Halifax Sport Horses: Bringing the Importing Dream Within Reach

BY April Bilodeau

Beginning the search for a new horse is exciting for every rider, no matter the circumstances. Many riders choose to stay Stateside, as it’s easier to try horses at home than going international. And while buying off a video is always an option, most prefer to have hands-on experience with the horses.

The allure of importing is strong for many riders, but the idea of purchasing a horse from Europe can be intimidating to say the least. Halifax Sport Horses is working to direct buyers toward importing their dream horse while taking care of everything along the way.

“We take the initiative and travel. We work in eight different countries and have trusted associates. Our hubs are in the United Kingdom, Poland, Belgium, and The Netherlands,” Danielle Runions, co-founder of Halifax Sport Horses, tells The Plaid Horse.

Who They Are

Halifax Sport Horses is a boutique-style equine sales and marketing agency focused on making the European market more accessible to buyers in the United States. Founded by Runions and her partner, Cassie Redden, the two have combined their decades of experience to provide a hands-on experience to buyers interested in importing, even if they can’t go see the horse in Europe themselves.

As a trainer for over 25 years, Runions has been horse showing and networking with other equine professionals for her entire career.

“I grew up on the circuit so I know what I’m looking for as far as horses go,” says Runions.

Both Redden and Runions agree that the most important quality in a horse is a good brain to make them a safe mount, while also possessing the ability to be competitive.

While Runions focuses on the temperament of each horse, Redden has years of experience focusing on breeding, so she sets her sights on impressive pedigrees and top sport horse lines.

“Cassie goes through extensive research on each horse’s pedigree,” says Runions. “She will be up for three nights reading back to the 1700’s, researching which blood goes with which. She goes really deep into everything to ensure that you get the best breeding.”

Staying in Budget

MASERATI GOLD Sold to JFK Farms/Abigail Ngoie of Ontario, Canada

Another important factor for Halifax? Making sure buyers are paying appropriate prices and staying in budget.

“We look for good prices,” says Runions. “It’s kind of our biggest thing with Halifax is we try to get the best prices. That way even if a broker over in the United States or a professional wants to resell one, they can.”

Both Redden and Runions are committed to working with each person’s budget, truly believing that there is a match out there for every buyer.

“I try my hardest to make sure each person that comes to us has the ability to import,” says Runions. “If somebody really wants a horse and they only have $25,000 dollars to spend and they’ve been looking Stateside with no luck, we’ll just help them however we can without adding to their bottom line. It’s all about customer service and creating those relationships with people.”

There for Every Step

EL MACHO HSH Sales Prospect

While the duo has certainly made the buying process easier by finding horses and trying them for clients, their services don’t stop there. Once a buyer finds a horse that they like, the team continues to hold each client’s hand for the next week or two until the horse has landed in the United States. From organizing the vetting process, the flights, and arrival to the country, Halifax has their buyers covered.

“Once a horse is chosen, we take them to one of our hubs. If they need to gain weight or something like that we make sure they get the proper nutrients, or whatever they need,” says Runions. “If our clients want the horse to be body clipped or have a professional photo shoot, we offer that, too.”

Halifax partners with EquiJet for equine transportation from Europe to the United States. Runions has a full check list for EquiJet to complete before horses board their flights, such as receiving Ulcergard and an immune system booster called Equistem.

While the pair strives to make perfect matches between horse and rider, they understand that circumstances change and matches may sometimes not work out.

“If a buyer is unhappy with their purchase, we’re always willing to buy it back from them, so they kind of have a risk-free connection with us,” says Runions. “We’ve sold a lot of horses in a short amount of time, and luckily have not had any refunds yet.”

What’s Next

Looking ahead, Runions and Redden hope to grow Halifax into a top company for buyers to import horses.

“We want to make the importing process more accessible to all and not so exclusive,” says Redden.

To learn more about the services offered by Halifax Sport Horses, visit their website at halifaxsporthorses.com.

Photos: Courtesy of Halifax Sport Horses