Monday, July 6, 2009


Much like a lot of you all, I often shop for horses on line. I'm actually looking for a couple of good horses for friends, so it's not a lookee loo situation. Plus you never know what kind of good horses you are going to find out there- the thrill of the hunt and all of that. So here I am, cruisin' websites with a specific kind of horse in mind, and one link leads to another and pretty soon, I am looking at a few good horses, show type horses, and I look for the price tag. 
Blink blink! GADDS! 
The prices on some of these horses were in excess of $30,000! 
Now these were nice AQHA horses, but they were all two and under- with NO show record. Their Mama's were nice horses- but...NO SHOW RECORD! Their Daddy was a nice horse too- a 'Chocolate Chip' horse in fact... but no show record there either. So I start looking around in other places...other websites, only to find that people have their horses priced so high. 
I also found a few nice horses with show records that were in excess of $50,000- SAY WHAT! 

And it got me thinking... this is where I get myself in trouble- thinking- How can folks in this economy justify spending that much money on a horse just to win a competition? Oh I know that there is some money tied up in the show world, especially ( obviously by the prices being asked) for stud fees. But in the shows I go to- AQHA shows- the exhibitor list is down- not up. There are very few young riders, most are older middle aged women with some disposable income. And there are still the same trainers with clientele- but for a mid level showman- such as myself and probably most of you- a $50,000 hobby is excessive to say the least. 

And if the mid-level showman can't afford the horse( or all the trappings) what is going to happen to the shows? And if the shows fail, the Breed Organizations will fail and the whole industry is likely to crumble. Leaving us all with excessively priced horses that no one can afford to purchase. 

It seems like a Catch-22 situation doesn't it?

But what is the answer? Should Breeders cut the prices of their horses? Should they breed less horses? If they breed less horses, their own bottom line will suffer- they still have mortgages and car payments too. But if they dropped the price, more people could afford a really nice horse. They might even be able to show that horse, adding money to the economy and our industry in particular. 
I know a few of you are thinking, " Well Vaquerogirl, just don't buy those high priced horses." or, perhaps " There are other things to do with a horse other than show it!" True- but then again who is going to pay $50,000 for a pet or a backyard trail horse? 
I don't usually spend a lot of money on a horse. I can't !  I buy a well bred youngster and train it myself. But I'm not setting the AQHA world on fire either!  Would I buy a nicer horse if it weren't so expensive- you bet. The horse I have now is the most expensive one I've ever owned, and he is no way the best horse I've ever had. That honor goes to a $350. 00 horse I bought and trained myself when I was just a kid. 

So what is the most money you've ever spent buying a horse?
A. Free ( no such thing- you PAY in soooo many ways)
B.$500- $1000
E-Way more! 



Breathe said...

My bucking boy ran me 3k. I'm hoping to find a wonderful trail horse for under 2k... was that b? I'm terrible at multiple choice. :)

The Wife said...

The most I've spent was C. I was in junior high and my dad trained race horses. I was in love with one of the horses and he loved me. One of the owner's saw the connection we had and gave me his half when he retired the horse. I had the buy the other half from the other co-owner. It ran be about $2K.

Vaquerogirl said...

Desi is in the D category.

Stephanie said...

My last 3 horses have been in the (E) category and I have only been able to re-sell 2 of them and still be in that same category - of course one burned up in the barn.....anyways, don't know the answer - no one wants to lose money on the horses they have of course. I just think we're about to enter a major market correction like the one we saw in the 80s - sometimes that's what it takes....

I still have stretchers for sale....sigh....and he is trustable, has a show record and tons of training...

Vaquerogirl said...

Stephanie- Don't forget to mention that he is Cute cute CUTE!

Blackfeatherfarm said...

Actually my first horse WAS free, an older arab gelding. He was a schoolmaster who had done a little of everything. He was a joy, and taught me a lot. I'll always miss him. My second horse is a draft cross, I bought her because I couldn't afford a friesian. She was 2k at nine months old and she is my dream girl. I don't really relate to those who spend SO much money for horses. I would rather build a good horse and enjoy the journey with them, than to buy something finished. I think ego has a lot to do with what people spend on horses{and other things.}

C-ingspots said...

My hubby spent $2400 for his TB and that's the most $ we've ever spent on a horse. My mare that I had as a kid was an awesome horse and my folks paid $75.00 and she came with all her tack. Way cool! The others we have raised ourselves and done most of our own training. Don't see how people can spend that kind of $ on a horse, but like dad used to don't hurt to ask!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

C. And it's the grouchy 16 yr old mare I've got now. We obviously paid way to much for her ($3,500) and got suckered by a horse dealer (didn't know she was a dealer at the time).

Now I can't even sell her for $1,800 OBO.
And I'd really love to have an older, calm, quiet, beginner horse for me and my kidlets. Wish you lived closer...maybe you could help me horse shop?


gtyyup said...

In most cases for me, the cheaper the horse, the better it was! I once spent a whopping $2500 on a horse...that tried to kill me!

Free - under $1000 is what I usually will pay. I paid $1200 for Colt.

I can't afford to buy a fancy, finished horse...I have to train it myself...and I like it that way.

Personally I think that the breeders need to breed fewer horses...quality not quantity. Especially the silly backyard breeders, and they should also put an affordable price on the horses so more folks can enjoy the sport. It would be win-win I think.

Eventually as the backlog of horses we have now diminishes, things will pick up again...I hope.