Buying a new horse is one of the biggest and most exciting decisions you’ll make in your equestrian career, but finding your next horse can also be a (super) stressful time. Fortunately, PonyApp has called in a couple of experts to help: top Israeli show jumper Daniel Bluman and renowned international dealer Tal Milstein.
Next week, Daniel and Tal will put their decades of horse buying and selling experience to the test at, a one of a kind auction for 10 of the top young show jumping talents in Europe. Now in its third edition, the auction-co-founded by Bluman, Milstein, and Ilan Ferder-will take place on April 30 at Azelhof Horse Events in Lier, Belgium (to drool over this year’s list of horses, click here).
Here, Daniel and Tal share their top-five checklist of things to consider when buying your next superstar.
#1. Be realistic about the job the horse is intended to do.
Not every horse is destined to be a five-star showjumper, so be reasonable about your needs and expectations. “[We look for] horses with excellent bloodlines that have the best potential for the sport possible, but not all of them necessarily have to be grand prix horses. They all have to have the potential to become great horses at the division where they will [eventually] be,” Daniel says, adding that he often shops with the amateur rider in mind. “They have to be horses that are able to be produced and ridden and managed by people inside the system, not only the best professional riders in the world.”
#2. Use all the resources available to you.
For buying a new horse, Bluman says that videos, online results, and word of mouth are all great places to start, but notes that much of what’s available online depends on the age of the horse you’re looking for. “When you’re looking for a 5- or 6-year-old, the amount of videos and results that you’re going to be able to find are limited, because they’re young. Many of these horses are just doing regional shows in the local area,” Bluman notes. “[For younger horses], you have to base your selection on the few videos and results you can get, combined with the feeling the horse gives you when you try it.”
#3. Pay attention to the “energy” of the horse.
“Before you even sit [on a horse], you can see what kind of an animal it is,” Tal explains. “You take the age factor, [and then] you see the eye, the way he thinks and reacts: Is it sensitive? Is it the calm, quiet type? There are different characteristics [to observe] in the way the horses react to different situations. If it’s a very spooky horse, you know that’s a red flag for an amateur rider.”
#4. Remember: The vet check can play a major role.
No horse is perfect, but before you fall in love with a potential candidate, remember that the vet check can make or break the deal-and often does. “It’s our priority that the horses are physically sound and that the X-rays are good, and that the vet report is good, [but] it’s actually much more difficult than you would imagine,” Bluman says. “I would say that most of the horses we find that we take to the vet check don’t pass, which is a shame, because most of [them] are unbelievable jumpers but their vet checks aren’t good enough to be able to [put them] in the auction.”
#5. Don’t go in alone.
“I always say, if you’re going into the jungle, you need a guide, and the situation [with horse shopping] is the same,” Tal says, adding that at The Ten, he and his co-founders work to take the guesswork out of the process by pre-selecting the horses for physical ability, soundness, and job suitability. When you’re shopping on your own as an amateur, you need to work with someone who can do that for you. “This is how amateurs should buy horses,” says Tal. “You need to speak to a specific trainer or a dealer that you trust-always, you need help.”
Now in its third edition,The Ten is a unique, auction experience featuring 10 of the top young show jumpers in Europe hand-selected by co-founders Tal Milstein, Daniel Bluman, and Ilan Ferder. The event will take place on Tuesday, April 30, at Azelhof Horse Events in Lier, Belgium. For more information click here.