Jamie Kenny of Spanish Horses For Sale Discusses the Ins and Outs of Buying Competition and Dressage Horses from Spain

Based in Andalucia in Spain, Jamie Kenny specialises in sourcing competition and dressage horses for international buyers. Having spent over 30 years immersed in the equestrian world she has acquired an experience, insight and intuition that is invaluable when it comes to finding the right horse.

Born and educated in the UK, she comes from a horsy family that includes jockeys, grooms, and show jumpers. Her first ride was at the age of 3, and she has never looked back.

On every occasion during her youth, she would be down at the stables, either riding or mucking out. By the age of 10, she had owned her own pony. As Jaime Kenny´s knowledge and experience grew, she started to help break in three-year-old babies and moved on to become an amateur showjumper.

Kenny eventually moved to Andalucia, Spain, the home of Iberian horses, where she competed in both national and international shows. Recently she has taken a step back from showjumping and moved into the art of dressage.

Hi Jamie, can you explain to me a little about your business, Spanish Horses For Sale?

Together with my business partner, Jane, we act for international buyers looking to find a PRE (Pura Raza Española/Spanish Pure Race) horse in Spain. We specialise in sourcing and selling competition and dressage horses; however, we will deal in other types as well.

Given that we have both personally competed at a national and international level, we are extremely experienced at evaluating a horse´s potential in relation to the client´s needs.

What can a buyer expect to pay?

Prices vary considerably depending on a multitude of factors, such as the show record or quality, but in general 15´000 to 150´000 Euros with an average sale price of around 35´000 Euros.

What is the most expensive horse that you have sold?

Well, the actual amount I cannot divulge as it is privileged, but it is in the six figures.

How do you see your role?

When I consider a horse, I will be looking for exactly the same things that I would be looking for if I were buying one for myself. 

This sometimes puts me at odds with the vendor, who is more than likely going to want to hide any negative traits and maximise the sale price.

What is the key to finding the right horse? 

Buying a horse is not like buying a car; it is a living, breathing animal with its own character, and that means intuition plays a key role. 

Before I start looking for a horse for a client, my first step is an in-depth interview with the buyer so that I am absolutely sure of the type that I should be looking for. 

For example: what is your riding level? Are you looking for a horse as a hobby to enjoy a peaceful walk in the country, or are you looking to do professional dressage? How often do you intend to ride it and how many years do you intend to keep it? Are you buying it as an investment to sell at a later stage, or is this going to become a part of the family? Are you looking for a safe and dependable horse that will not challenge your skills or for one that will push you?

It is often at this stage that I discover the horse that the buyer is looking for might not be the one that they should purchase, and I will discuss with them alternative recommendations.

Only then will I have a clear understanding of the type of horse that the client needs, and I can start looking.

Couldn´t a buyer simply look at some photos of the horse and then just ask a vet to give it a health check?

Before I even request a PPE (pre-purchase examination) from the vet, I have to feel sure there are no long-term problems, medical or behavioural, that a PPE would not pick up, and that the horse is suited to the client´s needs. 

What type of issues would you check before requesting a pre-purchase examination?

The reality is that sellers will often not let you know if it has any vices; it is a case of buyer beware, so, given I am acting on behalf of the buyer, I take great care in checking for vices. 

Is there anything else you will look for?

Yes, there is a long list of specific things I look for in order to build a picture of its character and well-being, but at the end of the day, there is no substitute for intuition and the gut feeling that only comes from having been around horses for so many years.

It is like having a gut feeling about someone else without being able to pinpoint the reason. It is because we have spent our lives interacting with people, and it is the same for me when it comes to horses, as I have spent my life interacting with them. 

Do clients come and see the horse before they buy?

Yes, often they do, but first of all I will create a shortlist of potential horses in order not to waste their time. Once we agree on which ones to see, I will arrange a viewing schedule as well as any accommodation they need on the tour.

However, especially in these Covid times, clients cannot or prefer not to view the horse, and so the first time they see it is when it arrives on their doorstep, which is why I go through a very systematic procedure to ensure that the buyer will be perfectly happy with the horse when it arrives:

  • Firstly, I interview the client to assess the type of horse I should be locating.
  • Once I have located a potential candidate, I will go and see it personally and make a number of checks regarding behaviour and health based on my experience.
  • If it passes these tests, I will take a complete series of videos of the horse in action. The videos will depend on the client´s needs; for example, if the client is buying it for dressage, I will ride it in order to test the horse’s dressage skills.
  • If the client, based on the videos and the various tests, likes the horse this is the moment I will request from the vet a pre-purchase examination. [Read More…]


Ricardo Bache

Ricard0 Bache is a contributor to Business Innovators Magazine and focuses on sharing success stories and industry insights.