The various Irish Stud Books are all available on line www.horsesportireland.ie. All stallions are assessed for conformation, movement and athleticism using linear profiling and the results are published, making informed comparison easy. The stallion’s studbook page will also list successful progeny, in all disciplines, and there is a rating system according to suitability for each Olympic discipline.
Temperament is especially important in all the stallions because horse sport is now so international: no one can travel and compete a horse around the world with a less than good temperament and character.
Also, British Eventing and Irish Eventing publish an annual list of the top stallions which you could look up. OBOS Quality 004, Sligo Candy Boy and Cavalier Royal usually feature. Unfortunately Quality is now deceased.
A friend purchased a three year old ID potential Heavyweight Show Hunter via an online auction, for the first time ever, two years ago. It was straightforward, the horse was just as he was described, the video of sufficient quality to see his movement, the shipping was handled by the Auctioneers. He is proving to be a very good horse, winning at top shows in his first season, with potential to become very special as he matures - he is very tall and taking a bit of time. The Irish high-end sport horse auctions seem to have learned from the TB auctions and offer quality horses. The advantage is many preselected horses to see with no travel required. Many, many good horses in Ireland sell by word of mouth or through a network of connections, which can be a problem for a person not “in the know”.