently cost exactly 5K. When I looked at those 5k horses, most of them I wouldn't give half of that!


My point being a lot of people seem to price their horses by what you are spending. A much better way is to locate horses that fit your requirements, THEN see if they meet your price range. Some sellers will give payment terms, but it is rare.


When I was looking for a Lusitano (or cross) to buy, the best I found was a 16.2H grey 3yr old mare, not yet started under saddle. She was priced at 30K and was 650 miles from my house. She had fabulous movement!!

Much as I liked that mare, I did not want to have to start a young horse, so I bought a 7yr old training level appendix gelding who was much cheaper.
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post #10 of 137 Old 06-17-2018, 07:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ciara Myers View Post
Right now my trainer would like me to find something that is schooling 2nd/3rd level dressage, and 6-8 years old. I personally have a bigger list:

6 - 10 years old
schooling 2nd or higher
16h - 17h
High preference for a Friesian (go ahead and laugh LOL), Andalusian, Lusitano, or some Warmbloods
Preferably located close or in Florida

The issue that we have is that the 6-8 years old that are schooling 2nd/3rd are still greener than she would like for me. I'm struggling to find something that is schooling what she wants, not green (i.e. or can handle an advanced beginner rider), and not 15 or 16 years old.

I've found a few that would work but for one reason or another we didn't mix well together, too small (I'm on the thick side so I need a horse with a bit of bone), too short (lots of ponies on the FL market right now), or didn't PPE well. :3

At this point I'm just trying to make sure that I'm looking at absolutely everything that could be a possibility, but at the same time I don't want to get a reputation for offering way too low on sales horses.
Seems like the trainer should be buying you this horse, not you...gee whiz, any trainer I have ever talked to has recommended an older horse, for 10k MAX. If you are a new rider, you should be on a schoolmaster, not an opinionated 6 year old. Horses that are 15/16 will likely last into their early to mid 20's. When I first got my horse, who was 9 at the time, I wish I would've just listened and gotten something older, and SAFE!

What do YOU want? What is important to YOU? I can't see a Lusitano, Andalusian, or Friesian doing remarkably well in US dressage - a warmblood yes, as that and TB's are what is dominating the dressage and sporthorse world.

You should look into the journals on this site, at one of our user's that had a Friesian and was trying to do dressage with her - there are a lot of hills to climb with them, as they are bred to be cart horses and not riding horses. All of the Lusitanos and Andalusians that I have seen have quite short necks, bodies, and legs, which don't always lend themselves to easily do modern dressage. Those breeds often do more of a classical dressage.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, you should really evaluate your goals with this horse - is it to gain experience? To learn to ride better? To successfully compete?

At the price point that you are looking, you should be able to find an AMAZING schoolmaster that is in his midteens, and still have money left over to buy a nice saddle, bridle, and pay board for a while.
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