10 Tips For Horse Shopping Overseas from Matt Flynn

Matt Flynn has sourced multiple top event horses overseas — among them, the ones highlighted below and many notable others. He generously shares some horse-shopping expertise with EN. To learn more about Matt Flynn, visit Flynn Sport Horses.

Matt Flynn and Wizzerd, Team USA’s traveling reserves for the Military Boekelo CCIO4*-L and FEI Eventing Nations Cup Final in October 2019. Photo by Sherry Stewart.

1. No matter what, never show up with a rental car that turns heads and screams I have a great budget. Take note — speed cameras do send tickets to the States contrary to popular belief and if you do not pay them, it will be incredibly hard to rent a car on your next trip overseas!

2. Be responsible and timely. If you are running late, call ahead. The less headache foreign sellers have, the more likely they are to help you in the future!

3. Be honest — about your budget, and when seeing horses if you like the horse or not. If you do not like a horse when it is pulled out, it is OK to say not for me. You do not have to feel inclined to watch and ride them all!

Sourced by Matt: Charlotte Babbitt’s 2 A.M., an 8-year-old Dutch gelding (Sheraton x Regina K, by Ahorn). Pictured here at the 2019 NAYC, where they won individual CCIJ2*-L gold. The pair is now competing at the three-star level. Photo by Shelby Allen.

4. Learn and use a few key words in the native language to demonstrate familiarity with the lingo, keeping hustling conversations about you to a minimum.

5. Walk the aisles of every barn you visit and ask questions. If a horse grabs you based on what they look like, ask about them. Often times you can get a dealer to pull out their better horses by asking additional questions when in fact they may not have intended to show them.

6. Ask the lowest guy on the totem pole in the barn if possible which horse he would take across the ocean. They often have no skin in the game and very often dealers are not keen to have their very favorite horse leave the stable. This can help in finding out which the best horses really are.

Source by Matt: Get Gaudi, a 9-year-old Dutch mare (Alicante x Second Floor, by Faram) owned by Ms. Jacqueline Mars and ridden by Lauren Kieffer. The pair finished in the top four at each of their two-star starts together in 2019: 1st at Ocala International, 3rd at Bromont, 4th at Great Meadow, and 2nd at Plantation Field. Photo by Shelby Allen.

7. Never sit on a horse without seeing someone in the yard ride it for you first. You can avoid falls off feral horses who look very nice by abiding by this rule.

8. Record every horse you ride. Verbally make a note when starting the recording with horse name, age, and what farm/where you saw it. At the time you might feel like you couldn’t possibly forget it, but after seeing 30 other horses, you will want to jog your memory to determine which were your favorites.

9. Be brave enough to ask a horse to do something that might be a bit out of their comfort zone to see how they react in a new situation if that is possible. Walk them down the road, jump something they may not have jumped, take note of their reactions and personality in these situations. This can be very telling!

10. Never turn down coffee time — this is a chance to learn. Regardless if you are buying the horse, other than being good manners, this time lends to insight, many important lessons, and great takeaways.

Sourced by Matt: Enough Already, a 12-year-old Dutch gelding (Winningmood x Zandora, by Landor S) owned by Liz Bond and ridden by Kristen Bond. This pair posted multiple top five results at the four-star level in 2018, including Fair Hill, Rebecca Farm and Ocala Jockey Club. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Big news from Athletux! The agency has recently restructured its business model to focus on three main areas: equestrian brandsathletes and events. This is a particularly exciting development for brands, who will benefit from Athletux’s wealth of industry insight to help build their image, maximize use of social media platforms and email marketing campaigns, manage sponsored riders, assist with graphic design and more. Learn more by visiting the just-launched new Athletux website here.