What should I expect to pay for this type?

This may be true, and you probably know more than I do about high end owners. But I have seen mention on this board about folks getting “Western hay” and there is just going to be less of that available this year. I have to think some people will see increases across the board which will effect their interest in maintaining a horse, increasing supply.


I’m another vote for sit, wait, ride something else, save. Especially since you haven’t yet fully retired your current partner and don’t know what his long term $$ hit may be per month for a comfortable retirement.

The price of everything continues to climb (if you haven’t gotten a board increase yet, brace yourself…) and who knows what the future holds in the larger sense in terms of the economy and interest rates. While this may not effect the top end, or at this point even middle/top end of the sport, it may effect everything else.

My only other pieces of advice:

  1. Go smaller if you’re able. As you’re a taller person that may be harder, but I got my solid mare at an absolute steal because she’s on the small side at 15.1 (will finish around 15.2). I have 3’ aspirations, though, and I made sure she has more than enough step. Maybe you can’t go THAT small, but 16h with a big barrel may do the trick.

  2. Give up the hack piece - You don’t really need a toe pointing trot, just make sure it has a great canter and rhythm to find the jumps out of.

Good luck, I feel your pain as someone simultaneously well off AND feeling priced out of the sport, and I sympathize!


I’m waiting and saving for the “mid five” greenie :sweat_smile: my retirement candidate is currently at the place I’d retire him, and I budgeted for a 25% increase on board there, with some room to spare.

I’m seeing what I want with miles is easily six figures right now - or pushing it with maintenance. Which is all fine but I actually LIKE them green. I like bringing them up my way and making sure their feet and feed are right! I also doubt my SO would roll with spending more - he’s already in shock that a friend is selling her 9YO (nice dainty little TB) for $50k and getting TONS of interest. I’d rather like to keep him, not just because he does bankroll part of my life :laughing:

All the points about dropping the hack piece are good and I’m not ruling anything out strictly on a less than stellar trot. But I can dream right? :sweat_smile:

1 Like

Is your criteria realistic given today’s market, the limited commodity that is the exact hypothetical horse you want, and the future of horse-keeping and showing in general?

Everyone – and I mean everyone – with disposable income to spend is looking for your exact hypothetical horse. You aren’t just going to be competing with people with money, you’re going to be competing with other buyers who also want the hack-winning unicorn, and are willing to pay top dollars for it.

I have exactly what you are looking for and I wouldn’t part for her for less than upper mid-five figures - and she hasn’t even gone to a show yet (but will this summer). I suspect most people sitting on a top quality animal like that are thinking the same, given how insane horse market prices are right now and how few youngstock are actually out there to develop… it’s almost crazy to consider selling the genuinely nice horses.

What about looking at the QH circuit or appendixes? Even OTQH are pretty nice these days. You could also look at breeding farms out west or north like another poster said – it is likely you will have to sacrifice one or several of your criteria to get the horse you want in your budget. Network with local breeders to see what’s out there. Most don’t maintain an active online presence, so you never know what they have unless you call. Thinking specifically of sport horse breeders like Ferme Beaulieu in Canada - who always have tons and tons of foals and youngstock for sale but almost no online presence.

I have no affiliation with this farm in specific, but I’ve followed Fox Haven Farm (FL) here and there on FB for a few years and they always have nice young horses for what I think are criminally cheap prices in the sport horse world. You’d get the TB athleticism and trainability without the track baggage – which is likely the real reason you (and other people in the world) run into soundness issues with OTTBs.


When people mention q.h. being a bargain I chuckle a little. They are in the same market as we are. Their prices are high too. A friend is trying to find an amy friendly cutting horse and the prices are ridiculous for those type of horses. Even prospects are going for crazy prices. If you are hoping for a bargain in this market you maybe waiting a long time.


I just found a beautiful well-bred 3yo gelding winning young horse at Spy Coast (jumping chute and comformation) for $35K from a friend who handled the breeding - I was lucky to get him - Unbacked but really dead quiet and I am used to the young ones and have had a great time getting them to Indoors etc over a couple years. I am an experienced ammy. They do go quickly this time of year. Call the breeders - if they don’t have it they may know someone who does -

I cannot imagine paying these prices for what you’re describing. Lease someone else’s SOUND Tb who already knows it’s job, and might even be a hack winner. (I know it’s shocking but Tb’s can move…just like some wb’s can’t. )

Given a whole lot of factors, leasing might be the best way forward for many horse people in the future.

And you can, within limits, give it back if needed.



I’m going to have to agree with @beowulf, @Tha_Ridge and everyone who else who said this: mid 5s minimum and everyone wants this horse. Mid-high 5s for taller and something that at least moves like a hunter.

That is basically what I was just in the market for. I am also quite tall, so I had the height limitation as well. I needed a true 16.3 or bigger. I looked very seriously for 6 months, and flew around the country with my trainer in tow. Unless you have a job where you can hop on a plane the next day, even seeing the horse before it sells is difficult. I ended up buying off video (although my trainer was able to have a trusted trainer in the area look at the horse for us) because they are moving SO FAST. Or at least the good ones are.

I did eventually find my one, but by then the budget was out the window. So whatever you think you want to spend, be prepared for more if at all possible. And just for reference I did not end up with a hack winner, but shouldn’t stick out like a sore thumb in an under saddle at least. The ones with a toe flicking trot were all HIGH 5s (despite being incredibly green) and they weren’t coming down any on the price.


I am curious about buying off of video–would you have just resold if you didn’t like the horse? I have toyed with this idea; a lot of travel will eat into my budget so I would be open to buying off video with my trainer’s recommendation, but just trying to envision what happens if you don’t mesh with the horse or it’s not what you expected.

My two cents… Buying off of a video is risky and you[buyer] have to be the type of rider that is confident – or at least relaxed – on almost any type of horse. Riders who need a specific type of ride for their own confidence are better off going and riding the horse in person.

It is almost impossible to tell what kind of ride a horse gives off of one rider and one video. Different riders bring out different things in a horse and a professional-type, quiet rider will make just about the world’s most difficult horse look well broke and uncomplicated – so you’re better off seeing multiple people of varying skill ride a horse if you are going to buy off of video.

It’s risky. I’ve bought off of video before and the horse was even better than I expected, but I was buying from a source I trusted implicitly, and the horse in question was closely related to several horses I knew including one in my program, so I had a good idea of what I was getting. I would not buy off of video from a random stranger without ringing endorsements from people I trusted.


Exactly this. Buying off video is great if you’re a person who can ride all different types and is somewhat flexible. I’m not. So it’s not for me. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a video, gone to try the horse, it was exactly as represented, and I still didn’t enjoy the ride. I like a specific type of ride and you really can’t tell that from a video.


You can probably import this from Ireland cheaper than finding it in the US.


My trainer was unwilling to buy off video from someone she didn’t know and trust, without having someone she trusted scope out the horse in person. Too many things can be hidden in a video.

I trust my trainer and her program. We had an understanding that if I didn’t like the horse it would at least be good enough quality to be resold after a fashion. That may mean only pro rides for 6 months, and paying for a few horse shows where only the pro rode, but that in all likelihood she would be able to resell the horse without taking a huge hit. Horses though- you just never know! We did a very thorough vetting as well, and used a vet this is well known and trusted by our vet. I have ridden lots of different types though and was pretty open to anything sane that wanted to be a hunter.

I did spend a good chunk traveling around to try horses that didn’t work out, so if you are willing to buy off video it’s definitely something to consider. Something else to consider if your budget for vetting. I was lucky and only had one fail to vet, so I only paid for 2 PPEs. FYI the PPEs I did were $2.5k each, so I’d keep that in mind with your budget. If you have a lot fail they can add up quickly!


Makes sense, thanks for the info. I trust my trainer totally as well, but I also am more of a rider like @vxf111…some horses I feel really safe on, some I don’t, and I just don’t think there is a way to tell that without sitting on one. I have felt totally comfortable on some weird types and have not enjoyed others that seemed more solid.

Just a tough time overall to be shopping if you don’t have a pretty flexible budget!

Edited to add–totally agree on the PPEs–3 years ago when I shopped, I had 3 failed PPEs, and that was just money out the window LOL.

Listen to @HJdaydream - as she says, she just did this exact search and was smart and reasonable about her expectations and ended up with a wonderful horse that she loves.

Agreed that many, many horses are moving off video and very quickly off video at that. The last horse I sold was the first in the past year that was actually tried at our farm and purchased from that trial. I import exclusively off video but I am largely buying for resale and work with the same two dealers. I’ve ridden enough “dogs” in my day to be happy with many rides provided they are safe and sane, but I did buy an upper-level jumper as a “keeper” off video in December—I dug through probably an hour of his past show videos outside of what the dealer had sent and was pretty confident in what I was getting.

1 Like

FYI the import costs have doubled from Ireland.

And there are nightmare stories about the cross to get to fly out of Holland from the UK. If you do find an Irish horse to buy, ship it from Ireland to Chicago. Any of the ships to get to mainland Europe to ship are an issue right now.


A friend has just had 2 imported with no issue. Maybe its dependent on who you use.

Of course. But I am friends with/on a lot of UK based rider groups. And the issue at the crossing is very bad.

Might show facebook.com as the link, but will take you straight to Gemma Tattersall’s post.


Nightmare situation for her. They’ve been talking about it on the Horse & Hound podcast a bit too.

1 Like

Agree on size. It baffles me when I see people demanding 16.3h or taller, especially when they have already had a broken big horse. Like, do those people like to own horses that break faster?! And yes, I’m sure plenty of people have had big horses not break, but I’ve seen more go lame than stay sound past about 12-15yo. I’m in my 40’s and got my first horse before I was born, so this isn’t from short term horse ownership experience.