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Economy and horses

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  • Economy and horses

    Are any of you trainers/riders worried about the economy and what it might do to your business in the coming years.

    Are people already cutting back on sending their horses to shows, or not taking as many lessons, etc?

    Just curious.

    Where I am my vet just told me that 2 months ago at an auction there where 5 horses, and this month there where 64 horses at it. And she heard people are letting their horses go/ be free in the desert because they can't afford to feed them. This seems crazy to me? I am pretty sure these are not Dressage horses being set free but.....
    Last edited by Tallac; Jul. 2, 2008, 01:09 PM.

  • #2
    I just got notice that my board and lessons are going up (by a lot, might I add)

    I am for sure going to have to limit my lessons now, and I have to seriously reevaluate what I'm going to do with that 2nd horse. because boarding him as well as my other guy is going to break me.

    I'm fortunate that I have a very small acreage, so if worse comes to worse, they can come home and I could possibly trailer out (although what a PITA). but its hard, because I WANT to compete and get better and you can only do that through lessons and clinics and shows, and its much harder to do now then it was a couple of years ago.
    In my opinion, a horse is the animal to have. 1300 pounds of raw muscle, power, grace, and sweat between your legs - it's something you just can't get from a pet hamster.

    Comment


    • #3
      when board gets over 500 a month, it starts to look more and more attractive to keep horses at home, but then many people will only be able to maintain their horses at home rather than actuallly train, compete, etc. in some areas an indoor arena is very expensive due to needing double and triple roof trusses to hold snow weight....even outdoor arenas can be hard to build in some areas and if a property isn't set up to drain and handlle run off a certain way it can be very hard to get an outdoor arena to work.

      Comment


      • #4
        Where I board there hasn't been many cutbacks, people are still showing and taking weekly lessons. The board is $500 per month. Personally, I decided to on local schooling shows this summer, registering my youngster with the USDF/USEF was too much money.
        "You gave your life to become the person you are right now. Was it worth it?" Richard Bach

        Comment


        • #5
          Not the gas prices alone, but the rising cost of powering the truck (particularly with trailer in tow) coupled with a downturn in Mr. CH's and my earning power over the last couple of years has spurred me to some horse-related cost-cutting actions. My personal economic downturn, fortuitously, accompanied a move to an area where we could afford a farmlet on a mortgage that is a considerably smaller percentage of our monthly income compared to our previous mortgage/income ratio. Moving the horses home was, therefore, a considerable cost savings for our particular situation.

          Because of the lesson cost plus gas plus vehicle wear-and-tear, I only haul out for lessons twice a month usually. Showing is limited to schooling shows in a fairly limited range from home, and preferably to those where I can trade services of some sort for a couple of free test rides. Otherwise, I just set priorities, pay whatever is necessary for the must-haves and cut corners wherever necessary.

          A friend who runs a boarding/lesson stable nearby has altered her boarding rates so that each boarder pays a base fee to cover labor and overhead, then pays precisely what her own horse consumes each month in terms of feed and bedding ... where delivery prices are heavily affected by rising gas costs. It's a labor-intensive way to do billing and I'm sure is hitting some people hard, but on the surface it does seem the most scrupulously fair way to cover actual costs. Her money is made on the lesson program, and those rates had to rise a little this year to cover the increased cost of caring for the schoolies while allowing a reasonable profit margin to provide her with a living wage.
          Equinox Equine Massage

          In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was in me invincible summer.
          -Albert Camus

          Comment


          • #6
            Every place I've boarded or looked into for boarding has gone up by $50 to $100 in the last few months.

            I personally would be thrilled by a base fee + food/bedding billing system, as my girl's such an easy keeper... She eats 3 cups of grain each day (but a bit more in the winter) and maybe three or four flakes of hay. In the place where she's moving back to, this is about half what the other horses eat... They are mostly big WBs and she's a little Morgan. I giggled at the signs saying that people must pay for extra hay, that they can't just grab a flake here or there for their horses like they used to. OTOH, my girl trashes her stall pretty quickly, so maybe we wouldn't do so well on bedding...
            You have to have experiences to gain experience.

            1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"

            Comment


            • #7
              Terrified.

              But then, my combined 4 jobs net me around $35k. Owner/rider/competitor/trainer. Not the CotH or DT demographic. (though I know there are others out there! Give me HOPE you guys!)

              Lessons lost a long time ago. One so far this year, the big hope is for a second in Sept/Oct.

              Let go of showing goals entirely for the year. No shows. Period. Unless something changes. For now, getting by is all I can do. Expenses have gone up by 50%, salary hasn't changed at all.

              *Am* still breeding, very specific, very niche, because if you don't have anything for sale, you can't sell anything. Hanging on by the skin of my teeth to the one mare I don't *want* to sell but might *have* to.

              Working so many hours I've lost the will/inspiration to ride. That's a catch 22 I've always known about, but usually see a light at the end of the tunnel. This time I'm pretty sure it's a train.
              InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs
              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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

              Comment


              • #8
                I think buying into FEAR is a major mistake but you have to be realistic about the short term, and make adjustments.

                Interestingly, my vet has a day's worth of "standing" work every Thursday in my area, week in and week out, for years. Last week I was the only call in my area. He had other clients in other directions.

                And we have a vet shortage in my area.
                www.oakhollowstable.blogspot.com

                Comment


                • #9
                  well, new house construction is in the dumper, but since a lot of peope are staying in their current house, a friend who does upgrades and remodels hasn't had a day off (incl Sat) since april. the oil companies are making record profits, and anyone having any thing to do with exports is rolling around in money like Carthman. just talked to someone at a company that sells parts for MRI's, their budget is to double sales this year and looks like they will make that comfortably. housing prices in the nearest city have dropped 75% in one area (poor area) and gone up 27% in another area (rich area). it's a wierd situation. some companies are benefitting from the problems, and the very weathy do not appear to be suffering.

                  i think most of the companies benefitting are trying to keep a low profile.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by slc2 View Post
                    when board gets over 500 a month, it starts to look more and more attractive to keep horses at home, but then many people will only be able to maintain their horses at home rather than actuallly train, compete, etc. in some areas an indoor arena is very expensive due to needing double and triple roof trusses to hold snow weight....even outdoor arenas can be hard to build in some areas and if a property isn't set up to drain and handlle run off a certain way it can be very hard to get an outdoor arena to work.
                    exactly...pasture board has now gone up to $475.00 a month, and indoor is $750.00. It's hard, for sure

                    especially those of us who get snow (which is why I board) because we have snow and weather under -20C for a good 6-8 months out of the year sometimes so actually being able to ride and train is limited, as footing can get awful (and it can get bloody cold!) so we NEED those indoors, and of course, that means either trailering ino ,or boarding
                    In my opinion, a horse is the animal to have. 1300 pounds of raw muscle, power, grace, and sweat between your legs - it's something you just can't get from a pet hamster.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      My daughter's H/J barn has, apparently, gone from 75 lessons a week to 42 lessons a week. They had to lay off the barn manager

                      My trainer is busier than ever. Go figure. He is just one guy, though, and got a client with several horses.

                      Everyone I talk to is feeling it. It's all about the gas prices.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I have my horses at home, but feed has gone up around a dollar a bag in two weeks! If it keeps rising I'm gonna have to grow my own oats! I know my neighbor just paid out the nose for fertilizer, something in the ball park of 65,000! Last year was half that (he has alot of acreage) , we have limited the areas we are fertilizing this year. I had to cut back on my lessons, went from two a week to one, then I have skipped the last two weeks. Farrier has not raised prices yet but said it was getting close to that point. I know a couple of months ago I could go to the grocery store and get two weeks worth of groceries for 200-250, now it closer to 300-325. All these things hurt when your income doesn't go up as well.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          My trailer-in lessons have been cut in half. I'm travelling now for my students who can get 3 lessons or more for me at their barns, which helps everyone save on gas (as I drive the world's most perfect 2000 VW Beetle! ). We didn't have a lot of shows planned for this year anyway, but I'm not losing sleep over not being "out there" every other weekend.
                          spriesersporthorse.com | farm on Facebook | me on Facebook | blog

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                          • #14
                            Board has been going up by $25-$50 in the area, depending on hay and grain cost in the fall it may well go up again. Most have been cutting back on showing but continuing to lesson and train.
                            Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                            Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hay costs were a bit extreme this past winter, so we bit the bullet and planted an additional 14 acres back into hay, and plan on co-hay-farming a nearby 26-acre field for round bale production for next year, as soon as the "short beans" are off the field. We also switched over to a complete feed, cutting our hay-bale consumption over last winter from about half a ton a day down to 200 pounds a day.

                              I stopped taking my weekly lessons, but not because of the economy -- the schoolmaster was laid up for a lameness issue, and since we just built a new indoor arena here, I just didn't start up lessons there again. We recently hired a trainer/instructor to work here. And we hired a barn manager. Oh, guess that doesn't sound much like the economy is hitting us all that hard here, huh? Maybe we're one of the rich folks that roll around in money... (Sorry, didn't really mean to be snarky right off.)

                              Seriously, though, even with gas prices being really high, and food prices sliding upwards... last night on our weekly Tuesday Night Horse People Eat Out foray, the restaurants are still packed, Wal-Mart parking lot is still packed, and the ice cream stand is really packed. BUT-- the clinics with the out-of-towners being flown in seem to have dwindled.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I have shaved, shaved, shaved. Cancelled some cable channels to reduce that bill. Thinking seriously about going on the pay as you go plan when my contract is up with AT & T for my cell phone. That alone will save me $50 bucks a month. Don't take the expressway anymore, which takes me extra time to get to and from work, but it also saves me about $80 a month. Horses have been shaved back. Keep them out more so I can save on bedding, and since the pasture is coming back now that we've had some rain I've cut back on their hay. They are all still on the 'well fed' side so they are doing fine.

                                In between paydays I had to get them a lower cost bag of feed, and the cheapest bag I could find was $9.50. My old girls feed is now up to over $16 a bag.

                                Luckily I keep mine at home, and as far as going anywhere goes....I park my truck Friday night and don't go anywhere until Monday morning. All my extra income is going in my gas tank since I drive 40+ miles each way to and from work. Working closer to home isn't an option unfortunately.

                                Looking at the horses and wondering who might have to be my sacrificial lamb, which depresses me to know end since I love them all equally and can't imagine not seeing them grazing in my pasture.

                                Like somebody said, everything is going up but my paycheck, and last year this time I had a trainer coming to my house once a week to help me with my youngsters and was doing okay. He's not coming anymore, I'm saving on training fees, but it's getting harder and harder every day to make ends meet and I just don't know where else I can cut back.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Pintopiaffe, I think there are a lot people out there in the same income level. It may not be reflected in the different surveys but there is a large group of "financially challenged" dressage riders that has not been recognized. That is really too bad. Dressage or any horse activity is not about the pocket book though it sometimes feels like it. It is all about what you choose to spend your money on. I spend it on my horse, keeps me this side of sane and out of trouble.

                                  I have cut back on lessons and shows but was doing so anyway because I have a new horse. Our barn has a large aisle which can be used as a small indoor. No stabling at the local indoor this year. I will add some good footing and save a bit of board.

                                  I am trying to look at the crunch as a way for me to become more inventive, in a good way, with how I manage my horse activities. I want to purchase another horse so this may actually be a good time to do so.

                                  If gas keeps moving upward I will have to re-think my employment options. I commute around 50 miles per day, which is nothing to what I used to do, but it still hurts. Maybe take a job closer to the house and make a bit less, who knows?

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by pintopiaffe View Post
                                    Terrified.

                                    But then, my combined 4 jobs net me around $35k. Owner/rider/competitor/trainer. Not the CotH or DT demographic. (though I know there are others out there! Give me HOPE you guys!)

                                    Lessons lost a long time ago. One so far this year, the big hope is for a second in Sept/Oct.

                                    Let go of showing goals entirely for the year. No shows. Period. Unless something changes. For now, getting by is all I can do. Expenses have gone up by 50%, salary hasn't changed at all.

                                    *Am* still breeding, very specific, very niche, because if you don't have anything for sale, you can't sell anything. Hanging on by the skin of my teeth to the one mare I don't *want* to sell but might *have* to.

                                    Working so many hours I've lost the will/inspiration to ride. That's a catch 22 I've always known about, but usually see a light at the end of the tunnel. This time I'm pretty sure it's a train.
                                    Don't worry. I'm right there with you.
                                    I work a government job 4 days a week. I leave home at 6 am and return at 6 pm. Then I leave and go to my 'neighborhood' and work as many horses as possible. I get home at 9:30.
                                    Friday's through Sunday's I work horses in the 100+ heat for 5 hours or so. I'm doing well right now bringing in money and paying off my show bill (credit card) from last season.

                                    And I barely make it by living rent and board free on my parent's property. And I won't be showing again this year.

                                    Luckily I was in a low competition wise and need to take a season to get my dressage score back down. : ) Perfect timing.

                                    kaboomeventing.com
                                    http://kaboomeventing.com/
                                    http://kaboomeventing.blogspot.com/
                                    Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by magickmeadow View Post
                                      I am trying to look at the crunch as a way for me to become more inventive, in a good way, with how I manage my horse activities. I want to purchase another horse so this may actually be a good time to do so.

                                      If gas keeps moving upward I will have to re-think my employment options. I commute around 50 miles per day, which is nothing to what I used to do, but it still hurts. Maybe take a job closer to the house and make a bit less, who knows?
                                      you got it!!
                                      Somehow I'll manage to pay off all debt and start an IRA this fall. : )
                                      It's amazing what an economic scare will do!
                                      Shoot, it's amazing what one season off of HTs will do!!
                                      http://kaboomeventing.com/
                                      http://kaboomeventing.blogspot.com/
                                      Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I've decided not to go to some shows and clinics this year for financial reasons too. I would like to get a new (used - I mean new to me) saddle and have been saving toward it for several months and probably will be for many more. My job used to give cost of living increases and is cutting back on those this year (when we need it more than ever of course :P).

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