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Troubleshooting

This page is dedicated to the many dressage horse buyers that have been frustrated in their purchase attempts.  Scroll down and find the statement that most describes your situation.  Keep in mind that this information is not applicable to every buyer's situation.  It is highly recommended that buyers consult trained professionals to assist them with their particular issues. 

None of the horses that I choose to buy pass the pre-purchase veterinary exam.  Why is that?

     There could be a number of reasons why your horses aren't passing a pre-purchase veterinary exam.  You might just be unlucky or there might be a reason to believe that this will continue to be your fate unless you do something different.  If your veterinarian says that less than 50% of the horses he/she examines for clients result in a purchase, you may have cause for concern.  You may need to use another qualified veterinarian.

     Another problem could be your perspective on the pre-purchase exam.  Remember, most American veterinarians will not unequivocally "pass" a horse in most situations because of their professional liability.  You should expect to hear messages like "I can't guarantee that this won't cause a problem," and/or "This does represent a certain amount of risk for the horse's future soundness."  The majority of horses with any amount of training will have some radiographic abnormalities. 

     You may be having this problem because you are shopping in the "discount bin."  In other words, maybe the horse is priced cheaper because it has physical problems.  You might be well served to research what you should have to pay for a sound horse of your taste.

     Deciding what is significant and what isn't is not always easy and you can't expect your veterinarian to lead you into a "buy" or "don't buy" conclusion except in extreme situations.  Interpretation of clinical and radiographic findings is far more subjective that one might suppose.

At Graemont, when there are issues that are gray, we prefer to consult with experts at the country's leading veterinary institutes to help put matters into perspective.  

I've looked at lots of videos and I haven't seen anything that I like.  What should I do?

     The three most likely reasons why this is happening to you are:  1)  You are not shopping in a price range appropriate for your expectations (you need to come up with a different strategy for finding a horse to make you happy), 2)  You are being fooled by the video format making everything look average (you need to go and look at some horses in person), or 3)  You may be shopping in the wrong place(s) for what you are looking for.  (You may need to go to Europe).  If you have found yourself in this situation, ask your trainer for his/her opinion as to which of the above three applies to you.  If you like, call or email Graemont and we can help you understand what you may need to do next.  Please contact us.

I found a horse that I want to buy but my trainer doesn't like it?  What should I do?

     Understand that your trainer is part of the team.  If he/she doesn't like the horse, you may have a problem on your hands if you buy against their advice.  On the other hand, if you suspect that your trainer has a hidden agenda for your next purchase (influencing his/her opinion of the horse in question) and you really believe in the horse that you've found, you may be well served to get an independent opinion.

Every horse that I've tried to buy my trainer hasn't liked.  What should I do?

     This is a very common problem in the industry.  It usually stems from as least one of the following two conditions:  1) Professional jealousy - "I didn't find it so I don't like it",  and/or     2) Professional agenda - "If I discourage you from buying a horse that you find, I still have a chance to sell you a horse that I find for you."

     You need to ask your trainer up front how they would like to be involved, how they would like to be paid and what role they will play/what role you will play.  Many inexperienced buyers want to be thrifty by finding their own horses (and avoid paying a commission), but still want their trainer's endorsement.  Make up your mind early on whether you are going to use your trainer (and have him/her be paid) or shop and purchase without your trainer's advice or involvement.  If you find a horse that you like, you will be well served to have your trainer call the seller or the seller's trainer to discuss suitability. 

Every horse that I've looked at that I've liked has been out of my price range.  What should I do?

     Depending just how drastic your situation is, there may be a creative solution that can solve your problem.  You must be realistic, however.  You should start by researching how much you need to pay to get what you want.  If you don't have that much to spend, then you need to figure out how to leverage your resources to get as close to what you want as possible.  At Graemont, we frequently counsel our customers on how to do this.

A lot of people have promised me videos and then not sent them.  Why is that?

     At Graemont, we try to honor customers' requests for videos.  Understand however that requesting a video from amateur sellers is not a small favor to ask.  It seems that the industry has evolved to a point today where buyers expect videos on demand.  If you stop to realize how very difficult it is to make a video however, you will be more sympathetic.  It takes two people with specific skills (rider and experienced horse videographer), a good day (when the horse is putting in a good performance), and lots of luck (that the battery doesn't run out, the ring is clear of other riders, the weather and footing is reasonable, the white saddle pad doesn't look twice as big on the video, and so on).  At Graemont, with 15 years of experience at making videos, we still only send out about 1/4 of the tapes we make.  Even then we usually have to make apologies for them.  It is extremely difficult to produce a respectable video.

Since horse people are notoriously busy people (who never get to the bottom of their list of things to do each day), making and sending out videos sometimes gets pushed off so the stalls get cleaned.  Meanwhile serious buyers come to the farm and buy the horse.  This might be why you didn't get some videos.  If you are a serious buyer, there are other ways to justify traveling to see a horse besides seeing one you like on a video.  One way is to travel to a place where you can see a number of horses at one time. 

     This is a big reason that we frequently take our customers to Europe to shop.  In the USA, there are certain areas with higher dressage horse populations.  If you contact us we may be able to help you plan a strategy for finding your next dressage horse.

     Frequently, professionals come to our farm with their customers without requiring videos.  Instead the professional calls us ahead of time and we discuss the buyer's needs and the horse's particular characteristics.  We use this conversation instead of a video to decide if a trip is worthwhile.  We have found this to work much better than providing a video.  Be sure to read "Shopping By Video" reprint from Dressage Today Magazine.

My trainer isn't very involved in buying and selling dressage horses but I want professional help.  What should I do?

     There are agents who specialize in helping buyers find horses.  Many have earned reputations for customer abuse by not having the customer's best interest in mind.  You need to select an agent very carefully.  At Graemont, we provide prospective buyers with references and we try to maintain the highest level of integrity.  We would be happy to work with you in finding your next dressage horse.  Call us to discuss the ways that we can be of help to you.  sales@graemont.com or (717) 664-4988

I'm interested in buying a horse but I suspect that the price of the horse may have been inflated by multiple commissions.  What should I do?

     When you buy a loaf of bread at the supermarket, do you worry about how many middle-men are making a profit on your purchase?  Of course not.  You compare it with other loaves of bread and decide.  What you do need to be concerned about is if your horse is worth the money you will have to pay.  This is where comparative shopping and research will be helpful.

I bought a dressage horse that isn't working out.  What should I do?

     Hopefully you used your professional to help you.  If he/she is reputable, they will come along side of you and help you get out from under this horse.  Sometimes a horse needs to change it's career to be marketable.  Try to decide if the horse would do better with another rider or another sport.  Many times buyers need to accept the disappointment and "cut their losses" after a bad purchase or unfortunate turn of events.  It is a common practice to donate a horse to a riding school for a tax deduction, rather than selling it.

I'm looking for a dressage horse but I can't seem to find any that are trained well and have some quality to them.  I've looked at dozens of videos.  What should I do?

     The best place to find well trained horses through respected trainers and their students.  These are best found by networking through professionals.  Ask your trainer to help you.  If that doesn't turn up anything, try consulting with Graemont's staff.  We may have some suggestions for  you.  sales@graemont.com  or (717) 664-4988


Read more about selecting dressage horses;  click here.

 

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