German Horse Center Makes Horse Shopping in Europe Transparent and Convenient
German Horse Center Makes Horse Shopping in Europe Transparent and Convenient
Stefan Kreutz and Tanja Uredat, Founders and Managing Directors German Horse Center
Many exceptional horses come from Europe, but for the rider who dreams of shopping overseas, the process can be daunting. German Horse Center is a unique service that offers riders an exciting collection of top quality horses to try, while addressing all of the risks and hassles of horse shopping.
We recently sat down with Stefan Kreutz, co-founder and managing director of German Horse Center, to learn more about this extraordinary service. “We specialize in the American market,” Stefan told us. “Our basic idea is to make purchasing a horse in Germany as transparent, comfortable and easy as possible.” In the following article, Stefan explains how GHC’s service works.
Holger Hetzel with his top horse Legioner at CHIO Aachen, Germany.
We start by finding high quality horses. We and our partner stables consider gaits, lineage, conformation, ability and character. Only approved horses are featured on our website, where we list basic information, photos and videos of each horse. Currently we have more than 150 handpicked performance horses featured on our website.
At GHC, we don’t own any horses. Instead we partner with reputable stables and trainers throughout Germany. We seek out horsemen and women who make the wellbeing of their horses a priority. Their horses have been properly raised and allowed to mature before going to work. They also have good ground manners and confidence from being well handled. Under saddle, the horses are classically trained, according to the German training scale. Our American clients often tell us how pleasantly surprised they are by the high quality of the horses’ training.
Around 90% of the horses in our inventory are amateur suitable. This means they have been assessed to have good character and rideability. Of course, amateurs come at all different riding levels, and we offer a variety of horses for different goals and levels of riding experience.
The GHC partner stables who evaluate the horses for us are independent, top-notch professionals. Our partners are professionals licensed by the German FN (Deutsche Reiterliche Vereinigung). They are either Pferdewirt* or Pferdewirtschaftsmeisters**, the latter of which is the highest rating a professional can earn in Germany. In addition, our partners, like Grand Prix rider Nisse Luneburg, are often elite competitors themselves.
The horses we offer also have a standard set of x-rays available, usually 18 to 22 views (with the exception of some of the very young horses). Of course veterinarians have their differences of opinion, but our criterion is that we accept only horses with no significant findings on the radiographs. If a buyer is interested in purchasing a horse, their veterinarian is welcomed to request more specific radiographic views. We recommend several reputable vet clinics from which the buyer can choose. These veterinarians speak English, and are open to sharing digital radiographs and discussing the exams with their American colleagues.
Most of our clients start their adventure with us by studying the horses offered on our website. At German Horse Center, we understand that one of the challenges of shopping abroad is that, by the time a buyer arrives, their top choices have sold. Because of our large inventory, we are usually able to show 80-90% of the horses that a client has earmarked as their favorites. Also, with our tremendous network, we are constantly discovering new horses that prove to be exciting finds for our visitors.
Personal Guided Horse Tour with German Horse Center.
In addition to finding the horses, German Horse Center takes care of all the travel details. At no extra charge, we can provide you with an itinerary with the ideal route and schedule of the horses to visit. We also offer the option of a guided tour. For 950 Euro per day, we assign a personal guide who will pick the buyer up at the airport, make hotel reservations, schedule appointments to see the horses, video the buyer riding the horses, stay at the hotel for the evening to review videos, and drive the car through the countryside to the different farms. Our buyers say it is a relief to be able to focus on shopping, and not on coordinating appointments and navigating in an unfamiliar area. Although the guided tour does not include hotel and rental car costs, we take care of the arrangements for the rental car and hotel bookings. We consider the client’s budget and interests. For example, some people prefer luxury hotels, and others wish to incorporate some sightseeing.
How does a shopping experience with German Horse Center work? The first two days are spent meeting all the potential horses. Normally a buyer will try about 8-15 horses. Sometimes additional suitable horses will come up that were not on our website. By the end of the second day, our buyers have 3-5 horses that they wish to ride a second time. After a second test ride, the field is usually narrowed to two or three horses. If the first horse unexpectedly does not pass the thorough, final vet check, the buyer may decide to vet his second or third pick.
We share the buyer’s goal of having a successful shopping trip. If the first horse does not pass the prepurchase exam, and the buyer decides to purchase a second choice from our program, we will reimburse the buyer’s cost for the second prepurchase inspection, performed by a veterinarian in Germany, up to 1200 Euro.
Dana Wille with Mach 5, her Grand Prix Horse found via GHC
Our clients include independent amateurs, amateurs working with a professional, junior riders and professionals. The amateurs who come by themselves are often experienced riders who feel confident about the type of horse they want. For those who need a second opinion, we offer the services of an independent purchase advisor – a highly qualified professional rider who can spend a day trying horses with the buyer. Some of our clients find it very helpful to have an experienced rider who can assess the potential of the buyer and horse as a team, and who can also ride and evaluate the horses. The fee for an advisor is 1200 euro per day.
We sometimes have buyers who fall in love with a horse on our website, and contact us wishing to purchase a horse directly. We can assist them with getting more details about the horse, obtaining specific video footage and arranging a prepurchase exam. We also recommend shippers, such as Peden Bloodstock, a full service shipper who can handle ground transport and quarantine arrangements.
Our success depends on our good reputation. The pricing of the horses is the same for our customers world-wide. Our commission is already included in the recorded price. In Germany, there is also a “VAT” which, depending on taxation status, can be as much as 19%. The VAT is usually included in the prices of the horses. US buyers often enjoy an extra savings, because when you buy a horse and export it to the US, the VAT is deducted. GHC informs all clients in advance about the tax status in the price of each horse.
From left: Tanja Uredat, GHC, Stefan Kreutz GHC, Jens Wawrauschek GHC partner, Maggie de Fillippo and Frank Madden selecting horses for the US Collection.
Right now at GHC we are really excited about our new Partner Program. Our current partner is Frank Madden and Wilhelm Genn. Through the partner program, a top US rider test-rides our horses and selects a group that they endorse for the US market. Currently we have an exceptional group of 11 hunters, equitation horses and show jumpers personally ridden and selected by Frank Madden.
The world-class rider and trainer Wilhelm Genn has selected our second collection. In 2018 Wilhelm won the World Cup class for the North American League in Sacramento, California. Recently he qualified for the 2019 World Cup Finals in Gothenburg. He has more than 100 wins at Grand Prix. Genn and his son Ryan have test ridden and selected his personal recommendations for 14 superstar showjumpers in Germany. Watch our Instagram account for details.
Dana Wille with top hunter Olympus, found via GHC
Our mission at German Horse Center is to match American riders with quality German performance horses in an enjoyable process. Getting happy follow-up reports from horse owners is one of the most rewarding parts of the process for us. We have references and dozens of enthusiastic testimonials from happy buyers. We hope you will browse our website, check out the horses, and one day when you are ready, call us to help you find your dream horse.
Visit German Horse Center online at germanhorsecenter.com, on social media at facebook.com/germanhorsecenter or instagram @germanhorsecenter.com. Check out our client success stories at germanhorsecenter.com/successful-horses-worldwide.html and client testimonials at germanhorsecenter.com/testimonial.html.
*Pferdewirt - A 3 year training focusing on riding or breeding & stable management. Holders of the Pferdewirt: “Riding” can break in and train young horses, exercise and work older horses and present them in competitions. They are also qualified trainers for novices and more advanced riders.
**Pferdewirtschafts- meister - The highest level of training in Germany. Holders of the Pferdewirtschaftsmeister can run a riding business, train others for the Pferdewirt qualification, ride in dressage and show jumping competitions to at least Level M and train horses and riders to at least Level M.