|BUYING A GYPSY HORSE
|There are basically 4 ways to purchase a gypsy horse (3 recommended and 1 not) -
you can get top quality and the horse of your dreams from any of the options:
1. IMPORT A HORSE YOURSELF:
a. possibly purchase from a real-live gypsy person
b. bloodlines may not be available Stateside (some top sires remain overseas)
c. bypass middlemen and their markups (may save thousands)
d. many overseas breeders are used to shipping to the States and will gladly help
you through the process
a. Large import costs:
1. flight to U.S. (5k and up)
2. quarantine - depends on age and sex of horse, but can run into the thousands
3. transport to your farm/ranch
b. Significant delay between purchase and arrival
c. Requires international money transfers, sometimes at rates that are not very
beneficial to the buyer
d. You may pay a premium price to get a bloodline not currently available in the
States, only to find a short time later that the horse or horses with that particular
bloodline are now in the States.
e. In the days when the only way you could get a gypsy horse was to buy from an
importer or import it yourself, import costs were part of a horse's value. Now that
U.S. born horses are available, this is no longer the case. Thus if you pay import
costs (which are substantial), you may not be able to recover them should you
decide to sell your horse.
2. BUY FROM AN IMPORTER
a. may have a large selection to choose from
b. they take care of the import process for you
c. usually deal with reputable overseas breeders
d. may have guarantees, incentives, etc
e. established reputation
a. importers are middlemen. They usually mark up the horse, sometimes the
markup is huge
b. imported horses often have had minimal handling
c. horses may be part of huge herds
d. horse's background may be unknown, sketchy, or incorrect
e. importers are in the business to make money. They move as many horses as
they can. They deal in quantity and have a history of flooding the market.
3. BUY FROM A REPUTABLE U.S. BREEDER:
a. have hand-picked their stock
b. do not have import costs
c. no middleman markups
d. some very good deals here - possible to get much more horse for your dollar
than you would get from an importer.
e. often the horses have had better feed, care, and handling than their imported
f. quality instead of quantity
g. many have already undergone the lengthy registration process
h. one or both parents may be on site, or at least known
i. some horses may have show experience
j. rewards and promotes fair and honest breeding and selling practices.
a. do not have the selection of a huge importer, individually. Collectively, they do!
4. BUY FROM A DISREPUTABLE U.S. BREEDER
a. NONE! Not recommended regardless of how much you like a particular horse
they may have. Buying anything from them just keeps them in business and
rewards bad behavior.
a. will attempt to overcharge you, and typically have a long history of
over-charging others sometimes by tens and tens of thousands of dollars
b. typically mass-produce - they are the equine equivalent of a puppy mill and are
easily recognized by their emphasis on breeding, breeding, breeding. May have
many ET (embryo transfer) foals for sale. Often follow a cycle of producing a large
number of foals followed by so-called 'downsizing' sales - this cycle is repeated
year in and year out.
c. often breed for color without regard for quality. They typically misrepresent
certain colors as being much more 'rare' or hard to come by than they actually are.
If one parent carries a particular color gene, there is a 50/50 chance that the
particular color gene will be passed on to the foal. Those are pretty good odds.
These breeders ask high sums for these particular colors while at the same time
mass-producing and thus de-valuing them. Once they've run the value into the
ground, they move on to the next color and do the same thing. Meanwhile, the
people who have been duped into paying high prices for what they thought was a
relatively 'rare' or 'unique' color are left high and dry.
d. often keep too many horses in too small an environment. Horses were born to
wander, play, and run. To do that, they need lots and lots of space. True horse
lovers give their horses what makes them happy and healthy - and one of those key
elements is space.
e. typically engage in misleading and deceptive marketing strategies. They often
list horses with overinflated prices, put them 'on sale' or offer them to you at a
significantly lower price, giving you the illusion you are getting a good deal. This is
a classic car salesman tactic - they do you a 'favor' by lowering the price and you
feel obligated to reciprocate by buying their horse. Horses are not cars or toasters
and responsible breeders do not market them as if they were.
f. promotes greed and dishonesty, which already (unfortunately!) is rampant with
this breed. Honest sellers do not play games - they list and sell their horses at fair
prices. A fair price is a price they themselves would pay. They are people you can
trust and take at their word. They do not try to take advantage of you. If you feel
like you cannot believe what the seller is telling you or have to go to great lengths
to check up on them or verify their information, then go to another seller.
g. have created a huge mess within the gypsy breed much in the way greedy
bankers, realtors, and mortgage companies have made a shambles of our economy.
Like many home owners, many gypsy horse owners have paid far more for their
horses than they are currently worth. Many buyers have sustained huge financial
losses. Please do not let this happen to you.
I wish it were not the case, but it is very easy to spend way too much money on
your gypsy horse. Gypsy horse prices are all over the place. There is no established
pricing criteria. Price, like beauty, seems to be in the eye of the beholder. Prices
are up to the sellers and they can ask whatever they want. Do not confuse price
with value. Some horses are priced way above their value and others are priced
way below. One breeder may market a horse for $50,000 and another would
market the same horse for $10,000. Contrary to the pricing policies of
some gypsy horse breeders/importers - Asking/Paying more does not
make your horse worth more. One look at our housing market should
quickly point out to you the pitfalls of overinflated prices and the
consequences to those who overpay. High-priced horses are not
necessarily any better than lower-priced horses and by the same token, paying less
does not mean your horse is worth less. It is ironic that when many people see a
low-priced gypsy horse, they become suspicious and want to know why the horse
is priced so low compared to others. This is the wrong question - the right question
is why are the other horses priced so much higher than the first horse. If a horse
has a high price tag, make the owner justify the high price. Boarding, shoeing,
feed, vaccinations, transport costs, etc do not increase the value of a horse.
Training and show/performance experience are what typically adds value to a
There has been a lot of interest and hype in the last few years about certain colors.
Some of these horses have sold for high-dollar amounts based primarily on their
color. Please be very cautious when shopping for these colors. Make sure the horse
has the correct conformation, type, and disposition a proper gypsy horse should
have, ie the horse should be a top-notch example of the breed and its color should
be icing on the cake. Be aware that due to hype and overpricing, many horses are
being bred strictly for their color. Some of these horses are not good examples of
the breed, and they are passing down their faults to their offspring, which in turn
are passing along their faults. This is irresponsible breeding - we do not want a
breed chock full of faults and problems. Furthermore, you are not getting your
money's worth when you pay a high price for a low-quality horse. Quality is not
repeat NOT determined by color. There are many responsible breeders who have
top-notch horses with unusual colors. Please buy from these people. Avoid pony
mills as they are the biggest offenders when it comes to breeding for color before
quality - these people price by the gene and no doubt are yanking hairs for color
testing before the foal even hits the ground (if they could find a way to reach into
the womb during gestation and pull a hair sample, I'm sure they'd do it!)
It pays to learn genetics. An excellent source for describing particular colors and
for calculating the color possibilities for a foal can be found at
http://www.animalgenetics.us/ If you are interested in a particular color, take the
time to find out just how many other horses there are of this color and how many
more are likely to be born in the near future. As stated above, if a stallion or mare
has a certain gene, there is a 50/50 chance that the gene will be passed on to the
foal. There are now quite a few cream-gened horses here in the U.S. (buckskins,
palominos, etc). Please do not pay an exorbitant amount of money for any horse
based on its color - while initially horses of this color may be few in number, in a
very short period of time there will be lots and lots of them.
There are many myths, exaggerations, and downright lies out there with regards to
these horses. There have been incidents of attempted price-fixing in order to keep
prices high. The line between what is or isn't ethical is somewhat blurred, but
there are breeders that are clearly on one end or the other. In any event, it pays
to do your homework and shop around. We wish you the best of luck with your
gypsy horse shopping. We sincerely hope you find the horse of your dreams, and if
we can help in any way, please let us know!
|American Gypsy Horses