I'm writing this blog on a flight from Milan to Dublin that I very nearly missed but for a decent friend who assisted my late check in! I'm coming from a beautiful new show in Parma (see news story), where all my horses jumped great. Last week German rider and dealer Holger Hetzel held a one day national show at his stable in Goch, Germany that attracted some of Europe’s best riders largely due to it being on a Tuesday afternoon. A great initiative by Holger and his team and one that I hope will help them garner interest in their showjumping auction which takes place there on Dec 3rd. I rode Blue Loyd in the national class there and he jumped really well, finishing 4th. This week my horses travel to Magna Racino where Ross and I have 10 horses in action.
While in Germany and Holland last week, I spent considerable time travelling to various yards trying horses. These horses are often proposed to me by agents/spotters and breeders. I do my homework by studying videos and results which are so easily accessible now on the Internet which I believe is only a good thing.
What surprises me is the huge increase in prices in even young horses in the past 12 months. I understand good grand prix horses due to their scarcity being expensive, but what you were being asked for a 7 yr old 12 months ago is now the average price for the same horse but one year younger. The sport is ever evolving and while we as riders, producers and horse dealers must move with it, we should also be cautious not to be drawn into a false world.
It's my firm belief that top horses of course must have talent but the vast majority of horses are made by the good education given to them by the horsemen and women who train them up the ranks. In my view when a buyer is wanting to buy the ready-made super star who has results and is well trained then this horse should be expensive to cover the work done, remembering many of the horses who are produced won’t make the grade so the producer will not strike gold all the time.
What I have no time for are people with badly ridden horses, middle men and imposters professing to have re-invented the game, jacking up prices of horses to just jump on the bandwagon of the current hype of big priced sales. Hope value is always the best time to sell. I must admit I'm probably braver than most and I regularly give a good throw for a horse but now it's becoming increasingly hard as everyone wants to hit the jackpot without doing the work. I now just decide what I think a particular horse is worth, make an offer and walk away. I will miss some but others in the depths of winter may pick up the phone and dial 00353!
We saw what happened in Ireland with people getting carried away paying over the odds on the notion of a bigger day - I most certainly don't want to be that mug!