I've had a lot of fun deciding which horses are worth their price tag if money were no object. My buying criteria goes something like this: Is the horse correct in his work for his level(harder to find than you would think)? Is he a good mover(tons of these)? Is he sound(some funky looking sales videos imho)? Is he suitable for his intended job(aka amateur packer, FEI prospect, sales horse etc.)? The criteria that truly seems the hardest to find is correctly trained. Lots of behind the vertical, leg movers, with the twirling tail at ALL the levels.
Maybe I am delusional that cruising these ads is improving my eye for correct work and quality horses, but I am really enjoying the game of which horse would I buy for myself. Not the 80-100k import. Some really fancy prospects but out of my riding league right now, which means paying a trainer for years on end with no guarantee of success and having a super fancy horse FEI I could ride myself in 4-5 years. Not to mention finding an ethical, talented, correct trainer, which is possible, but difficult. As for the home bred, FEI prospect, the quality is usually not there AND the training so far is usually sub par. That leaves the amateur horse who has been through the levels, correctly trained, tolerant, and sound. It is kind of like trying to find a unicorn. I found ONE, ONE horse I thought was truly worth his high five figure price tag. Medium gaits that would suit an amateur seat, great temperament, very correct in his work, sound and of a good age, and confirmed through 4th Level with half steps. He was snapped right up, so maybe my eye IS improving.
Go check it out-you know you want to!