I’ve searched all over Facebook, pony clubs, low level schooling barns. There just seems to be a dry market for school horses/ponies? Am I looking in the wrong place? Where do you guys have the most success finding a good school horse or pony?
honestly just wait until the realization of cost of keeping a horse hits the market then there should be a fairly good supply of mounts
My overall costs have more than doubled in the last twelve months.
As the economy remains unsettled without any real solution proposed from those great leaders in Washington those on the edge of financial stability will need to do something to reduce expenditures
The market for good to great horse will remain high, however the common mounts will be face with uncertain futures
IME the really good ones get passed around through word of mouth. FB technically does not allow animal sales so lots of groups are private. Many people are concerned that their horse go to a good home, and may be concerned about how the horse would be treated in a lesson barn.
If I were you I’d do a public FB post “in search of” on your barn/lesson program page. Describe what you’re looking for and what your program is like, how the horses live. Then share that around, and may be even do some paid advertising/targeting with FB to get it in front of the right eyes.
Usually on Facebook, small local groups. 4H clubs with kids who have grown out of current horse, and are moving up to the next one. Also, have a good relationship with other trainers who may have a wonderful horse but simply can’t place it in their own program.
We watched our kids’ friends go through horse after horse as the kid changed disciplines, the breed we had was known for its versatility so we just kept by more new tack
Those other parents would often comment saying our kids’ horses kind of look like their old ones… well, they are their “old ones”
A lot of word of mouth. At the end of the summer, a lot of the riding away camps sell their horses.
Word of mouth and networking is huge. Also honestly - finding horses from other disciplines that weren’t quite right for that discipline. One of my previous barns really focused on getting riders to 2’3 and the fundamentals. This obviously does not require an upper level horse and they had really good success finding western horses for relatively cheap and then starting them over fences. They also found a few of their horses on Craigslist - generally these were folks a bit disconnected from the horse world but who had great solid brained horses.
The school horses in my barn have come mostly word of mouth, but there’s a constant check done on Facebook for good prospects. As Alway_WIP said, horses in the wrong discipline. My trainer happened on a really well bred Saddlebred who was in a barn full of western/trail types. Everything they didn’t like was what we wanted.
There’s the occasional diamond in the rough too. About a year ago, I had Mom’s Amish pony broke to ride (before hauling her 500 miles to VA ). A year later, she’s loving life as a school horse. You’d never know she’s only been under saddle for a year-ish. She’s a solid WTC, and strangely, the step up to show horses. She’s relatively little, so the kids aren’t intimidated by her more forward attitude.
It hasn’t always worked. We got a Hackney pony who was just evil. He went back after a month. Trials are good thing.
At the end of summer a lot of the dude ranches and summer camps send their horses to auction. You may even find an auction dedicated to camp/school horses. I know some people who go and buy 4-5 of them, put 30 days on them all, and keep the good ones and sell the others. It works pretty well for them.
Otherwise, word of mouth or looking for advertisements for older horses. Another schooling barn that I know of has almost exclusively older horses. She tends to buy them when they need to step down to something easy. I think her oldest lesson horse is 32. She buys a lot of equioxx and most of the horses don’t do more than one lesson a day, but those horses are spectacular for beginner lessons and they get a cushy home in trade.