Prebuyers remorse/fidgets?

I have been shopping for a long time now and am like many others getting frustrated with the market. I can live with that for the most part as there are still some great horses for those on a budget if you bide your time and search carefully.

What is starting to happen is I am beginning to hesitate even when I do find one that checks most of my boxes. The reason why is that I have had couple projects during my shopping journey and while most turned out well and I made a few bucks on most of them but most recently I had one that didn’t turn out to be anything like she was supposed to be. I know I know not every sale project is going to be a slam dunk but at the same time all of my sale projects have been those I picked up hoping they would become my long term partner so it felt like a personal failure on picking the wrong horse yet again.

Now here I am worried that I will have another failure and as I am now starting to play in the “big money” (for me) it could be a major set back if I pick the wrong one. My husband used a slightly off color but potentially accurate comparison that has me now wondering if I am going about it in the wrong way. He said he knew a guy that confided that he had so many bed buddies over the years that he didn’t know that he would ever find the right one and that he worried he had ruined his chance for a true good relationship. Because he didn’t know what a good relationship was and even though he knew the less flashy/attractive women were often the ones that would be committed and not moving from flavor of the week to flavor of the week to be arm candy he couldn’t find an attraction to the plainer Janes.

Am I crazy to think that by having the mindset that each horse I buy might just be a temporary journey that it might in turn be impacting the effort I am willing to put into them and the willingness to work with some flaws/quirks? When does working to find the right fit long term turn into talking yourself into nothing being the right fit? Prior to the search for my next partner I had only one riding horse for many many years and she was pretty much my sole ride in all that time. I am looking for the right one to come up behind her as she ages that can take me places that she never has been able to.

I tried a green but relatively nice mare today but I find myself already wondering if investing most of my budget into her would be a mistake as I don’t know that I could recoup her purchase price if she doesn’t work out for me long term.

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Some very thought provoking questions here - I am surprised you don’t have some responses. I will offer that possibly editing your original post and breaking up your text into paragraphs might encourage more people to read. Some people see a wall of text and back away…

In addition, I wonder if you need to just change your mindset. Rather than continuing to look for “the one”, maybe turn that around and shop with the intention of only buying for resale. If you continue to do that - and enjoy the process - it seems like sooner or later you will encounter one you can’t bear to part with.

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This all may sound a little bit odd, but here goes.

My first horse was an angel from heaven. To me, over 20 years after he died, he is still the most wonderful horse in the history of the Universe.

While he was still alive I started getting other horses. Of course I compared them all with my angel from heaven. When I was training-re-training three other horses they finally got through to me. For heaven’s sake, they were NOT my first horse, thank you very much, they were their OWN self and I better start acknowledging that.

One of the horses was probably a great nephew of my horse (my horse was not registered, I followed a trail of circumstantial evidence). He was a weanling stud colt. His father had an exceptionally good temperament, one of the stallions I had no hesitation going into the stall (with his owner at the doorway) and kissing his nose and sweet talking loving words. (A good Davenport Arabian can be exceptional.)

But he was NOT an angel from heaven. Quite decent temperament, I wish he had lived.

By then I had re-trained a ruined mare, broke to saddle a Paso Fino, the Davenport colt, and a Davenport mare.

My first horse still has a big place in my heart. I just had to learn that I will never have exactly the same type of relationship. My other horses were decent-to good horses, who I enjoyed breaking to saddle and riding, but they all had their own personalities, peculiarities and preferences, and they were quite willing to tell me all about it.

It is quite simple, Hat Tricks was irreplaceable. I’ve accepted it.

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I tried breaking the text up into paragraphs. Unfortunately I am a stream of consciousness style writer and that makes it hard for me to make things concise sometimes.

I would not mind looking at each one as a resale project but the market has gotten to a level that I just don’t feel comfortable making purchases for that purpose right now. I am watching the stock market and the propped up market is finally reacting to the world’s instability. I don’t want to be the one holding the bag on a now 10k greenie that a year and a half ago would have been closer to 5k. If my personal horse loses value so what. But I don’t want to be forced to choose between keeping one around I am not crazy about or losing a larger chunk of money.

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This was my thought too, when I read the OP.
I just did not have any useful thoughts to post because I am not the type who can buy and sell for a profit (lack of skills/time thing).

I think when personal horse shopping we have to look for what we want and realize that perfect is not likely to happen. Like all things life, we have to pick the important things and let ourselves be happy when the not as important things boxes are not all checked.

While you are shopping you have to remember a couple of things.

  1. Your important things do not have to match the important things of those around you. Do not let others insist that horse you really liked will not be right because of something they feel is important but you do not. (Now clearly, if your plans are to sell if it is not a good fit, you have to make sure it fits the market.)
  2. Your journey is your journey. Don’t be comparing it to the journey of others and feeling like your doing it wrong. You do you.
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I think this is important, and TRUE. Horses are in short supply but breeders are surely responding to the market. I bet over the next few years there will be a wave of horses entering the market.
So maybe wait a year or two for your big money horse, and instead do something like foster, or re-start an auction horse who desperately needs an upgrade.
I don’t know for sure what the solution is, but I think you are wise to listen to what sound like very strong doubts about spending this much money in this particular horse market. I know I was looking on dream horse the other day just out of curiosity and I honestly cannot believe how expensive horses are. Local-ish horses listed for 20K when they would have been $8,000 horses. Green horses with no great pedigree going for five to eight. It’s insane.

I was going to be getting a new car this year, but basically I’d be paying BMW level prices for a vw. I’m just not going to do that

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I’m not convinced that things will return to pre-pandemic level the same way everything crashed in 2008. Interest rates are up significantly, houses still selling like hotcakes at high prices in major markets. Unless the bottom falls out of the economy completely, things aren’t going to nosedive. And given that in spite of interest rates, inflation, covid and war in europe, the US is basically at full employment, I don’t see things dropping significantly any time soon.

I’m going to assume that at $10k you are looking at TBs or non-warmbloods. My only caution there is unless they will be competitive in the best company, there’s always going to be a ceiling on the resale price. That said, there are deals to be had if you go buy directly from the track rather than the brokers who pull them from the track. More risk, yes, but less cost and more potential upside.

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I’ll add on that I tend to feel an overwhelming sense of panic/anxiety whenever it comes time for any major change.

Buying a new horse, adopting a new dog, moving to a new home etc. all bring out the major worrier in me. I think of every possible bad outcome. Still, I put my head down and forge ahead and I’ve been really happy with 99% of the decisions I’ve made. I’ve never bought a horse that I thought was perfect from the get go, but the longer I hold onto my horses and work with them, the more we grow into one another.

Horses are horses, and even with a solid PPE, they may end up breaking a leg in the paddock or turning up some odd ailment that never appeared before. That said, do your homework, invest in a good PPE and insure the horse. With all that, you should (hopefully) be able to recoup most of your costs, even if you have to send the horse to a pro to resell.

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No horse is perfect. No human is perfect. The most tested, examined, trained animal in the world can shy at a blade of grass the day after you bought it and break a leg.

Decide on all your ‘must haves’, your ‘OK not too worried’, your ‘most certainly nots’ and use that to filter candidates. Then buy the horse you like, one you enjoy riding, one who will look pretty over the stable door or in the paddock. Who knows the future? It might prove to be a superstar or it might prove to be a dud but at least you like it, enjoy riding it and it looks pretty to your eye.

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The one horse I’m keeping forever(of the many I’ve owned) kind of snuck up on me - she didn’t check all my boxes, but I couldn’t fine what I thought I wanted and thought she’d be a fun project. Life happened and she ended up being my main riding horse for a couple of years. By then I was so attached to her, knew her so well, and had done so many fun things with her I couldn’t imagine replacing her.
On paper, she’s absolutely not my dream horse in any way, but here we are. I am so attached to her I bought another project pony to try to do bigger and better things with. So, in short, haven’t ever found the perfect horse for my goals, I just have one I’m irrationally attached to :slight_smile:
I’d just keep doing what you’re doing - find something that fits some of your wish list and sell if and when you decide to. I’m of the same mindset of not wanting to spend too much on the initial purchase simply because anything could happen and there are zero guarantees that what seems perfect and worth the money when you try it out will stay that way.

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Thank you for the replies everyone. I already have an older horse that is terrible at everything and barely a solid all arounder but I am committed to keeping her and trust her above all others. I am by no means old but would really really like to get a horse that can help me get where I want to go.

I am looking for those “off” breeds and am even open and wanting those that are known to be a forward ride. I am trying to avoid TBs at almost all cost. The poster that said to get something you enjoy looking at hit the nail on the head and is the reason why TBs are just not an option for me.

My list of must haves and would like to haves and absolute nots has become all jumbled as I haven’t even found one that checked most of my modest boxes without being well above budget. Apparently horses that aren’t terribly downhill built and sound are hard to find.

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I am currently shopping for a horse for a long term lesson student who wants a horse to keep for the rest of her riding career (ideally). She isn’t in a hurry to buy, but is approaching retirement and wants an activity to look forward to. In 8 months, I found two to look at. It is hard to not want to push her to make some compromises, but her wants are reasonable, so we just have patience.

I do think if you are looking, with the idea you can sell if it doesn’t work out, that it can open up possibilities, but you might also be missing out. With my own, personal horse, I try to look at it differently - I try to be flexible in changing what I do with them, to suite THEIR skills/aptitude. It has opened up experiences I wouldn’t have had if I had been determined to make a particular horse fit into the little box I had planned for it. So, how flexible are you in your goals/disciplines? If you are somewhat flexible, just buy a horse whose temperament you like, and see where the journey takes you!

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At this point not very flexible. I have been making due with my current mare since I out grew her capabilities a few years into ownership. With this next one I have expectations as my current mare can do the all arounder job.

I don’t mind buying and selling during my off season of work but to have one that I know can stay around for the foreseeable future sounds so nice!

I think Denny Emerson or maybe it was Jim Woffard who said buy the horse you look forward to seeing in the morning looking over the stall door. I’ve used that as part of my criteria. Would I look forward to seeing that face in the morning?

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Yeah, I think that old adage “a good horse is never a bad color” only goes so far. If you end up supporting a horse through rehabs and retirement, you might as well enjoy looking at him.

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Personally, I never buy for resale. In my opinion, the moment you approach a horse that way you already have limited what you are willing to accept or do to create a partnership. It’s like saying “I know this relationship is going to fall apart so there is no point in really committing to it even during shitty times.”

Thus, I’ve avoided any remorse or fidgeting because I am already 100% committed to the horse from the outset.

Your last three paragraphs, I feel, answer your issues. You need to be willing to wade through the shit and put the time in (years) to really create the horse partner you seek. You have to stop looking at the future and only the here and now.

My latest horse, Peanut, had only 1 criteria, curiosity. That one piece was the only box I needed to buy him. Well, I was also hoping he’d top out at 15.3 since I’m old and like to be closer to the ground and that sure as hell didn’t pan out. He is 16.2. I didn’t even vet him because he was sound and felt great. I got around to doing a PPE 2 years later (a Post Purchase Exam).

The point is, I bet most of your concerns about any horse are fleas on a dog. Nothing really that important. You might look at how your human relationships are structured to get some answers.

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My brother was always looking for the perfect woman and he has never married. He found several women ( over the years) that would have been a good fit and would have been a great match but he let them go waiting for that perfect one. He has flaws and quirks. we all do!

The same can be said for any horse you are trying. I look at personality and a horse that is built suitably to do what I am looking to use them for. The rest comes in time and the risk is always there but it has always turned out well.

Maybe it is harder when you are paying so much but it sounds like you need to stop waiting for the perfect horse. Look back at the mare you have. I bet she wasn’t everything you wanted from day 1 either. It was a partnership that came with time and effort.

If you find a good one who checks a majority of the boxes I would take the chance.

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This is such a good analogy! (And also, do we have the same brother???)

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Anytime you think of horses as an investment, as something you could lose or gain money on, you have to start shopping with only resale in mind - an exit strategy, if you will.

Any horse you buy could die the day after you take it home, so you either have to be 100% business minded, or 100% set on finding the perfect horse for you, which may not be the horse the market wants.

I also think you can find what you’re looking for in some nontraditional places as well. Bearing in mind that I’m not looking for insane jumping ability in my horses because I am a dressage rider, one of my best horses was a draft cross that I paid $5k for because I needed a horse for my husband to ride. I rode a connemara I bought for $1300 from a shady horse dealer through Training level - he was not for everyone, but he was SAFE. I also have a no-TB rule that I can’t be dissuaded from, which has led me to riding QH, Connemara, draft crosses, etc. Just how far are you looking to go with a new horse? Off the top of my head in the last few weeks I have seen a 1/2 arab, a connemara/qh, and a connemara/arab that would all do just fine through at least Novice, as long as you’re not 6’ tall and looking for something 17h.

in re: the market, if you can afford to wait, you may be able to find something at a price you’re a lot more comfortable with. I am seeing the bottom basically fall out of the market right now for anything sub-$25k. There is not enough profit in these horses to keep supporting them when hay and shavings and diesel all double. Their prices will come down.

I walked away from shopping with a very-high-five-figure budget earlier this year and decided to just put the time into a talented, but green horse that I had bought as a flip project earlier this year and wait things out.

I understand you are feeling that things are overvalued at the moment and I agree with that assessment. I think they will correct.

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At first, as I read your original post, I thought your husband’s “hooking up” analogy was a little weird. After all, horses, unlike dating partners, aren’t going to ask you about who your exes were and why you broke up with them, and get jealous any time you look at another horse.

But, in reading other posters’ comments, I began to see the logic. Basically, if you’re always buying horses that, at least potentially, you’re happy to move on, then you may not be investing the needed time into them to establish the partnership that you want.

On the other hand, there’s also a line of analysis that comes from behavioral economics, called “revealed preferences.” Basically, the idea is that, regardless of what you may say you want, you reveal, through your actions, what you really want. And those two things may not be the same. So, maybe you don’t really want another long term partnership with a horse, for whatever reason.

Something to think about anyway.

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