View Full Version : Any checks/things to look out for?

Beck Star
20-10-07, 03:31 PM
Just wondering what are everybody's thoughts experiences with buying young (unbroken) horses sight unseen. Did you get vet checks? Insure the horse before it left their property etc?

The horse (pony) that I'm looking at is from a very reputable breeder and has been floated a bit before (done light showing in-hand). I have no time to go see him and if Vic does go into lockdown because of EI in a month or so time I would like to have him here before hand.

Would like to hear your thoughts.

20-10-07, 10:12 PM
Hi Beck Star

I've now bought two young unbroken horses sight unseen and had 2 good experiences which may have been luck but I did make sure of a few things.

First, I ask the horse owner what the horse's strengths and weaknesses are and listen carefully to the answer. If the owner is upfront with both and sounds honest - I usually trust them. If they sound a bit slick or try to gloss over any weaknesses in the horse (they all have weaknesses) or talk him up too much or namedrop too much then warning bells go off in my mind. I haven't bought off wnyone I have felt uncomfortable about and I probably never would. The line I am particularly concerned about is where they go: 'Well, yes, he has this XYZ problem but I saw Mr. Bigname Horserider buy a horse with this exact same problem and he sold it to Japan 2 years later for 20 gazillion dollars. You see what I mean?

Second, I look at videos, photos of the horse from all angles, standing and moving, focusing on the conformation and action. Make sure you get a photo/video of the horse being trotted toward and away from you so you can see any leg deviations or action problems.

Third, I ABSOLUTELY do a vet check. I get the vet to do all the usual prepurchase things but I also ask them to look out for blemishes, conformation faults, any abnormalities (remember, it's not the vets job normally to worry about club feet, turned out feet - they normally just check for soundness on the day because normally you would have seen the horse and decided on those things). I also specially ask the vet to comment on temperament because you can't get that off the photo/video - how is this young horse coping with being handled/examined by a stranger. If it's a mare, get him to check the breeding bits. I don't normally do X-rays because I don't spend sheepstations on a horse (the one time I looked at a horse over $14,000 I did x-rays and they showed up a stress fracture on a huge, unbroken 2yo!) but I do make sure to ask the vet to absolutely tell me if there is something that makes him think he should x-ray to investigate it further (i.e. lumps, bumps, something that makes him suspect OCD etc. I believe a good horse vet ends up with a 6th sense about even hidden problems). Finally, I ask the vet if he would be happy with this horse if he were the purchaser. I ask this on the phone and listen for hesitations which is where the vet might articulate something that's at the back of his mind that is bothering him about the horse. Both times I bought the horse, the vet answered very confidently, that absolutely he was a great horse, etc.

So that's been my experience and I can't stress toomuch - GO WITH YOUR GUT FEELING. If there's something you're not sure of, you don't have to go ahead with it.

21-10-07, 01:07 AM
Why would anyone buy a horse sight unseen?
Are there not enough in your local area that you can see.

YOu need to met them to see if you like them.

21-10-07, 01:12 AM
No, there were no geldings by Weltmeyer for sale in Qld at the time I was looking. Nor any horses with Falkland bloodlines.

Also, for me, it takes away the instant emotional response of Oooooooh, isn't he GORGEOUS! So I can make decisions based on facts and practicality. Anyway, I got sick of driving 50km to look at a horse that was a 3-legged donkey which I could have struck from my list, based on photos/videos, in the comfort of my own home. And I've never met a horse I didn't like. :D

Beck Star
21-10-07, 01:28 AM
Jeremy there are no breeders of this breed in my area, let alone one that has such a good reputation and has horses winning at royal level in their breed classes (have the same sire as pony I'm looking at).

I have been talking to her a bit and she said she sold his full brother sight unseen as a 2yo as well, the new owners couldn't be happier. She said am completely welcome to organise a vet check as she said she can garantee he is 100% sound. Any thoughts? She doesn't boast about him at all and explains he needs a confident handler to put his trust in etc.

21-10-07, 02:55 AM
Well, I've just about forgotten what it's like NOT to buy horses sight unseen! Over the past two years we've bought 19 horses and ponies from overseas, some were broodmares and most were barely handled youngsters ranging from foals to 2yos, and of all of the horses we've bought that way, all but one we bought from pics and/or videos from small time but knowledgeable breeders, and the only one we were ever 'ripped' off with (who we refused to buy in the end) was ironically the only one we saw in the flesh first and also the only one we were going to pay big money for and buy from a big name breeder.

The rest are everything we were first told they were in the way of soundness, temperament, paces and quality. A lot of them we still haven't seen in the flesh even now, but we get regular videos and pics of them, and our friends and trainers OS have seen and handled them and have confirmed that they're all as good as we thought they were initially. In fact we've been told by our trainers that most of them are going to really kick some serious butt when the time comes for them to complete their stallion and mare tests, which I guess says a lot about how it's all worked out for us.

Do I think you can get ripped off doing it? Absolutely, it's really crucial to follow your gut instincts about the sellers and/or brokers you're dealing with. As someone else already mentioned, if the sellers seem too slick, I won't go near them, but then the overly slick sellers I've spoken to usually tend to over price their horses anyway, so we'd usually avoid them for that reason, too. I want the seller to be happy to tell us straight up everything good and bad about the horse/pony concerned. The other thing that guides me most of all is bloodlines and relatives of the horse I'm looking at. I want them to come from a really consistent bloodline, one that you know pretty well what you're going to get before the foal is even born.

We've got a rising three year old Florencio/Rubinstein mare in Germany who we bought as a yearling. But the only pic that we ever got of her was a foal shot. Her bloodlines were immaculate though and really consistent, and the price was really reasonable, so we bought her off that one pic and her great pedigree. I visited that filly in Germany last March and she was exquisite, and looked just like I'd expected. I've seen plenty of others from that same cross and they all look really similar and are all very, very good. That sort of thing cuts down the risk factor enormously.

Re vet checks, I play it by ear. To be honest, I don't put a huge amount of faith in basic vet checks where the vet just checks all of the things any reasonably competent person can check for you anyway. Those basic vet checks are all that youngsters tend to be given in Germany and Europe, though, and the foals usually get them around weaning age whether you organise them or not. With broodmares who are infoal and/or where the seller agrees to get them infoal for us prior to payment, if they've had a series of very good foals before and all is well I'll often bypass the vet check as long as I trust the seller, but again it's an instinct thing, and with quite a few of ours we have had them very thoroughly vet checked.

Good luck with your youngster, and if your luck goes anything like ours has and if you really follow your instincts and check out the bloodlines and your youngster's relatives, hopefully it will all go as smoothly as all of our sight unseen purchases have. But remember, to be totally safe it's all about an honest seller who really cares what happens to their horse or pony in the future...... and seriously reliable bloodlines.


21-10-07, 04:52 AM
Just as another option.

Ask for contact details of the owner of the full sibling, get some images of it and talk to the owners to see if they are as happy as the vendor says they are.

Good luck and have fun.

Home of 'Romerito' SO473 Pure Spanish Stallion

21-10-07, 05:02 AM
All the above are correct. Really trust your instinct. They have had me pull out of quite a few deals. Best buy I ever had, I rang a QH stud re a Peppy Snake mare advertised in "The Land." Mare was sold, but we kept talking, and she found out that I had only Appys to date. She had a yearling "feral" filly by QH from Appy mare - solid Buckskin. Bought her on breeding for $1,000 sight unseen. Turned out to be a multiple Champion hack (in open company), and very successful dressage mare, training Medium with ease. 7 yr old daughter takes her to PC on the weekend. What a bargain:P

21-10-07, 05:04 AM
PS just reread my post. My sister now has the mare, and it is her daughter, (my niece), who rides her at Pony Club...

21-10-07, 07:22 AM
Something I forgot to add in my other post which I think is really important. I really like it when the seller is more interested in whether or not you're going to take good care of their 'baby' than just plain talking you into buying their horse. I think anyone who'd be willing to say 'no' if they think you won't give their 'baby' a good enough home is far more likely to tell you every little thing, both good and bad, about the horse you're looking at buying from them because they REALLY don't want you to end up disappointed with that horse and merrily selling it on to someone else. In fact, come to think of it, that's probably the No.1 thing I look for in a seller when we're thinking of buying a horse off them sight unseen.

21-10-07, 08:09 AM
well beck star i'm nearly in the same boat as you. (nearly if i sell my mare, lol) i have possibly found my replacement horse that is quite a long way away. young, unbroken, (never bought unbroken before) and may or may not see before purchase, if all goes well.

cbz, totally agree with you on instinct. i was lied to about my current horse (luckily not the quiet to ride part) and i remember there were things that just rang little bells, but because it had been eight years since i'd bought a horse and i'd never had any real problems before i just went ahead with the purchase. the biggest warning was that no matter how much i pushed i could not get the seller to tell me one vice about the horse. i asked several times and for the tiniest problem. nothing. i think havuing missed breeding two years in a row warranted a mention under that category. she also talked up horse like no bodies business. will remember that for future purchases.