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
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",
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
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
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. firstname.lastname@example.org or
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
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
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. email@example.com
or (717) 664-4988
Read more about selecting dressage horses; click