Q. What countries does SWB operate in? We maintain operations in USA, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Poland and Czech Republic. In addition, we partner with barns all over the world for clients who wish to expand their search beyond our primary locations.
Q. What barns and breeding operations can I visit? We're glad to arrange visits to a variety of barns and studs in Europe -- just let us know your wishes! We find most clients appreciate trying the majority of horses at one facility where footing and conditions are identical for each horse, allowing you to compare "apples to apples." This is why SWB spends a lot of time on logistics before you arrive, bringing your top candidates under one roof. Clients appreciate spending as much time as possible riding, as opposed to driving from barn to barn.
Q. Does SWB specialize in particular breeds or disciplines? We specialize in Dressage and Hunter/Jumper horses with a primary focus on Warmbloods. Our expertise – and our network – is especially strong in Hanoverians, Oldenburgs, Holsteiners, Westphalian and Trakehners.
Q. I prefer to search in the US, but don't want to fly all over looking at one horse at a time. Options?
For clients who want access to Europe's best horses without extensive travel, SWB has created what we call our "Mini Europe in the States" locations. We regularly import very selected Dressage and Hunter/Jumper horses from young prospects through Grand Prix levels to several USA locations (primarily Florida and Illinois areas). These top horses find proud new owners quickly, and are sometimes sold before they can be listed. For up to the moment information on SWB horses available for trial in the United States, please contact us.
EUROPEAN SHOPPING EXPERIENCE
Q. How long is a typical buying trip with SWB?
Most riders spend 3 to 7 days on site to allow for multiple rides on top candidates, and to be present for vetting, insurance, and bill of sale. A 3-day trip can work well for a professional who is accustomed to riding many horses a day. A 5 to 7 day-trip is well suited for amateurs traveling with or without their trainer, and for those who wish to include a bit of sight seeing and shopping time!
Q. Where do I fly into, and how will I get around? Where will I stay?
Your destination city in Europe is determined by the horses you would like to see, and where a concentration of horses that fit your search criteria are located. SWB will meet you at the airport and provide transportation to your hotel, to the barns, and to your return flight. We are happy to make all of your travel arrangements for you so you can just enjoy your trip and concentrate on finding your horse!
Q. Will I have a translator with me who speaks good English?
You will be accompanied throughout your trip by an english speaking SWB personal guide who can interface with trainers, vets and breeders on your behalf. Our personal guides are fluent in English as well as local languages of the countries you will be visiting and they know the European sport horse industry perfectly. We don't think you'll find more knowledgeable or enthusiastic guides in the industry.
Q. Can you tell me step by step how a European shopping trip would work? How do we start?
At SWB, our motto is "With you every step." We know shopping for a horse is Europe is a big decision and often a milestone event in your riding life. We want it to be a fantastic, successful experience, which is why we support you through every step, from your first call to us, to the day your horse arrives at your barn and beyond! Here's how it works:
Step 1: CONTACT US ABOUT YOUR SEARCH
You or your trainer contacts us to discuss your riding goals and describe what you're looking for in your new horse that would make the two of you a perfect match.
Step 2. REFINING THE SEARCH CRITERIA
We try to gain the fullest picture possible of your abilities and goals as a rider. We want to know your personality as a rider– what traits in a horse make you feel comfortable and confident? Together, we quantify everything that's important to you, including age, gender, color, size, type of movement, competition record, breeding, and personality traits. This is the most important part of SWB's process, and what we feel is a key factor in the long-term success of our client and horse matches.
Step 3. HORSE REVIEW AND TRIP PLANNING
Once we have a detailed picture of that ideal horse and a price range has been established, SWB quickly works with its network of breeders and trainers to locate top prospects that are strong matches for you. We'll send you emails with information on each horse as it becomes available. You then let us know which horses you're interested in trying and when you can make your trip. SWB can assist with all of the arrangements for your flights and hotel stay.
Step 4. TRYING HORSES IN EUROPE
You'll be greeted at the airport by an your personal guide and driven to your hotel. As soon as you're rested and ready, we'll drive you to the barn or barns where you'll see and ride your slate of preselected horses. SWB will video your rides so you and your trainer can evaluate each horse afterwards. (If your trainer is not accompanying you, we can send daily video links to your trainer at home. SWB welcomes the chance to collaborate with your "home team" by conference or video conference calls or emails). Once you narrow down the candidates to the best ones for you, then we'll schedule your second and third rides if you wish.
Step 4: DECISION, VETTING AND PURCHASE
By now we hope you've found a horse that as we say, "you never want to get off!" Once you've made a decision to buy, our next step is a pre-purchase exam with a vet of your choice or from a list of local independent vets. This report can be sent to your vet at home for his evaluation. Your vet can also be patched in via phone with the vet performing the exam. The exam can also be video taped. Upon acceptance of the vetting, you sign the purchase agreement. We recommend you insure your horse as soon as you complete the bill of sale. If you don’t have an insurance company you work with, we can provide you with a list of companies in your home country. Then it's back to the hotel for a champagne toast!
STEP 5 BARN-TO-BARN IMPORTATION SERVICE
While you return home and to your busy life, SWB handles every aspect of getting your new horse delivered safely to your barn. We schedule road and flight transport, and handle all the required paperwork for your horse's flight and quarantine if required at your home country. We'll keep you up to date on your horse's progress through each phase of his trip. SWB is in continual contact with our trusted vendor partners in the importation process until your horse arrives at your barn.
Simply put, SWB is "With you every step" so you can concentrate fully on finding your perfect horse! Whatever we can do to make your search a pleasure and a success, we do!
Q. How do I know if looking for a horse in Europe is right for me?
We find that clients come to Europe for a variety of reasons. Some are frustrated by long, fruitless searches at home. Others have always dreamed of a horse shopping in Europe and finally decide it's time to "go for it!" It does require time away from home, international travel, and a realistic budget for the purchase of the horse and importation.
Q. Will I see potential horses online before I come to Europe?
Yes, you'll receive videos of candidates that have a strong chance of being good matches for you as we find them. Your feedback on these candidates helps us refine our search even further. Do you love what you see? Which are the most appealing? Chances are that by the time you arrive, a few additional horses will have come to market that we can include if you'd like as well!
Q. What if a horse I wanted to see is gone by the time I arrive?
We're in touch with you throughout the planning of your trip so you'll know ahead of time what horses are available for you to see when you arrive. We only present horses to you that are actually for sale and we don't believe in using “bate and switch’ tactics, where a horse is advertised at a bargain price and then never materializes! Nothing could be further from our philosophy of openness, integrity and respect for our clients.
That said, good horses can sell quickly, and in the rare instance that a horse goes under contract while you are in transit, our wheels will be immediately in motion to find additional horses for your slate of candidates.
Q. Where do the horses come from? Do you know the horses?
We personally know the horses we offer and only recommend horses that have passed the SWB Selection Test. This consists of a trainer evaluation, placing several riders of different skill levels on the horses' backs to determine how the horse is best suited, grading the horse’s bloodlines, assessing the horse’s talent and temperament in some cases, subjecting the horse to a full vetting exam including X-rays.
Most of the horses SWB presents have been in one barn for many years, therefore a long-term history is available. Please let us know what you would like to know about the horse and we will provide you with all available information.
Q. Are you equipped to shoot video of my rides?
Yes, we'll video each your rides for evaluation by you and your trainer. As riders and trainers ourselves, we also like to review the videos with you daily, and discuss how you felt riding each horse. This valuable feedback helps us continually refine how well we are matching the horses to your preferences.
INVOLVING MY TEAM
Q. My trainer is not available to go to Europe with me, but I want her/him involved at every stage. How does this work?
We believe that getting your trainer involved in finding your next dream horse is invaluable because your trainer knows your strengths as a rider best, and will be helping you develop your new partnership at home. If your trainer can't accompany you on your trip, we'll keep your trainer up to speed on every detail, with daily video of the horses presented to you, and videos of your rides for evaluation. We also welcome conference calls or video conferences with your trainer at every stage in your search.
In order to facilitate your trainer accompanying you to Europe, SWB International offers a trainer travel allowance and compensation for your trainer's services during your trip. Please contact us for details.
Q. Can my vet communicate with the vet in Europe? What are my options for vetting?
You can use your own vet, a vet that’s been recommended by your veterinarian or you can use one of the local reputable independent vets (we can provide you with a list).
The horses we show are pre-vetted, and you can receive a copy of the vetting exam. Of course, we strongly encourage that a new vetting be performed on the date of purchase to make sure that nothing has changed in the horse’s health since the last vetting.
X-rays can be sent in digital form to you and your vet in your home country. The vetting can also be video taped and sent to you and your home vet.
Q. How do I know the horses are priced fairly and I'm getting a good value?
SWB believes in transparency and avoids surprises. You'll know the prices of all horses before seeing or riding them. You can compare values with horses of similar quality and training level in your home country. You'll also have access to breeding information and competition records, if applicable, which help substantiate a horse's value.
SWB's principal partners have extensive experience buying and selling quality sport horses in Europe and the US to customers worldwide. Our knowledge of the market is up to the moment, and we've worked hard to earn a reputation for providing our clients with outstanding value.
Q. How are negotiations handled?
Negotiations are usually handled in person during your visit, but can also be handled by email or phone. The prices of horses are set to a fair market value and are not hugely negotiable without risk of losing the buying opportunity. We advise our clients to have a price range they are comfortable in, look only at horses within that range, and then "buy the right horse for them" rather than focusing on the "best deal."
Q. What are my payment options for my new horse?
SWB accepts international wire transfer in US Dollars for the purchase amount of your horse.
Q. I need "barn to barn" service when my horse is imported. Can SWB arrange this?
Yes. Most of our new horse owners take advantage of SWB's "Our Barn to Your Barn" service. We arrange for transportation of your horse to the flight barn in Europe, and handle all of the requirements for the flight. We can also arrange for road transport in your country to your barn. The service of making all of your horse's travel arrangements is complementary to you. We provide you with estimates for your horse's total transport cost ahead of time.
Q. How much does it cost to have the horse flown to USA/ Canada? What about road transport?
For importation to North America from Europe, plan on spending between $7 and $12,000 over and above the cost of your horse. Factors affecting importation cost include final airport destination, quarantine requirements, gender of the horse, applicable taxes and other factors such as weather.
Road transport from quarantine to your barn is an additional expense, and depends on the number of miles your horse will be hauled. You have the option of picking your own horse up at the quarantine facility. Let us know what works best for you. SWB has outstanding horse transport partners in North America who will provide a competitive estimate for your horse's travel to your barn.
Q. How soon can the horse be in my barn after I purchase the horse in Europe?
We can book your horse on the soonest available flight date, typically the week following purchase. It's also possible to pre-book an approximate flight date before you arrive. Once he's landed, his release to you depends on the quarantine requirements in your home country. For instance, in the US, geldings are held 3 days, stallions more, and mares up to 30 days. Please contact us for a detailed estimate of your horse's total travel time.
Q. What about insurance before my horse arrives and throughout transport?
We strongly suggest you insure your horse at the time of purchase. Most of your local equine insurance companies can provide a policy that will cover your horse during international transport. We can provide you with a list of insurance companies in your area.
AFTER THE SALE
Q. How does SWB follow up with me after my horse has arrived?
The partners of SWB are proud of what we do, and the long-term success of our clients and their new horses is what drives us. We look forward to staying in touch with you and receiving updates of how you and your new partner are doing. In addition, we work with reputable trainers in many countries, and can help connect you to professionals in your home country to assist with developing your horse and your partnership. Happy riding!