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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know there is a ton of variation and so many factors effect this, but realistically for the type of horse I'm hoping to eventually buy, how much should I expect to pay for a horse that would make a good jumper? Should I go after Warmbloods or Thoroughbreds? I personally prefer the looks of Warmbloods to TBs but they're so much more expensive that I don't know if realistically I could afford one, which bums me out but oh well. Can you find a solid Warmblood for under $10K? How late in age can certain breeds keep jumping until? I'm still very much a beginner, but I'm hoping to eventually get into competing and want to go as far as I can with it. What level of jumper should I look at for this? A horse that can jump four feet, five feet, etc? Would it be unrealistic or naive of me to be looking for a Grand Prix level horse? Like I said, I really want to go as far as I can with my riding but I know the prices for Grand Prix level horses are so outrageous that if I can't afford one, should I just accept that I may never have a horse of that caliber? Or is it possible to buy a horse for under $10K that can still be at that high of a skill level? I don't mean to sound ignorant here, I'm legitimately asking all of this just to get some insight here. Please share what you know.

And also, I'm just asking about the price of the horse itself, not boarding fees and stuff like that. I'm just asking for the cost of the horse alone.
 
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I know I myself am still a beginner, but unless you have a horsey family, I'd recommend leasing a horse first, especially if you're looking for a warmblood. But I'd say for a beginner safe, from online it looks like around 15,000-20,000 to buy.

But don't take my word as concrete because I've never bought a horse, but just look around, you'll eventually find what you're looking for.
 

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Don't get caught up in the breed. If you're riding under 3', anything with 4 sound legs and a good mind can do it.



You can lease a horse of higher quality than you can buy for an equivalent cost.


Warmbloods are 'in' now. But don't forget that TBs used to be king of the jumper ring. The average TB is very scopy and athletic and brave to fences. You can get a very nice TB for pennies compared to an equal WB, but they are trickier because they come off the track with injuries or are difficult to retrain. People are wanting the slow stride of Warmblood now in hunters, and the big courses have changes to favour a WB's ability to get in deep, but neither of those matter unless you are showing in those ring. Local level, bronze shows, if you put in a solid round, you'll be in the running based on your riding, not your horse's type.


You need to look for a horse that's appropriate for your skill level. Even if you could afford a 1.20+ horse, you probably couldn't ride it. Or if you found a 1.20+ horse a beginner could jump, it wouldn't be for sale. A good horse to learn on is those that used to jump the bigger courses but needs to step down due to age. They've been around, seen it all, are experienced enough to keep everyone out of trouble, and due to age are usually a little more mellow than younger cohorts. I used to school an older TB who was the perfect schoolmaster. He'd done his time in the big rings, and at 20 something he was just starting to simmer out. If you didn't ride him well, he'd take you for a little ride around until you got it together. Never dangerous, never out of control, always knew what he was doing, but made you ride.


If you want a schoolmaster who can still do ~2'6" courses, you will probably be looking closer to the end of $10k in that budget, depending on location.
 

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If you want something ready made then defo 10k based of what I've seen and that's really on the low end with first priority being "safe". I could have easily bought something upper level for my first horse but as I was a total noob (still am!) I let a trusted person handpick for me instead appropriate for my level. I can tell you right now if I picked up something well schooled I'd have probably killed myself lol. In fact I was declined buying the first few because they were too well schooled, too responsive for me. Instead we focused on temperament and boy did I hit the jackpot. I have the kindest, most honest and willing mare. Zero vices. No bucking or rearing or any of those shenanigans and I get to be a part of the training process (myself and with assistance of a trainer/instructor). I wasn't a beginner rider but riding lesson horses just aint the same. Not by a long shot. Because of that I recommend leasing/sharing first to get that experience first hand without the commitment. At 8 years old she cost me $6000, according to google convert. She had a few years hunting on her and minimal schooling (to the point she'd try jump the fence as she had no idea what the heck an arena was!). Mine was overpriced for sure for what I got, I know this now, but her temperament is one in a million and she's with me for life. My next horse? Well... I expect to either get something a little more exciting.
 

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I think it will be a while before you need a Grand Prix horse - don't get me wrong, I am not at all trying to suggest that you aren't a good rider, just that it's not a bad idea to start off with a basic horse that is trustworthy over jumps. That horse doesn't need to be a WB or a Thoroughbred, just a good solid horse. Each horse will teach you something, but going for the Grand Prix horse right now is skipping a few important steps, and you risk untraining a good horse even if you COULD find one at a reasonable price. I guess what I'm trying to get at is that your skills need to match the horse's skills, and that takes several years.

Focus on finding a good horse to learn on. My daughter jumps quite successfully on her 20 year old Arab (low hunters, mind you), and one of the top jumpers in our area happens to be a rescue of unkown breeding. OTTBs can make good jumpers, but they are a handful, and not for the less experienced rider.

Find a nice horse that is happy and willing to jump. Ride that horse for a few years until you get better and better at it. Then maybe look for a jumper that can go higher, and compete at higher level shows. Another option is to lease a horse you can learn on, and improve on. Or you can continue to take lessons and tell your coach about your goals. Some coaches like gutsy riders who have ambition and will let you ride more challenging horses as your own skills develop.
 

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While I would be putting my pennies away, what a future competition horse costs right now should be the least of your concerns.



The horse you ride should match the level you are at. If your goal is upper level competition then you probably don't want to be buying a horse you would be selling when you progress if you aren't there yet. Buying a horse that is way beyond your level for you to grow into is a disaster in the making and not fair to either you, your horse or your trainer. A good compromise is to ride what is provided and get a experience in the show ring on a horse suited to your ability in a class you will do well at.



Here the riders typically show one level below where they are practicing until they do well enough to move up in both the level showing and practice. An example in horse trials would be the rider/horse pair that is practicing tadpole (2') but shows amoeba (18"). Not much difference in height but will give confidence on the course. All start on the flat though before entering jumping competitions. That too is a confidence builder for those anxious in a ring.



Once you have moved up and are sure about your goals then leasing a horse is the next step. That puts you on one horse to perfect where you are at and again having a horse that matches your level is an advantage. Nothing wrong with a BTDT and that is what you want to work on your skills. You are still not tied to a horse that you would need to sell as you progress. Keep in mind horses can and do perform at a range of levels so one horse per level is not what you are looking at. A good horse for a beginner can get you from the flat through the lower levels jumping(2'4"). Next horse would get you though the beginner novice through novice (up to 3'). There are horses that could get you all the way through from flat to 3" but riding a variety is a good thing. A good trainer that schools several students should have a few nice horses for lessons and taking to competitions.


Some barns have arrangements where boarders with horses that are competition material allow use for dedicated riders as they move up. When it is time to move past that into the higher level competitions and rated shows then you still may want to lease before you buy. And again ride your match though having a horse with potential to move up or has already been there is now a better fit especially if your trainer will keep the horse at that higher level until you get there. You'll likely be on this horse for several years and could look at selling a solid horse with a good record so purchasing becomes an investment that has more potential to pay off.


Note I have not made any mention of price. Price is dependent on the market, current fads and your needs. Upper level horses are going to cost more than lower level horses. Horses that have BTDT and have excelled in the ring will be more than a horse that is capable but doesn't have a record behind it. I've seen $500 horses make it when they are bought by those that have an eye for potential and time to invest in bringing them on. I've seen those with the available funds spend as much as $25K on a finished upper level horse for novice levels with an eye to moving up. (Talented rider, dedicated trainer and both put in hours every week.) And, I've seen all manner in between.


What is your current level? How often are you riding? Has your coach said you are ready to jump or are you riding poles and cross rails? Are you an anxious rider? Nervous in front of crowds? Comfortable riding in an arena with several riders - perhaps more than typical in a lesson?
 

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To be brutally honest, you are backwards way round in your thinking.

If you are a super-competitive person whose great dream is to get to the very top of the show jumping world, there are only two ways to do that.

1. inherit a huge fortune and spend it on yourself. Get the best coaches, and the best horses, yes horses, you'll need quite a few, money can buy. And also be naturally talented and work very hard. Your horses will be $50,000 and up. Mostly up.

or

2. Ride every day all day. Ride every single horse anyone will let you ride. Ride horrible horses, spoiled horse, too-smart, too-dumb horses. Ride in the rain, in the snow, in the heat, in the dark. Don't just ride, either. Work. Beg lessons from the greats. Post without stirrups until your thighs burn in agony. Get up before dawn to clean stables for rides before school. Read. Listen. Watch video. Do every single thing you can to get better. Ride other people's spoiled horses and turn them into great horses. Show other people's bad horses for them and win with them. Eventually, your own horses will come along, in the natural order of things. You'll still need lots of money, however. It's an expensive hobby.

Where you are at actually, now? It doesn't matter very much what kind of horse you get now. An old schoolmaster who still can jump will have a lot to teach you, that's what I would be looking for, in your shoes. It doesn't matter what breed they are, or how tall they are, or what they look like. At all, really. What you want is a talented horse with heart and experience, and that comes in many packages. If you want what every single other person wants that is in short supply, you'll need to pay more for it, that's how capitalism works. So if you want a top-quality perfectly trained 16.3 hand warmblood gelding, expect to pay a huge amount. As you pare down your must-have list, the price will drop. Any less-trained, or less-trendy-breed, or less tall, horse, will be a bargain compared to the horse you dream of right now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Where you are at actually, now?
I'm still very much a beginner, I've only been riding for a little over a year and a half now. I'm an adult ammy as well, I'm 25 going on 26 years old. I've just started learning how to jump, and this past weekend my instructor has started to teach me how to ride courses. I usually just go over a few crossrails, but this past weekend she let me go over a 3' vertical, which is the highest I've ever jumped at this point. So yes, forgive me if I sound unrealistic or ignorant or naive, I'm legitimately asking all of this just to get an idea of what to realistically expect from myself since I'm still new to the horse world. I don't expect to ever make it to the Olympics obviously, but I'd still like to get to the higher levels of jumping eventually. I've never competed, I'm still working on getting to that point. That's something I still need to talk to my trainer about, I haven't even brought it up with her because I know that I'm still not ready for that, and am just barely learning the starts of jumping full courses.

My plan was to start looking at buying my own horse at the end of next year, which would have me with three years' worth of riding experience. I take lessons twice weekly, and plan on continuing that through the end of next year. I'm still planning on working with my trainer even after I buy my own horse, but not on the weekly basis I'm doing right now, I was thinking of taking a lesson with her once a month with my own horse after that to keep refining my skills and then just ride on my own otherwise. Is that a good plan?
 

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Based on your reply, I'd say you'd be better off leasing. As others have said, you can get a higher level horse to lease than you could to buy, for the money. Also, if you really want to progress, you will probably need to change horses a lot. Because the horse that would be good for you now won't be good enough in a couple of years. I'd much rather lease than have to deal with buying and selling that many horses. Also since you aren't really sure if you want a TB or a warmblood, leasing might help you figure that out.

Can you get a lower level jumping horse for less than 10k? Depends on where you live, but probably yes. As others have said, you'd be looking for a schoolmaster that used to jump higher levels and is now retiring to lower levels. An upper level jumping horse? No way. At the barn we moved to, the owner bred warmbloods, and she just sold her last two, I think they were three year olds, for over 40k each. They were good looking horses, presumably well bred, friendly, and with excellent ground manners. But not even started on riding. $40k.
 

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I'd ask about flat classes to get experience in the ring in front of a crowd first. Then tackle whatever your instructor feels you are ready for jump wise. I'll ditto what has been pointed out. When you have your own horse and are interested in competing you are not doing yourself any favors by dropping lessons. If you want the edge and to see ribbons you'll want to increase your time not decrease. The girls (women) here that have moved up travel for a once a month with a top trainer and that is videotaped and sent with recommendations for what to work on. They then work at least 3 days a week with the local trainer and another 2 days work on their own. They have more than one horse at this point to work with and bring on.
 

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It's great that you want to continue with jumping, it is fun. Horses can continue jump into their twenties, some not as long. Do you have a lot of money? To buy a horse that can jump and safely carry a beginner over 3 foot fences, would be around $20,000 here, then you have to board it and care for it and that's probably about over $1,000 a month. Then your show fees and trainer fees and all that other stuff, yeah you better have a lot of money. Like everybody else says you're better off leasing. If you really want to compete then like Avna said, you better ride everyday, day in day out, then muck out stalls to pay for lessons and being in the barn all the time so you can catch a ride. It's either money, or sweat continuous sweat.
 

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What everyone said. My daughter started at weekly lessons, and we bought her a horse, and are now doing biweekly. In between lessons, she rides almost daily. (so do I, but I don't jump or show, which is why I'm using her as an example)

I get your goals though, I really do. It's definitely a good idea to look for a horse you can ride for a while. But yeah, regardless of what horse you buy, you'll want to have just as many lessons on your own horse as you are getting now. The idea that having your own horse means saving money on lessons is a common misconception. This will get a LOT more expensive when you get into ownership. Not only do you get to pay for everything involving your own horse, but you also have to trailer, and continue to pay for lessons, maybe a trainer, massage or chiro, vet, etc. etc. All worth it, don't get me wrong, but make sure you have budgeted accordingly. You will love having your own horse to ride at lessons though. It's much better than always riding a different lesson horse, even though you do learn a lot from doing that too.
 
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