I'm knee-deep in my search for a 3- or 4-year-old to be my next superstar, and I'm finding an interesting phenomenon—the best horses aren't on whateversalewebsite.com. They're sold by word of mouth.
This is not terribly surprising; I think many sales, from young prospects to international competitors, are done that way. But as a member of the Under 30 demographic, I keep expecting everything to be on the Internet. I've scoured dreamhorse and warmbloods-for-sale, breeders' websites and the breed organizations too.
The two best horses I've seen? One was word-of-mouth from a dear friend; the other found me after reading a post I made on the COTH bulletin board.
I'm trying to figure out why. Maybe it's the cost of advertising—breeders have multiple horses and don't want to spend on multiple ads? At about $20 an ad, I doubt that's it. It's time consuming to advertise, I guess, but again, the Internet makes it awfully easy.
Maybe I'm looking in a tough demographic—breeders don't spend the time to advertise until the horse is more solidly under saddle, maybe has been to its first horse show, or is more solid in its education. I'm looking for something going enough that I can get a sense of what it might feel like to train, but not so trained that I can't leave my mark.
Ultimately, what I'm hoping is that the breeders with the really special horses are waiting for the right rider to come along, a rider like me with the skills and ability to take their top progeny on and provide all the advertising their breeding program could ever dream of. If that's the reason, I hope my phone starts ringing soon! (Actually, since I'm under 30, email's probably the way to go.)