Buying a young horse sight unseen

Has anybody bought a young a horse sight unseen and had a good outcome, I’m looking at buying a really well bred 2 yr old gelding that’s not been started yet that’s a few states away but nervous about doing

Yes, as a weanling and from a reputable breeder. 5 years later, she is amazing!

I would do a vet check just to have a baseline.


I bought my OTTB mare sight unseen when she was four. I’m obsessed with her. I’d absolutely do it again, and certainly wouldn’t hesitate with a baby. It’s not like you can trial ride it!


daughter did, never placed a hand on the horse until the day she picked him up… was purchased as a six month old for sport horse use

She chose well as the horse won a world and a national championship as a sport horse in hand as a two year old beating many,many older horses

he will be three this May, but already is pretty big for an old line Morgan

Daughter knows the breeder, she had a prior horse from them who she took a national championship, when he passed away she was heart broken so went to their web site and saw this guy … a month later she had him under contract

he was bought from these videos


Yes bought a WB not quite yearling, great breeder and great pedigree. Breeder sent loads of pictures and videos and was honest and helpful. Totally easy transaction and horse was as expected.

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Wow, don’t remember seeing that picture before, what a nice fellow, glad the judges appreciated him.

Get a lot of photos and videos. Review them with other knowledgeable horse people. I bought a 2yo ISH on very limited video. He wasn’t quite what I thought he would be movement/athletic wise. I love him, but I probably would have passed if I had seen him in person first.

Ask me again in a few years! :sweat_smile: I bought in December, off a few pictures and some phone calls, a 17 month old Shire (7/8ths actually). So far I really like what I’ve got, but he is far less handled than I had thought. ‘stands well for the farrier’ means different things to different people. As does: knows how to lead, tie, etc.
So, I would recommend getting some videos of the things that concern you most.

Wow, don’t remember seeing that picture before, what a nice fellow, glad the judges appreciated him.

here is the lad thinking about eating the flowers in the ring, then daughter showing her appreciation winning the National class, it was several days later that it was announced he also was the overall champion

He is real smooth moving horse, very collected as though he has done all this before

we have all rights of unlimited use the photos


Huggable and pettable is the best attribute for any horse. :heart_eyes:


Yes, but just with youngsters who weren’t under saddle yet. But I did my homework…I was looking for a specific dam line which led me to a breeder about 14 hrs away. We talked quite a bit on the phone about my goals and her breeding program. I also spoke with someone (who was on this forum) who had a half sibling to the one I was looking at. I was looking at a late yearling (almost 2yo)…got sent movement video along with general handling video. I fell in love…and I don’t ever fall in love that quickly with a horse! We got a vetting scheduled…I have a friend who is a professional trainer that lives close to the vet clinic…I paid her a lesson fee to go over and check him out (and make sure the temperament was what was being described). Shipped him home and am so glad I bought him! He is now coming 5…and while we have some young horse bumps along the way, I am happily in it for the long haul with him. In fact, I liked him so much that last year I actually did go visit the breeder in person and came home with another yearling!! LOL I actually went down with the intent to look at the foal from my guy’s sister…but, instantly fell in love with another one there. That one is now going on 3 and while I did think I was crazy at the time (having two greenies!) I have zero regrets. I am not sure I would do the same with a riding age horse…but for the 3 and under, I think it can work out well.


Youngsters are a gamble regardless of whether you buy sight unseen or not, as I’m sure you know. I bought a yearling Hanoverian that I had to put down at age 5 due to a degenerative disease (DSLD). He was lame on three legs for a year and I spent more than his purchase price on vet bills, until he was finally diagnosed. I had actually looked at him in person when he was 4 months old and my trainer knew the breeder very well. I know a ton of half-siblings and other close relations from the same breeder, and have ridden several of them. I also had him vetted, including x-rays. I don’t see how I could have done any more due diligence, and still ended up with a very sad outcome.

Granted DSLD can also become a problem much later in life, but this horse also had problematic hind leg conformation (“soft” fetlocks) that wasn’t apparent as a baby. Vets told me that by age 2 or 3 they could have said not to buy him based on that alone, even without the degenerative component. I haven’t recovered from that experience enough to buy another youngster, though I probably will have to someday for budget reasons alone.

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Yes twice: one was a horse of a life time and one was just a sensitive chestnut mare.

The former I knew right away, the latter I was placed in a bidding war and wanted a horse (not necessarily THAT horse). I bought her, backed her, tried to get along and ultimately sold her for a little less because I couldn’t stand to pay another bill for her.

Now I go with my gut.

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My current mare ( 16 years old now) I bought ( as a weanling) off the breeders website by just her picture. I did talk to the breeder at length and then my family made the drive across the state and brought her home.

I have never regretted it. She has been a great horse.

Being kind of old-fashioned, I am not sure I would buy a horse sight unseen. Looking at several in person, saved us from making huge mistakes! Those horses were NOT what the sellers described, even with asking specific questions related to our needs. One was in Oregon, while we were in Michigan. Lame, untrained to the described level, had corrective surgeries, including eyes!

Yes the travel cost to view horses, time in travel, was costly. But better than being surprised when horse stepped off the trailer here! Then being stuck with something equine you can’t ever use. We looked at video and photos before committing to visit. Pictures and video lie! We buy a horse to use after putting in the time to train it, probably keep him until he dies. No use starting with one who is unsound. So the visit to view horse in person was worth the effort, expenses, has saved us a lot of grief in the long run.

We visited the farm when we planned to buy a couple foals. We wanted to see how they moved in person, proportions. We did end up buying them with a minimal PPE on heart, eyes, lungs at that young age. Went back when they were weaned at 6mos to pick them up to haul home. They are NICE young horses with time on them now.

We have sold a horse where the buyer never visited. Horse was with a Trainer getting broke out. We sent video, Trainer spoke to buyer a number of times, we were very honest about everything with buyer. After PPE, horse headed out to Florida! Buyer loved him, has won many things with him over the years. Horse is 20 now, still in great shape though no longer competing. She is using her young stallion as the competition replacement, doing very well with him. He is showing a real working horse attitude, quite the gentleman out in public with other horses close by.

I would make the time to visit before purchase, so you are not sorry. You don’t know what you are dealing with unless you see it in person. I have gotten pretty cynical after those sellers tried to stick us and flat out lied about their animals.

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Not quite sight unseen, but bought a 3yo TB cross, history unknown off Gumtree (Australian version of Craigslist), and being unbroken, skinny and feet in poor condition, it was pretty hard to tell what she’d be like when I did briefly look at her. It’s only been a couple months, I’m yet to break her in but I’m impressed with her movement, and she is the sweetest, most sensible young horse.

PPE for SURE. include all you can check for! and? ‘few states away’ isn’t worth a trip??? (just for you and your eyes/hands on/ connections/ impressions. Yes, I bought a weanling from across country. I love our girl. I did a PPE, and all I wanted in her was something I’d do again hands on or off. Other health issues NOW at 6 have us chasing concerns, but nothing related to if I would have bought her at the time with the PPE. If you like the pony, arrange your PPE and travel to see him!!! You’d PPE ‘anyway’, even if at a local barn down the road, so start there .

I had to comment, what a lovely horse ayrabz!

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During a pandemic a few states away is likely not technically even allowed.


I guess, I almost looked at it the opposite way. Not a lot we can do right now. but a road trip with masks and distancing outside would probably work out fine.