Good-Bye Mom and Pop?

Once upon a time, mom and pop could operate a small commercial breeding operation. They owned a few inexpensive mares and bred them to stallions with inexpensive fees. They sold the resulting offspring as yearlings, sometimes making a little money and sometimes losing a little, but not a lot.

They got to enjoy the outdoor life, watch some beautiful animals roam their pastures, and a have some fun.

But those days are over, according to David Hager of Idle Hour Farm.

"You have to pay for your fun now," he said recently.

What Hager meant was that the high costs of raising horses, outside of stud fees, have made them too expensive to raise and even too expensive to race for many of the moms and pops of the Thoroughbred world. There's also less expendable income, so people don't have as much money to spend on something that's not a necessity.

"The cost of everything -- your vet bills, your insurance, your feed, the fuel for your trucks - has gone up," said Hager, who was the Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers' Club's Farm Manager of the Year for 2009. "You used to be able to take a cheaper mare, bring her babies to the sale ring, and get some money for them. Nowadays, you don't get that much for the babies. You can bring them up there, get no bids, and then you're stuck with them. There are not enough end users at the bottom level, and you can't blame them because the costs of training, veterinary bills, and all that other stuff are just too much. People can't afford to train cheap horses anymore so nobody wants to buy them."

"Instead of talking about buying a mare and having a little fun with her, people are talking about the costs of it and not being able to afford it," Hager continued. "And it's not the just the cost of the mare because you can get one pretty cheap. It's the costs of foaling, breeding, and just having a horse. People used to have enough expendable income that they could have little hobby, have a little pet, and play around with it. Now it comes down to the cost, and nobody wants to spend the money now unless they can recover it. Funds are tighter."

Even if you breed a mare using a less expensive stud fee, you need to sell her yearling for at least $30,000 "to break even or get pretty close to it," Hager said.

That's a big challenge for mom and pop, who just want to enjoy living on a farm, own a handful of pretty Thoroughbreds, and have a comfortable life without the threat of going bankrupt.

It's too bad because some the best stories in the Thoroughbred industries are ones where the little guys breed and raise a top horse. It may be the Sport of Kings, but sometimes regular people hit it big, too. That they're getting squeezed out financially isn't good news.

 

 

 

 

 

45 Comments

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Blue Blue Sea

Personally, I disagree about it being bad news. There is not enough fanbase in this industry to sustain everyone in it. Some good stories do come out of Mom & Pop land, but far more tragic stories of horses running until they are broken down, busted up and headed to a slaughterhoouse happen. I know this because I see it all the time when I visit local tracks. Horse racing is the Sport of Kings and because the main athletes are dependent on their owners to care for them, it should stay that way.

03 Feb 2011 11:54 AM
sceptre

All so true...Today, with rare exception, only the very wealthy or the large group can afford the financial risk of a horse in training-the costs of getting one there and then putting them in training are just so high. What we're really saying is that these costs have outstepped inflation. One could posit that one major factor in all this in the relative lack of high enough purses to better equalize the risk vs reward, but such an argument only applies as an incentive for the wealthy to enter, or remain involved in racing horses. The risk of total or near total loss remains unchanged no matter what the purse structure, and those potential losses now are too prohibitive for most. Most small breeders simply can't afford the financial risk of racing their own. Their only avenue is the sales. The answer, if there is one/any, lies in having a better "educated" (wealthy) buyer. Their present all-or-nothing-type mentality relative to how they evaluate racing prospects simply doesn't conform to reality-the true disparity between the better and worse prospect. Simply put, the high end prices should be lower, and the lower end higher. A market such as this could enable more "small" breeders to remain afloat.      

03 Feb 2011 12:16 PM
Rachel

Cheap to cheap never improves any breed...the problem is you can't afford to own & run a GOOD horse, period.

03 Feb 2011 1:47 PM
sunnysunrise

So sad...we were a "mom/pop operation back in the 80s, bought good mares with room to improve and were successful. It was my best job ever!! First foal sold as a weaning, highest Blood Royal ever. Bought another mare and now we had 3. Our bloodstock agent was the best. In 1981 we had three foals, all were sold at yearling sales--Arkansas and Keeneland.  All raced! All won!! Two were stakes winners!!! We won a TOBA award.  

03 Feb 2011 4:10 PM
katethegreat

I'm a Mom/Pop in Quarter Horses. Raised a Homegrown out of a well bred mare I traded for a sewing machine and what was owed on her board bill (lien) Bred her to the best regional stud I could afford, then bred that offspring to a well promoted national horse.  She produced a finalist in a World Champ Open Fut.  He's won or placed in the equivalant of G1 races for TB's.  WE have been the backbone of the equine industry for years, but sadly the ROI has left the building.

03 Feb 2011 4:52 PM
n

I couldn't agree more that it is difficult to own and a run a good horse. The cost of doing business is so high that even a horse that goes through it's conditions (by most considered a relatively good horse) has a hard time showing a profit at years end.Everything has gone up, vet work, shipping, blacksmith, training and farm costs have moved up with the cost of inflation. Yet purses have remained stagnant.

I would take exception to the comment cheap to cheap never improves the breed. Please remember that a horses value can fluctuate wildly given the vagaries of the market place. Is cheap 30,000, 50,000, 100,000 dollars or is it 5000, or 10,000. Rest assured almost all good horses have cheap horses in their pedigree and  up close. Bad to Bad never improves the breed, except when the mating produces a good horse.

03 Feb 2011 5:07 PM
n

P.S.

I have raised and sold graded stake  winners out of mares I have bought for 10,000 dollars and raised "cheap" duds out of mares I have spent 100,000 on. The expensive mares soon became "cheap" and the "cheap" mares soon became quite valuable. It is all relative.

03 Feb 2011 5:16 PM
Phil

I own a small farm in the Ocala area. I was involved in the breeding and selling, on a very small scale, but for now, I am out of the horse business.  I have an old gelding, and a mare that has no commercial value as a broodmare, and I will keep them as long as they are alive...but the "business" is gone.  There is no way that I can justify having a $10-$15000 broodmare, carrying a foal with a stud fee of perhaps $2500-$3500, and then have to sell the foal for $1200 eighteen months later at the sales...and this is happpening every sale, everywhere now.  Try as I might to justify to friends to get into the horse business, when they ask me to crunch the numbers, I cannot make a compelling argument to do anything other than wade in at the high end with tons of discretionary income, knowing that you are likely to lose your shirt, or, if you are of more modest means, just be a small member of a large partnerhship, and hedge your bets by spreading what you have among 4-5 mares, in the hopes that one carries the day for you.

But the mom and pop type of business....agreed, it's out of reach right now, and maybe forever.  How could anyone justify this to the IRS as a business?...It was hard enough before....

03 Feb 2011 7:44 PM
Larry Ensor

Seattle Slew was a cheap yearling.  Most families start out being undistinguished and develop over time. A high percentage of stakes winners were not expensive yearlings.  Blind Luck, $11,000, Looking At Lucky, RAN at $35,000, Dubai Majesty, RNA $7,000, Zenyatta, $60,000  The problem is the fact that purses for the vast majority of runners is disproportionate to purses offered for stakes races especially Grade 1’s. The winner’s share of a New York allowance race in 1973 was worth, (adjusted for inflation), $27,011. The $44,000 allowance race at Aqueduct last weekend was worth $26,400 to the winner.  The year Secretariat won the Derby the purse was $125,000, adjusted for inflation, around $615,000, today it is worth almost 4 times more.  Total earnings for Seattle Slews’ 3 year olds season was only, $641,370, or $2,458,000 in todays dollars and he won the Triple Crown. The multiple's speak for themselves, the 1973 the Derby purse was around 12 times more then the average Allowance race.   Now it is more then 48 times higher! (numbers based on a $2,200,000 Derby purse, average Churchill allowance, $45,000).  IMO I don’t think there would be any less interest in the Derby if the purse was 1 million less. The same can be said for the Breeders’ Cup.  Take a good chuck off the top and spread it around.  Give the average decent horse a chance to at least break even for their owners.  The majority of owners don’t look at as a business and they don’t expect to “make” money.  But they would like to think that they have a chance to brake even.  Even if they loose some money and have fun they will be back for more.  The chances of breaking even are slim to none nowadays and the fun being offered isn't worth the price.  Granted most Mom & Pop breeders will disappear as they have in most neighborhoods. The savvy will survive. But does that mean only the Wal-Mart of farms will be left?  Considering the majority of the KY farms clientele are made up of small breeders their business model will have to change.  In the end it is a bit of the chicken or egg question.  The industry needs to commission a yearly research study and supply accurate numbers, e.g. number of national owners, more or less then the previous year/s, demographics of owners, average training cost, demographics and training cost, average purchase price, demos of purchase purchase price, home breds sold and or raced, projected trends and demand, etc..  How many horses will be needed in 3 years, 5 years, etc..  Numbers that breeders/potential breeders can plan accordingly from.  The industry has to get a grip on the value of public perception and how to address negative publicity and connotations. Especially before something happens. Nevertheless until the race track experience is remodeled, if it can be and I believe it can, the writing is on the wall. No only for the Mom and Pop breeders.  

03 Feb 2011 8:29 PM
Mary P

Inexpensive isn't "cheap".  The gene pool needs to stay large enough to keep the bloodstock healthy.  We used to be able to breed to the nicely put together stallion in your neighborhood.... ..now everyone is going with the flavor of the day.  Mr P is an example....he bred alot of mares.  This is about the costs of maintaining your little farm and they are skyrocketing.  It is sad, even the big farm tax breaks benefit the large breeders.  Hopefully the market and economy will self correct, until then.... say good bye to the small family farms....but lets not be degrading.

03 Feb 2011 8:36 PM
Jon

I have said it many times......but its absolutely unheeded....

Bettors are the customers of this industry, if you offer good value they will bet on your race (remember most of the daily regulars are trying to earn a living using their skill of handicapping to earn a living)............

I'm from California & have wagered I this state for more than 30 years, but, I do not any more........what value do you get on small fields....its ridiculous @ times when we have 4 horses running in a race...the race should actually be cancelled, but, no they want to make sure the owners/trainers..Etc who entered the race get their share of the money...

But, money can only be made by everyone involved when the system is functioning like a well oiled machine....but that cannot if one has small number of horses entered in a race................

Yes this will meat with a lot of critics from the trainers/owners etc. but it’s the truth................I don’t gain or lose when I don’t bet on races with small fields...I just go somewhere else with my money.

03 Feb 2011 11:11 PM
change can be good

Just because your situation has not adapted to the industry, does not mean there is no way to get a foal to the races economically.  You stating Ky as the example.  Well maybe you need to change locations.  Pa and Ind. have great programs for the small time breeders.  Just like any business, location, location, location.  I moved to the Del-PA area 12 years ago predicting this is the place to be.  And it is.  A 5000 claimer running at Philly(Parx) has a purse of $23000.  The owner gets a 40% bonus for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.  And the breeder depending on the sire, can get 20 to 30% of the horses earings back to 3rd.  This is a great program.  The value of a Pa bred is more than the average claimer.  So to the small time mom and pop breeder.  Come to Pa or Indiana.  Both states are plenty big for all of us.  Ky is outdating itself.  Adapt or fail.  It's up to you.

03 Feb 2011 11:29 PM
fb0252

my guess--most mom and pop operations have always been pipe dreams, and we should avoid being discouraged by that. small outfits should be the backbone of racing.  to lose them a disaster for the sport. contrary to the post, it is possible to have organized economies of scale that would permit small breeders to race their stock.  What is needed is an aware instead of comatose NTRA that will plan, forsee, and aggressively pursue growth of the sport including in particular what few small breeders and owners are left.

04 Feb 2011 3:19 AM
jack

You've hit the nail on the head, David.  We used to be able to take a nice-looking horse to the sales ring and get enough to pay the bills.  We never hit a home run but we enjoyed what we were doing.  The reality now is when we sent the last 8 horses through the ring, 1 sold for $1300 and the other seven never got a bid.  My broodmare operation has turned into a holding farm for horses of racing age until I can find someone willing to take them.  Since according to David Williams we are in the minority because we are not 'rich horse owners' the only mares we'll breed this year are for out of state clients who will foal their mares somewhere besides Ky.

04 Feb 2011 8:17 AM
Frank

This has been our mantra over the years "don't buy a mare you would not take home to meet mom", it has served us well. Which is not to say we have always emerged in the black, but we have been able to move the mare or foal. Regional sales have reduced in numbers, more proof of this truly being the "the sport of kings", but "Kings" is arelitive term. We, small breeders, must be willing to race what we produce, hopefully out runnibg some "King".

04 Feb 2011 9:12 AM
Pasadena

All these posts have scared me.  I was just about to purchase my first broodmare and begin my dream.  Maybe I shouldn't.  I thought there was enough of a market in CA so that a little money could be made in order to carry on and build up to 3 mares over time.  I have been to a couple of sales and yes horses are cheap but selling a wealing or yearling for $8-10k is not enough?  I have yet to see a horse not bid on. $30k to break even?!  Well, I'm good and discouraged.

04 Feb 2011 9:28 AM
LouAnn Cingel of Union, Missouri

It is so damn sad that it has come down to times like this-what has happened to having some fun and pleasure a long the way without constant struggle just to break even if even that.

Love & Blessings to everyone!

04 Feb 2011 9:44 AM
Golden Gate

Pasadena and others don't give up your dreams even if you are small. We are in America...where there is a will there is a way.

I am currently racing one nice mare. She is claimer and is paying her own way. I have taken in horses to board to help pay for my dream and I also have managed to pick up some older mares at sales that in their younger years I could never have afforded to buy.

The rule that no 18 yr old mares unless in foal can go through the large auctions is actually a boon for us small breeders.

I do some horse rescue as well as breed to race so even one nice foal before they are retired on my farm to live out their days pays me back for what I put into them.

Granted I am not a full time breeder yet..but my horses are paying their way and I am raising nice runnin son of a gun babies.

Remember some states have great breeder's award benefits so even if you don't get at the sale what you wanted you can get it therough the years by someone else running your babies.

04 Feb 2011 9:58 AM
CAROLANN

I FIND IT MOST INTERESTING, THAT PEOPLE (please note that I dgn't call them Horsemen) SEEM TO  FEEL THAT MARES THAT DO NOT HAVE PRICE TAGS THAT WOULD COVER THE COST OF FIRST HOMES, AND THEN THEY SEND THEM TO STALLIONS LIKE WAR PASS FOR 20,000 TO 30,000 DOLLARS, THEN HE DIES AT 5 YEARS..WHATS UP WITH THAT?

'

04 Feb 2011 1:37 PM
thederbydream.com

Pasadena,

Sorry everyone on here has stole your dreams of having a mare. I hope you still get a chance to have the experience of being a mare owner. With everyone wanting to give horses away or the prices being down significant there is no better time than now to get in. California needs horses bad so plenty of room to have a chance to make money. Get a nice young mare with a solid pedigree(some blacktype in her first dam)breed to Unusual Heat and take your shot. Best of Luck

05 Feb 2011 11:44 AM
charles

here's the REAL PROBLEM.....

This "business" got out of control. Period. Nobody should be breeding animals, whether they're thoroughbreds or dogs, if they can't afford to keep them.  Yes, it's great when you make $$, but if you can only afford to do it with that result in mind, you're playing a dangerous game...and it's the  horse that will end up paying with it's life.

As for the post about how great PA racing is....it's not the racing that's great, it's the slots that are keeping this "dead horse" alive.  And when the corporations decide it's a drain on their profits....which they will, not to mention the negative publicity generated by the "sport"....look out people...it's game over.

05 Feb 2011 5:03 PM
Pickle and Pepper

The key to small breeders being able to succeed is to have a completely different way of evaluating yearlings for racing. If prospective buyers could evaluate a racing prospects athletic capability and not just conformation, it would put all breeders on a level playing field. Yearlings at 18 month of age could be put on a treadmill and we could get their maximum heart rate, vo2max, stride length and have their way of going video taped from all angles. Since a horse is born with his maximum heart rate and it can't be changed through conditioning, then horses with higher heart rates would make better athletes. vo2max would show the ability of the horse to exchange oxygen, and we all know that an efficient stride is desired. We need to better educate people in this industry on what really matters when it come to the athletic ability of top equine athletes.

06 Feb 2011 12:28 AM
Pedigree Ann

Too many million dollar yearlings can't run to their price tags. Then you can get a Singletary for $3200 (from a $7500 stud fee). And he wasn't from a bad family, either. Xtra Heat changed hands at auction 3 times before she raced, with a maximum of $9000-she had 6 older winning siblings, all of which earned more than her purchase price, most of them much more.

It seems that real horsemanship is in decline. Competent judges of what conformation will or won't compromise racing ability are few and far between. Far too many people depend on X-rays and workout times to make their judgments because they don't have the experience to be able to judge a yearling or 2yo with consistency.

06 Feb 2011 5:35 PM
Dreamers Mom

Four years ago, we had 12 foals.  This year we will have 4.  We have cut back on mares and intend to cut back further.  We have our own stallions, nicely bred, but we are about to lose the main track in our state.  We can't give our horses away, let alone sell them.  

Yet, we keep dreaming.  Probably the dreams of fools, but still dreaming.

08 Feb 2011 12:54 PM
sam

cheap horses can and do outrun expensive horse. they dont understand economics

09 Feb 2011 5:37 PM
SPLITS OF 12

The rule of thumb: Never breed a horse that you wouldn't run on the track, yourself.

09 Feb 2011 6:14 PM
mike s

charles, right on about slots and racing, states will also demand a cut to offset budgets. the drain on money to certain few will ruin more than racing, but racing will be 1st in line. might be bad for mom and pop now, but major farms won't be far behind. look at crowds at tracks and otb's, it's an age group dying out and not being replinished by the young. glad i lived when i did to enjoy some good years, sad to see an industry we all love go extinct.

10 Feb 2011 1:13 PM
Karl

Don't forget the avg pregnant rate too, I spent 7000$ breeding my mare last year in vet and feed bills, to end up with an open mare.

12 Feb 2011 2:13 AM
Little Guy Breeder

The ruination of this business isn't the cheaply bred horse, it's the plethora of cheap expensively-bred horses.  We don't need 157 horses by one unproven stallion in one breeding season!  We're over-breeding and it's killing the market and the sport. It also makes it hard on the "mom & pop" breeder.

I have one broodmare, one stallion, one colt and one filly.  The HORAs are at home because I can't afford to keep them at the track.  I haven't bred my mare in 3 years because I babies cost money and it's not fair to breed another one when I can't race what I have.  My stallion hasn't bred a mare since the bottom fell out in 2008 - not even my own, but he's my horse and I'm not getting rid of him - I am a responsible horse owner.  Besides, he makes a great lawn ornament!  Times are hard, but my horses are safe and well-fed, which is the best I can do for right now.

I consider myself "on hold" rather than out of the business.

12 Feb 2011 4:31 PM
Sunny Farm

The answer certainly is not to force the breeders to pay an additional fee for future retirement of a horse they bred.(As I have read on some comments here )

Not all Thoroughbreds ever will race, some will be raised for other uses. There is already more than one T.B. retirement fund & a breeder may contribute , or not-it is their choice & should be thier choice. The "Breeder" already pays enough and can't sustain !

A small breeder does NOT signify that they "Bought cheap mares & bred to cheaper sires ", perhaps they paid handsomely for thier bloodstock, so let's not stero-type the "Small breeder".

Also remember how many champions have come from the "Smaller breeder" despite the auctions preference for selling & focusing on the larger breeding opperations & the bias that this causes to the small breeder.& is reflected on the selling price.AND whether or not they can remain in the business.

There are two kinds of people in the industry & the world :

There is the hay farmer who places his hands on his hips and states, "I'm price-fixing, I'll make them pay $10. a bale and I'll get it too"....and they don't reach out to help those who buy the hay & people go out of business. Too exspensive anymore.

The next year , the hay farmer lowers his price as there are no more cows or horses left !

Now everyone is out of business !

THEN you have the Breeders Cup ltd.

They have lowered prices and done everything they can to help the horseman STAY IN BUSINESS.

More people should be getting together to join up and help each other , which will benefit the whole.

One last thought: When there is only the large breeders remaining, the gene pool will suffer & decline and loose it's vigor. That's HYBRID VIGOR and is what will make the Thoroughbred adaptable for racing & for the future, especially with all the global changes.

In these economic times, maybe we should all join up & help each other. I applaud the Breeders Cup for setting a fine example.

13 Feb 2011 12:25 PM
lisaoutriding

I think breeding should be curtailed.  There are too many horses out there and too many people breeding just for breeding sake.  How about a "National Stud"

14 Feb 2011 4:19 PM
nina

Agree with Sea Sea Blue. Having a little fun for these people produces horses that are abused and end up in the slaughter house which is brutal for someone to have a little fun. Have them try farming .You can have fun and make lots of money with corn.

15 Feb 2011 7:50 PM
Pasadena

I have continue to read the comments after posting my post of discouragement and I decided not to follow my dream.  I have commitments here in CA so I can't go to a breeding friendly state.  And we all know CA is totally out of control and the fact that racing and breeding is leaving the state is just one of the symptoms of the fact.  Who would have thought the Golden State would run itself into the ground? :(

16 Feb 2011 9:18 AM
qb1dan

   I will say that alot of you are right about alot of things here . Most of us here have been Racing Fans all of our lives . The problem with horse racing is it is not TALKED about enough on T.V or the MEDIA . We must remeber we are competing against the NFL , MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL , NASCAR , COLLEGE FOOTBALL and the NBA . Tell me when is the last time since the 80's that you have seen and ADVERTISEMENT for a perticular race like it used to be on ABC say for the FLORIDA DERBY . We all used to look forward to the WEEKEND because we new the BIG RACES were going to get a lot of coverage . It is time for the all the players to start promoting the races like it used to be . This can be done a alot of different ways . I myself just started a small breeding operation in PENNSYLVANIA and my main target is to concentrate on the PENNSYLVANIA PROGRAM and capitalize on it . Ihave bred 4 horse so far and have gotten all 4 to the races . My main thing as a breeder is to promote the these horses threw the RACING PARTNERSHIPS that I am running . Right now RACE HORSES are not worth any money at HORSE SALES unless you have a SUPER NICE HORSE and lets be realistic most of us don't have that kind of CASH to BURN . Since I have started my RACING PARTNERSHIPS have have gotten 25 PARTNERS and for the simple reason of not charging BIG MONEY . I hope by next year I have 50 PARTNERS . Remember one thing people HALF LOAF is better then none of the LOAF . RACING can be SAVED if everybody pulls the WAGON the same way .

16 Feb 2011 9:39 PM
MikeM

The breeding industry is hurting because the economics of owning a racehorse are a joke. Everything cost more but purses don't keep up. There is no realistic chance to cover exspenses let alone turn a profit.

17 Feb 2011 11:31 AM
katethegreat

Sunny Farm is correct on many points.  Commodity "fixing" has put a strain on many horse and cattle breedeers.  After the last

run up in prices, many got out of the business.  Our local FFA and

4-H kids LOST money on their market steers.  Don't get me started on the loss of value in the horse market.  Worse than the 80's.

17 Feb 2011 12:01 PM
Johnny

People who are breeding "inexpensive mares" to "inexpensive" stallions should probably have their animals destroyed.  When you are much of the problem in this industry, you cannot be any part of the solution.

23 Feb 2011 2:52 PM
tbracer

There are a lot of problems with this industry, too many to mention. In any normal business you could research and then draw up a business plan that suits your abilities.  That does not work in the horse industry.  It is not a rational business.  Stud farms and pin hookers control much of what is "hot".  YOu may have great bloodstock, but it wont b sell because it is not the pick of the day.  When you produce a "looker" the pin hookers will conspire to buy in.  If you refuse, they spread rumors about the horse and it isnt bid on.

THis industry should be based upon every sector helping out the other.  Instead it is made up of people grabbing the $$$ even if it destroys someone.  They are always looking for new faces to appear so that they can get more $$ from them.

GOOD RIDDANCE

24 Feb 2011 11:27 AM
Lady Valtaya

Not all small breeders are breeding cheap mares to dirt cheap stallions. But it is unfortunate that it takes so much money to get started in this business. There is little chance of a small time horseman to raise his own race horses and race them under his colors. The purses aren't high enough because the costs of training and vet care and insurance among other things have bordered on the obscene almost as long as I've been alive.

It is also a shame that the media doesn't take more interest in our sport- and when they do, all they want to talk about is track accidents or former champions being sent to the slaughter house.

If racing can't clean up its image, I'm afraid we will lose it all together....

26 Feb 2011 10:59 AM
Pony

Wow ~ so many opinions.  The way I see it, from all these comments,is that people remain quite opinionated.  This is the sport of Kings, but who is to say that the KINGS cannot arise from the small of the sport?  I am a small time breeder.  I Have wonderful bloodlines.  Nothing coming off this farm is less than an A++ nick.  What is disheartening is the narrow minded who are leaving comments.  Perhaps they, not we with dreams, should be neutered as well!

05 Mar 2011 6:28 PM
Riverside

Forty years ago I would go to the sales with my father to pick out horses...He passed, my family sold the ranch.  Last year I decided to see what the was going on in the horse market... better horses are being sold today for less money than they would have brought forty years ago! But, rather than coming away with notion that the horse industry was dead I a came away the the conviction that  if anyone ever wanted to own a horse and take a chance, now is the time.  You can by good horses, ranches, equipment, and hire competent help for a fraction of the cost of just a few years ago. The market has changed with the economy. More over, there is more than one way to get a horse to the track. You don't have to spend a fortune. Much of the training can be done at home, ala "the backyard racehorse". Trainer Janet Del Castillo had success with this method in Florida.  Difficult times require the small breeder to try new approaches and perhaps the rewards in the future will be greater than ever before.  I learned in the stock market to buy low and sell high. Horses are on sale!  Tomorrow will be better than today.

06 Mar 2011 8:46 PM
Francisco

Seattle Slew - John Henry - Lil E Tee - Singletary -

These are just a few reminders of why we (small breeder) continues on our dreams. Modest stock + low sale prices = Wonderful Experience

These Champions were inexpensive  horses in the eyes of the expert before they hit the track. Then there geneticcs kicked in and "WOW" what running machines. So my point is with out the dream these Champions would have never been born, never raced and never became champions.

So to all those who refer to cheap horses base on value, remeber this. My $1k colt is equal to $1m. Why because he is mine and i will care for him until his time comes.

07 Mar 2011 1:19 AM
Caliente railbird

We had fun breeding and raising the horses we had. But once the economy went down the drain, trainers who would buy the type horses we bred were only a fountain of excuses.If it was a first foalfrom a race winning mare, the response was "well lets see one first". If it was a foal from a mare who was a producer, " I just don't have the clients who'd buy these types anymore. And then you end up seeing the same people at yearling sales.Even when we tried to move some stakes winning horses from South America, it wasn't enough. I'm convinced that people want a graded stakes winner for $3,500 payable after the horse wins  $1-million on the track.

08 Mar 2011 10:17 PM
Shoeman

I've been saying for years that the vets aren't helping the business.  When you get a windfall and settle up, you're lucky if there's anything left in your checking account.  Also, when you take a horse to an auction and he brings only a $1,000 bid and you have to give the sales company a check, you probably should have just given the horse away as a hunter prospect.

29 Mar 2011 10:03 AM
jano

racing has been in decline for decades because of technology.

yet, its not over yet and great horses can be homebreds.  some of the best ones that ever looked through a bridle came from small farms.

it isnt just the cheap horses that end up in deplorable conditions.

horses dont know how much they cost.  

so i said breed and plan to race them on their your own.  but if you have a chance for the big time sell them or take on a partner.

there is plenty of money to be made for pa sired horses.  they have so many divisions and so many races.  avoid the big guys. figure out where they are going and go somewhere else.

lastly these days there are very few poorly bred horse compared to a few decades ago. so what if you race them cheap. the idea is to have fun and not go in the toilet.

oh and by the way, work out a deal with a trainer too..........

02 Apr 2011 1:16 AM

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