Budget for a 3' amateur horse

Sounds like a dream horse!!!

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.[/QUOTE]

As a returning rider (eight years back in the saddle, started in with lessons, then lease, worked up to own horse), my one piece of advice would be: don’t over horse yourself at the beginning. I’ve seen too many re-riders and adult beginners buy their “dream horse,” come off too many times, lose their nerve, finally sell, and stop riding again. It’s been sad to watch this happen to friends. And once you lose your nerve, you are worse off than when you returned, when you were rusty but enthusiastic.

So I would say: buy good mind over everything, buy a horse you can ride right now, and don’t buy more scope than you need if the trade-off is too much forward or too much money.

As for practical advice: I’m in Western Canada. Our horses are cheaper than the US East Coast or California, but there are also fewer of them.

I see a big cut-off point at three feet; most of the hunter/jumper junior/amateur Equine Canada rated shows here go up to 3 foot max, and most of the entries are 2’9" or lower. You can get a good horse to do that in the $5,000 to $10,000 range. Some of those horses no doubt have the scope to compete consistently at 3 feet, so it depends if that is where you want to end up, or if you dream of taking this horse much higher. It sounds like you want something in the next level up, though.

Warmbloods do carry a price premium even when they are no bigger, saner, sounder, better-trained, or prettier than a comparable thoroughbred. And keep in mind that many warmbloods have thoroughbred close-up in their pedigree, and can be in fact half-thoroughbred: warmblood stud on approved TB mare is quite common.

Friends have a horse that is exactly what you describe for sale for $30,000 CDN. 16.3 hands, warmblood, shown to 3’3". Not super fancy, but super quiet and safe.

Meanwhile a client is trying to look for something similar in the under $15,000 budget, and IS finding horses, but for that price they are older (11-14 years old) with light show records. It just seems that if you want bigger than 16.1 hands the price sky rockets.

I had that horse for sale this summer, though he was a TB. Priced at $15,000 CDN.

I would say it’s definitely worth the time to look in Canada. I know one for sale - 16.3 WB mare (not mare-ish - I know everyone says that, but my coach hates mares and actually likes this one), has shown 3’ with a kid and packed her. I’ve ridden the mare and I’m a very nervous rider with new horses, and she was a star. After a week I was in love. Not my horse, sadly, but she’s priced at $35,000. Show miles at Thunderbird and Thermal. Gorgeous mover, and pretty, too.

I think you need to decide what you really want. A horse ready to go out and win tomorrow? Or are you willing to take something with less experience, who needs miles before it can win? Or, are you looking for something that isn’t perfect in its look/form, but is ready to go out and show?
If you want a ready to go out and win, expect to spend at least 25k, probably more. If you want to buy something ‘not perfect’, like older, off breed, not perfect form, etc, then expect around 5-10k. If you want young/inexperienced, expect anywhere from 3k to 30k.

For some people, buying a cheaper, inexperienced horse and then sending it off for some intense training for a few months makes the most sense, since it is usually still cheaper than buying a horse going around showing perfectly.

Some people have said 50k or more…for that price you may as well go to Germany and buy two! :smiley:

Yes $50k seems insane for a horse you will mostly rode at home for pleasure. Especially as you said you were ok with no showmiles. I am quite sure you can find one for a fraction of that.

Are horses over 16.1hh actually selling for more than the comparable horse at the lesser height?

Are horses over 16.1hh actually selling for more than the comparable horse at the lesser height?[/QUOTE]

Absolutely. Whether the rider needs the height or not or if it has any more step down tne lines then a shorter horse, that’s what buyers will come look at.

Several upthread said there were “lots” in Eventing that would meet OPs criteria? Really? 16.3+ specifically Warmbloods? Not so sure about that.

Had a tall friend, skinny torso with really loooong legs, looking earlier this year for about the same horse at about twice OPs budget. I would suggest to OP, before she embarks on any buying trips, she insists on seeing a measurement card, the horse next to a measuring stick or a person of known height standing at its shoulder.

Friend wasted a ton of time and several thousand in travel costs for two domestic buying trips looking at 16.3-17.2 horses that turned out to be <16.2 despite assurances from sellers before going to look. None had enough barrel to take up the leg either.

They ended up going to a major show circuit and saw numerous offerings that did meet the requirement in just a few days, vetted one right there and brought it home. Had they not found one there, they would have gone to Europe.

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.[/QUOTE]

Second this! You can find a nice horse that’s going around at Novice for a lot less that is fun to ride and honest to the fences. Hunt horses, too, are a place to look. I’ve seen some very fancy hunt horses for sale in the $25-$35K range that are 16.2+

The prices being tossed around are insane. I have a friend who bought a very, very nice Irish Draught for under $30 last year to hunt and event. Beautiful horse with a lovely jump and a great attitude.

Several upthread said there were “lots” in Eventing that would meet OPs criteria? Really? 16.3+ specifically Warmbloods? Not so sure about that.
Sure, they are out there. My last hunt horse was a Trakehner – 16.2, black, very fancy mover and would jump anything. I was told that if I wanted to sell him, he would be in the $25-$35 k range depending on the area. You are seeing more and more Traks in the eventing world (and in Germany they are very popular for eventing).

But why does it have to be a warmblood? If you are not showing A circuit I wouldn’t limit yourself. I’d buy the horse that does the job you want, if fun to ride, and safe. You have specified two criteria that add significant $$ to the price tag – height and Warmblood breeding. I’m 5’11. My two horses right now are at TB that’s about 16.1 (but takes up my leg) and a TB/Clyde cross who is about 16.2 but large bodied.

Yes they are in the event world…and I know of several sold into the show world because of the insane prices being paid now that eventers still do not pay for their horses. But honestly…many eventers have caught on…and if the OP limits themselves to breed specific, it may take time.

But I have a 16.3 hand WB mare. Rising 4 year old. Bred to jump. Smart and easy. Just green broke but already priced at 35K and her price will go up with more training even as an event horse. So the OP is better off looking for an older horse that does not have the potential to go to higher levels as that is when the younger horses will cost a lot more.

Disagree with the eventing recs … Generally not suited for a dead quiet 3 foot hunter role

I’m so glad that I’m short. 16.2 was the max I would look at and I saw a lot of horses 15.3 or 16 and the seller mentioned how “short” they were. 15.3 is ideal if you’re only 5’ tall!

Disagree with the eventing recs … Generally not suited for a dead quiet 3 foot hunter role[/QUOTE]

OP is NOT looking for a hunter or dead quiet. They are looking for an adult Eq. horse. Different beast. OP showed in 3’6" hunters as a junior but is looking for a fun horse to jump around on at home and maybe do the 3’ adult eq.

THAT is NOT the same as 3’ A hunter that has to be dead quiet to pack around a novice rider. And a good event horse is exactly the type that is fun at home and will do a lot of things. I’ve sold this horse my self several times. Nice good egg who is fun but not super fancy. Scopey enough to easily do 3’ but perhaps not fancy enough that we want to go on with them at the ULs in eventing and not sharp enough for the 3’ hunters…but fun and safe…and actually a lot of fun as an all arounder…go on trail rides, riding on the beach, and in the show ring. Hell I just sold one who would tick all the OP boxes except being a WB (He was a solid built TB) for less than 10K. Easily jumping 3’ courses, showed at 3’, big stride, easy to ride…fun horse. Only reason he was that cheap was I have too many horses and wanted him sold to a good home as he wasn’t one that wanted to go on and be an UL horse…and I didn’t want to put more money into him showing.

For all those saying to look in Canada, how do you recommend those of us that are in the US find these Canadian horses? Just wondering for future knowledge because I may be looking for a safe and sane (but not necessarily super fancy, hack winner) 3’ horse in the next year or so.

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.[/QUOTE]

I think I probably misread the original post and was thinking more show hunter that might occasionally do an A, not eq horse to occasionally do an A. The eq horse should be easier to find, with a more varied budget, but 16.3+ still makes it just a little bit harder. Even taking quality out of the mix, I was surprised to see how few warmbloods of that size were for sale in the $25-35k price point, which would not be unreasonable for what the OP is looking for now that I’m reading it correctly, lol. The Just Hunters and Eq. Horses group on FB could be a good source for that type. Need it to present a nice overall picture in the hunter ring, however, and I stand by the mid-five-figure estimate in the US based on what I’ve seen.

For all those saying to look in Canada, how do you recommend those of us that are in the US find these Canadian horses? Just wondering for future knowledge because I may be looking for a safe and sane (but not necessarily super fancy, hack winner) 3’ horse in the next year or so.[/QUOTE]

Internet ads and FB sales groups - everything is far more accessible now thanks to the internet, and easy to find! There are Canadian horses on BigEq, and Avalon Equine and Ontario Show Horses for Sale are two examples of FB groups with Canadian sale horses.

There are so many variables … But the bottom line is weather you pay for a more experienced horse up front or put the work in to a green one yourself/with a pro helping you are going to put about the same thing in when it comes down to it, in training fees, time, etc. It all depends on your skill level as a rider, how long you are willing to wait to work with a green one till its ready, if you want to spend more on something more made, if you are willing to look at an older horse, or something that requires some maintenance.

You could find a TB off the track fairly ‘inexpensively’ (1500-5k) but that carries more risk in that you don’t really know if its suitable for the job till you get further into training. You could find a green warmblood that has 60-90 days of training for 15-30k but you really need to look and not just in online ads but have breeder contacts and more of a network. Again a green one has a lot more risk since w/o much mileage you don’t really know how suitable they are going to be.

Of course the bigger your budget is the more options that will be available. I suggest looking at some websites like http://www.bigeq.com/, https://www.warmblood-sales.com/, http://www.proequest.com/. Put in your search criteria and see what comes up, that will give you a more accurate range.

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!![/QUOTE]

Since I am unfamiliar with the state of equine sales in Colorado, my input here is going to be limited. However, the price of a horse is very much dictated by the amount that the shopper wishes to pay. Because that dictates the horses they look at. You need tall. With this size, the stride should be adequate. You don’t need a lot of show miles, you don’t need “super fancy mover”, and green is OK. Your main interest is not the biggest/fanciest horse shows on the continent. IMO, if you are not a “breed snob”, you should be able to find a horse to buy for under $5000. If you have $50,000 to spend, you won’t look in the places where the more affordable horses are.

With a lower budget, I would stay away from certain sites, like warmbloods for sale.com. Prices there seem to be quite inflated. Use dreamhorse or diane crump. I would also contact Chad Keenum (although most of his horses are $$$$$ (but REALLY nice). Duncan McIntosh gets some good ones in (he specializes in TBs).

Quick search on dreamhorse finds


http://www.dreamhorse.com/ad/2017758/ari-grey-trakehner-gelding-lovely-16-3hh-trakehner-gelding-washington.html (although he jumps like I would expect a Trak to…)

http://www.dreamhorse.com/ad/2017466/dougie-bay-holsteiner-gelding-beautiful-10-yr-o-holsteiner-gelding-colorado.html (In colorade)




http://www.dreamhorse.com/ad/2008461/the-seventh-inning-stretch-bay-holsteiner-gelding-17-2-holsteiner-gelding-colorado.html (in Colorado)

Based off that search, I would say anywhere between $10k -$60k will get you want you are looking for. The height is definitely adding price as is the WB factor. IF you can ride a TB, you could find something for less cost (I say that as if it’s hard…but it’s just different. I have an easier time on my TB than I do on my current WB :smiley: )

FWIW - I bought a fancy moving, nice jumping, quite been there, done that type for just barely 5 figures…BUT there is a whole…lead changes are sketchy. Works for me because I would never be able to afford her if they were perfect but it’s the trade off I made. You may find that you need to figure out your trade off areas to stay within your budget.