How much would you pay for a 19yo horse?

DrSeuss

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After a long search, I think I've found the ideal first horse for me. He's an absolute saint and as cheesy as it sounds I felt a bond with him almost as soon as I saw him. The one downside is that he's 19, and I'm unsure if the price being asked is reasonable in light of his age. What would people typically expect to pay for a well-schooled, well-mannered horse of this age? His owner is asking 5k. My gut says to take him if he passes the vetting, but my partner thinks I'm being rash to spend that money on an older horse.
 

PurBee

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I saw an ad recently in my area for a 16hh tb/i.d draft type, same age, similar temperament schoolmaster type for 3k euros -£ 2.5k- most oldies ive seen, 18yrs + are vastly cheaper than if they were even 14/15 yrs old.

Yours sounds a bit expensive, mainly for the age, but the market is quite unpredictable/ volatile - depends on the vetting results - if passes, i’d consider offering 4k, and go from there.

What’s the breed, height?
 

rextherobber

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He sounds like the perfect schoolmaster, in this market the price is probably about right. Is he likely to pass a 5 stage vetting though? Maybe the findings of that could lower the price? Good luck ( and I do believe in the instant bond thing too!)
 

luckyoldme

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I bought an 18 year old years ago in a very different Market for £2000.
I was very naive and really all he was good for was a plod. He was a great hack but I really didn't want anything more than that.
At £5000 I would want a lot more and to me a 19 year old has every right to want do a lot less.
That's me though and I can't get over the crazy prices horses are fetching now.
 

AUB

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Depends on what it has done. Personally I would only buy a 19-year old as a schoolmaster for at least small tour.

If it was just for happy hacking/low-medium level dressage I wouldn’t buy a 19-year old and definitely not pay £5000 for it. Around £2000 would be more reasonable.
 

cauda equina

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Would you be happy if you only got a couple of years riding?
And would you be happy to secure his future once he couldn't be ridden, even if that left you with nothing to ride?
Of course any horse can go wrong but all horses retire eventually and at 19 he can't have that many years left in him
 

Polos Mum

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Lenamore was 17 when he won Burghley and I think there was a 20 y/o in the WEG that same year.

As with all horses 'it depends' (sorry)

You can buy an 8 y/o they can fall off the lorry or run though a fence day 1 and permanently injure themselves - the joy of our sport

i would think about insurance - at £5k most will want clean 5 stage vetting which would be almost impossible in 19 y/o
If you really like him £4950 might make insurance easier.
In any event you're likely to get veteran cover only - external injury not anything internal.

A lot depends on what you want to do and what he has been doing up to now. If he's been doing exactly what you want to do with him for years without issue - there's no reason he wouldn't do the same for 5-6 years.

So £1k p.a. on top of all the other costs of livery, food etc. etc.

I would be tempted to vet and see what that comes up with and negotiate from there. There is no pass / fail only a list of observations - which I'd expect to be longer in an older horse but not necessarily a deal breaker.
 

Goldenstar

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There’s a knack to keeping old horses going and when they change homes is a difficult moment .
You need to budget for maintenance for the older horse vets can do much now to help older horses have longer working lives .
You also need to be realistic you might lucky or unlucky .
 
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You also need to have in mind what sort of retirement options you have available. If you have your own land then that's all good, but should he need to retire at 22, you potentially have 10 years of £250pcm+ for retirement livery, an that's on the cheap side. So that's a £30k consideration. But then again you could buy an 8yo and have the same issue, or decide that you would PTS instead.

I personally wouldn't pay that much for a 19yo horse, I would consider it for a pony.
 

ycbm

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You can buy an 8 y/o they can fall off the lorry or run though a fence day 1 and permanently injure themselves - the joy of our sport
This is true, but with a big 19 year old you can pretty much guarantee that it has only a few years work left in it.

I wouldn't pay more than a few thousand for him unless he could teach me how to ride GP moves.
.
 

paddi22

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I'd echo getting a Cushing test and also hock X-rays. that's the age where you really start to notice arthritis and cushings kicking in. Goldenstar is right that the extras can start for an older horse re supplements, tablets etc. I've a very healthy 20 year old still eventing, but it was around 18/19 that I really felt his age kick in. I personally wouldn't pay 5000 for an older horse without seeing leg xrays. I'd also be conscious of what management you keep them in. If my lad was on full livery getting 5 hours turnout a day he would find it tough going and be very stiff, he has to live out 24/7 and be moving.
 

paddi22

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Tayberry has just been to the Olympics at 20, so for a horse that's out doing a job I don't see that £5000 is unreasonable at all.

But that's a horse that has always been ridden correctly by professionals, correctly developed muscles and self carriage, constant physio and would have very high-end vet/feed/care. the average leisure horse wouldn't be in the same condition and would probably be ridden hollow/incorrectly/on the forehand which causes more physical issues. The horse you mentioned is outlier as the average age of competitive horses is 11 or so I think. There are just some truly hardy older horses who keep sound and well into old age, but the majority start kicking in with arthritis etc.
 

ihatework

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This isn’t a straightforward question.
For a first horse there is potentially huge merit in getting a 19yo that knows it’s job and can give you a good introduction to horses. But there is also a very real risk that you will be buying a horse that is at the end of its working life (which the current owners may secretly know or suspect).

The devil will be in the detail here. It will be about how the horse has been kept and managed and crucially can you keep and manage the horse in a similar system?

I would be looking for a horse that has been in regular work (proven), is bright with good muscle and happy disposition both in stable and under saddle. I’d want evidence that the horse has been in the same home for a number of years and that the owners are willing to release clinical history.

I would not be concerned with mild unlevelness, mildly and equally positive on flexion etc as I’d expect most horses if that age to have some wear and tear. But I would want to have sufficient budget to supplement/medicate the usual old age kind of stuff - this won’t be covered on insurance and I’d estimate preparing yourself for an extra £100/month pro rata.

Lastly, do not scrimp on vetting. Get a good vet to give you a warts and all opinion. A failed vetting doesn’t necessarily mean the horse won’t do the job, but it does give you negotiating power!

So, in summary, if this is a genuine sale of an honest and relatively sound schoolmaster type then I wouldn’t be fainting at paying 5K. But go in with your eyes open and accept that if you get 2 years of safe fun experience and then need to say goodbye then it’s better than buying a younger croc or psycho
 

paddi22

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So, in summary, if this is a genuine sale of an honest and relatively sound schoolmaster type then I wouldn’t be fainting at paying 5K. But go in with your eyes open and accept that if you get 2 years of safe fun experience and then need to say goodbye then it’s better than buying a younger croc or psycho
This sums it up perfectly! You could get years of safe fun from it, but go into it knowing what your retirement plan is if a few years down the line it can't work anymore. and an awareness that costs like Cushing, hock injections and stuff could be a possibility. I'd also be very conscious of what situation it's being kept in. If you have a yard with no turnout and a deep sand arena you will hit issues quicker. if you have a yard with a good surface, lots of good turnout and safe hacking, your horse will last longer.
 

mustardsmum

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As a guide - 18 year old mare (owned since 14, ex BSJA) Recently had hocks medicated, and three months later is again not sound. We’ve done everything with her and are now looking at stopping jumping as she’s just feeling it. But we’ve had four good years and paid 3.5k. We also have a 22 year old who for the last year has been on inhalers and is limited in what he can do (short gentle hacks). Hocks medicated each year since he was 18. So think whether you can afford the potential vets bills you are likely to get with an older horse. I loan my 22 year old - pay for all his medication (2 inhalers every month and daily Bute) but I am happy to as he’s a lovely pony and been with me since he was 16. I own my own land so I have no livery costs so can afford field ornaments if that’s what needs to happen. Even so I would not pay 5k for a 19 year old. In the current climate - sounds more like someone trying to make a lot of money out of an older horse which is very sad.
 

paddi22

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I'm another that loans my 20 year old out. He would happily pop around a 90s event, so I could easily sell. but I know he is starting to feel his age, so he is loaned out and I pay for cushings medication, and hock injections. I can't imagine selling an oldie and I'd question people who do. It is very easy to get loaners for a safe schoolmaster, I'd really want to know why they are selling.
 

Roxylola

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But that's a horse that has always been ridden correctly by professionals, correctly developed muscles and self carriage, constant physio and would have very high-end vet/feed/care. the average leisure horse wouldn't be in the same condition and would probably be ridden hollow/incorrectly/on the forehand which causes more physical issues. The horse you mentioned is outlier as the average age of competitive horses is 11 or so I think. There are just some truly hardy older horses who keep sound and well into old age, but the majority start kicking in with arthritis etc.
Oh I totally get that, but to say a horse isn't worth 5k purely on the basis of age isn't correct either. It depends on the horse, there will be outliers at both ends, bit a horse that's sound and well and doing its job at 19 could easily be worth 5k. I'm not saying this particular horse is or is not worth the asking price, just that it's possible.
Personally it could be reasonable and suitable and well worth the money, or not. It's worth viewing, worth looking at what it's doing now, what the OP wants to do and having a vetting that takes those things in to consideration.
 

Annagain

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As others have said, it's such a difficult question to answer without knowing the ins and outs of the situation. As an example, my friend's 23yr old superstar is still remarkably, fit sound and healthy. He was an intermediate eventer but these days is taking it a little bit easier, taking her daughter around pony club 90cm tracks and show jumping at 1m. When they finished 2nd at the pony club championships this summer she had three acquaintances ask her if she'd sell him to them for their teenagers to get the sort of experience her daughter is getting. All three would have had big budgets and were presumably happy to spend a fair bit of money on him (he's never going anywhere). He also hacks like a donkey and does everything else perfectly too - he babysat me and my boy on a fun ride yesterday going in front, behind, giving us leads over 1ft logs and generally being a lovely calming influence. £5k for him would be an absolute bargain. My old boy at 19 however, I'd have had to pay you £5k to take him!
 

Fransurrey

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For me it would be a no, regardless of how he's been ridden. If he's been schooled at a high level, he'll have the wear and tear, even if he's not showing it. Even schooling at a low level can be hard work. If you have the money and time to spare, then go for it i.e. bear in mind that a pasture ornament will cost the same if not more to keep. If you don't have £5k to gamble, then offer to loan, knock down the price or look elsewhere.
 

SEL

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Friends paid about that for a schoolmaster for their daughter. Has taken her around BE90 but I know they medicate joints, have regular physio and have the land for retirement when the horse starts to slow down. They did buy knowing the mare could safely jump at that level and look after their daughter.

Is the horse already doing the job you want? Have the current owners medicated joints already at all?
 

DrSeuss

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He's quite a big chap (16.3h) and in his youth he apparently did showjumping. He's a warmblood/TB cross. His owner assures me he's sound, and he felt energetic and forward-going when I tried him, but his history, height, and age all put together do make me wonder about unseen wear and tear. I'd want a thorough vetting.

I'm now having doubts because the owner's story about why they're selling doesn't add up. They told me they're giving up riding totally because of their own long-term health problems, but when I asked if any tack or rugs were included in the sale (I think 5k would be reasonable if so) they said no, because they bought brand new tack not long ago and it was expensive. That made me feel a bit suspicious, because if you're giving up riding, why would you get expensive tack right before trying to sell your horse? I appreciated all the questions they asked me, which suggested they really care about where this boy ends up, but I'm getting the sense there are things they're not saying.

It's so hard to be reasonable when you've fallen head over hooves for a horse, but I may have to listen to my partner on this one and keep looking. :(
 

Roxylola

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Mmm, equally, brand new tack could equate to more than £5k on the saddle alone. I can understand that they might want to sell that separately - or if its adjustable keep it just in case their situation changes. The saddle might be taking up space but it's not costing anything to keep
 
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