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look but if you sit on a horse and don’t like him, you can get off,” she says. “If there’s one that they raised from a foal and are proud


of it, if you kibosh it that’s not okay either,” Ryan points out. “You want to be invited back, so there’s sort of a middle ground—be cour- teous and polite, and if a horse isn’t for you, it might be good for someone else.” When you find the right


horse, you’ll know, Missy explains. “I’m from Alabama and I’m 29 years old. All my friends are married, and they all say when they met their husbands they just knew he was the one—I’ve never felt that with a guy, but I’ve felt that with a horse!” she says with a laugh.


Vetting “How Europeans sell horses is very different,” Missy contin- ues. “Germans are less concerned with x-rays and feel if a horse is doing a good job you can maintain something over time. I see a lot of horses here get passed over for not having perfect x-rays.” Ryan says he’s traveled to Ireland a couple of times with equine veterinarian and four-star event rider Dr. Kevin Keane. “He’s a good travel mate and he can help weed them out before we go to the expense of x-rays;


“With eventing there’s so much talk about Thoroughbred blood and whether you need it or don’t, but there are a lot of variations. To be quite frank you need a horse that wants to do it first and foremost.”


he’s got his stethoscope and you’d be surprised how many we liked and then the good doctor listened to the heart and heard a murmur, so we’ve moved on to the next one. Be aware it’s not just going over there and find- ing the diamond in the rough, there’s a lot of time and expense to find the special one to end up putting on the plane.” Ryan has one last word of caution for anyone trav- eling abroad and enjoying a new culture at the same time as horse shopping. “On my first shopping trip I went to a show called Mill-


street and they had young event horse classes and Grand Prix show jumping down to the Young Irelander, which was 3-year-olds show jumping,” he says. “It was running in the evening and they had a bar there. I had seven or eight pints of Irish beer and then bought the three-year-old that won, for way too much money. My advice is to buy a horse when you’re sober!”


Go with a Budget and a Plan Let’s face it, if you’re horse shopping abroad, it’s not going to be on a shoestring budget. Missy suggests you give yourself a $20,000 buffer, above and beyond what you plan to spend on an actual horse, for flights and quarantine costs. She points out you might also pay board for a horse to sit there for a while before you can get a flight arranged. Also, be prepared to negotiate. “When you get there, sell- ers always will see if you will go $5-7k over what you say


Tim Bourke and Quality Time at 2018 Fair Hill CCI2*.


Ryan Wood competed this Irish Sport Horse he imported, Shannondale Sergio, in eventing and show jumping before Sergio was sold.


Warmbloods Today 31


Cindy Lawler


Amber Heintzberger


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