The Dutch Teus van den Brink can smell a good showjumping horse at a distance. The list with international showjumping horses, even 1.60m Grand Prix horses, from his stables is long, but also hunters, equitation horses and lovely horses for amateurs come from Nijkerkerveen. He is still regularly scouting at shows, but more often than not comes home empty-handed. Horses performing at shows are expensive and that is why he now also visits auctions to buy young talent at an early stage. He auctioned young showjumping talents himself at his own ‘Sale of the Rising Stars’ and has also become involved with the online VSN Horses Auction. Horse Auctions Europe has 6 questions for him.
You have been buying a large number of foals at auctions in the past few years. Why so?
“Because it is harder to find older horses for me to sell. The real pearls, I often have several among my foals. But I do like following foal auctions, and if you don’t like it, don’t do it. Ideally you buy a 3-, 4- or 5-yr-old, but riders nowadays often want to keep a good horse for a longer period to train them further, they are also too expensive or owned by private persons who do not want to get rid of them. In order to fill my stables with good horses, I started buying at foal auctions some nine years ago.”
How old are your first purchases at an auction and what are your best successes so far?
“The foals I bought online at the start of the corona crisis are now 2-yr-olds. It is still difficult to say how good they are. The previous group was well worth investing in. Even though some of them were a disappointment, others were real good. The oldest I still have from that lot is Kallas, a 7-yr-old KWPN-licensed stallion. He is a great jumper and also breeds well. Then I have a couple of 5-yr-olds. We are a sales yard, so we do not keep them all for a longer period. I also bred a few very handsome foals myself out of interesting young mares that I had bought as a filly. Adversity is part of the game, but you always go on. That is my hobby. Do I auction foals myself? No, or rarely. I am not an auction breeder. I prefer to see them grow for a couple of years.”
Is buying a foal an investment that you would advise others to do?
“As long as you do it with your spare money. In a casino you might win more easily. You always assume that they will make you more money, but you may find quite a number of bumps on the road. Do not believe that it is an easy thing. I always tell the young guys here the same when they start talking about buying foals again. Forget it! Buy a 4-yr-old. And if you can not find one, keep looking. And certainly, do not start breeding yourself. If things go askew, you may lose all your money. Of course, it is each to their own, but realise that it is a long road and a lot can happen.”
Does the increase of auctions affect your business?
“I do buy and sell at auctions, but I do not necessarily need them to find buyers. I still have the business as before. You also should not expect everything from an auction. The market determines which horses will sell well. When you have a decent horse with a value of, say, 10,000 to 12,000 euro, it will not sell for 24,000 euro at an auction. People know what they do and do not want and what it should look like. You can say that online auctions have reached a new dimension. I am amazed at how easily people are buying online now and what prices are sometimes paid for a 3-yr-old. On the other hand, it is terribly good that there are now so many platforms for selling on a world-wide scale.”
What should you take into consideration when buying a foal online?
‘’I first of all look at the pedigree and the foal in question should appeal to me. Personally I prefer to buy a foal live rather than online. I want to see it together with its real dam, observe its behaviour, you simply see more that way. In an online auction all you see is a video with their best moments. Nor can you ascertain exactly how tall the foal is. I also like to see older horses in the flesh. When they are to be auctioned, you can take a look at them beforehand at the seller’s, but few people do so. It all depends how much work you want to put into it.”
Do you have any advice for people who want to buy at an auction?
‘’Think really hard before you bid for a horse! At online auctions there are some that push the button very impulsively and suddenly they have bought a horse. Later they are sorry and invent something to get rid of it again. When no-one else places the next bid, you are the owner of the horse. Realise what you are getting into and do you homework beforehand.”