I want to buy a horse!!! For 10K or Less. And I want it to be……

“I want to buy a horse!!! I have 10 thousand, and I must have the following:

4 month old fillies first day of weaning.

4 month old fillies first day of weaning.

No mares, mares are mare-ish. I cannot tolerate a mare.  I want at least 16.3 or taller.  I don’t like the short horses, I look too tall on the shorter horses. Yes, I realize I am only 5′, but my leg hangs on anything less than 16.3  I need it trained and safe.  I don’t want anything that might run off with me…at the walk.  Nothing older than 7, nothing younger than 6.  It MUST pass a PPE.  (Pre-Purchase Exam)  That means it absolutely can have NOTHING wrong with it.  And by nothing, I mean NOTHING.  I don’t care how many times it has raced since age 2, it must have NO blemishes, bumps, etc.  It must jump 3’6″, even though I have no plans to go above Beginner Novice.   It has to have leads and they have to be automatic.  I prefer warmbloods to Throughbreds.  I prefer a bay with 4 high whites, or better, a true black with 4 high whites.  Must be bomb proof and stand on the cross-ties even if a bomb (crazy dog running around) comes into the barn isle, and bites it on the legs.  Must be a schoolmaster,  teach me how to jump 3’6″, and be forgiving of all my mistakes.  It must have the scope to go Preliminary or above, even if I have yet to event,  and have the movement to score in the 20’s.”

While the above may indeed, be a bit exaggerated, it is in fact, not far so.  It pretty much sums up several inquiries that I have had this week on horses for sale.  So let’s talk about sales, and the costs associated with horses, and the cost to sell them.

Showing a yearling in hand.  For the day150.00 in costs...not counting labor, or the truck.

Showing a yearling in hand. For the day150.00 in costs…not counting labor, or the truck.

I live in an area where the above horse, really, would probably sell for 35 to 65k.  Maybe a bit more, depending on the level they are competing at, and the breed.  Basically, if the horse has the ability to jump, is sound, has a good heart, and decent movement, without a show record, many are asking 25k.  Seems pricy huh? Until you start figuring it all out from the sellers view.

So let’s look at what goes into the price of a horse, and what it costs for a professional to bring them along.

They have to buy or breed the horse.  If they buy the horse, say an OTTB, can it go to work right away?  Did it require down time?  What medical issues, like ulcers, had to be fixed, before the horse could go to work?  If they bred the horse, there is the costs of maintaining a mare when not in foal, while in foal, and after foaling.  So minimum, this is 18 months of mare care.  There is the stud fee, and associated Veterinary fees.  Then the foal has to be fed, and the feet need done, etc. etc.  Multiply that by the age of the horse.  Is the foal just a weanling?  Maybe a yearling?  How about the breeder who keeps the foal, starts it, and gets a small record on it.  You are talking 4 years minimal.  Of feed, care, vet, showing, training, etc. etc. etc.  What has it cost you for a year for the horse that you just had?

Stud Fee's for a horse like this can be upwards of 2500.00.

Stud Fee’s for a horse like this can be upwards of 2500.00.

Or then the OTTB.  Many need a down time,  3 months minimum.  Usually a month of Ulcer Guard to fix the ulcers that most come off the track with.  Then there is the farrier, correcting the shoes to non-racing condition.  Most come off needing HUGE amounts of feed.  There is the training,  feed, and vets, the cost of showing the horse to get that little record so many buyers require.

It is easy to spend 5k getting a mare in foal.  A good sire starts at $1500 for fresh semen, you can pay double that for frozen on a good sire.  Then there are the vet costs. Believe me when I say, I paid $3500 to the vet for one mare.  (I was uninitiated).  Then the costs of the mare care pre-, during, post-foaling.  Say another $200 a month.  You have another $3600 from insemination, to weaning.  If you are lucky, you got the mare back in foal quick.  If not….multiply multiply multiply.

There are the losses.  Often horses don’t work out and won’t meet the criteria to be sold.  I have given many horses away, horses that just weren’t going to work out as something representing MMC.  I lose money on those horses.  We weed them out, so the buyer can buy something with as little risk as possible.

A healthy foal is not a fluke.  It is a well thought out, and fed animal.  With prime Vet care.

A healthy foal is not a fluke. It is a well thought out, and fed animal. With prime Vet care.

All of those expenses are easy to see.  RIGHT.  Easy.  But what about the costs that are not as easy to see.  So let’s discuss those.  You know that bright green pasture, with the beautiful white rail fence you saw the mare frolicking in?  Did you know the costs to keep it that way?  Boards snap all on a regular basis.  The costs per acre to weed/fertilize would surprise you.  Dragging the pasture to keep the worms down, pests down takes fuel.  Cutting the grass, to keep it appealing for the horses to eat, and appealing for the consumer to look at…fuel, maintenance of farm equipment, purchase of said equipment.  TIME.  Bringing the foal/mare in for feeding, time, labor.

The barn: shavings, electric, labor to keep it clean, boards that they kick and break, repairs repairs repairs.  Even the water hose usually gets replaced every few months which adds to the tally.

Then there is the time commitment, and energy expanded on this horse.  I don’t show a horse that looks like crap.  They have to be kept clean, labor, they have to have baths, shampoos, towels that need washed.  Clipper blades.  Show Sheen.  And that list can go on and on and on.

Then after you do all that, you have to sell them, and say goodbye.  NOT an easy thing to do.

Then after you do all that, you have to sell them, and say goodbye. NOT an easy thing to do.

Then there is training.  Many breeding operations do not have a live in trainer, and thereby have to hire a trainer.  They don’t get a break.  They pay the same that you would for a trainer.  Or in the case that the seller is also the trainer, again, time.  TIME.  A very valuable commodity.  Trainers don’t have much of it.

Want a show record.  There is that can of worms. You must go to shows.  Entry fees are not cheap. The trailer, the truck, a groom.  Stalls.  Shavings at shows.  It all adds up.

Soundness.  OH to have a perfectly sound horse.  I can’t tell you how many times you go to get a horse, have a vet come do x-rays, and they see a slight roughening, that has been there for years, never caused a day of lameness, and after everything, the buyer offers half, and walks away angry when we can’t accept it.

Good Labor is hard to find....

Good Labor is hard to find….

So we covered the costs of the horse.  BUT, often something is forgotten….the pro.  THAT is his job.  So at the end of the day, he can, are you ready for this?  Go home, eat, lay down in his bed, provided he has one, turn on his lights, that are part of his electrical service, watch a bit of cable TV and have a beer.  Send his kids off to school the next day with lunch money, in shoes that don’t have holes, and make his car payment. Because like all people, the pro has that to pay too and those costs are part of why horses are priced as they are.

When you are figuring out a budget on a horse, realize, we all would like to have a perfect horse, for 10k, and go our merry way.

So that 25k that the pro is asking for the horse that they bred, trained, raised, and developed a show record on….more than likely, they are making nothing for it, and just trying to pay some bills, survive to do this another year, and make you happy.  So next time you see a PRO,  remember, they too have a house payment, car payment, kids who need things, and an electric bill to pay.  And they would REALLY enjoy sitting down and eating if there are a few dollars left.

Happy Horse Hunting!!!

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

62 Responses to I want to buy a horse!!! For 10K or Less. And I want it to be……

  1. Jennifer Holling says:

    Agreed. It cost us $15K a year to keep a horse and that does not include competitions. That is just feeding, vaccinations, stall mucking, shavings, etc. God forbid that it need any veterinary care for an emergency! Then we try and do a good job. Not rush them and give them a solid foundation in their training. It is expensive to try and make a nice horse that you would be proud to sell.

    • artistgus says:

      What I feel people fail to appreciate, is not just the costs for the horse, but costs to run a business. Taxes, workers comp, health care, property taxes. All of those things have to be figured into the costs of our business. And to give the kind of base that we give, takes time and money. I think many forget that.

    • Geoff in South Oz says:

      Huh? Where in Oz does it cost you $15k AU a year to keep a horse? Remind me never to move there. I live in the Mid North of South Australia. Horse – OTT (Harness racing – pacer) StandardBred Bay gelding, rising ten. Paddock condition after 6 months spell. Apparently sound. May have been ridden once or twice in that time. Cost $350. Stabling – 3 side and roof shelter with yard – beach sand not shavings, with own tack/feed shed. Hay shed (shared) Water included. No electricity but we’ve tossed in some solar lighting. Cost $100 per calendar month. Site belongs to a harness racing owner/trainer (no he didn’t sell us the horse – came from elsewhere but he knew him from the track). Feed: mix of oaten/wheaten hay, (around $7 a square bale or $60 for big rounds) plus Cool Plus pellets ($20 for 20kg bag as a supplement) and some chaff and molasses occasionally. Roughly $25-$30 a week. Worming $18 every 3 months.
      Farrier, about $40 to reshape his feet (unshod and a bit poor at the time we got him) Not shod, has good hard feet and does well without shoes. (work area and stables are all beach sand filled.) Got him late August. He did a 40km round trip ride under saddle last week. Still fit, sound and not even slightly lame. Dirt road 90% of the way. Farrier will check him again at the end of this month, but likely he will not need shoes. Walks and trots under saddle nicely now, stands for mount/dismount beautifully. Needs a bit of a firm hand at times when out and about, but friendly and good with kids, dogs and traffic (such as it is here). Will canter but it’s all over the place as yet, (crossfiring) so we need to work on that to whatever degree possible. Not going to be in the Olympics or even the Royal Show, but a nice, safe, friendly pleasure horse. Bonus: Being an ex harness racer, he’s already harness broken – shopping for a sulky to explore that further. Former owners and trainers tell us he was a pleasant horse in harness and very easy to drive. Vet: Well, that’s expensive for sure. Fortunately we haven’t needed one yet. No ‘horse’ vets locally. We can deal with most minor stuff ourselves so it would need to be something we couldn’t handle to call a vet in. We worm etc ourselves, treat minor injuries etc. It’s not rocket science and there’s plenty of info out there. I lived in the far north for some years and there was NO vet – we had horses there too and we HAD to learn to be self sufficient for just about everything – nearest vet was 3 hours at 110kph away. I haven’t added all that up, but it’s still not anything like $15k a year! I’ve not included tack and such, but we got s/h stock and western saddles, blankets, bridles etc for a mere $200 and have probably spent about the same on other miscellaneous bits of kit, mostly s/h (facebook and ebay are your friend). We seem to have everything we need. Not sure how you can spend $15k a year, but everything included I doubt it’s more than a quarter of that. Are we just lucky?

      • artistgus says:

        IF you add just hard costs for the HORSE only…don’t add in time, house payments, barn payments, upkeep, etc. YEs, it can add up quickly. Plus don’t forget things like Taxes, both income and property. IF I sell a horse for 15k, about 3500 goes straight to our government.

      • Geoff in South Oz says:

        “IF you add just hard costs for the HORSE only…don’t add in time, house payments, barn payments, upkeep, etc. YEs, it can add up quickly. Plus don’t forget things like Taxes, both income and property. IF I sell a horse for 15k, about 3500 goes straight to our government.”

        Um, ok, if you are doing this as a sole means of earning a living, I see the issues. It’s simpler here, the climate doesn’t require stables and stalls as such, or any form of heat, even in winter. We just stick a rug on them if it’s cold. The shelter is just corrugated steel over a simple frame, for shelter from rain or sun and they each have enough yard to wander around in and roll etc. Don’t start me on the issues of horsecare when it’s 48c in summer, some seemingly common issues have a different cause in hot, and especially hot and dry weather… I’m not a professional breeder or trainer either. I will say that very few horses (outside the TB racing world) go for anything like that sort of money here. OTT horses can be had for dogmeat prices (less sometimes, like ours) and even quite respectable ones for a few thousand at most. You can get a quite respectable horse for a few grand. There is no tax on private sales of anything, (ie noncommercial operations) so that’s not a factor for me, but it’s 10% to someone in the industry I suppose and I’m just renting a stable so uh ‘property tax’ is not a factor. Not the same here on land without a dwelling – this is a block of land with nothing but stables and yards – the owner lives elsewhere in town. The only permanent resident – aside from the horses that come and go – is a red heeler and the odd lizard and brown snake. You seem to have some very high costs, rather more than we do here for some reason. I sympathise. I’m not an eventer myself (I rather like Endurance riding myself) but there are some StandardBreds in that discipline and some of them do fairly well for being one step from the doggers at some point in their life. My daughter recently picked up another OTT SB gelding, rising 9, for $500, in his career he won nearly 200k. Nice horse. Already saddle broken and not even a little spooky. Around here anyway, there are plenty of horses for low money, but that doesn’t mean they’ll fit all the crazy criteria mentioned. Apparently, ours can jump 12″ quite readily. We didn’t plan that, but it’s handy to know. Was an instance recently of a teenage girl being killed when she came off a straight off the track Thoroughbred some fool thought was ok to teach learners on. Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.

      • artistgus says:

        My point, wasn’t that there aren’t good horse available for cheap. There are. There are just not good horses available for cheap that know everything people think they should know for cheap. And I also wanted to address how many forget that a Professional has to pay the bills also. I think, frequently, people forget that we are in a business. While it is a recreational hobby for some, for some of us, it is how we put bread and butter on our table. But yes, you can get an OTTB here for next to nothing as well…..and if you are willing to do all the work, take a chance it won’t turn out the way you want it, and know how to bring it up from scratch to Preliminary, then of course, do that. This was aimed more for those looking for made, safe, sound, sane horses. For nothing.

      • I am glad you posted. I live in Canada and we have hard winters in most of the country and do not need to pay anywhere near this amount for a horse for a year, and we need insulated buildings with a certain amount of heating in them for 6 months to keep water pipes from freezing. And to be clear, good care does not always mean expensive care. I have been in some places with 600$ a month price tags on them that had shit food, shit bedding and incompetent staff. I run a breeding operation here myself and the vet bills we have come nowhere near the amounts mentioned in this article. So far this year we have done over 20 insemination’s and have not reached even 25% of your costs. And in case you were wondering, our stallion is a very well bred Selle Francais show jumper imported from Europe with an excellent show record and proven get.
        Of course there are people here who spend 50-60-70k a year to keep a horse. It is easy to get sucked into a lot of traps. But if you have a head on your shoulders and are willing to get your hands dirty and do most of the work yourself, the amounts stated in this article are for princesses who have brought the My Little Pony fantasy to the next level.

      • artistgus says:

        Jennifer, My point was much more about, please don’t ask me to take less for a horse then I physically have in it. Nor was it an article because someone didn’t buy something. What it WAS, was asking people to understand that A: Itr costs a lot of time and effort to get a horse that I described in the first few sentences of the article, and that B: If you do find it, the cost isn’t going to be 10k. OF COURSE people can buy horses for next to nothing, and end up with the above. HOWEVER, it will take time, expense, etc. And knowledge. But if you want to go out and you want to buy the made horse, that is going around training, can jump 3’6″, has leads, is safe, sound and not psychotic. That was trained by a pro, it is going to be rather tough to find for 10k. You may find something they feel will get there, with time, and more training. I have 3 horses right now that are all under 10k. But they aren’t huge, one is a mare, none are doing 3’6″ right now, and only one has leads established. So the article is more about that then anything. As for not paying even a 1/4 of my cost for AI. I am well aware that I paid too much. But I did. I also know that most of the stallions I WOULD breed to, or choose to breed to, are minimal 2500 stud fee. Or worse, 1500 a dose for frozen semen. It’s not playing with My Little Pony dolls. It is Ocala.

      • JPR says:

        This is an American article. It is an entirely different horse culture over there where the majority board their horses at facilities that cost upwards of $500US per month and pay a trainer on top of that to ride their horse and have lessons etc. also many of them pay grooms for shows to braid etc.
        We’re lucky here you can get a decent prelim horse for $10k, it costs next to nothing to keep them and we do most of our own mucking, feeding, grooming and training.
        Entirely different culture.

      • Sally Stagg says:

        Yes you are lucky . We train and compete and it costs me 15k a year as well.

      • Tash says:

        Just on that note Geoff, I also live in (Victoria) Australia, most definitely agree that in Aus it’s a million times cheaper & more accessible to own horses at an amateur level here than the US. But there are certainly those who do so at a much higher level and much higher cost! I know many agistments that cost $250 per week, that’s $13k alone on the homing of the horse! Have a browse through horsedeals website and see how many non racehorses are easily sold at 50k+ and these are cheaper ones, have seen grand prix dressage horses at 300k! Super lucky in Aus that if we want to keep it cheap we certainly can, and if we have cash to splash (I can only dream!) that option is also available.

      • Robin says:

        You are just lucky. I keep my horses at home in Florida and it costs me 3 to $400 US dollars per horse just for hay and shavings. Hay is about $13-15 for a 50 lb bale of some sort of Timothy type hay here. Grass is nonexistent in the winter because it’s too dry. It costs me about $500 a week for my farm help and I am not sitting on the couch eating Bonbons while she does all the work. On top of that there are farrier, vet and insurance costs as well as other farm costs. I am not in the business of selling horses but it costs me every bit of $10k a year or more each to keep the 3 I have and that doesn’t count any of my time that I spend caring for them and training them.

      • artistgus says:

        The costs of having horses in Florida is mind boggling. The hay alone kills us. What they pay 2.00 a bale for up north, is what we are lucky to find for 14.00. You pray for the rain in the summer to help keep grass alive, and hate the frost come winter, cause it is going to kill you.

      • ok, wow sounds bad. 70$AU here buys a round bale of oaten hay that weighs about 16 normal bales.. Recently moved stables -$10 a week – and closer to home. We help with repairs etc but thats fine.

      • sarah says:

        Exactly right. And australia is one of the most expensive countries to live in!

  2. Pamela Duffy says:

    Don’t even get me started! Same viewpoint and experiences. So all I will say here is: I know, I know, I know! Voice growing more weary and face beginning to sag even more than it already does…

  3. jill says:

    Tell them to look in the stall between the unicorn and the pegasus….

  4. Elizabeth Greathouse says:

    You just nailed it. I read those requests and the only thing I see is ignorance on the wanted ads. I always chuckle too, most times a horse falls into all our desired stong categories most always is not the color we had in mind, gender, age, breed and even price point we intended to stay in. Reason being, horses like cars are also an emotional purpose. We can justify in our minds why one horse works over the other and so that is also the beauty of choice. The article brings me to this simple point I often remind my clients of and that is this simple Example.
    A horse and rider team is only as good as the rider,standard of care for the horse, and a training program mentally and physically encompassing for both horse and rider. An 80k horse that I would buy my daughter one day will not STAY and 80k horse unless the whole list of maintenance and training mentioned in this article was done on a regular basis as a standard for the horse. It’s called maintaining the investment . Also , with the proper “maintenance of the investment” there is a high chance it will gain in value. To the author, very well and to the point article.

  5. Pingback: Food for thought on horse budgets, pricing,etc

  6. Pam Salem says:

    Sadly too true. And there are scavengers waiting to grab the good ones when you hit a rough spot. I bred for 20 yrs and will not again. Not ever again in this lifetime. The heartache is too great.

  7. Susanne says:

    So true! Now add costs for imported stock to diversify breeding pool…and costs to maintain breed registries, etc . Driving purchase price below “cost to produce” simply means reputable breeders will go out of business, leaving future shoppers to import, rescue or buy from people who won’t be able to put money INTO their horses.

  8. Yes, we have calculated that it costs us 20K to 25K to get a purpose bred eventer to a professional to sell as a 4-year-old.

  9. Tanya Bridgeman says:

    Brilliant article. Well done!

  10. CR Dressage says:

    Add in the price of a good mare too. My imported, well-bred mares were $50K each!

  11. K harris says:

    Gosh, you would have loved me every time I went horse hunting. I wanted a mare or a gelding, preferably between the ages of 5 and 10, preferably between 14 and 15 hands, definitely essentially sound, definitely sane – no essentially here – and some color from grey thru bay and chestnut to black or spotted, within my budget which last was under $5000. Yes, they do exist if you look! I never got all of my wants, but I surely have had some nice horses that suit me. Each is still on my property whether buried or standing. My first was a lovely bay quarter horse pony mare. She was 12 when I bought her and lived to 34. She taught my kids to ride and took me from shows to trails. Then came my daughter’s little gelding who became mine. Sane in the ring, iffy on the trail, very sane in groups. He topped out at 14’3″. He was a grey. We met him the day after he hit the ground and bought him at 20 months. Trained him from the ground up. He passed at 27. Then my appy mare, just turned three when I got her and just broke to tack. I trained her from the ground up and she is now my almost always reliable trail horse. Next came the mistake, a gorgeous four year old quarter horse rescue
    gelding. I poured thousands into professional training and he launched me into the hospital. He went back to the rescue. And finally, my current little guy. I wanted a mare. Oh well. He was 12 when I got him. Oh well. He had a lot of training that had to be undone. Oh well. The seller significantly reduced his asking price for me. Yeah! He is perfect for me. My point? Take your time and open your mind. Your perfect horse probably does exist at a price you can afford but you have to be willing to look hard, expand your must haves, be realistic, and invest in your horse once he or she is yours.

  12. Krystina says:

    Wow! You definitely nailed it! Absolutely brilliant article. Just goes to show how little people understand what kind of preparation really goes into taking a foal, giving it a solid foundation to set it up positively for life, and to raise it for a future home. It’s hard, but most people don’t understand the blood, sweat, tears, money and time that goes into it. It’s sad.

  13. Excellent article and right to the point. We have had so many people with the same requests, and they know nothing about horses

  14. Paul Kinane says:

    Hi there all, funny story!! My uncle sold masters horses when I was 8 yrs old, they averaged 12 to 14 thousand pounds, I’m now 47 yrs young and in the horse business, horses are now 6 to ten grand on average for masters horses. And people want a guarantee with them!!!!! People are breeding less, people are paying less, the half bred breeding business in Ireland is over!!!!!!
    Something needs to be done!!!

  15. Ameen Idrees says:

    Ok if anyone knows a means to invest on horses profitably let me know. I’m up for that.

  16. Adam says:

    Many businesses have similar scenarios. I’ve been in the machining business for years and it’s much the same; customers want their parts yesterday, made out of expensive hard to get materials, machined to extremely tight tolerances with perfect finish etc and they want them for pennies. No different than the dip$it who wants a perfectly cooked filet mignon from the local greasy spoon for $5.99. A good horse, just like a good machine, car, house etc, costs money – you get what you pay for.

  17. pwynnnorman says:

    I remember back on The Chronicle of the Horse’s Breeder’s Forum, when we used to argue this all the time. But, sorry, Missy, the market sets the price, not the seller. If a business is competing with a gazillion other businesses to sell the same product to a dwindling number of buyers, it’s called a seller’s market. The “middle market” (Which is what? Probably about $20K-$50K, maybe, in eventing?) for many “disposable income” products IS dwindling in this age of exrtreme income gaps. Of course, the horse the girl you describe so humorously isn’t, as you indicate, describing a “middle market” horse, but most of the posts responding to your blog still aren’t being realistic about what it means to sell a product. Just because “you” (not you personally, just folks in general) were foolish enough to put $20K into relatively common animal (in terms of the market) doesn’t mean someone else has to pay that much if there are a ton of other middle market horses (the definition of “common”) out there that can get them happily into the ring just as safely. We never like to admit it, but the truth is that we rarely profit because unless you live out west where you DON’T have the huge overhead–or are in a sport where competing doesn’t involve scads of resources and personnel, like eventing verses, say, cutting–or even better: western pleasure–rare is the beast which increases in value equal to or more than the money it consumes (unless you buy it, improve it, and sell it in a very short period of time, of course). That’s just a fact–as is the fact that the market, NOT the seller, dictates the price. So, if a $35K horse isn’t selling, it isn’t because too many buyers are unrealistic, it’s because too many sellers actually ARE realistic.

    • HAHAHAHA western pleasure doesn’t involve “scads of resources”?! To compete at the top levels, you are talking about outfits that cost at least $1,000, not to mention saddles that cost $5,000-$25,000. (Here is a USED one for $16k http://www.harrisleather.com/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=2373&category_id=55&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=1) I don’t show WP, and I agree with your general point about the market dictating the price, but don’t insult an industry you know nothing about.

      • artistgus says:

        The last I had heard, the WP horse makes an event horse look cheap. Yes, it is indeed an expensive sport. Thanks for the link. That is one nice saddle.

      • Saraj says:

        They said eventing VERSUS…., meaning wp horses would be much more expensive.

      • Actually, not only is there nothing in there that was insulting unless you chose to read it that way, but I think it is the other way around: Do YOU know what I meant about the “resources” required to put on an event or develop an event horse? Saddles EVERYWHERE cost a lot, but I don’t see Western Pleasure horses needing courses that cost thousands upon thousand of dollars to design and build, nor does the judging of Western Pleasure horses require 20-30+ “judges” to be present on the rail (who need to be transported, fed, and managed by someone even though they are volunteers), nor does it require the emergency personnel, field personnel, specialized judges (for the THREE phases), specialized vehicles (to transport personnel and equipment and materials across rough terrain), or the three different sets of tack each horse needs (You think that ONE saddle is expensive? How about THREE saddles: for dressage, xc and stadium???), and so on and so on and so on. Soooo, not an insult. Just stating a fact–and I have spent many an hour watching and hanging out with folks who do western pleasure, cutting and reining. I love all horse sports, which is why it never crosses my mind to be “insulting” to any particular one…Well, big lick Walkers when they are abused–yeah, that I couldn’t help but speak ill of.

    • kkP says:

      Good points. I sold fifty plus horses over thirty years and never considered what I had in them to be relevant to pricing. They were always priced to sell at what the market dictated. Buyers do not consider seller’s costs. Buyers consider what is the least they can pay to get the most for their money. Period.

  18. artistgus says:

    Wynn, for some reason you attribute EVERYTHING to Missy. This is, in fact, Dee. My article was not about what market we are in. But what people can realistically expect to pay for something described above. As for being a seller vs buyer market. For the honest, sound, sane horse. Priced about 20k, there are buyers.

  19. Courtney D Jacob says:

    Mare bashing?? People, pay attention to their needs and you have the best competition horse, period.
    Also, check out the Super Semen (frozen) warmblood stallions (European only). Contendro, Diarado, Rotsoon, Stedinger, Quintender, Escudo 1, etc. I’m breeding two mares on one dose…😊

    • Brandy Lewis says:

      Yikes! My bomb proof registered paint cost me $1500 age 7 and came from a rodeo family. I was laughed at for spending so much. Just bought a spotted Tennessee Walker Mare for $600. Six years old and has been used as a 4-h horse. Then there’s the horse from the meat barn $30.00. A pregnant mare or mare and foal might go for$150.00 at auction. I free range so get a first cutting of hay that will last me all winter. $191.00 to have hay field cut and average $20.00 month for ferrier. All vaccines given by self. $35.00 year from tractor supply. My horses are on the road, trails, parades, 4-h competions and do what is asked. Glad I live in Ohio. Never even have ever heard of a horse that expensive. I do understand that the article is for the prime of prime horses and I’m sure that takes money and fools out there to pay it.

      • artistgus says:

        Brandi, You are indeed lucky to be living in an area where things are so much less expensive. I just saw some hay come down from your neck of the woods, they paid 8.00 a bale for it. Down here, if we are lucky to find that fresh and quality, it is often in excess of 22.00 a bale. But my article isn’t about the best of the best horses. Did you know that some of the highest level eventers can sell for six-figures. YUp. Many of the english disciplines are quite expensive to get involved in. My point in the article was more about what you might expect to pay for a horse going around a novice or training level event, doing everything that the buyer would want, and what that actually costs. VS. What we think it should cost.

      • You live in ohio and haven’t heard of a horse that expensive?! Are you aware you live in the same state as the largest breed specific horse show: quarter horse congress? Horses there sell into the mid six figures every year.

  20. g says:

    I think it was a great article and will hopefully open the minds of those thinking they can find the “perfect” horse for a very cheap price. Yes they can be found, if you search high and wide. Most of my lesson horses are either given to me, or are free leases due to the fact that I maintain their soundness. People trust me and my program. However I have had clients looking for that great deal that do not understand the cost associated with an experienced schoolmaster. So their alternative is to “buy Young”. We know how that can end up. As a buyer you are going to pay on one end or the other. Buy young and pay for training, or buy a schoolmaster and pay for maintenance. Or become a professional and make it yourself. Any way you look at it…. it costs a LOT of money.

  21. eventer2b says:

    I just purchased my first horse after looking for about a year. I calculated the cost of caring for a horse to be between $15-$20K per year in the Northern Virginia area in the US (closer to the higher end if showing). A pro can do it more economically than I can, but I still I don’t know how you could make much profit since a horse with 1 year of training is still really green. OOTBs might, but it is very hard to find a sound one with good conformation for longevity. I vetted 5 horses before I found my horse. There were several young ones that weren’t even passing the flexions and it was a non-starter for a 4-5 year green horse to not pass the flexions. I finally found an awesome 12 year old, 16’3, gray hanovarian gelding, who passed the flexions and was more sound than any of the younger green horses. My budget was $20-$25K, but I ended up paying $10K for him since he was not in full work. Anyway, I guess, bottom line, I agree that $20K-$25 is not an unreasonable price for a healthy, good tempered, moderately (novice-training level eventer) trained horse.

  22. Linda C. says:

    Unfortunately it does not always work out that you add up all the money you put in a horse, and that what you should get back at sale time. That is wishful thinking in most cases. Otherwise my 18 yr old pleasure mare, never shown to speak of (unless you count that time we did the walk jog over 40 pleasure class), chronic on off lameness issues, decently trained but not really particularly talented at anything, should sell for, I’d estimate, $100,000.

  23. Pingback: Friday News & Notes from FLAIR Nasal Strips | Eventing Nation - Three-Day Eventing News, Results, Videos, and Commentary

  24. chickenlicker says:

    Why would you think that slight changes on an xray wouldn’t result in a lower price tag? Why would they still pay $25k for your horse when they could go find another horse with clean xrays for $25k? There’s no shortage of horses and despite the horse never having been lame, it’s a fair indicator that something will go wrong down the track, it’s just whether it’ll be in the next few years or not. If there are changes when the horse is that young, I’d bank on it causing unsoundness at a later date. It’s more of a risk than a horse with clean xrays.

    Also, the money that you put in to create an animal doesn’t automatically mean that the animal is worth that price. It’s going to be more difficult to get that price back without clean xrays. Breeders are dreaming if they think horses with problems (whatever the problem.. conformation, unsoundness, injury) are still going to fetch a price that will cover what it cost to breed them.

  25. Ann-Britt says:

    I couldn’t agree more. 🙂

  26. Jennifer Z says:

    The sad thing is that the horses suffer for our economic woes and get pushed to grow up; (sounds like our children). As in the pic above, these fillies were weaned at 4 months, vs. an optimal 5 or 6 months. Many disciplines begin riding their colts and fillies at or before 2 years old while they are in crucial development stages, just so they can get them on the market faster. We see the young ones in the show ring and pushed to excel at levels really beyond their young years. Then, people wonder why these horses are washed up at earlier years than need be. Unfortunately, I don’t see that this will ever change.

    • artistgus says:

      Actually, the reason both of these fillies were weaned at 4 months had nothing to do with me selling them. Neither is even offered for sale. It had to do with the fact that both were growing at an alarming rate, and had developed epiphasitis and the Vet said to get them off their mothers. Because even though, we had cut back on the grain/hay rations. They continued to grow at alarming rates. My 5 y.o., Homebred, didn’t start jumping till late in her 4th year. Just as neither of these will. My 5 y.o., also, didn’t get broke till late her 3rd year.

  27. lori hanson says:

    We’ve had people tell us outdoor board should be free because it costs us nothing for the horse to just stand there and eat!

  28. Kas says:

    Just once I would like to get back out of a horse, what we put in… This is a sport based on people who love the sport, but more importantly the horse. Most of us who breed horses, do so because we love horses, not because we are trying to make money. I love this article, I just wish it was always realistic to get those kinds of dollars for the high quality horses we sell.

    • Our point of view 100%. We breed horses because we LOVE horses. To us it’s not only a hobby but a life style. If we don’t necessarily get back the money we should get at least we get a satisfaction and sense of fulfilment that is beyond description. As far as prices go it depends where you live, the quality you breed and of course demand and supply.

  29. martina says:

    I didn’t have to read all of it ….. I knew for a long time and that doesn’t matter where you live:
    Most want EVERYTHING for NOTHING !

  30. Carolyn Hall says:

    So, about 20 minutes after I posted a link to the article “I want to buy a horse!!! For 10K or less. And I want it to be …,” my ex-marketing-manager, stock-trading, free-market-capitalist father called to tell me to stop whining and to remind me that the cost of producing a product has very little to do with the price at which that product can be sold. The sell price is determined, not by the cost, but by competition in the free market.

    If I spend $30k training a promising horse over a period of years (which my Dad continually reminds me I’ve done), and that horse is only worth $10k (which it was) at the time I finally decide to sell it, I can’t price it at $31k and hope to make a profit. People who say “I’ve got to get my money back” will not. The money is already lost. The horse is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it, regardless of how much you’ve plowed into it. You made a bad investment. Learn the lesson, suck it up, and move on.

    Buyers’ hopes and expectations are always outrageous. I want a new iPhone for $50. I want a new Mercedes for $10k. The woman who posted that article is complaining that buyers want large, flashy, young, healthy geldings that are athletic and well trained for under $10k. Hello! Isn’t that what you want? Isn’t that what we all want? (Actually, I want that horse for under $2k.) Isn’t this basically the same things we want in our cars? Our houses? Our men (healthy geldings??)? Our shoes? Our kids? Of course it is. It’s called “good value.” Bang for the buck.

    You can’t sell $35k eventing horses to people who want to buy them for $10k. You either have to figure out how to lower your costs or raise their price expectations. The woman who wrote this article (and people who responded with “Amen”) is trying to raise customers’ price expectations by “educating” them as to how much it “really costs” to raise and train the horses they want to buy. You know what? They don’t care. I guarantee they still want everything for $10k.

    WE GET IT!

    We only buy large (16h+), handsome, “healthy,” young geldings. (The mares and small horses we try to sell are on behalf of clients.) We train and show our horses as quickly as we can (before the board, feed, Vet, farrier, transportation, and show costs get out of control), and we always try to sell them for less than $10k (and even that price is a problem for many potential buyers). These guidelines pretty much limit us to Thoroughbreds, and we typically only buy one in ten of the prospects we look at. But our efforts are all aimed at satisfying our customers.

    It’s not about training and selling the horses we’d like to sell (million dollar Warmbloods) . . . it’s about training and selling the horses regular people want to buy. It’s not driven by the cost . . . it’s driven by the price. We have to sell quality horses for less than $10k because that’s what our customers want to buy. It’s the difference between being market driven and company driven. Whether or not we make a profit (and we often do not) strictly depends on whether we control our costs and keep them well below the targeted sell prices. But we’re getting better. Fortunately, one of our Team members is a cost accountant.

    Thanks for the reminder Dad.

    • artistgus says:

      Carolyn, the point in this article was not, can you buy horses for 10K. OR what I do or do not make as a profit. I do not do this for the fun of supplying the world with made horses, at a loss for me. I would no sooner go into someone’s business, lets take a doctor for instance, and say, HI, please treat me at your costs. Or better, at a loss. My article is aimed at educating the general public into what goes into the making of the horse that was described in the opening paragraph. I personally have 4 horse for sale. All under 10k. They are going to be very nice horses. The prices will rise, as they become educated and trained. I frequently sale horses. And I get fair prices. But, I think most consumers forget, we are out to make a profit. We are out to try and take care of ourselves. There is a difference in getting bang for your buck, and getting a Masarati at Geo prices. It won’t happen. I have 4 horses, all under 10k. I have 3, I won’t take less then 35k for. My daughter shows as well, and you are correct, they are only worth what someone will pay for them. And fortunately, there are educated consumers, with funds, to realize, that they may need to raise the price point to purchase what they want. I am probably the queen of doing this as inexpensively as I can, but the fact is, IT COSTS money to produce a nice training prospect. And if you can’t fund that much, then somewhere else along the way, the money is going to get spent. It could be with a trainer, or spending 2 years taking care of it, and campaigning it. It is still expensive, and when you figure it out, and you figure in your time….it’s not going to be 10k.

  31. Callie says:

    It sounds like you have a clear handle on what it takes to be a business, and are accounting for all of your costs and overhead.

    Except- you are competing with a huge pile of non-businesses. Places that don’t account for their overhead in some (or many) ways. The spouses income pays the mortgage, the owner does it “for love” the owner runs at a loss of the tax break on other income, They just have no idea what their costs are and just think 10k is a lot of money so they must have a profit.

    This is what makes it so hard to sell nice horses (or training, or whatever) for what it is really worth- because for every horse business that is a business, there are 4 others that are not. Maybe they aren’t paying insurance, business licensing, etc. Maybe they just don’t think of themselves as a business, so they don’t operate like one.

    I wish you luck and applaud your efforts to run your operation like a business. I have go the other way and gotten out of the industry.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s