Tips For Sport Horse Buying at European Auctions


We started our journey about 1 year before the purchase of our Hannover puppy. At that time, we were mainly in the US for a young dressage prospect. Our goal was to find a horse with potential that we could enjoy developing and promoting fully its ability.

Living in the southwest, we found that there were some breeding farms in our areas that only took place to develop dressage horses. Thus, our search began by largely visiting local stables, exploring locally orally and selling advertisements and exploring exhaustively online. While we found many beautiful horses, we did not find our "dream" horse. We were looking for not only a stylish mover but a horse born for dressage with exceptional athletic ability and most importantly intelligence and a desire to work. Like many shopping on horses, we found it extremely difficult to find a horse with the desired movement, as well as a horse with the desired intelligence and work ethic, to get such a horse to pass a veterinary test and finally stay within our desired budget. So we didn't start our European trip because we couldn't buy in the US, but because after several months of searching we decided to change our method that would hopefully improve our success.

I grew up in a dressage barn that often had German judges, trainers, apprentices and most importantly German horses visiting. While I loved my thoroughbred I developed an appreciation for the German horse breeding industry and on the basis of this background we decided that we would change our search to get us to Germany for the dream purchase experience in our life. As I often say to friends, "this was our crazy moment!" So we were not experts on European horse shopping and certainly not horse brokers. Therefore, we must be well-trained before our visit. I found my disappointment that there were few if any helpful guides on the internet and basically just brokers offering to find a horse for you.

The first step in our horse search was to find and develop a relationship with a local dressage coach. We chose Gintara Slavinskas because of her kind nature and the desire not to drive a young horse, but to encourage the young horse to develop to its best with only positive reinforcement. Therefore, we consulted to a great extent with Gintara about our decision to shop in Germany and in short, we were all very happy and ready to jump on the next plan. Common sense took over and we decided to wait a few months while we developed some contacts, chose a Verband or horse auction to attend and thoroughly educated ourselves.

In this process, we learned that most German hot blood registers offered several auctions throughout the year and fortunately they all offer online viewing and information about the choice for the upcoming auction. We decided to investigate Oldenburg, Westphalia and Hannover's registers. All their websites are on horse-gate.com and be sure to select the small British flag under the menu to the left of the English version of the page. After finding the snake gate, we investigated all of the Verbands we were interested in. At the horse gate, these are located under the auction menu item. Select this button and you will find additional options for Hannover, Holstein, Oldenburg, Wastfalan and ESI

As soon as we chose our breed (Hanoverian) we started looking at online auctions and results for that breed. The Hanoverian Verband has 12 auctions a year so we had the opportunity to monitor a few before our visit. The auctions are all a little different when it comes to horses offered and quality / pricing of these horses, so I suggest you explore their website early to decide which auction is best for you.

We chose the summer auction in July and were able to monitor the winter and spring auction results. For all auctions, the selection of horses is listed and numbered, most of the horses will still have photos and several will have videos. Now the auctions also offer a live video show that shows a presentation of the entire selection. All this allows the buyer to get a good sense of quality and type offered. The auction houses offer bidding and buying over the phone but I do not personally recommend buying on the basis of only the web information, because we discovered that the same horses in reality drastically changed our favorites. We had actually reviewed all the pictures and watched all the videos easily 100 times before we participated and had a short list of the strengths of each horse, but upon arrival we threw the list and stated that we made a new one based on our live impressions. There is nothing to look at and interact directly with the horses. For online viewing, you can also search the archives and see the after-sales reports and learn information such as how many horses went to each country, the average sales price beyond the high and low sales price. The number of horses sold in each price category is broken down on the spot. I encourage you to see this statistic and then remember that they are not in dollars but in euros so please convert at your price in euros. And remember to get tissue for this experiment because the current conversion rate is definitely not to our advantage.

For the best ticket prices we arranged our flight tickets in advance and as this was "our crazy adventure" we chose to fly first class. We found that by shopping online and shopping early we were able to get first-class tickets at an almost bus price. So I encourage you to search online prices to save money for the auction.

Since we did not know anyone in Germany and of course did not know the city we called Verband (they are very helpful to their guests) and went with their recommendation of the Haags Hotel NiedersachsenHof. We found this to be a reasonably priced and lovely hotel with lots of European charm. Their contact number is 04231 / 666-0. While this was a lovely hotel, the main advantage is that it was only a short walk from the auction house which allowed repeated visits throughout our stay. The Hanoverian Verband and auction house is located in Lower Saxony Germany in the small town of Verden. The nearest airport is Bremen. Some other hotels are in the city of Verden but will require a short car or cabin trip to the auction.

For our transportation we used a cab from Bremen to the World because we did not want to have trouble driving in a foreign country. Prices are good and cab residents are clean and new with polite drivers. We requested a pickup time and date from our taxi driver and he appeared immediately as planned. Rental cars can also be used but I encourage further research before renting.

Okay, so the time of arrival is also important to allow maximum time for viewing and trials of the horses prior to actual sale. The usual auctions make the horses available 2 weeks before the auction and the elite 1 month before the auction. We participated 1 week before the auction but would have appreciated and enjoyed the extra week. In addition, many international competitors will participate in the first week when it is not so busy and not so many eyes are looking at their choices.

The protocol for the auction is a presentation or training of each horse in the morning and the potential buyer and attempt in the afternoon. They will also offer a formal presentation of all horses under the rider at least once or twice before the auctions. Dressage horses are dressed in dressage and jumpers hope. Each horse is assigned a trainer who will be with him through the journey and this person will be a valuable asset to you. I encourage you to talk to the groom and the coach of your favorites to get a better feel for the horse.

We arrived the morning of the formal presentation that started at noon and went well into the night. The auction we attended had 142 horses offered for sale and it took some time to see them all. We were fortunate to have contact with a frequent buyer of auction horses, Melissa Mulchahey from Rose Lane Sportshorses, through our coach and she offered her help free of charge. Even if the broker gets a discount on the auction fees as well as some other benefits from the auction house for their contribution to the event. So we met Melissa that night and found her to be nice, informed and a valuable asset in learning the auction protocol.

Originally, we found it very difficult to form a short list because all the horses looked beautiful on the first impression. But in the middle of the plot we presented a lovely black swell with 3 white socks, blaze and sabino markings in and "float" around the arena. His name is Latin Lover and for me it was love at first sight but my trainer and Melissa did their duty well and examined all possibilities. An interesting note is that Latin Lover did not have an online video or image so he was not originally on our short list. At the end of that night, we all slept on our feet with jet lag and crawled into bed.

The auction excited us early and after a very quick breakfast we went over to the barns and enjoyed visiting every horse while he crushed breakfast in his stable. One of our short list horses was a Hesse called Russian Fox and he was one of the few we kept on the list after visiting in person. As a side figure, Hannoverka Verband recently bought the Hessen Verband and now all the hessens registered Hannoverka and are offered at the auctions. Hessen was a wonderful chestnut of medium size again with sabino markings socks and blaze but above all free and lovely movement. We visited him while having breakfast and everyone agreed that he was beautiful and well composed. We then visited the black horse who also turned out to be one of the 2 Hessens in the auction and found him in the middle of all the auction chaos that lay down for a snooze. However, he was quickly born when we greeted him and gave us everything a handkerchief. At that time, we were all agreed that he was a teddy bear, but that we would not make a decision until we had formed a short list and tried several horses. But he was definitely on the list.

One word on the auction chaos, it is definitely stressful for these young horses to participate in the auction and were actually more stressful than I originally expected. But all the horses are treated with great care and love through the connection. Everything was about the horse and if a horse was determined to be tired or stressed, no guest sign was put on his stall and he did not take out or attempted during this time. Another unexpected result was that many of these young horses developed less upper respiratory tract infection. Review I think this was to wait because the auction mixes many horses of young age from many different farms – much like kindergarten. The most common finding of this URI was the small nasal discharge and any affected horse was examined and treated by the domestic veterinarian.

We continued our excursions that day by visiting each stall repeatedly and talking to all the grooms and coaches. The Chestnut's groom agreed that he was a very lovely driver and well-balanced for such a young horse and the groom of blacks prevailed that he had a lovely character. The other horses we examined included both mares and rings with ages ranging from 3 to 6 years and height from 15.2 to well over 17 hh. When we explored the barn if we were particularly interested in a horse, we would ask that the groom take him out for closer examination and inspection of the movement in his hand. This was very helpful in determining potential conformational errors and character. Some of the horses were obviously not folk horses and would stand at the rear end to the gate and others would nod and welcome all new visitors.

Later that day, the training began with every coach driving his group of horses. We thought it was advisable to keep the sales list over the entire selection to make quick notes in the margin when each horse was shown. Each horse was run by the coach for about 15-20 minutes and there were 4-5 horses in the arena at some point. When the trainer was finished, he or she rides, takes the horse to the stadium's end and dismount waiting for potential buyers to arrive from the crowd and request a ride to try the horse. This was an interesting and sometimes entertaining methodology because most of these horses were very green and had little control or break. And anyone can try the horse regardless of their ability or lack of ability. Of course, the Verband coaches understand that each horse looks like an advanced bracket but it was eye opening to see some anchors on the same brackets. We witnessed some riders falling and running aways during this time. When trying with these horses, it is best to have eyes on the back of your head to look for the unexpected slot or inattentive rider. Caution is strongly recommended. It's good to talk first with the horse's trainer so you can get an understanding if you should be careful with the individual mount.

For both our top choices (chestnut and black) were trained relaxed and were given voluntarily over the tooth. Both horses were well-kept beyond their years and amazing movements. Other horses that tried were very worried and while perhaps moving horses had aggressive or scared characters. Often, these horses' coaches would give a warning sign before handing over the tooth. Without respect for these hard-working horses, it is recommended that your tours be kept short with enough time to get an idea of ​​how to go. Most people followed this, but a couple did not and were generally frozen.

An interesting rider was an older gentleman who showed up an expert rider and tried to have a nice bay. After dismantling, the rider gave a big kiss on his nose. It was nice to look for today's stress.

When I try on a horse I recommend that you follow your picks back to the barn. During this time you can see the horse moving on a straight line from behind and see how he responds to untacking and bathing or grooming.

We eventually formed our short list of about 5 horses, but the black and chestnut were top 2 and the black my favorite. When we had our shortlist, we visited the pet owner and requested information about the veterinary check. He was very helpful and would actually show the digital X-rays to those interested. We found that the chestnut has 2 chips and the black no chips but 1 lacks the molar tooth. As a small animal veterinarian, I found vocabulary of chips interesting as they sound like a benign nothing but in reality chips referred to OCD lesions or cartilage damage that could potentially cause lameness later in life based on chip placement. They also rated these chips as 1-3 with the highest that is most problematic. I recommend that you meet your equine veterinarian before participating in the auction and discuss which type, if any, OCD lesion would be acceptable to you.

So we were very disappointed with the 2 chips on the chestnut but decided to keep him on our list because the chips were low and could be removed later if needed. The missing tooth was not of great concern in black but meant that he would need regular floating teeth and good dental care. Various other problems were found on the other horses on our list. Basically, every horse will have something identified in the veterinary check and it is your job to use your veterinary team and trainer to determine what is acceptable to you – before the actual auction.

After the meeting with the vet we took a horse from our list for class 3 chips and added another but retained the original 2. The work now was to prioritize biding for each horse and decide if we would bid on all the short lists until one won. We found that the chestnut would be sold and presented early on the auction night and black later in the night. This caused a dilemma because we had to decide whether we were waiting for our first pick (black) or starting to bite early. We also had to decide how high we would go for each choice. In the end, we decided to invite our two favorites and keep those that were sold at the end of the list as our back-ups.

In the middle of the week Melissa took us for a run about the country and on a visit to a beautiful stables (Dressurstall Kubelke) which is owned and operated by her coach. We had a wonderful visit here and were shown to a couple of non-auction horses who were offered for sale, including a beautiful 5 year old gray whale. We decided to keep this horse as our backup after the auction as he was wonderful.

Then we continued our daily display of horses, training and presentation until the auction day arrived quickly. We all woke up early and were a lot of nerves. I had done my math many times overnight to decide how high I would bid in euros. One thing I recommend to have available for the auction is a printed spreadsheet of US dollars and the same euro amount. In the heat of the auction, it is very good to look and know how many dollars you actually spend. As often as I reminded myself that we offered in euro, I continued to think in dollars so keep that paper handy.

We were fortunate that Melissa was able to get ringtone seats for the auctions at an excellent point of view on action & auctioneer. I recommend that you book your tickets early by contacting Malte Kanz @ ++ 49 42 31/6 73 50 the price of tickets varies from 10-25 euros each.

Our bid protocol was discussed in advance with Melissa and she offered to invite us. It turned out to be a blessing, as everything went much faster than expected when the bidding began. The auction started with the auctioneer who started at 5,000 euros on the first horse and it escalated quickly from there. The auction owner presented in German but a practical scroll board was available above him showing the current bid. Several young people were present around the arena to act as pointers and help the seller directly to pay attention to an active bidder. The actual bidding was made with a yellow card in the brochure and decorated with the Hannoverka logo. When the card was raised high, a complete bid was made when the card was presented horizontally, the buyer tried to make a half bid that the auctioneer can or does not accept.

All of this was very new to us but we had a very nice time looking at the active bidders, the horses and the auctioneer. We found that immediately after a horse was sold, the buyer was presented with a gift from Verband, ranging from a Hanoverian logo to bottles of Champagne depending on how much the horse was sold for.

The enjoyment continued until our first pick arrived in the arena, the chestnut whirled into the arena as he was floating and the bid seemed to be formed everywhere at once. I had put my maximum bid on him slightly lower than on black and we quickly became outbid. It crushed and at that moment we wondered if we could take any of our choices at home. The bid ended with the chestnut in Italy.

The black was in the last 1/3 of the auction and we had a long wait for our next attempt. Teddy Bear, the black (actually Latin lover) marched out of the stable doors and into the arena as he had done this all his life. He never hesitated or shook but just moved around the arena. The bid took off again and we were all very worried. Melissa had informed us that she would not invite to the last moment and be patient but it was very difficult. She actually waited until the hammer would fall and then invite us, immediately those who sat behind us also began to bid! We bid back and forth several times until they hesitated and everyone went silent for what was forever. Everyone was waiting for their decision. Melissa turned and stared at them and waited for her decision. I was near tears but couldn't take my eyes off this spectacle. After a few seconds, the other bidder pulled back and we thought we had won our Teddy Bear. Unfortunately, our hopes were crushed when another person placed a bid across the arena. I quickly made my poor Euro to Dollar calculation, realized that I was already over and decided to jump. We put our bid and won our Teddy Bear!

When the gift carrier came with a few bottles of champagne I realized that I had gone way over budget but was still very happy that I had. We were all in tears because of stress and excitement but they were happy tears and expressed great relief. I was glad that the beautiful black teddy bear I had chosen the first night was actually ours. It didn't seem real.

After we won the bid, reality began quickly when the broker escorted us to the office to sign the sales contract. No money exchanged right now and I learned that most people fly home on Sunday and then complete a transfer to Verband for payment on Monday. But we had arranged a flight back later this week and after advising the office of this we found that they were very helpful and willing to work with us.

We returned to the arena and started looking at the rest of the auction but again Melissa advised that the protocol would get the groom to take the horse out for a photo and then return to the stable to enjoy Champagne in the hallway with previous owners – a children's party of varieties.

We took Teddy out to the green for a photo and I could have stayed there all day but he took back too quickly to his stable where we met the previous owners. They spoke broken English (a good thing I didn't speak any German) and during our conversation they advised that the mostly raised sports horse ponies and Teddy had been their first quest for the bigger guys. The wife advised me that they raised their favorite mare to Latimer and dreamed of a long, black, beautiful stallion with a star. When he arrived, he called him Latin Lover. I was surprised at the close connection they had with Teddy, they both cry all the time. Later that night I learned that he had been their little daughter's favorite and thus he had been difficult to sell him. I thanked them for raising and raising such a wonderful horse and for being willing to share with him. Then we decided to enjoy Champagne and learned that Teddy loved drinking from a glass but he only got one pinch. The barn ended up exchanging contact information with previous owners and promised to write and keep them updated.

We returned to the arena to see the latest auction and saw the older gentleman who kissed his mountain on his nose and now invited and won the same horse. After winning, he jumped on the fence and marched out to give the bay another kiss on his nose. For us too, it had been a wonderful night but there was still work to do.

Our next step was to visit the gentleman who is responsible for the horse's filming during training and the auction. For a nominal fee, he collected all the videos of our horse on a DVD for us. You can also request a DVD of the horses' x-rays or films that the battle will email to you shortly after the auction.

We were now forced to contact the carrier to arrange a flight back to America for Teddy. Guido Klatte was our choice after examining companies before the auction decided that they were most reliable and experienced. Cloth contact numbers are 49-4472 94007 – 0. For the return flight, the horses are placed in a boxbox, still on the ground. The stables can be and are usually divided into 3 individual stalls that enable first class, business class and bus transport. Most horses fly 3 per box and the pricing at that time was about 7800.00. The box box is filled with horses and then the whole stall is lifted and placed in the stomach on the plane. Some places are in the plane and arrangements can be made to fly back with your horse. I don't realize it then when Teddy would have to fly without us. We planned his departure for next Wednesday and we would still be in Germany most of this time. This was a nice time to let us get to know Teddy in the next few days when the auction's chaos had died down. It was interesting to look at all the "brender-up" styles drawn by Mercedes will gather horses for rides to their new home. The barn quickly emptied into the few horses that went to the United States on the same plane. The time for us to leave came too fast and we kissed Teddy (now determined his name) hello and left home and knew he would be there soon. Upon arrival, we took the necessary transfer and then waited for his arrival at California LAX Airport. Jet Pets is the receiving company and must be paid to take care of the horse during the 3 day quarantine quota. We could arrange all this via Guido Klatte, including reservation and payment. Stallions and jumps entering the country must go to a separate facility called CEM quarantine facility and have a longer stay.

The cost of quarantine is about 1950 dollars and stallions are 4,500 for the stay and testing. For the option, the cost is much less because they only need the 3 days with Jet Pets and all the test and paperwork can be completed before the carrier arrives.

Teddy arrived in the US early in the morning and we received a call from Jet Pets who advised us that he had come safely and safely. They would take their temperature daily to ensure that he did not nail fever and if all went well they would release him during the expected 3 days. I was also able to get information about a local hauler from Jet Pets and arranged the transportation from LAX to Arizona. I received a call from Jet Pets daily on his status and on the third day he received a call that he had been busy and was on his way home. We were overjoyed but had to continue to work as usual and work that day. After work, I went to the stable during a snake blood storm and found that my coach had already received him and placed him in his new stable. I went completely in the stable because I actually saw him there and he turned around and presented his rear end to us! I wasn't sure what to do about this, because this was not the Teddy we know and he really didn't have his ears back or seen angry. I rubbed my tail while I was thinking about this and he leaned in for a good long scraper. Teddy liked having his bum scratched! It is a habit that he continues to this day. Any available item makes a good bum scratcher but he still thinks that we do it for him. He was finally home and was Teddy we remembered.

Jill M. Patt, DVM