Saturday, March 03, 2007

A Horse is a Horse, Of Course, Of Course

For another agricultural start-up, you may or may not want to consider horses. Let me start by saying that if you didn’t grow up with horses, consider something else. Horses are big and dangerous. They are very needy, they produce a lot of manure and their brains are hard wired to instinctual behavior that can be modified. However, you can’t just read a book on how to train a horse and think you can do it.

Most horses that are quasi trained trail horses will sell for about $2,000. So if you buy a horse and train it to the point where it will be safe on the trail, counting feeding, shoeing and medical expenses, you will probably be loosing $3000 on the sale. So how does anyone make money in the horse business?

Specialty breeds such as dressage and race horses will command bigger money. Having a mare bred to a champion raises the price of the foal as well, but sometimes that blood becomes diluted to the point that the name on the pedigree only gives a slight shimmer to the horse, but doesn’t raise its value. There are a bunch of horses in the county that are related to Seattle Slew and Isle Breeze, but that line no longer commands the prices that it once did.

Spend a ton of money on training and compete with the horse. Every championship the horse wins the higher the price goes. However this too is a gamble. One physical mishap can turn your $50,000 horses into a $2 pasture pet. Another problem is some horses just aren’t cut out for the business. I’ve seen horses totally ruined while in reigning training. It is really hard on their feet. Horses are just like children, you can hope for the best, but all children don’t become what you wish them to be.

Rather than raise horses it might be a better idea to get in on the side lines of the industry and cater to horse people. Provide them a product or service.

Another hint in this area is the menopause horse. Yes it sounds funny, but many girls grow up horse crazy. This horse craziness stays with girls thorugh their lives. All through adulthood, child rearing, on and on. Horses are an unfulfilled dream. When their kids are grown and gone these women have some disposable income and they flock to horses. There is an entire industry that caters to this demographic. If you go to a horse expo you will see that 90% of the people there are women over 50.

These women are in need of training and equipment, and their husbands don’t have a clue about any of this. This is a way to break into a profitable ag career with out having to clean muck twice a day. This is where the real ag money is these days. Trust me, you would not believe how much we've spent on horses over the last five years.


Blogger Donna said...

I'd believe it! As anybody will, who has had horses.

6:36 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

My kids are (almost) gone, I do have some disposable income but I sure as hell am not part of that demographic.

Horses are beautiful. From a distance.

7:02 AM  
Blogger Zoe said...

I believe you on this. While I don't fit the over 50 part of the profile, I am with out kids and have disposable income and was a horse crazy girl. I would have a horse in a heartbeat if I thought it would be fair to the horse. I'm just not at a point in my life where I feel like I have the amount of time required for a horse or settled enough. It might be different if I knew I wasn't going to be moving or trying to have kids in the in the near future. So, my point here is that I think your theory on this is probably spot on.

8:36 AM  
Blogger Tryan Hartill said...

Things got a little tense at the end of your everything OK at home?

9:02 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Donna, amen sister.

Beth, now you can travel and do other things. I envy you.

Zoe, maybe you'll have a horse crazy daughter.

Tryan, no, it is now a life style. I have always been involved with horses, though I had put them aside for many years. Funny though. Several years ago my wife was hinting that we should get horses when we retire, so I got her some horse books to hold her over and within the next year we got a new truck, horse trailer, built stalls, created acres of pasture, saddles and tack, riding boots, and horses, storrage for hay, fencing, stall mats. I'm sure I'm forgetting tens of thousands of dollars in other items. But no tension at home other than a bank account that keeps getting drained.

10:14 AM  
Blogger Mom of Three said...


Men=mid-life crisis=red sports car

Both spendy and both dangerous in the wrong hands.

10:06 PM  
Blogger Amaya said...

Wow! That picture is amazing! Makes me want whatever is in her cup.

8:18 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Amaya, I've been holding onto that photo for several months now hoping to use it. It is amazing.

So Mo3, Slave Hubby srill has the mini van, eh?

8:35 AM  

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