How much would you pay for a 19yo horse?

DrSeuss

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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
Absolutely. I'm not wary over the cost, more over it being such a recent purchase, made when they were already planning to give up riding for good. It makes me wonder if they just want rid of this particular horse.
 

Cortez

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I paid £3,000 for an 18 year old schoolmaster PSG horse a few years ago. He was a grand lad and did the job I wanted him for for a couple of years, then retired for a few more. Realistically you wouldn't expect an old horse with mileage to last for more than a short while and the price should reflect that. I wouldn't dream of paying five grand for a nearly 20 year old horse.
 

Roxylola

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Absolutely. I'm not wary over the cost, more over it being such a recent purchase, made when they were already planning to give up riding for good. It makes me wonder if they just want rid of this particular horse.
Equally possible. It depends on the "health issues" really. It could be a bit of a cover up or it could be honest.
Its a tricky one - while £5k is a substantial amount it isn't enough in the current market to get you something younger but established and reliable. Have you looked at (m)any others?
 

Leandy

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There is of course nothing wrong with making an offer. If you are happy to buy an older horse, hope to have 2 or 3 happy years with it and then retire etc etc, then make an offer. Unless this is horse with advanced training, in which case it could be worth 5k, I'd offer £3k and see what they say. If they are really concerned about his home and future and you are a good fit for him, they may well accept that. We are in the back end of the year though, in six months time, he will be 20. Also ask if they would sell the tack separately. Even if it is too expensive for you, their willingness or not to do so will help substantiate the story that they are giving up.
 

paddi22

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I suppose it would depend on your expectations of what workload you expect for the horse as well. I loaned my oldie out to someone who was a much lower level. My worry was someone who wanted him as a schoolmaster to bring them up the levels would be putting more pressure on him with fast turns on courses and tighter circles in dressage and maybe running him on tough ground xc. his current loaner just potters, doing fun low level stuff and hacking, so I'd be fairly confident she will get years and years of fun with him. if it was someone out competing every week and working intensively I think he'd be more likely to pick up an injury and struggle.
 
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conniegirl

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I bought an 18yr old schoolmaster for £1500 and didn’t think twice about it, however mine is a pony so likely to go for many years yet!
A horse won’t generally keep working as long as a pony will.

£5k is a bit steep for a veteran unless they have considerable competition experience/results at quite a high level.

Getting a veteran through a 5 stage vetting is extremely difficult. You will likely end up with a few exclusions on your insurance
 

Fransurrey

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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.
I wouldn't dwell much on this. They might have bought it before realising the health issues would be long term and some jumping tack is rather expensive. My friend showjumps and her saddle alone is over £2500. Her bridle I think was about £200.
 
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It's how long is a piece of string question... I took on a 17yo ex eventer on full loan, for free, who then broke down with what I now know was a pre-existing injury and the owners basically said it's on you and washed their hands of him. Essentially getting themselves out of the responsibility for making the call I believe. So this could be the case at any price point.

I also know of many people who have taken on older horses and learnt lots from them and have had them a few years and retired them, filling their intended purpose perfectly. On the other hand I have also had to PTS a 7yo, who I bought as being diagnosed wobblers as a 2yo, and who had been a low level all rounder for Navicular; and an 11yo who had been high mileage and was covered in sarcoids, for being completely broken down mechanically. So even if you think you know what will be the end of them eventually and take a calculated risk, it could be something else.. I could actually have probably sold him on when I saw some issues creeping in for a lot of money, and his big paces and athleticism would have made it hard to pick up on anything as he so easily compensated in other ways.

Age, price, history, conformation etc are all pretty meaningless essentially. You have to either take a punt or decide against it. It's more likley a 19yo won't have longevity, or could have an injury but you could equally buy a 6yo with the same..

Not helpful I know, but you could chase the answer to an unanswerable question all day - only you know the risk you're willing to take. It sounds to me like your gut is saying no, and you should always listen to it.
 

holeymoley

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I'd be keen to hear what the horse has done in it's lifetime, how it was looked after etc basically it's 'mileage'.

I've read on a little bit and realised he's a 16.3 ex SJ. To me I'd be thinking he may not have a lot of years left to give. He's a big horse and they tend to break down a lot quicker than small ponies. Also anything that's properly jumped is bound to have concussion and stress on the joints.

If he was 14.2hh then I'd say absolutely!
 

irishdraft

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Personally I wouldn't buy a horse of that age because I would be conscious of the fact I may only have a limited riding time and an unlimited looking after time . Yes things can go wrong at any age but likelihood of no jumping etc would be more likely and I certainly wouldn't pay £5000 .
 

bonnysmum

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i would think about insurance - at £5k most will want clean 5 stage vetting which would be almost impossible in 19 y/o
I arranged insurance recently for our new pony. Vetting wasn't required if the purchase price was below (I think) £6500. I may be making that figure up, but we paid £4500 and insurance didn't require a vetting.
 

Nicnac

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Hmmm my first horse was 18 when I bought her. I had been riding her for a while and part-loaned her beforehand. She was super but I only paid meat money (Belgium) and wouldn't pay £5k for a horse of that age unless it's competed at high level and is being bought as a schoolmaster/mistress.

Mine was fit, jumped, hacked alone and in company, galloped, schooled and gave me 7 years so a bargain. It's a risk; but then so is every horse we buy.
 

DrSeuss

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Thanks for your advice, everyone. After talking it over some more, I've decided not to go ahead. If I had my own land, with space and means to have more than one horse, I wouldn't hesitate to get him even with the disadvantages - he's just an all-round lovely horse and I'm sure he'd live happily as a companion once his ridden days were over. But as I'll have to keep him on livery, it makes sense to find one younger. It's a bit heartbreaking as he was the first horse I've seen that I felt that connection with! But as my partner pointed out, he's not the last horse in the country.
 

SO1

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I think you have made the right decision. A large horse that has jumped a lot at that age may have significant wear and tear. If you were looking at a happy hacker type the risk would lower.

If you are looking for jumping school master to get your confidence on then it might have been good for a couple of years and then just at point when you might be confident to do more you may find it might be time for the horse to jump less which would be fine if you could afford to retire the horse and then get another but sounds like that is not an option.

Obviously any horse or pony could be retired at any age and some older horses go on for many years.

I have a 19 year old pony who I have had for 14 years and in the last 18 months he has had 2 soft injuries. He has recovered but the vet said at his age these injuries are more likely to occur as the cartilage is not so strong in older horses. His insurance is now £100 a month due to his age.

5k is however is probably about right in terms of price in this market.
 
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The problems you will face with an older horse are as follows:
1. Teeth. May need a horse dentist. Can cost £250 or more for one treatment. Might have to feed special foods like chop or mashes to keep weight on.
2. Arthritis.
3. Cushings disease can show up around this time.

The good side is that old horses can still have alot to offer and experience is a wonderful thing. Also you might only have a few years left which might be a good thing.
 

conniegirl

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1. Teeth. May need a horse dentist. Can cost £250 or more for one treatment. Might have to feed special foods like chop or mashes to keep weight on.
All horses should see a dentist regularly regardless of age.

Chop and mashes are also something regularly fed to younger horses as well and the veteran versions are no more expensive than the others.
 

Marigold4

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Good call. Years ago, I bought a 16.3 ex-SJ (grade B) at 14. By 17 she had ringbone and could only hack. Retired at 20 with hock issues. She was the most wonderful horse.
 

TGM

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All horses should see a dentist regularly regardless of age.

Chop and mashes are also something regularly fed to younger horses as well and the veteran versions are no more expensive than the others.
Yes but a lot of older horses need to be seen more regularly than younger ones and treatment is often more expensive as age-related dental conditions arise. And whilst younger horses do often eat mashes/chop that would be as part of normal bucket feed. Many veterans, however, need chops/mashes as hay replacers due to deteriorating teeth, so will need these in much greater quantities which can work out very expensive, especially if the entire hay ration needs to be replaced and there is not a lot of grazing.
 

Mrs Jingle

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I think you've made a good call op.
It's such a shame really that horses of that age come onto the market. It's a time of their life where you would hope the person who has had the best from them would be returning the loyalty.
I also think you have made the right decision. My very loved old mare is now 22 and was retired at 19 due to after effects of Lymes. Even had she not needed to retire I cannot even imagine selling or even giving her away at that age. I wonder how long they have had the horse, seems a very callous thing to do for a horse of that age who has given good service.:(

Obviously I know it is easy for me to say that as I have the land to retire her and a half dozen more, but even if I were paying livery on her I am afraid the younger horse would have had to go. Last in first out always for me, mainly because the younger horse would have a much better chance of a good life if I had to sell on to finance the livery for a retired older horse.
 

ycbm

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Then you have a big expensive pet to keep in retirement.

The retirement is optional. I think older horses might find it a lot easier to find homes if we didn't have such disapproval expressed on social media of people who put to sleep unrideable horses rather than finance a retirement. (Not said by you, I'm Dun.) I get that it's anyone's right to describe someone who doesn't retire their horse as "morally bankrupt" (on this forum a while back) if they think it, but I don't know that it's really helping horses as a whole for this shift (which has happened relatively recently) in horse owning to an assumption that retirement is a necessity.

OP I think you've made the right decision if you're on livery.
.
 

Equi

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I think you’ve made a wise decision based on the price of the horse. My 18yo was £800 (overpriced really) and I’d already been loaning him for a year before that so he wasn’t going anywhere but basically 19-21 were two long very expensive and very emotional years ending in putting him down when he was looking amazing because his legs just gave up. That said he taught me more than any horse ever has or probably will, and he was my absolute heart horse but I wouldn’t have paid 5k for him though he probably cost double that in the two bad years in vet bills lol
 

conniegirl

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Yes but a lot of older horses need to be seen more regularly than younger ones and treatment is often more expensive as age-related dental conditions arise. And whilst younger horses do often eat mashes/chop that would be as part of normal bucket feed. Many veterans, however, need chops/mashes as hay replacers due to deteriorating teeth, so will need these in much greater quantities which can work out very expensive, especially if the entire hay ration needs to be replaced and there is not a lot of grazing.
I must have been very lucky then, only one of the veterans i have had (and i have had many) have needed anything other than the standard 6 month checks and rasping. The one that did is my current lad who fractured a tooth.

Only one of my veterans has ever needed a hay replacer and he was 30 By the time he needed it. Lenny (my young small hunter) cost as mich if not more to keep weight on.

Then again all my veterans were ponies not horses.
 
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