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Why importing from Europe?

I am brand new to this forum but I have one question that I would love to get some answers/opinions for…
What is the reason for importing from overseas? Especially Germany/Holland? Does it really come down to the money or is it more that we want to secure the quality of horse that we can get from over there? What is the average we spend on travelling and scouting out horses? Is it worth it? Looking forward to opinions!

Tons of threads on this. Just search.

Cliff note version:

  1. Surplus of horses in a smaller region so can see multiple horses a day
  2. Generally more exposure to shows (see above)
  3. A “failed” jumper in EU is not useful (generally) in the EU but can be a hunter in the US

The list goes on.


Bunch of reasons why people end up shopping in Europe.

Geography: you can see 50 appropriate horses in relatively close proximity. Nowhere in North America do you have the same opportunity. Flying to CA or the east coast if you’re in, say, Iowa and looking for a horse is expensive. Making multiple flights to multiple locations to see multiple options quickly adds up. It is often more cost effective in that regard to go to Europe, even with international travel.

Specific horse types: NA breeding has come leaps and bounds in the last twenty years and there are many very, very nice horses here. There are a diverse number of pedigree options and price points as well. However, there are certain things that are still challenging to find. Some stallions don’t offer frozen semen so if you have a specific desire in that regard, you cannot shop outside of Europe. Likewise, some of the more obscure or less popular pedigrees aren’t present in NA. again, European shopping becomes necessary.

Two super straightforward reasons. Training, show exposure, number of horses produced/brought along are some others.

Germany and the Netherlands are inevitably the center of foreign buyers because they house the breed registries: Hannoveraner in Verden, Oldenburger in Vechta, Westphalian in Münster (plus the state studs located in the countries).

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As stated above - density. I was able to sit on 40 horses trained to the level I wanted in the my price range in a 6 day period. Totally impossible in the US. Two of the days in Holland, I stayed at the local facility and horses were brought to me. The other days I went to two different farms and tried 6 or 7 each time.


As others have pointed out, this is a frequently discussed topic. The reasons are outlined above, but in terms of cost, it’s not super expensive compared to potentially flying around to various places in the US to look at one or two horses each time. I personally travel a great deal for work so when I fly for personal reasons, it’s generally gratis, thanks to my accumulated miles. There is obviously expense associated with the import process; I only by geldings so the quarantine is quite short. Think the total last time was around $8-9K and that was all in. Totally worth it, IMO.

I’ll add that Europeans seem to be more careful in their breedings than many Americans. Here, you see a lot of horses advertised as “broodmares” on the sole qualification that they scared the sh-t out of their owner and that person wants to feel like the horse is doing something besides standing in a field eating.

So, the quality to cost ratio just seems better in Europe. Generally speaking, PSG level+ dressage ponies can be had for $50k with import included. A fancy show hunter pony would easily be 3x that in the US. Not that I could buy either, my budget is more washed-up-rode-bronco. lol. But you get the idea of why its so appealing.



All of this makes perfect sense. And I am surprised that import/shipping is not as expensive as I expected it to be. Now what about buying them just off the internet? Without sitting on them, just seeing a video, vet exam and pedigree? Wouldn’t that be the same as buying them within the states? The person I used to work for strictly imported everything. Most of them she never sat on. Now she did have people over there that told her yes or a no go but wouldn’t it be semi safer to buy them off a video within the company? Or with this is it again about the bloodline/show records and then it comes down to cheaper ??If you don’t have to add on the travel and the fees and just pay an agent for example?