Hmmm, I suppose in my mind giving me cold hard cash from the sale of a piece seems like more of a loss to him than simply trading a piece for a horse for me. Handing me a $5k check is a loss of $5k actual dollars to himself and his business (and also probably would need to result in $5k to each of my siblings ), whereas trading a piece is a loss of only his expenses. Also, if I facilitate the trade, I have done the marketing, so to speak, whereas if I let him sell the piece, he is paying to do the marketing. I don't think it's a huge difference, just enough of one...
As an artist, I totally get this. For me, trading a painting is different than selling a painting and then using that money (that may very well have somewhere more practical to go) on the same item. It is my hours of easel time vs cash. It really is different. With your dad, he does have the added foundry costs that a painter doesn't, but it still isn't the same as not benefitting from a retail (especially) sale.
By the way, I posted on your other thread, love his work!
We're spending our money on horses and bourbon. The rest we're just wasting. www.dleestudio.com