clients / lorena christie
Can't travel - want horse! Buying a horse via internet – can that work?
I had been anxiously looking for a hunter/equitation prospect for months before I found German Sporthorse Consulting. Being from Southern CA, it did not take me long to figure out that I could not afford a decent horse close to home in my price range. Travel was not an option due to a debilitating panic disorder, so I decided to shop via the internet. I sent my “feeler” emails everywhere (hoping for some kind of response, like an ad in a singles magazine) with the header “large warmblood wanted…must be dead kicking quiet, for an amateur, with a huge stride and able to be competitive in the hunter divisions, can be as young as 3 years old, but total price including import must be under 20k” For me, this was a great deal of money to spend on a horse.
My computer and I shopped all over the world (Netherlands, England, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Canada, Belgium, Switzerland and of course all over the United States). I had begun to get all kinds of videos and responses (including, “yeah isn’t everyone”, “let me know if you find one”, “there is no such horse available in that price range” and “…not dead kicking quiet”), but one response, that caught my attention was from Barbara Manor at GermanSporthorseConsulting.
She wrote me that she was not in the mail order horse business and that it is one of her specialties to match horse and rider. She wrote me too, that it is very difficult to just buy a horse even if the quality might be right, if the new owner can not "feel" the horse and see if there is "sympathy" between horse and new owner. She did not want to just find me a horse blindly (WOW, she was not like everyone else). BUT, she said, that if I insisted, to send her pictures/videos of me riding and call her personally and she would see what she could do.
So I emailed her pictures of me and called her on the phone. I explained again what I was looking for and my price range and that I had already spent a couple thousand dollars vetting horses that I thought were suitable. I had dealt with several less than honest horse “dealers” that did not take me seriously. I was very frustrated. I told her too, that I would love to come - but why I could not.
We had a very nice and friendly talk. When we disconnected, I felt that she, if she would look for a horse for me, only recommend one when there where good chances that the horse would be what I hoped for. She said she would get back to me in a few days with some prospects/photos to give me an idea of what was available.
Late one afternoon, which had to be around 1am in Germany, I got the call I had so much waited for. It was Barbara and she said, she found my horse. He was 3.5 years old, fantastic bloodlines, pretty with a great personality and moved and jumped in the perfect hunter style. RIGHT!!!
So she emailed me pictures and video which arrived in the next hour and...
She was right!!! My trainer said that she had at least 6 people in the barn that were looking for this kind of horse and if I did not want him, she would take him!!!
But I wanted him!
Barbara advised me about all the “technical” details and send me all the information on money transfers, transport etc. She also explained that if the horse did not pass the vet check, I would not be out any money. Only when he passes to my satisfaction, would I have to pay for it. So he was vetted, she had all the results including the x-rays send to my vet here at home, and the horse passed with flying colours.
The transaction went very smoothly. I simply wired the seller their money and Barbara her commission plus the money for the vet, and the shipper’s fee directly. (A little later, Barbara send a little surplus back to me because there was an better exchange rate $/€ in the time between money transfers. Unbelievable!) The hard part was waiting for my new boy to get a flight to Los Angeles. It seemed like forever for someone desperately waiting for their “blind date” to arrive (only 2 weeks).
The day finally came when I could pick him up. I was very nervous to see what I had purchased. I could have made one of the biggest mistakes of my life, blindly sending money to Europe hoping for the right horse. How will I know him? Will he be wearing a pink carnation? Will he like me?
He came with a suitcase filled with his essentials. A new blanket, halter and rope. Also some sweets and a letter for me with some additional details and information about him.
The second I laid eyes on my new horse, I knew he was perfect, a miracle. As I brought him to his new stall he had a crowd waiting to see him. They agreed with me how very pretty and kind he is. Very cool and looking great, even after such a long trip from Germany. He doesn’t know it – but there’s a lot of pressure on him, being the “internet horse”.
I have had him now since the late summer of 2005. It continues to amaze me how well, up to every point, Barbara knew what makes a dream horse for a hunter/equitation fan like me. He is everything I had asked and hoped for and yes, dead kicking quiet. Even though he is young and was just started under saddle, he was started well. I had from the very beginning no problem at all getting along with him. My trainer does not only like his very kind and quiet temperament, she and I like his great overall quality. He moves naturally the right way and has balance and scope and makes already fine and even jumps. He really likes his job. But, he is also fun for my husband. They go out on trail rides and we all could not be happier with him. I can’t wait to start showing him. He is “der Auserwaehlte”, the chosen one and we are going to take the competition by storm!!!
Thank You, Barbara for taking me seriously! Working honestly with me and finding my dream horse (in my price range - tuff and a very special deal, I realize that!!!), and still being there, even after this unusable internet business is long over.
So, Barbara did answer my question – yes, you can buy via the internet – but better make sure you get someone that knows the business, cares and wants you to succeed. I know, Barbara does!