Historically, British buyers have been notoriously reluctant to buy horses at sales. But a growth in “Continental style” or “select” sales has seen British buyers grow in confidence and numbers.
Increasingly, those looking for horses are coming round to the notion that sales can be a relatively painless way to find a horse.

Tips for novice sales buyers

  • Do your homework – research the catalogue, watch the horses and check vet reports
  • Keep an open mind – the one that looks good on paper might not be for you
  • Don’t get carried away – decide your price and stick to it
  • Always remember there will be commission, VAT, transport and insurance to add to your final bid
  • If you are not confident, go to watch first
  • Take someone with you – who will not necessarily egg you on
  • Colts or fillies and, for those who can afford to wait, horses under three years old may be better buys

Sport horse sales directory

  • Brightwells: holds two sales of prospective competition horses each year and one of broodmares and foals, as well as other equine sales. Visit www.brightwells.com/Equine/Default.aspx
  • Goresbridge: Pulls for British buyers are the six-day broodmare, foal and yearling sale in October, the 10-day sport horse sale in September and the Go for Gold select event horse sale in November. Visit www.irishhorse.com and http://goresbridgegoforgold.com/2011/
  • Monart: select sale of three- to six-year-old event horses in Ireland. Prices last year between €3,500 and €14,700. Visit www.pollyjackson.co.uk/monart/horse-sale
  • Cavan Horse Marketing Centre, Ireland: international performance sales, youngstock, sport horse, Irish draught and Connemara sales. Visit www.cavanequestrian.com/sales.asp
  • International Pony Showcase and Auction (IPS): held at South View EC in September. Also holds the Sports Pony Studbook Society potential event and jumping pony championships. Visit www.ips-auction.com
  • Tattersalls: about 10,000 thoroughbreds are sold each year at 15 sales at either its Newmarket headquarters in England, or at Fairyhouse outside Dublin. Visit www.tattersalls.com

For the full feature on buying at the sales plus our guide to young horse championships, a look at the leading dressage stallion Jazz plus much more see our sport horse special of H&H (5 April) out now

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