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)