Buying a young horse. Part II.
Posted by Irina Yastrebova on Friday, January 29, 2010 10:03 AM
The other category of breeders are the ones who have their own breeding stallion. These ones are usually more educated and more dedicated. However, they can vary greatly from ones who have several stallions and make an effort to train their stallions and show them in sport, to the ones who do minimum requirements to get their one stallion approved and then use him for breeding and nothing else.
Breeders with one approved stallion who does not have any show record can have similar problems as owners of a few mares (read my previous blog). They try to keep their overhang very low. Their mares are cheap, not well-cared for, their facility may luck cleanness, good fencing, etc. Their babies are left to themselves and if not bought very quickly as weanlings can acquire injuries and traumas. Plus they may not receive a well balanced nutrition due to low cost operation and too many horses to take care for. What is good about such breeders they do not pay stud fees so their youngsters can be very inexpensive. However, you need to be very careful and vet examination is a must. Do not expect to hear a complete truth about youngster's health history. Do not be fooled by a well presented website of such operation. This does not mean the care of horses is up to a high standard.
As you can expect the other category will ask more money for their youngsters because they have put more effort into advertising their stallion/s. This is quite fair because usually they have a nice breeding stock and youngsters are well cared for. These breeders are more likely to help with choosing a right horse. I found some of them were being too helpful and they were not willing to share the information about their horses until I told them what I was looking for. And many of them do not put pictures/videos of their youngsters on their website. Personally, I think it is a big blow to their advertisement. May be they are trying to get a buyer to come and have a personal experience which likely lead to a sale. For me, I didn't continue pursuing such breeders seeing it as a luck of ability to openly present their business. I was more drawn to ones who had their babies well presented on their websites including pictures of mares and stallions, videos of them, etc. With modern computer technology it gives a seller advantage to show what they have and if done well enough they can land a buyer just from pictures and videos. This can, especially, be true with young horses who are still "a cat in a bag" until you spend time with them and start working with them. I'm not saying go and buy from the Internet, though, that is exactly what I did. However, it saves a buyer time and money. Driving from place to place, especially, in Canada, Alberta, where breeding farms are located hundreds kilometers one from another can be enormously time consuming. Even visiting the ones that are close can take up a half of your day or more if there more than one horse to look at.
Video is great tool for both sellers and buyers. However, while watching videos of young horses over the Internet I found many of them are poorly done or even misleading. Things to be aware of:
  • A youngster is shown in a round pen. There is no way you can assess a movement when a distracted and confined young horse is chased around and around in a small area.
  • Entire video is in slow motion. You will not be able to evaluate natural qualities of the movement: tempo is distorted, suspension appears much better. Plus it made me wonder what was wrong with this horse if they didn't show it's natural movement.
  • Video is only of trot, no walk or canter is shown. If the horse is not far away from you you can go and see it yourself. Otherwise, ask a seller to make another video with walk, trot, canter clearly shown.
I just want to remind you again. If something is not right walk away from the horse. There are many wonderful horses out there. Take your time...
Happy riding...
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