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Is this a true unicorn? If so, why?

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  • OneTwoMany
    replied
    Originally posted by Trekkie View Post
    Let me ask all those who may know this. Given a decent genetic chance (ie purpose bred, no huge history of unsoundness or completely crazy in bloodline) a foal raised with good management, a proper slow foundation and nutrition without “over feeding” to make fat for show ring (for example), lots of good turnout and ridden by adept, confident rider in many varied environments without overdoing or putting undue stress on growing body until horse begins showing signs of maturation and end of growth (usually aged 4-6), a person can make up a confident, talented athlete who is capable and willing and trusts its rider, and has no soundness issues. I think this could perhaps be replicated with every quality NA bred foal? Am I missing something? Simple recipe? Why is the 6-7 year old well-started, talented young horse who is sane, sound and willing to do its job such a unicorn in the NA bred market? It seems it is?
    I think you have received a lot of good responses.

    Like can't re- says, I believe these horses do exist. But a 6 or 7 year old that is a "good citizen" and is capable of becoming an ammy-friendly 3'6" hunter that can "win" will command a six figure price tag. Easily. The trainers, owners and breeders that have these horses know what they own and will price them accordingly.

    A 6 or 7 year old that has mileage at 2'6" or 3' but lacks the athletic ability to move up is in a completely different zip code.

    Leave a comment:


  • Trekkie
    replied
    I do not think these unicorns are or should be available cheaply. I see them often for close to or above 6 figures no matter where they are bred once they reach the US market. I just wonder why they are so few and far between. I paid quite a bit for a yearling and two year old NA well bred baby and am bringing them along myself with assistance as needed precisely because I cannot afford this 6-7 year old unicorn. I am well aware of the process, I just wonder why it seems so many more are available in Europe at appearently less cost than here. I have my own theories that are based on many factors but was wondering what the hive thought.

    Leave a comment:


  • can't re-
    replied
    I don't think what you are talking about is a unicorn, they are out there. Especially if you are talking about lower level horses that jump under 3'. The funny thing is that buyers quite often overestimate their level of riding and what they need the horse to do. There are also a lot of overlooked TB's with excellent temperaments doing that job.
    At 6-7 years old, many breeders have sold the horse or are hanging onto them to get more experience. I have produced many that would check all of your boxes, and are winning in the pro, junior/amateur division at A shows. (I am not longer breeding and am very much enjoying watching my kids do well.)
    I do think you have greatly oversimplified the process in your first post, things do not always go as planned with horses. It is a long process starting with breeding the mare, waiting almost a year and hoping for a safe delivery. And then teaching that baby everything it needs to know to be a good citizen. It is also not always easy to find the riders, afford the high cost of showing in the US, etc. I had 2-3 riders to bring mine along; one to start them, one for when they were just getting out and about and then often a top pro for the A shows. But I bred for the 3' and really the 3'6" and up divisions.
    I am curious, what would you expect to pay for the unicorn you describe? Once mine hit the rated divisions at 6-7 they were sold for six figures.
    I look at all of the good citizens at horse shows, all of the made horses and always think, WOW, someone put a lot of time into all of these horses. Every one of them. It is SO much work sprinkled with heartbreak.

    Leave a comment:


  • MissCoco
    replied
    I am not in the industry to any degree, but it sounds like one aspect of the differences in horse sales in Europe vs NA are that breeders in NA are more dedicated breeders, and sell younger horses before there is time to do much (if any) training under saddle; while in Europe there is a better infrastructure for breeders to also put the initial (and/or) later training on the horse?
    Is that impression accurate?
    TIA

    Leave a comment:


  • Scribbler
    replied
    Originally posted by Trekkie View Post
    Thank you all for the thoughtful responses. I am just going to clarify that the horse does not need to be a Grand Prix horse or an international derby horse. It seems there is plenty of demand for nice 3 foot or even 2’6 horses that are sound and happy. It seems from responses the problems are multiple. Too much cost to produce in NA compared to Europe, too many incapable amateur riders compared to Europe, and not enough quality breeders. I personally am not seeking to buy what I describe, but I do have a couple NA bred youngsters which I paid a fair price for that I have been happy with so far, thus my inquiry. I don’t know much about possible programs to subsidize quality breeding/young horse programs here, but I wonder if that would be an option. It seems most looking for horses that I described are importing or buying ones that were previously imported.
    Around here there is a big jump in price and scarcity between the horses competing under 3 feet and over 3 feet, different brackets altogether.. I am in western Canada and while people buy in the USA, importing a horse from Europe is extremely rare here, and I dont think anyone is importing 2 foot 6 jumpers.

    Anyhow, I think the answer to the dilemma you pose is to buy a young horse and then pay the trainer of your choice to start him.

    The best and largest breeding farms around here focus on breeding, not training. And because of land prices, many are located out in ranch country well away from the show circuit that is centred in metropolitan exurbs.

    Leave a comment:


  • Trekkie
    replied
    Thank you all for the thoughtful responses. I am just going to clarify that the horse does not need to be a Grand Prix horse or an international derby horse. It seems there is plenty of demand for nice 3 foot or even 2’6 horses that are sound and happy. It seems from responses the problems are multiple. Too much cost to produce in NA compared to Europe, too many incapable amateur riders compared to Europe, and not enough quality breeders. I personally am not seeking to buy what I describe, but I do have a couple NA bred youngsters which I paid a fair price for that I have been happy with so far, thus my inquiry. I don’t know much about possible programs to subsidize quality breeding/young horse programs here, but I wonder if that would be an option. It seems most looking for horses that I described are importing or buying ones that were previously imported.

    Leave a comment:


  • melula
    replied
    There are tons of nice, sane, appropriately trained 6-7 year-olds. I think the rub is that most folks searching for the unicorn want to pay jackass prices.

    Leave a comment:


  • NeedsAdvil
    replied
    I was lucky to purchase pretty much the exact horse you described in January of this year. 7 years old, started slow and correctly, given time to mature mentally and physically, and with excellent parents. I know how fortunate I am, and I truly wish more breeders could afford to do this. I was able to buy a truly "amateur friendly" horse for not a ton of money who is ready for whatever career suits him best.

    Leave a comment:


  • OnDeck
    replied
    That's like saying every teenager who comes from a healthy line of genetics, a stable family, and a good high school education should all be graduating high school ready to go to college or university and pursue a high level career. Sure that's a great place to start, but some will get sick or injured, some will stray down the wrong path regardless of the best parents in the world, and some will just struggle in high school but will live happy lives without going to college. Not every path is for every person... or horse

    Leave a comment:


  • dani0303
    replied
    I would say yes until they reach the age when they're ready to show (4ish). Once that happens we simply don't have the physical and financial access to showing like the Europeans. We also don't have the organization in the young jumper divisions.

    It's too expensive and difficult to put miles on young jumpers in this country and sell them for a price competitive with the European market.

    Leave a comment:


  • NoSuchPerson
    replied
    Originally posted by Trekkie View Post
    I think this could perhaps be replicated with every quality NA bred foal?
    No, I don't think it can. There are too many variables that can't be controlled. You've listed a lot of stages in this process and each one has to go right to end up with that "confident, talented athlete who is capable and willing and trusts its rider, and has no soundness issues" that you want. At each stage, horses will fail to progress to the next stage - injury, illness, mentally unsuitable, physically unsuitable...

    Leave a comment:


  • BeeHoney
    replied
    It costs a lot of $$ to produce what you describe. Personally, speaking as a (small) breeder, I find that it is really unrewarding to sell horses in the 4-5 age range, and much better to at that point, simply retain them until they have some miles under their belts and are more prepared for an amateur ride. US buyers are invariably dissatisfied with any given 4-6 year old. It's either doing too much and has been spoiled or it is not doing enough and is behind. Most potential buyers with cash to spend are not good enough riders to continue the development of a nice 4-5 year old. Many recognize this, but some don't. Many customers who wish to try a 4-6 year old may create a bad training experience for it either through ignorance or deliberately trying to "push it" past what might reasonably be expected of it. Many buyers feel that a 4-6 year old is too risky a purchase because it hasn't done anything yet and expect to negotiate a little more heavily than is fair. So, thank you very much, but I keep my horses in this age group off the market.

    Leave a comment:


  • BrendaJane
    replied
    Originally posted by Trekkie View Post
    Let me ask all those who may know this. Given a decent genetic chance (ie purpose bred, no huge history of unsoundness or completely crazy in bloodline) a foal raised with good management, a proper slow foundation and nutrition without “over feeding” to make fat for show ring (for example), lots of good turnout and ridden by adept, confident rider in many varied environments without overdoing or putting undue stress on growing body until horse begins showing signs of maturation and end of growth (usually aged 4-6), a person can make up a confident, talented athlete who is capable and willing and trusts its rider, and has no soundness issues. I think this could perhaps be replicated with every quality NA bred foal? Am I missing something? Simple recipe? Why is the 6-7 year old well-started, talented young horse who is sane, sound and willing to do its job such a unicorn in the NA bred market? It seems it is?
    Because that age group put the planning of the breeding right around 2008, when a lot of people lost their shirts and/or farms. A lot of the old school quality breeders also hung it up around this time, because, well, the market collapsed.

    Leave a comment:

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