Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Horse Shopping Overseas - Part 2
This is part 2 of my series on horse shopping in Ireland and Germany. If you missed part 1, you can check it out here.
This brings us to the topic of MONEY! How the hell does this work???
I, Jeanie Clarke, make 10% of the sale price of the horse, plus expenses. It is paid to me, outside the deal, by the buyer. In the event that we do not buy a horse (this has NEVER happened), I make $500 per day away from home, plus expenses.
My agents in Ireland and Germany make 10% as well but are paid by the seller. If we don't buy a horse, they make 500 euros per shopping day, paid by the buyer. They do not get paid the per-diem for research days before we arrive or for logistical help, attending PPEs, or talking on the phone (and there is A LOT of talking on the phone).
Budgets and Negotiating:
I only shop for buyers who have defined their budgets before we go. Sure, sometimes people increase their budgets when they get there and see that the horses are of higher quality than expected and realize that they can afford their dream horse after all, but I request in advance NOT to see horses over the stated budget. This would be a waste of time, and it can be discouraging. That old seller's bait-and-switch trick makes me furious. If a seller slips one past my agent and presents a horse outside the budget, hoping we will get excited, we don't go back to that barn in the future.
In Germany, my agent will not negotiate for us. He feels it is a conflict of interest because he gets paid a percentage. Most of my clients ask me to negotiate for them, which I am happy to do. Sometimes I can negotiate a lower price; sometimes a vetting can be included in the price, sometimes a month of training board can be included, and sometimes gelding a stallion—stuff like that.
In Ireland, the sellers prefer to negotiate directly with my agent, so I do more strolling down the driveway to chat privately with him than in Germany. Ireland is also more casual in how they talk about money - sometimes we will know a price is negotiable, sometimes we will know it is not at all, so don't bother asking.
One thing that happens regularly, at least in America, is that sellers and/or buyer’s agents will increase a less valuable horse’s price to meet a buyer’s stated budget when that buyer with more money shows up. I categorically do not do this in any country. I do not want to be the guy who sells a horse for more than it is worth! This strategy might make me money on the day, but I would rather develop a good contact and do business again than hit it big today.
Interestingly, there is one problem with my approach - people are often reluctant to buy a horse that is UNDER their budget, assuming that they can do better if they spend the whole enchilada. I just try to talk clearly and openly about horses, prices, and choices. At the end of the day, it is the buyer’s decision, not mine. I’m just here to organize, inform, and protect you.
Pre Purchase Exams:
If you want to be present for your vetting, we will schedule a vetting day before arriving at our destination. BUT...I have never actually done this. My german agent is a veterinarian, so I always send him to supervise the PPE vet. This holds everyone to ridiculously high standards and produces great work! I also have the radiographs and reports sent to your vet and/or to my own in Ocala, and I have some excellent American vets in reserve for second opinions if needed. There is often a gray area after vettings, and I'm good at helping interpret the gray - I can't decide for you, but I can offer a perspective based on my experience and context, and I can help communicate with vets.
Wire transfer only. You go to the bank with the recipient’s banking info and make an international wire transfer. It's easy. It costs $35 at my bank.
Shipping horses to the USA:
The ballpark price for a gelding is $10K, give or take a few. For a mare, it is 14Kish due to a 20-day quarantine. It does matter where they quarantine mares - I'll help you figure it out.
Either the agents or I will organize the transport and any required blood work for the horses if you want us to. This work is included in the 10% payment - we do it all the time.
You can pick up your horse from quarantine, or it can be delivered to your door - either way is fine. You will probably decide based on where you live, but I recommend delivery. I picked one up in Newburg, NY once, because I thought it would be fun to see the place. I guess I am glad I did, but who needs more coffee and more driving just to load a horse on the trailer?! Delivery is fun too - your shiny new horse rolls up the driveway! Better than Christmas.