Questions To Ask When Buying A Performance Horse

by Michelle on February 14, 2017

questions to ask when buying a performance horseWhen buying a high-performance horse, there are questions you might ask that you wouldn’t if you were buying a trail horse or even a prospect.

Asking open-ended questions (those questions that need more than a yes or no answer) will potentially give you answers to questions you hadn’t thought of or asked yet.

Here are some questions you can ask and if you’re looking at several horses at the same time, it would be of benefit to write the answers down.

  • Why are you selling the horse? (standard issue question that can tell you alot)
  • Has this horse been unsound before? If so, what was the cause, remedy and how long did it last?
  • What would you consider to be this horses worst behavioural issues? (every horse has something!)
  • Where is this horse currently kept? Stall? Pasture? Pen? (will it adapt to your setup)
  • How long have you owned the horse? (ie. is this person turning the horse over or will they know it’s real history)
  • What types of issues do you think might show up on a vet check (this can save you some time!)
  • How does the horse handle being hauled and being overnighted at the trailer? (would you want to find out after it won’t tie to the trailer?)
  • How does the horse respond to other horses? Is it usually kept with other horses? (not usually a deal breaker, but you want to know ahead if it’s a savage).
  • Is the horse shod? Does it behave well with a farrier?
  • What is this horse like around kids? Cattle? Water? (whatever your situation at home, know if it’s been exposed)
  • How do you keep this horse in shape? What’s your fitness program?
  • What do you feed the horse? Including all supplements.
  • What type of athletic care does this horse require? (Injections, chiro, massage etc. )
  • How often do you work barrels on this horse? Or rope the skid/roping machine? Live cattle?
  • Has anyone else ran this horse before? Could I call them?
  • How does this horse behave in the warm up at an event?
  • How is this horse in the roping box or in the alley for the barrel race?
  • Had this horse EVER refused to go in the box or alley?
  • What it this horses WORST quality?
  • What is this horses BEST quality?
  • Do you think this horse is currently performing at the highest level it is capable of? What would need to be done if this were to change?
  • Would you describe this horse as a free runner or more of a ratey type? (as in are you holding on for leather or kicking to go faster?)
  • Would you say this horse is high energy or low energy? (horses are often best suited to the opposite type of rider energy wise)
  • How does this horse score (roping). How is this horse to walk the pattern? (barrels).
  • How does this horse work rope (ask specifically to your event).
  • How would you describe how this horse turns a barrel (especially important if you haven’t seen a video).

Asking these questions (and more as you think of them) may help you narrow out your choices and options. Considering performance horses are going to require some kind of maintenance and athletic care to perform their best, you want to find out ahead what makes these horses tick so you can keep them running.

If you have any other great questions, feel free to comment!


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It’s A Buyers Market

by Michelle on February 3, 2016

It’s a buyers market for American’s looking to buy Canadian Horses and Stallion Services.  With the Canadian dollar at record lows, this increases the purchasing power of the US dollar.   If you aren’t already looking for a deal, now’s the time to start.   Canada is home to many great breeding programs, stallions and reputable trainers.  I’ve also noticed saddles to be a great buy for US buyers as many have not adjusted the used cost based on how much new price has increased.  It’s worth investigating your savings as a US buyer.

At time of writing a 10,000 CDN dollar horse will cost just over $7250 US.  That being said, the banks like to make a bit selling you the money. They will typically charge you 3 or 4 cents on every dollar you buy.  In this example the bank will charge you a little more than $200 to sell you the money.  For large sums of money, you may look to an outside source for exchanging funds.  I used the website to get the rate. exchange

It is quite simple to move a Canadian horse into the United States and Canadian sellers are usually  happy to help get the paper work handled.   A negative Coggins (taken within 180 days of export) and International Health Certificate (within 30 days of export) will be required.   This will require a farm visit from the vet to make sure the horse is living in healthy conditions. This paperwork should cost under $200 and the farm call fee from the vet depends how far your horse is from the vet, will be in addition.    This is good insurance for the buyer as well, to know the horse is coming from a healthy horse family.

The coggins and health papers should be in the name of the seller and you should also have a bill of sale with those papers.

Once the paper work is in order, the seller paid and the horse on the road, the horse will need to be inspected by a Federal Vet at the US border.  There are 8 ports in Western Canada that have a vet.  It is important to call ahead and make arrangements within business hours to have your horses inspected.  It is also important to call and make sure you have met the requirements for that port.   Take the name of the person you were talking to and the time.     You will present your paper work at the main gate and then proceed to the vet for inspection with your papers.   There will be an inspection fee with the vet (currently $45 -$47 US).

If you are using a commercial hauler or a Canadian is hauling the horse across for  you, they will require you to use a broker to facilitate your export paperwork.  Here is a link to sample papers  they will be filling out for you.    If you are hauling the horse yourself (as a US citizen), you do not need a broker (only the Federal Vet inspection with Coggins, International Health and Bill of Sale).

Given current rates, you are looking at being able to take 25% off the advertised Canadian price!

Manyflags Canadians are also willing to meet you part way and handle getting the horse across the border for you.  If the owner meets you at the border and you bring it accross into the USA, you do not need a broker.  US citizens need a passport to come into Canada.

Shipping semen into the United States does not call for any special permits or paperwork, it is very straightforward.

One tricky part of the equation is that it isn’t that easy to transfer money from a US bank to a Canadian Bank.  Using an online service like Paypal is an option, but be aware they will take 0.035% of your money to use the service, plus charge as much as the bank (or more) to exchange the currency. A seller will be reluctant to take a cheque as many banks will put a 30 day hold on the money.    Another option is to send a bank draft/certified money to the buyer and cleared through the bank before the horse heads South.   Cash always works too if you are meeting in person.

Here are numbers for ports in Western Canada so you can double check that you have all your ducks in a row before the horse steps on the trailer.



More information and links in this document on border regulations and transport we put together several years ago.


Don’t Be An Outlaw

January 11, 2016

Professional rodeo and barrel racing photographers are a rare breed.  With the advent of social media and sharing tools, their business has become more of an “at risk” species.    Both lack of knowledge and respect from contestants are further jeopardising the future of this profession. There’s a real problem with people using pictures without permission. […]

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Round 10 Recap

December 13, 2015

The champions were crowned on the final night of the 2015 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo and what an exciting finish it was for many. The event champions were: Bareback – Steven Peebles Steer Wrestling – Hunter Cure Team Roping – Aaron Tsinigine/Kollin VonAhn  (did not rope together) Saddle Bronc – Jacobs Crawley Tie Down Roping – Caleb Smidt Barrel Racing […]

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Round 9 Recap

December 12, 2015

We are 9 rounds down with 1 to go.   In last nights action we saw several come closer to that gold buckle and a few others loose their grip on it. The biggest upset was watching Sarah Rose McDonald tip a barrel, but this opened a window for Lisa Lockhart to move up in […]

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Round 8 Recap

December 11, 2015

Round 8 of the 2015 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo is in the books.   Orin Larson was back in the money with a 75.5 good enough for 4th in the round.  Clint Laye ended up with a no score after a double grab.    In the steer wrestling Tanner Milan had to cowboy up to […]

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Round 7 Recap

December 10, 2015

All the positive vibes from the North sent to Deb Guelly helped!    Deb rode Bud Light to a 6th place cheque and her most solid run of the week.     Jana Bean was another cowgirl who earned her first cheque of the week.  There were many changes in the average race, most notable […]

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Round 6 Recap

December 9, 2015

Sometimes you’re the bug, and sometimes you’re the windshield.  It was a bug kinda night for the Canadians in round 6, with none of the swarm getting in the money. In the bareback riding where an 80 point ride caught 6th hole, Clint Laye rode for 77 and Orin Larson 77.5. In the steer wrestling, […]

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Round 5 Recap

December 8, 2015

With the 5th round of the 2015 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo concluded, the contestants are half way through their 10 performance marathon.  This round was the first that all Canadian contestants were shout out of the money.   It wasn’t for lack of try however.  Both Clint Laye and Orin Larson rode in the bareback […]

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Round 4 Recap

December 7, 2015

When you’re hot you’re hot and Clint Laye is on a roll.  Placing in his third consecutive performance, the Canadian cowboy has moved to 4th in the World Standings.  “I’ve been trying to stay as calm as I can, listening to slow music before the rodeo, and just staying calm so I can think clear,” […]

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