Stay open minded and be flexible. You may want a black gelding but an incredible bay mare may be just around the corner… Go with the flow, as you make your journey in Holland to find your dream Dutch dressage horse, your goal posts may change.
Buy a horse with as good a conformation that your budget allows.
Some people are put off by certain bloodlines because they’ve heard they’re not easy or too hot. Don’t judge the horse until you’ve seen it or tried it because youngsters sometimes turn out completely different from their parents!
Look for good regular paces, they don’t necessarily have to be flashy as this can come with training. Choose something that’s uphill and naturally balanced with looseness and natural suppleness.
Make sure the horse is rideable with a good character. Most horse lovers want a partner and want to enjoy being around it on the ground, not just in the saddle.
Buy a horse that matches your ability. If you’re nervous and you want a safe horse, make sure that’s at the top of your list and doesn’t slip down to the bottom.
Watch the horse free schooled and lunged so that you can see its unrestricted movement, character and zest for life. However, every buyer’s different. Some want to see it trotted, some might want to see it tacked up from scratch. Let the seller know your preference.
If you immediately know the horse is not for you, say so. You’ll only be wasting the owner’s time and yours. However, it is good to sit on something and not cast judgement too quickly. What you see and what you feel can be two very different things.
Make sure you see the horse ridden in a different environment eg an outdoor school not an indoor arena. Many schools in Holland are indoor, while in the UK, most of us are riding out in the elements.
Have an international vetting and send any x-rays to your own vet in the UK. For higher budget horses an MRI might be a sensible route to take.