I have been out of the loop the past 3 years being a broodmare myself. I have been wondering how the recession has effected the H/J world. Are lessons down? Have your clients had to sell their horses? Are stables losing business? Are people still buying horses?
I would think that horses, being a luxury would be the first to be cut back.
(]~~[) Amy (]~~[)
* I hope I never get too old to ride, despite the injuries and pain, because I cannot imagine not doing the thing I most enjoy in my life.*
But several have noted a lack of entry level clients. Up down lessons for newbies are light and many of the summer camps, while they got a good turnout, did not completely fill. This is where future clients come from and that's not good.
But people in the piplene are still there, buying and selling...maybe not so many AA shows or not so many shows period.
When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.
Probably the biggest thing I've observed in our barn is that most people aren't showing as much. Two to three clients have been doing 2-3 shows a month, either A's or whatever the LAEC Gold Coast shows are (B? C?). Two people who have shown in the past aren't planning to this year. Others (generally the county to small USEF-rated level types) haven't been showing as much, tho not all b/c of the economy. My horse has been rehabbing, another client is transitioning between horses, and b/c there isn't a critical mass of $$$ wanting to go to the county shows, they just haven't been on the agenda until now.
Haven't been to many shows at all to spectate, but it looks like entries aren't as robust at the A shows.
We are in Michigan - metro Detroit area. The recession has hit this area extremely hard. However, my "lost" boarders were the ones who moved out of state to better jobs - and they kept their horses. Only 1 customer had to sell her horse due to the economy, though several decided to sell instead of taking their horses to college with them. Interestingly, my lesson business is up by quite a bit, and I've heard the same thing from other trainers in my area. We show at the lowest levels (unrated, C, B) and the shows are offering lots of incentives - theres a great schooling series in my area thats offering class fees of $5 - $10! Turnout at the MHJA shows was not great last year, so this year they pared down the calendar so there are fewer shows, the turnout is fairly good.
So yeah, we're down a bit on boarders - its hard to replace the ones we've lost, and the barn isn't full, but at least the lesson business is pretty good.
"I gave my life to become the person I am right now. Was it worth it?”
What I've noticed around here are the number of barns that NEVER advertised in the past are now running ads like crazy. And posting prices so you can compare -- that was hardly ever done in the past.
I haven't been showing for reasons other than the economy, but have noticed that the numbers are down at the shows around here. A couple of regular, long-running shows have been canceled for this year as well.
I recently judged a small show, and I asked the mananger how they had been doing this year. I was informed that their entries were healthy, classes were filling and they were very pleased. This same manager just called me to judge a schooling show dressage ring because thier entries were so oversold, they had to open another ring. It's times are running from 8:30 to 2:10. I believe that is making 3 rings?
Also, I launched my business at the worst possible time, we finished construction of our main infrastructure and moved horses in in June of 2008. I have seen steady and consistent growth both with the boarding and lessons. My boarding stalls are currently full, and we have added 1-2 new riders (beginners), each month. When I talk with the familiy's I am told they are choosing what sports the children have the most interest in, as opposed to doing everything. I have clients not adding services, but staying at the level they are, and I have been very lucky with arranging two successful 1/2 leases. The 1/2 leasing seems to be a very appetizing venture. Our camps, 3, have been helathy but not full.
We have been showing at a small local circuit monthly since May, the circuit seems healthy, selling out all of their stalls. We took 5 horses in May, (skipped June), took 6 horses in July, and have 8 on the board for August.
I specifically picked this circuit because of the cost compared to my clients' current capability, and it is proving to be a god fit.
The big local AA horseshow in July seemed very small. Vendors down, entries light, and less "built out" for comparison.
The low end horses have really been suffering--I've a lovely TB broodmare, fun to ride, with a smashing foal at side I have for sale at a very modest price word of mouth and I've gotten very little response (although a couple of folks tire kicked and sighed and finally decided they could not afford a breeding venture and didn't need another riding horse).
I also know someone who came home to find several thin horses had been abandoned in her pasture. A friend from a chat list hauled out to a popular local part with a 4 horse stock trailer to ride with friends. When they returned to the parking area after the ride, they found the trailer stuffed full of strange horses.
It seems like the more spendy horses are doing OK. I know a lot of breeders cut back on the number of foals they produced, and several have had slower sales than normal and have come down more on price than normal. The really high rent horses seem to have suffered less.
I know I am not competing this year, although I have plans to return to it next year. The local hunter jumper shows where I have volunteered have had a fairly good turnout, but I also know someone who went to a h/j show with her kids and there were FIVE horse trailers in the parking lot and the entire morning was canceled due to lack of entries. That is a show run in NJ which has been around a long time (like, I rode in shows by that organizer when I was a high school kid in the 80s).
I bet a lot of people are not updating tack and clothes as much, making due with what they have now a little longer. Any tack store owners care to wade in??
Last year we hit shows every weekend, sometimes twice a weekend. This year with 2 horses showing we are only hitting them once or twice a month and even that is a stretch as sometimes it comes out of savings and my husband is less than thrilled with that. Large medical bills from our adopted son and a good size bonus that my husband didn't get this year have really hit us hard.
Next year we have 3 horses showing and knowing that it isn't a financial option for us, we will hopefully be selling one in order to keep 2 in the ring.
We love the sport and couldn't imagine life without it, so we do what we have to do in order to make it all work. We feel blessed that we are able to do this at all
COURAGE is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway. ~John Wayne
Last year from May to October I couldhardly get anyone to come try let alone buy a horse.
Had repeated sales fall thru due to the economy and fear of job loose.
But from October 08 thru 8/09 has been a steady uphill increase in sales.
The mid five figure horses languished but sold.
Anything from $3500- $15K are steady selling and theh $5,500 -$7500. range selling really well.
Lots of requests for $3500. prospects. Trainers telling me they have customers who can afford to keep horse and pay monthly lesson bills etc but have no big cash pile to lay-out for ready made bigger $$ horse.
Some looking to forgo showing for a while and make up a horse rather than jump right into the show ring.
At the barn where I board we had 5 out of 38 stalls empty for a while. Last week all were filled by different boarders. The lesson program is still going strong, but some boarders aren't going to as many shows and aren't rushing to buy that new expensive horse.
My barn currently has like ten boarders out of fifty stalls then maybe eight lessons horses... but we have an amazing amount of lessons... no one wants to take the plundge and get their own horse... my barn does little to no showing in exception to me, my manager and the trainers who do not board at my barn. I am hoping that they open a horse show team so students see how much fun it can be and will hopefully lease or buy horses themselves! Only two years ago, my barn was full... I'm hoping to see that again in the future.
My barn had a really busy show last weekend. I don't think it could get too much bigger for the facility. Our barn is full as far as I can tell, and there seems to be a good lesson program. They opened last winter.
For me, I'd love to get out and show, but no money. I make about 25% less now. My horse did one in house show, and that will be it until the next one. If I were making what I was 18 months ago, I'd do a show a month and more lessons and training. Right now, I do the minimum of lessons per month. I wish I could do one trainer ride a week and one lesson a week.
Shows are not as packed anymore. People who showed last year at all the big shows, continue to as they have not been affected. However, I've noticed at local shows there have been less entries. Even at Garden State this past April, there were 40 this year vs. 90 last year in a division I showed in. I'm showing more on local circuits, as the bigger shows are quite expensive.
As far as sales, I've seen less mid-high figure horses being bought and their prices are cheaper than what they would normally go for. I've seen a lot of prospects for 10k and under going well.
Our barn has one empty stall with no real interest in boarding. We haven't been showing much but that's more due to me just not being ready than any other reason. Our dressage rider has been doing her normal amount of showing and trailering out for lessons. My trainer said their camp did not fill quite as much but was still good. I know the other trainer at his barn has been bringing home nice horses for her clients so they are still buying. I haven't seen them (board at a different barn) but he says they are super nice-3'6" type hunters most of them. I know she was trying to find a 2'6"-3' horse for her client and couldn't find one that they liked so they ended up buying something that can do the 3'6".
Our barn has lost a number of customers (kids parents losing jobs, predominantly, it seems) and at the same time gained a few (those who can no longer afford the very very very top notch most-expensive places but can still afford to ride, etc.)
i see the most noticeable affects at shows.
I remember at Garden State, a huge AA show that brings like, EVERYONE in the north east, in 2007 I believe it was, there were almost EIGHTY large ponies in the children's hunters. eighty. that's A TON. even with the cali split it was still tons of ponies!
Last year, there weren't quite as many, but still a big number.
This year, there were only about 40 larges, maybe even 35 ish.
That's about HALF of what it was in 2007.
And let me remind those who don't live here: zone 2 is one of the most competitive zones. and, children's hunters is also one of the most competitive divisions in this zone (NOT the toughest, but most competitive due to the highest numbers of competitors).
i'm seeing less and less at the shows as the years go by.
Another show i've seen getting hit really hard is the Sussex Fair. Okay, sure, it's kind of tough if you've got a green or spooky horse, with all the excitement going on in the background, but it's always been The Fair. everyone goes ! Not so many show anymore, though. I remember looking at the results, last year, and tons of divisions, big divisions, were not held because they didn't fill.
on the other hand, i'm seeing the local shows have more success than ever (now what's funny is that i went to a very well known C show a week ago that's always been VERY popular, and my division only had about 7 or 8 ponies in them. this is children's larges.) and it was LESS expensive than the local shcooling shows i went to all winter.. (however i think this might have been because at the winter shows i always did the medal in addition to the division, and i didn't do the medal this time. but the medal does not cost another $50..) but anyway, the local schooling shows I went to this winter did VERY well. Their entries have been higher than ever.
My husband has a sales business in FL - hunters/jumpers/eq horses mostly. I would say last year especially in the fall months things were really slow - barely getting by - but lately (in the past 3 months or so) things really seem to be picking up. There are more people calling for horses and they have more $$ to spend than they did 6-12 months ago. There are people wanting to trade up and buy new horses that he sold to in the past - ready to take the plunge and spend more money. Maybe it is a sign that things are turning around.
We kept a few of our younger horses and decided not to sell them last year due to the drop in prices, I just wasn't willing to give them away after we bred them and kept them for so many years. I was just waiting for the market to recover.
The shows around here don't seem to be effected too much - the good ones still get a big turnout, the ones with crappy management and that are not fun to go to - well maybe they are smaller (we skipped them this year) but I don't like going to those shows anyway!!