Horses, Life, A Touch of Geek

My uncle, James Bunting, sent me a plan to approach buying a horse as a business project. He doesn’t know horses, but has built several business over the years. I have no doubt this advice is gold in the business world. However, I have doubts about how well this would apply to the horse world. I could go through the list point-by-point with counter-examples from the searches for Rodney & Milton.
BUT
This could be my discouragement talking. It is all too easy to say why something won’t work. So, I would like your help in taking this general business advice and translating it into horse-specific advice. Theories, personal experience, whatever ya got. I’d rather not have horror stories. The goal is to get me moving, not to send me hiding under the bed. Please forward/share the post with anyone who might have input on the subject. Thanks in advance. Welcome, Uncle Jim.

If I was going to buy a horse, here’s what I would do.

1. Decide if I want another horse. Make that definite decision which will clear my mind so I can proceed with certainty, or, not proceed. If yes, decide what I am going to do with the horses I currently have, and how I am going to it. After that you are ready to go.

2. If I’m going to proceed, I’d set a budget. If I’m going to buy a terrific horse, I’d budget for a terrific horse. It may take some time to learn what great horses cost.

3. Next, I’d assume I don’t know anything about buying a horse. I’ve found that whenever I start a new venture, and I don’t know anything about it, people think I am naive, foolish, and not very smart. But, I ask basic questions, gather information, and forge ahead and don’t pay any attention to the people who think I’m naïve. I don’t mind being perceived as stupid. This is a very important point, you have to be confident in yourself and your process, and willing to ask stupid/obvious questions, which other people may dismiss; the people who can help you are confident in their knowledge and will see your genuine interest and passion and will want to help you.

4. I would learn everything I can about buying a great horse. I’d ask people at shows, stables, etc. people who are the best at what they do, and have great horses.

5. I’d find the best horse buyers and talk with them. I’d find a person, an advisor, who would be willing to lead my horse buying project. I would probably have to pay the person. The key here is to find the best person who is honest and trustworthy and has a proven track record….too many posers out there. I’d check references and ask around about the person, which is just good business.

6. I would actively look for horses and visit the best horse candidates, which may mean travel for you and your advisor, and riding each good candidate.

7. Eventually I’d find a horse who I like and likes me, and it would be clear…this is the one. Patience will be important, and don’t accept an “almost the right one.” “Good” is the great enemy of excellent.

The overall theme here is to have enough confidence to say “I don’t know how to do this and I need help.” I think that is the key to success.

One more thought, which may or may not relate to this discussion. When I start and complete a project, I am very matter of fact about it, all business, nothing social; I’m not out to make friends. But, people respect my process, like the result and are glad they participated in the project and feel good about their contribution.
~~~
Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Comments on: "I’d Like Your Advice on Some Horse Buying Advice" (7)

  1. I like the list and yes it is a little basic but it has some good points mate!

    When I get a new horse, after deciding I want one and can afford one, I then move onto thinking about what this horse will be used for.

    The most important thing is to know what a horse is worth! A person who has had a horse for ten years and competed on it may think it’s worth 10k, but if I ride it and it isn’t supple or resists contact and bolts and goes on the forehand well maybe it’s only worth 2k to me!

    Always remember there is more than one price for a horse.

    Also if the horse is an awesome jumper and clears a metre, well that isn’t going to matter if you want to do Dressage so is the horse good for what you want it to do?

    How old is it? How many years do you want from this investment? Do you want to own this horse long term or is it a project?

    All good stuff to think of

    Happy Riding and keep smiling

    Mel x

  2. It’s not a bad list, but I’d suggest a few modifications. I don’t think you need to interview a lot of people who are good at buying horses, but I do think you need someone who understands your goals and your riding ability to help you find a suitable horse. Unfortunately, the right horse is not always love at first sight, either. That’s where the pro comes and helps you understand what you can change through training and what is going to be difficult to alter (I hated Zelda for the first month that I rode her because all she’d do was buck and squeal and refuse to do anything I asked. I needed someone who could help me understand how to approach her so that she would become a team player.)

    A few things I’d add to the list:

    – Unless I enjoy the training process and have a trainer who can help me accomplish my goals, I would look for a horse that already enjoys and is successful at the discipline I want to pursue.

    – I will add a vet to my horse search team who understands what I want to accomplish with my horse and helps insure the horse I choose is physically capable of the demands.

    – I will listen to my experts when I fall in love with an unsuitable horse.

  3. Archived from Facebook:
    This is great! I’ve been going through this same process lately and I totally agree with finding an expert who understands equine anatomy and who will help keep you in check when you go to look at a prospect. It’s so easy to get super excited and overlook potential issues. I’d also say to make sure your ‘expert’ is not someone who has their own agenda and will steer you towards something they want you to buy, rather than allowing you to choose your own direction.

    … And ALWAYS get a pre-purchase vet check done!!
    DK

  4. Thank you all. I shall keep you posted.

  5. I think it’s a surprisingly good list. Agree with the others that the best part is an impartial expert that can go to see horses with you in person, take them for a spin before you do, and give good advice (assuming they know EXACTLY what you are looking for).

    Important factors to narrow down the millions of horses for sale: location, age, training, price. Then just get in the car and go look. Most of us can’t see the forest for the trees and need that unbiased help. I am rooting for you!

  6. My brother has never led me astray. Go for it!

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