Sorensen Stables Spares No Expense Preparing for THE HUNT
Updated: Feb 13, 2019
Maastricht, NED – Nov. 2, 2017 – With less than two weeks to wait until the inaugural European hunter auction, THE HUNT promises to debut as an unparalleled experience featuring 15 of the finest hunter horses available in Europe. The family team of Chris, Will and Whitney Sorensen are busy at work finalizing the finishing touches, and the impressive nature of the event itself will be on par with the attention to detail that also took place regarding the horses themselves. Between the horse selection, vetting, training and post-purchase logistics, the Sorensen trio has left no stone unturned, with every detail considered down to the horses’ manes and teeth. Culminating all on one night, THE HUNT will take place November 13, 2017 in Maastricht, Netherlands, with 15 lucky new owners concluding the evening with a potential hunter phenom added to their repertoire.
Though the entire lifespan of THE HUNT as an event is only a few months, the true work began more than 15 years ago for Chris Sorensen, the namesake of Sorensen Stables, as he and his wife Whitney spent much of that time buying, importing and selling horses from overseas in addition to riding as a representative of his native Canada. As Sorensen Stables gradually grew to become known as a leading contact for top horses for the North American show circuit and one of the foremost authorities in Europe for horse sales, so too did their network of reliable connections. Calling on their extensive web of individuals with a keen horse sense and a good eye for horse breeding, the Sorensen team has scoured all of Europe to curate the most elite group of hunter horses possible, pulling from all corners of the continent.
“THE HUNT is an expanded version of what we already do at Sorensen Stables on a daily basis,” said Chris. “Now, we’ve thought of a way to streamline the horse purchasing process for buyers, and we know that with THE HUNT we can effectively save hours of time and thousands of dollars cutting out the back-and-forth that we all have come to expect with horse buying. This is a safer and more effective way to buy horses in Europe for the North American market because we understand the needs that riders have on the other side of the ocean.”
Horse selection began with a bombardment of videos, in this case more than 1,000 for Chris and Whitney to sift through. The options were narrowed to a select 150 horses, and the Sorensens devoted thousands of road and flight miles to seeing each contender in person. Armed with strict criteria based on quality of movement, jump, conformation, mind, temperament, rideability and training suitability, the duo meticulously gauged each horse against the high standards of THE HUNT, ultimately slimming the candidates to the top-ranking group of 15 horses.
To instill even further confidence in the auction, each horse underwent a high-level and rigorous vetting comprised of full U.S. standard clinical and flexion tests before acceptance into the collection. All examined at the same clinic, the horses come equipped with large sets of high-quality X-rays, which were all reviewed by a world-renowned radiology expert in North America. To ensure that no horse has prompted an injury or other physical issue before the public auction, each horse will be re-flexed and tested immediately prior to THE HUNT for reassurance that all horses are still in top condition and have not deteriorated in any way.
“The idea behind the auction is a turn-key type of situation. It can be a gamble to purchase a young jumper in Europe with the hopes of re-training it to become a suitable hunter, not to mention time-consuming to transport it between continents,” said Chris. “Trainers have to deal with the headache of re-training a young horse while continuing daily operations with their already established string. THE HUNT poses the possibility of seamlessly moving horses into a new program without losing time and money re-training.”
Outside of the vetting process, each potential owner has the luxury of viewing horses as a hunter-trained mount instead of envisioning a jumper as a transition project. To ensure that auction viewers get the most accurate impression of the horse as a final product, Chris has already managed the jumper-to-hunter transition, teaching the young horses the rideability necessary for a successful hunter career as well as getting them accustomed to the balance of a hunter rider and lead changes, among other discipline-specific characteristics. Horses will be already comfortable with hunter tack and equipment, even including earplugs.
Adding to the unprecedented attention to detail, the team behind THE HUNT have ensured that each horse is truly turn-key, with teeth, chiropractic work and worming completed, as well as bridle paths clipped and manes trained to lay the correct direction. Horses have been trained to stand for the farrier and are on a regimented feed and nutritional program that will be simple to convert to their new home.
After the auction has ended, new owners need not fret about logistics, for Sorensen Stables has already impressively handled all the necessary arrangements. With pre-booked flights, castrations, quarantine and appointments all available, owners don’t have to lift a finger to efficiently move their horses from door-to-door. THE HUNT will even complete the necessary shipping bloodwork ahead of time, if requested. While all the pre-booked travel is optional to new owners, sponsors have promised an exclusive discount to THE HUNT and its horses, sweetening an already impeccable deal.
If the dedication of the team behind THE HUNT is any indication of things to come, then North American hunter rings shouldn’t be surprised if a future star is born from this one-of-a-kind experience. With trials increasing daily, demand is high to see the most high-quality group of hunter horses in Europe. Though tickets are nearly sold out due to the incredible popularity of the event, there are still a few available and the auction will be live-streamed with phone bidding options available for those unable to attend, so make sure to keep your calendars open to take part in the first-ever European hunter auction, THE HUNT, on November 13, 2017.