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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun. 14, 2006
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    Default The fallout of the bad economy, and breeding choices

    There has been a lot of talk on here and in real life, about how the economy is effecting people's choices regarding breeding. It seems like the high end breeders are not concerned (the $10K+ foals), and the low end backyard breeders mostly don't care (the <$5K foals), and it seems like it is the mid range breeders who are the most concerned and talking the most about cutting back (the $5K-$10K foals).

    This conversation came up today as I was talking to a breeder friend who is only breeding one mare this year. This breeder turns out quality horses, foals in the $5-10K range that will be nice competitive ammie or small time pro horses. Not world class, but not byb either, fairly priced and honestly represented. But she's cautious about the economy and she's only breeding one mare this year.

    I'm wondering where this will leave us in a few years. The foals from the mid range breeders grow up to be the riding horses which probably make up the majority of the market for Joe Average Rider. What will happen if the fallout of the breeding cutbacks leads to less mid range riding horses available? The high end horses are too expensive for most people by the time they are well started, and the low end horses would be affordable but lack the quality.

    Will Joe Average Rider find himself with only two options, something beyond his budget, or something below his quality expectations? Will the low end horses and the high end horses begin to blur together to cover the mid range market which may see a void? (Meaning, will high end horses have to drop their prices, and will low end horses benefit from getting to raise theirs?)

    Or am I (and my friend) overthinking things?

    P.S. I realize I'm oversimplifying things with my low, mid, and high range price estimates, but hopefully you get the gist.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct. 3, 2002
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    Default

    That is exactly what I've been thinking, and why I am *cautiously* moving forward. There is already a lack of the competitive-but-affordable, as far as I can tell; and according to posts here and there I've read. Lots of rescues, many other lower ends, which CAN be marvelous horses, don't get me wrong... but once you've brought up a *purpose bred* beast you are spoilt and never want to go back to trying to make a diamond out of coal dust. (I know I'm not saying that right, I'm sorry, I know I'll offend someone, and that's NOT my wish. There are fabulous rescue and OTTB stories. But there is really something to be said for a horse bred for generations for something... like a bird dog is with retrieving... )

    I know there is a niche for my kids. They aren't Olympic prospects, but are basically as competitive as far as the rider/owner has dedication to go. Can compete with the big guys given the *opportunity.*

    And Iv'e got to think, (hope?) that there will still be lower income folks who want to realize a dream.

    OTOH, I am only breeding horses that I am also willing to keep forever. (the harder choice is going to be which to SELL! lol!) and becoming even more specialized in type, size and even colour. It *begins* with pleasing me when I look out the window, but ends with thinking (hoping) I understand a certain market niche.

    I worry about this almost continuously. I pray I'm making the right breeding choices--and the choice to breed at all. But you can't SELL anything unless you've got something *for sale.*
    InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul. 17, 2002
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    Redlands, CA
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    Default

    From the other thread, I would say the high end breeders with large operations, big barns, covered arenas, imported stallions ... are minimally concerned.

    COTH's demographics are higher end.

    I used to read the COTH magazine in the '80s and marvel at the classifieds for horses selling for $7500 to $15,000 at the time.

    I have warmbloods by imported stallions out of second generation homebred warmblood mares.

    The biggie for me is our hay is trailered in. Not a stick of grass.

    I don't know what I am doing on the horse front for the first time in 20 years.

    I have given away two geldings with some soundness issues and have taken a huge financial bath on them. Fortunately they got loving homes.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec. 27, 1999
    Location
    Midland, NC, USA
    Posts
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    Default

    We are just a small farm but are breeding the most we've bred in one year this year (3)... repeated the cross that produced our 6 yo mare who is going Training with a student, and breeding both a graded event mare and a really nice mare who is just starting her career to a "Big Name" Eventer Producing Stallion. So we'll have three in the spring. One of the "Name" foals is slated for a student, and the other I'll be more than happy to keep (and fight my working student for). The full sib of the 6 yo will also be fought over, no doubt, as everyone in the barn loves to ride her.

    Jennifer



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul. 14, 2000
    Location
    midwest
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    9,944

    Default

    I was told last fall by a well respected national level pro, who was told an even more well respected banker, that we were entering an 18 month correction. The banker said scale back now, dump all overhead that is not producing, dont produce much in 2008 and by the spring/summer of 2009 the correction would be over and the crisis would be over.

    Time will tell.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr. 28, 2008
    Location
    California
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    1,835

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Oakstable View Post
    From the other thread, I would say the high end breeders with large operations, big barns, covered arenas, imported stallions ... are minimally concerned.

    COTH's demographics are higher end.

    I used to read the COTH magazine in the '80s and marvel at the classifieds for horses selling for $7500 to $15,000 at the time.

    I have warmbloods by imported stallions out of second generation homebred warmblood mares.

    The biggie for me is our hay is trailered in. Not a stick of grass.

    I don't know what I am doing on the horse front for the first time in 20 years.

    I have given away two geldings with some soundness issues and have taken a huge financial bath on them. Fortunately they got loving homes.


    I'm in the same situation, there is some grass for them to nibble on in the spring, but by no means enough to support them. Hay is killing us, but I am proceding. I am having there sportpony foals next year, and *hopefully, if they decide to cooperate* warmblood foals. I also am breeding horses that I would be more than willing/prepared to keep forever. I think there is a niche for the sportponies, and these are going to be some really nice foals. I am using my stallion to sire the ponies, and popular, successful stallions for the WBs. I am also trying to great a good damline, with some foundation mares. If I get fillies next year, there is a good chance that I will not even offer them for sale.
    Making Your Ambitions a Reality at Secret Ambition Stables.
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun. 23, 2004
    Location
    Loudoun County, VA
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    10,410

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SLW View Post
    I was told last fall by a well respected national level pro, who was told an even more well respected banker, that we were entering an 18 month correction. The banker said scale back now, dump all overhead that is not producing, dont produce much in 2008 and by the spring/summer of 2009 the correction would be over and the crisis would be over.

    Time will tell.
    That is a pretty optimistic banker considering that firms like Goldman Sachs are predicting, among other things, that oil will go to $200 a barrel in the next 6 to 24 months, though I have seen reports suggesting that we are about half way through the "correction" or whatever you want to call it (with the start of the credit crisis being July 2007), indicating we have about a year more to go before things start looking better.

    I have two mares in foal for 09 and have received a number of inquiries about them just through word of mouth. I have nice mares and I make my breeding choices very carefully.

    As for hay, all I can say is OUCH and that my horses eat a lot better than I do!



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan. 15, 2004
    Location
    Lancaster, PA, USA
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    7,465

    Default

    Grain went up 2.00 a bag in the past year here but fortunately we grow our own hay so it is a little better here. Still....I am not breeding anything. Inquiries on the 3 foals we already have for sale are minimal. One is a 3 YO gelding with a "born bombproof" temperment that is about 2 days under saddle now. Had lots of inquiries until he vetted out with an asymptomatic spur on one hock on a PPE. Then the lookers ran away/will look at clean xrays only. I dropped his price a LOT but still no interest. It's not like he is lame or anything. Hubby was asking yesterday if he was unsaleable now/if I should just think about giving him away. I told him if we were desperate to cut down horses to feed then in this economy then yes...that might have to happen.....but since we are not desperate growing our own hay and he is easy as pie to start under saddle he should be more saleable by the time the market improves as an under saddle horse.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr. 18, 2000
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    ~~~Virginia Horse Country~~~
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    Default

    I am really wondering about my hay man and his supply this year. He has a lot of acreage on flood plain so when we are in a drought I get super hay, but with this wet spring I am wondering if all that normally good hay will get rolled for the cows!! One year I had to buy from a dealer and the hay was sooo bad, hope that doesn't happen this year!!
    http://www.talloaksfarm.net ---"Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts." --- Winston Churchill



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec. 14, 2007
    Location
    Wilsonville, Ontario, CANADA
    Posts
    4,260

    Default

    We are optomistic and cautiously advancing forward with acquiring more mares, and building an addition on to our new barn which is still in the process of getting finished!

    Both of my foals for 2008 are sold - 1 in utero and 1 within 2 weeks of him being born.

    Out of 5 2009 foals, 1 is slated for the 2010 yearling sales so no intention of even trying to sell it in 2009 at all, is sold in utero and I have a sale pending on 1 or possibly 2 of the in utero foals which would leave me with just the one foal to sell in 2009

    2010 has 3 in utero sales thus far out of the 5 mares and 2011 has 2 in utero sales as well

    We have stallion owners that wish to send their stallions here for breeding and collections (hence the reason for looking at expansion into a separate building for the boys and breeding area) and clients that are leaving their foals with us for the next 2-3 years for show prep, approval prep and showing purposes

    So - we are holding our own and for what its worth

    From the other thread, I would say the high end breeders with large operations, big barns, covered arenas, imported stallions ... are minimally concerned.
    I in no way, shape or form fit into this description at all!!! Our operation is small but very focused and specialized, we have an 8 stall barn and am looking to add a max of 4 more stalls (well - MAYBE 6 more but thats it ... for this month anyhow ... ), we have NO arena - covered or otherwise and no imported stallions.

    I am counting my blessings that I have planted about 30 acres in gorgeous hay, so going forward, the hay fellow cuts and bales it for free, I take however much I need and he sells the rest and it is win/win for both of us going forward, so other than my upfront costs for planting my pastures and hay fields, my hay will be virtually free going forward and we should have enough pasture in 2009 going forward to sustain most of them for the warmer months as well

    I sell my own bedding product in Canada and parts of the US, so my bedding costs are as minimal as they can possibly be.

    Grain - whole 'nuther ballgame there ... I was paying $34.95 per BAG of the Buckeye Grow N Win which I go through a lot of and have now found its cheaper for me to drive to either Michigan or New York and buy a month or 2 supply at $19.95 a bag and the money I save more than compensates me for fuel costs, etc plus I get to do my grocery shopping in the States for items that we cannot get here in Canada. On the last trip to Michigan I saved $325.00 on the Grow N Win alone so well worth the trip!

    So - I cut my costs where I can and hope my foals continue to sell as well as they have done in the past



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec. 1, 2007
    Location
    Gettysburg, PA
    Posts
    2,592

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by pintopiaffe View Post
    That is exactly what I've been thinking, and why I am *cautiously* moving forward. There is already a lack of the competitive-but-affordable, as far as I can tell; and according to posts here and there I've read. Lots of rescues, many other lower ends, which CAN be marvelous horses, don't get me wrong... but once you've brought up a *purpose bred* beast you are spoilt and never want to go back to trying to make a diamond out of coal dust. (I know I'm not saying that right, I'm sorry, I know I'll offend someone, and that's NOT my wish. There are fabulous rescue and OTTB stories. But there is really something to be said for a horse bred for generations for something... like a bird dog is with retrieving... )

    I know there is a niche for my kids. They aren't Olympic prospects, but are basically as competitive as far as the rider/owner has dedication to go. Can compete with the big guys given the *opportunity.*

    And Iv'e got to think, (hope?) that there will still be lower income folks who want to realize a dream.

    OTOH, I am only breeding horses that I am also willing to keep forever. (the harder choice is going to be which to SELL! lol!) and becoming even more specialized in type, size and even colour. It *begins* with pleasing me when I look out the window, but ends with thinking (hoping) I understand a certain market niche.

    I worry about this almost continuously. I pray I'm making the right breeding choices--and the choice to breed at all. But you can't SELL anything unless you've got something *for sale.*
    We are thinking along the same lines as PP. Being new to breeding I knew without a reputation, selling foals would be iffy, so my plan has been to only breed what I can afford to keep until under saddle and much more saleable to the general market place. However, I am undecided about next year, it will be a wait and see how things are. I too think its possible the well bred mid-price foals/horses may become harder to find if the economy is still bad next year and even more breeders hold off.
    Epona Farm
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  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul. 17, 2002
    Location
    Redlands, CA
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    Default

    I'm glad our friends in Canada are faring well.

    I bred my first mare 20 years ago and have been reflecting on those 20 years.

    My first stud fee was $1200, half upfront and half due that fall. It was a live cover so my costs were minimal, haul the mare to the stallion, and go get her.

    In 20 years, stud fees have really not kept pace with the costs of food, vet and campaigning a stallion.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr. 4, 2008
    Posts
    301

    Default

    I wish I could find that middle market that you guys are talking about! It seems that only the high end foals will sell. And only if they come from another high profile type breeder - website - national presence - etc.

    I'm not seeing the middle market at all - and I'm probably doing something wrong because I've never seen it!!

    Except for one lucky exception that I sold to a friend, I sell my foals after they are going under saddle (3- 5 years old). No one ever sees them as babies. I put ads in Dreamhorses and in COTH and got no calls. The problem is that if you can't start your own babies, all the potential profit is eaten by boarding and training fees (o so much more expensive than the grassy pastures!)



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep. 17, 2007
    Location
    Cloverdale, Ca.
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    1,614

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SLW View Post
    I was told last fall by a well respected national level pro, who was told an even more well respected banker, that we were entering an 18 month correction. The banker said scale back now, dump all overhead that is not producing, dont produce much in 2008 and by the spring/summer of 2009 the correction would be over and the crisis would be over.

    Time will tell.

    I disagree. The crisis will not be over in Spring/Summer of 2009. If we're really lucky, we'll then begin to find our bottom.
    Chris Misita
    www.hiddenvalleyfarms.net Home of Bravo and Warrick!
    To dare; progress comes at this price. All sublime conquests are, more or less, the rewards of daring.
    Victor Hugo



  15. #15
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    Sep. 17, 2007
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    Cloverdale, Ca.
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Oakstable View Post
    From the other thread, I would say the high end breeders with large operations, big barns, covered arenas, imported stallions ... are minimally concerned.

    COTH's demographics are higher end.

    I used to read the COTH magazine in the '80s and marvel at the classifieds for horses selling for $7500 to $15,000 at the time.

    I have warmbloods by imported stallions out of second generation homebred warmblood mares.

    The biggie for me is our hay is trailered in. Not a stick of grass.

    I don't know what I am doing on the horse front for the first time in 20 years.

    I have given away two geldings with some soundness issues and have taken a huge financial bath on them. Fortunately they got loving homes.

    The feed prices are terribly scary. As breeders, big or small, we need to look at the fact that we may be sitting on these horses for a few years. Don't breed anything, you can't afford to feed. This is not a good time for speculation.
    Chris Misita
    www.hiddenvalleyfarms.net Home of Bravo and Warrick!
    To dare; progress comes at this price. All sublime conquests are, more or less, the rewards of daring.
    Victor Hugo



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