Budget for a 3' amateur horse

I’m trying to get an idea for what kind of budget i should plan for - im a 35 yr old amateur, back riding after taking time off but did the 3’6 hunters/eq as a junior and now back doing the 3 ft on a leased horse. I would love to find a warmblood, big (16.3 and up b/c im 5’11), big stride, honest to the jumps, primarily to have fun at home, maybe a few local B shows and MAYBE an A show at some point, in the 3 ft adult eq/ medals. I dont need a fancy mover. Ideally on the younger side < 10 years old, ok if green/ limited show miles. Im in Colorado. What is a a realistic budget? Is it worth looking in canada after considering costs of traveling to look, shipping etc. thanks for the input!!

Honestly, I think this budget could be anywhere from $7500 to $50k. It is hard to say.

Considering the Canadian dollar just hit 74 cents I think coming up here to look at horses is an excellent idea. Given the type of horse you are looking at I think 40 to 50 CDN would be perfectly do-able. If you are looking for an ammy A horse with a proven show record and the hack winner that price would probably be closer to 65 to 80 CDN. Consider travelling to Florida too. Many of our nice Cdn horses will be there all winter showing…good place to start.

How competitive are the B shows in your area? Back in Virginia you practically need what in the Midwest would be an A circuit horse to show the local circuit hunters competitively. Here, under $15k will get you a competitive TB and $20k will get the WB version of what you want. Not the winner though.

In the NE you would be looking anywhere between $40,000-100,000 plus. Prices are insane.

If you are willing to wiggle a little on height, age and level of training? It will be easier but what you describe is on the higher end of what has been mentioned in most areas. I was going to guess 25-60+, more if it’s got a lot of good AA show miles.

When I was looking for a solid 2’ horse last year, horses were in the 7-20k range if I wanted a made horse. I instead went for good brain and ability and only spent 5k and have been teaching him myself with my trainer.

I would imagine that looking for a 3’+ horse would be easily that low 5 figure range or more depending on show experience. I’m in the midwest if that helps.

I could have written your post 6 months ago, I have been looking for the same thing, although I know I want to do a few A shows a year so I wanted something that looked the part, and can compete if I put in the trip. Fine with baby greens, so long as they have a lead change and are jumping courses (even without show miles). Also need big. The height is the real budget killer. There are not nearly as many that are 16.3 and up, and the prices do tend to be higher. 50 is the price du jour I am seeing, even for nice well-started baby green types. At 25k it is either a very local type, probably a TB, or it has a known vetting issue. I found a cute one that was 35k, but it really wasn’t my ride and was a little more coarse than I wanted, but that has been a real outlier on price - not many in that mid-range between 25 and 50. What I’ve seen more often than not is that the ones already showing at 3’ are selling for $60-80k. That is not to say that less expensive ones aren’t out there, they will just be hard to find, and you could have to log a lot of miles going to see 1 here, 2 there, 1 here, 3 there. I did a Canada trip and it is definitely worth it IF you can put together enough of them that you KNOW are sufficient quality. The agent we worked with added some to the mix when we got there that we did not get to see videos on ahead of time and the majority of those were a waste of time. The ones we saw videos on and liked remained the real contenders when we got there. In fact, I found one that my trainer and I both LOVED, and would have been the bargain of the century compared to the US market, but we found a stifle issue on the vetting and had to pass. My trainer and I were both so bummed, we loved the mare! So, do your research, save your $$, and prepare to be patient, lol! Feel free to PM me with any questions about the search, I’ve literally been looking for 6 months and unfortunately have had 3 fail PPE’s. I’d suggest starting to do market research on BigEq and similar sales sites to really educate yourself on what is out there and what they are asking for it (research tip - if you do an advanced search by price range on BigEq it will give you an idea of what range some of the “inquire for price” ones fall in even though the listing doesn’t show a price), as that is the best indication of what’s out there. Lots of my friends thought they knew the market, but have consistently underestimated pricing and been surprised. Unfortunately what people think you “should” be able to find and what you can actually find out there aren’t always the same :lol: But if you have realistic expectations and are patient, you WILL find something you love, even with a smaller budget, it just is a lot easier to find options if your budget is mid five figures for what you are looking for.

The main things that will add to the price significantly are:
potential beyond 3’
hack winning movement
show experience
health, soundness

If you are happy with something to stay at 3’, and he does not need to be a hack winner and you can handle a bit “green” you should definitely be able to find something under $40,000 in Canada.

I would agree with that but would also add height to that list - 16.3+ frequently ups the price point and is harder to find.

In Virginia, $60K and up. My new prospect is a very fancy TB, probably the fanciest one I have seen in years but she is 16 hands (I am 5’3) and she may not be able to do the 3 ft lines (too soon to tell). It is insane. I can’t spend $75K on a horse.

For what you are looking at…shop with the eventers. 3’ is the low side of things for an event horse. A nice novice or training level horse would be good for what you described and will not cost you anywhere near the numbers being tossed around.

If I read right…OP is not looking for a competitive A circuit horse…just a fun local horse to do local adult eq. So just a nice all around horse.

Although I have seen some for sale on the big sales sites, you may need to work your local network to find something in the low 5 figures. They do exist. It’s for eq, you’re fine with green, you don’t require fancy, the only thing that may be a bit of a struggle is the size.

If you’re not stuck on WBs you could find TBs and TB crosses in the low 5 figures. I have a 16.3 APHA registered paint/TB that fits that mold (not for sale, just an example). She’s not loud colored so most people mistake her for a WB/TB cross. She’s got the most beautiful knees to eyeballs jump, but she’s no hack winner either.

Although I have seen some for sale on the big sales sites, you may need to work your local network to find something in the low 5 figures. They do exist. It’s for eq, you’re fine with green, you don’t require fancy, the only thing that may be a bit of a struggle is the size.[/QUOTE]

The Facebook sales groups like Just Hunters and Equitation Horses are a good source for these types too.

I second the motion to look for an eventer. You can easily find what you’re looking for under 10k. If you’re willing to have a green hooray, much cheaper. :slight_smile: good luck

They are out there! I have the same stats as you, and was looking for the exact same thing. By way of reference, earlier this year I paid $20k for a 6 y.o. WB mare by Popeye K, well started with A show miles but still a bit of a baby brain, 16.2, clean vet check, huge stride and scope (she can easily move to the 3’6", but I’m not sure I’ll ever be ready for that!). I heard about her through my trainer’s connections and got her at a fire sale price because she had to be sold ASAP. Good luck!

There’s a couple of Facebook groups one of the open ones that you might want to start with, “horses for sale - English discipline- western Canada” will give you a decent start to what’s out there. Plus it will get you to some of our trainers who have links to more available:)

If you don’t need an A hack winner I think eventers or event trainers are the way to go.

An example that comes to mind is Zeb Fry. She’s got a drop dead gorgeous TB who is at least 17 hands and softly cantering around courses. From the videos I’ve seen I have seen 3’ wouldn’t be a concern at all. To top it all off I think she has him at like $20k or so because she is an eventer.

Increase the age limit to get the most bang for your buck.

Sold exactly this type last month for 25k. Buyer was a good/competent amateur that had not ridden much in 5 years but knew what a quality horse was. She does not show, but she does lesson in a good barn and wanted a solid, legitimate, attractive 3’ horse that would also do some dressage and trail ride (so ultimately something that would be a competitive B circuit horse and not get laughed off the A circuit IF she decided to go show).

Horse was a handsome chestnut WB type (breeding unknown) with four big socks and a big blaze. Decent mover, correct jump, broke to death, changes, steps over the 3’ with plenty of extra scope for mistakes, no spook/stop/or any other bad behavior, pretty much does exactly as told, and an absolute gentleman on the ground. A good sized 16.2h (buyer was also 5’10"ish and looked great on him) and 14 years old but had really, really light show miles. Amazingly, x-rays were close to perfect and she took him home. Called me last week to thank me, she had looked for 2 years and he was everything she had hoped for… I <3 those phone calls.

I had ridden this one plenty and knew he was yeeaars away from even beginning to slow down (and he had had zero maintenance/injections). Don’t discount a well-maintained teenager, this guy would have been 35k-45k+ as a 10 year old (more if someone had actually invested in showing him). And keep in mind, there are dozens of Grand Prix horses going well into their late teens. Your 3’ job should not be out of reach for a great number of well-bred, well-kept sport horses.