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a trainer named Nancy who knows her students so well that she went to Europe and hand picked the best schoolmaster for her student at a time when the student herself was not able to travel. Or Johanna, who knew exactly what her client’s goals were. She helped her choose a horse that met the client’s needs perfectly knowing that Johanna would not have chosen that horse for herself.

I love to see a great team effort between a trainer and her client on a trip. The trainer helps the client to stay focused and relaxed. And, by doing all the test rides, she makes sure that her client does not become exhausted having to ride seven horses in one day, when she is used to only a few hours per week!

Let’s get back to our origi- nal story. The second aspect of the Molly case was revealed when Molly got on the first horse. She had given us her exact require- ments: she wanted a big and strong mover plus a forward and sensitive horse to be competitive in the FEI show ring. Unfortunately, Molly could not sit the trot very well yet or handle any sensitivity in these quality dressage horses. She was a training level rider at most who would have been (or should have been) super happy with a smooth and safe schoolmaster!

questions, I really like to talk to the trainer and see a recent video of the client riding. I found out that by being my blunt Dutch self I can help avoid some of the prob- lems mentioned above and make the shopping experi- ence a fun and exciting one. We really try to have the client’s best interest in mind but sometimes it is hard to find out who is leading in the buying process: the client her- self or her trainer? It actually doesn’t really matter as long as it is a team effort with out any conflicts in interest!

Farmer, a 4 year old for sale as a dressage or hunter prospect located in Holland.

I also enjoy organizing a trip for the ambitious amateur on a shoestring budget – finding that one perfect horse out there that they never dreamed of owning. Sometimes we find ourselves extra lucky and pleasantly sur- prised when we meet someone who knows what she wants and at the same time has been so modest about her own riding skills that we can only stare. On one of our last trips a client named Karen made every single horse she rode look like a star – she doesn’t give her own riding enough credit. It was an absolute pleasure to watch her ride.

So there was not only a mismatch between her goals and her trainer’s goals but also between her dreams and reality. To avoid major disappointment in something that should be one of the most fun and exciting things in your horse-related life, it is very impor- tant that you (and your trainer) think and discuss your dreams, goals, current riding ability and needs through and through!

As an agent, I of course have to do my homework as well. Besides gathering answers to about a hundred

8 year old jumper by Concorde sold to new owners in N.C. He won his first hunter show after a few weeks in the U.S.

For those of you who are inse- cure about riding independently and also anxious and confused about horse shopping because you are totally dependent on your trainer, or perhaps you struggle with matching your goals with reality: give yourself a break. Riding should be fun and relaxing and horse shop- ping should be the ultimate experience. Before you shop, you can begin by giving yourself the best preparation: sit down and do some self reflection, (financial) goal setting, plus identify multiple reality checks and of course have that open discussion with your trainer!


About Sarah Smit: She is the owner of European Horse Trade based in Weston, Massachusetts. European Horse Trade helps clients find the right equine match. The com- pany regularly organizes horse shopping trips to Holland.

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