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Risky investment?

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  • Risky investment?

    In my search for a project, I have come across one that I like.

    This project is intended to be a resale, although I have no delusions of making money. I just want the experience of bringing one along (with my trainer's help).

    This horse is a small (finely-built 16.0) bay mare. She's a good mover with a GREAT brain and she's inexpensive. Very sweet on the ground. However, I realize she might not be the easiest resell. She's small, she's a mare, she's OTTB, and she's sort of a plain brown wrapper. Also, I don't think she'll realistically do more than 2'6'-2'9. I see her as either a first horse type or a step-up from a kid coming off a pony to do the pre-children's.

    Maybe a risky investment? Should I keep looking? I like her, but I have to think about marketability too.

  • #2
    I think it really depends on how much you want to sell her for in the end. All horse selling/buying to me is risky business. I do think there is still a good market for this type of horse if it is well-trained and reasonably priced Those that want to do more competitive showing at higher levels likely will not be your market. But she will sell for the right market, which might be a pony-club kid, an adult amateur wanting a nice horse to ride, etc. Just know your market, and cater to them. I would look at her.
    Finding Cures, Saving Children. Sept. 29, 2019 Saddle Up for St. Jude event. Donate here.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Momateur View Post
      In my search for a project, I have come across one that I like.

      This project is intended to be a resale, although I have no delusions of making money. I just want the experience of bringing one along (with my trainer's help).

      This horse is a small (finely-built 16.0) bay mare. She's a good mover with a GREAT brain and she's inexpensive. Very sweet on the ground. However, I realize she might not be the easiest resell. She's small, she's a mare, she's OTTB, and she's sort of a plain brown wrapper. Also, I don't think she'll realistically do more than 2'6'-2'9. I see her as either a first horse type or a step-up from a kid coming off a pony to do the pre-children's.

      Maybe a risky investment? Should I keep looking? I like her, but I have to think about marketability too.
      I always laugh when I hear the term "investment horse." My trainer uses this all the time as though it will magically produce some ROI. Some will. Some won't. Best piece of advise I ever got was don't spend money on a horse if you aren't willing to throw that money away if anything happens. If you want the experience of bringing one along, the question is more of "do you want that experience with this particular horse?" If you do a great job and she's truly a step-up for a kid or adult ammy, someone will snatch her up. I just had 3 glorious years with my 2'6" older gelding that had the crookedest legs and wonkiest canter you ever saw. His looks didn't matter - we were consistent and we were accurate. We rarely placed in the hack and I was okay with that. Only one judge in three years didn't use him at all. All other judges were actually really fair. I wouldn't worry about the package if she's safe, sound, and can help a rider along. At 2'6" height fancy only really comes into play if everyone got their distances, changes, and the step - you can beat a 6 figure horse with a freebie if you put in the better ride. I spent three years doing just that.

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      • #4
        Ha Ha! Every horse is a "risky investment"! It kinda comes "part and parcel" with buying a horse.

        If you like the horse, feel that it fits what you are looking for, and the price is right, you buy the horse. You don't know what you are buying, you find that out in the next 6 months or so. 16 hands is not small. That is a pretty "regular" sized horse. It's not 18 hands, and that is often a GOOD thing, "large" horses are often over rated, hard to fit into lines between jumps, hard to fit into trailers and stalls, and often harder to keep sound. It's not the size of the horse that is important, it is the size of the stride, and size of the heart. At 16 hands, she is slightly larger than Touch of Class, who (I think?) was 15.3 or so. So "never say never".

        Will you sell the horse on for $100,000? IDK. Maybe you will, maybe you won't. Maybe it will drop dead next week. But you won't sell the horse for a profit if you spend too much buying it in the first place, and you won't make a profit if you don't buy it at all. You may not make a profit on selling the horse, but what that horse will teach you is worth something too.

        My little TB mare, who I bred, raised, raced, offered for sale but nobody wanted her, so I started jumping her myself, and have shown her for the last 10 years or so, is 15.2. Huge stride, will take strides out down the lines in the 3'6" jumpers, AND packs me over 5' in the 3 and 6 bar jumping classes, in my old age. The courage of a lion. I'm so glad that no one was interested in buying her when I offered her up for $2500. She's retired now, out in the field with her friends and family, a rare jewel whose class and poise sizzles when you touch her hide.
        www.cordovafarm.weebly.com

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        • Original Poster

          #5
          atl_hunter, I totally get it! No delusions of making money here! I just don't want to buy one that is impossible to sell down the road!

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          • #6
            If the horse is kid safe and can do her job reliably, there will be a buyer. Around here a horse of that description that could reliably take a tween around the local rated or schooling show two foot six would sell for at least $5,000. That won't make you a profit. But if you make her rideable by a kid and keep her sound, there will be a market.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Momateur View Post
              atl_hunter, I totally get it! No delusions of making money here! I just don't want to buy one that is impossible to sell down the road!
              Nothing you mentioned says “unsellable” to me. It will all depend on how she turns out - temperament and stride most importantly, and that’s the risk with any green horse. If you only want a project that you can do/sell rated, then one that tops out under 3’ isn’t a good bet. But if you think you’d have fun with her and you don’t need to make a lot (or any) money and you would be happy to make up a nice local horse, she sounds like she has potential.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Momateur View Post
                atl_hunter, I totally get it! No delusions of making money here! I just don't want to buy one that is impossible to sell down the road!

                Some thoughts, then.

                1. Insist on good x-rays.... better than her price and you buying for yourself warrant.

                2. And/or keep her and develop her for long enough that even without that initial and expensive PPE, you can show your buyers a long history of consistent soundness.

                3. How good are you at making a horse that anyone can ride?

                Buying the great mind for the kind of "step up" horse you want is a fabulous start. I think it's great that you want to try your hand at making up a finished horse. I like that, too. What I discovered is that I tend to think like a trainer, so I ride pretty consistently (at least in my logic, if not in my perfect equitation). I also don't let horses just cruise around "doing it wrong"-- not in self-carriage, heavy to either hand or leg, cross cantering on the lunge, not letting me spray their head off, not leading from both sides with a loop in the rope. And I take horses everywhere-- I find them stalls at cheap multi-day shows and do on a field trip. They have to trail ride. They learn to not run from cattle. They meet deer and dogs and chickens and such. You get the idea.

                What this means is that when I give someone a lesson on a horse I have made, there seems to be a pretty reliable "recipe" for riding them and getting just about what I get from them. These horses are "orthodox" and anyone with an education and skill appropriate to that kind of horse can ride them. This is the horse a buyer falls in love with. Can you make up that kind of horse? Do you want to learn? I just wanted to call your attention to the task of making a horse that is "turn key," beyond buying a good mind.

                4. Is this a mare you like seeing every day? If you could not sell her, would you enjoy riding her and finding things to do with her, even if you had outgrown her physical ability over fences? That's the kind of horse people like to buy, too. And that's the nice kind of "step up" horse that a pro encourages one client to buy and then tries to keep in the barn forever. Don't underestimate the value added by being a pet and/or pretty.

                5. Last but not least--- does the horse have a natural lead change in both directions? Does she want to cross canter at all? The first is something you'll really need in order to help you make up your first horse that will need an auto change (or non-rocket science change) for that "step up" rider. The second says a lot about her balance. At some point, her kid rider is going to need her to keep the balance that the kid has screwed up. If her body wants to stay on a lead (and either lead), it will help everyone out.
                The armchair saddler
                Politically Pro-Cat

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                • #9
                  Once upon a time a BNT I regularly cliniced with gave the advice to focus on flipping low to moderately priced horses. His thought was that there is only a growing market for local-type, affordable horses and you can buy and develop that type for much less of an investment than trying to get a A circuit pre-green horse saleable. Additionally, people looking in the lower price points are more accepting of "off" breeds, smaller sizes, smaller step, etc. He recommended finding whatever sort of good solid horse I could find for an inexpensive price, putting 6-9 months on them, and then selling in the <$20k range. His theory was that you do this repeatedly and you make some decent money, and the quantity makes up for a loss or two in there.

                  Now life got in the way so I haven't executed that, but it's still in my back pocket.

                  Anything is sellable for the proper price but there are easier and harder sells. Is she inexpensive enough that you can price her accordingly on the sale side to account for her smaller size and lack of wow factor? Then go for it. Just know she could be a tougher sale than, say, a 16.3h bay warmblood with lots of white (but the latter is likely to cost you more to acquire, too).

                  As always, soundness and temperament are at the top of my list when evaluating a resale project.

                  If I were buying her I'd be very realistic about the smartest market for her. Then develop her to that end. As described, she sounds like the perfect local type. So don't waste your money taking her to oodles of A shows. Make her a super broke, safe, lovely, fancy local type horse with local show miles (inexpensive) and maybe an A show or two. That horse especially when priced right will sell all day long - much easier than trying to sell a small OTTB mare as a A circuit childrens hunter.

                  Jennifer Baas
                  It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. (Aristotle)

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                  • #10
                    OP your instincts are correct. A small plain brown OTTB mare is a tough sell. It will sell, but I doubt it will be for more than a 4 figure number. And Pre-Childrens types aren't Pre-Childrens types until they go and Pre-Children. These types sell when they've made their names on the local circuits and have a line of trainers that know it and want to snatch it up for their next 2'6" kid. If your interest is going to come mainly from online advertising just know that small plain brown females have some of the lowest ad traffic numbers out there.
                    EHJ | FB | #140 | watch | #insta

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                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Such good input here! For the sake of discussion, I'll say that I can get this horse for $3500. She's already w/t/c nicely and quietly, even with intermediate kids on board. Although she does not have a change yet (she's only 4 and they just haven't worked on it yet), she does have a naturally balanced canter. My trainer does not think it'll be tough to teach this one to swap leads.
                      Even a very reliable, good-moving, local-level quality horse jumping around 2'6-2'9 may only bring $5000 or so in my area. It may take a year to get her there. I'm okay with that math. I'm losing money, but I'm gaining experience.
                      MVP, you ask many good questions that would take a lot of time to answer. But I'll focus on one. I like this horse. I like her temperament, I like her personality. She's buttery soft, and that's my kind of ride. She's full of try. So if she doesn't sell right away, I guess I wouldn't feel all that put out. Also, I have a daughter who could potentially outgrow her pony.....so maybe she'll just be OUR pre-children's hunter!

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                      • #12
                        i think this is the type people will want a show record of it packing around someone as a pre children's or pre adult horse. small, tb mare is a hard sell. unless you have a good 4h/pony club connection.

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                        • #13
                          Also, keep in mind, the TB-only shows are growing in popularity. Maybe you can attend some of those, or the TIP, TB-only classes at other shows. Also, you can market on the TB-only pages when the time is right.
                          Finding Cures, Saving Children. Sept. 29, 2019 Saddle Up for St. Jude event. Donate here.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Momateur View Post
                            Even a very reliable, good-moving, local-level quality horse jumping around 2'6-2'9 may only bring $5000 or so in my area. It may take a year to get her there. I'm okay with that math. I'm losing money, but I'm gaining experience.
                            Doesn't sound like a "risky investment" at all... sure, you won't make tens of thousands in profit but you also aren't risking tens of thousands. This is just a personal horse for you (that you've done your due diligence on with a good PPE) that you will sell without high expectations of profit when the time comes. Is that any fiscally different than going out and buying a horse that meets your requirements (and assuming the normal risk that anything can happen to any horse) that you eventually outgrow and must sell anyways? It's not an investment, it's a project. I say go out and enjoy having a project!

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                            • #15
                              In my neck of the woods, I haven't seen what we call a "good do-er" in any shape or form that can go clock around the 2'6 hunter ring reliably with lead changes and the step (better if you have push for the step) and a decent jump be priced under $15k. I live near WEC, the 2'6 ring is very competitive. People with money are actively buying six figure horses just to show in the 2'6 ring in this area. I was recently shopping for one and it was maddening because people kept showing me horses at the top of my budget ($30k) that I thought should be priced closer to 15. If you can show a little horse like that and get a couple ribbons in the right company you can price it in the 15-20 range easily (and honestly in the 2'6 ring, not that hard, you just have to out ride some people). You might get negotiated down at the end of the day but that's to be expected. Of course this assumes you spend the money to show it to get that price tag.

                              If she's turns into a 2'6 jumper in the same package? Different story, then you're talking 4 figures. That market value is just inherently lower unless you have a stellar show record on her. Then you're looking at the same 15-20k price range. You can get to that price off less shows in the hunter ring if she gets a couple ribbons.

                              All that aside, don't buy something you don't think you would enjoy riding on a daily basis. If it's intended as a means to and end, everyone is going to have a bad time.

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                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Momateur View Post
                                Such good input here! For the sake of discussion, I'll say that I can get this horse for $3500. She's already w/t/c nicely and quietly, even with intermediate kids on board. Although she does not have a change yet (she's only 4 and they just haven't worked on it yet), she does have a naturally balanced canter. My trainer does not think it'll be tough to teach this one to swap leads.
                                Even a very reliable, good-moving, local-level quality horse jumping around 2'6-2'9 may only bring $5000 or so in my area. It may take a year to get her there. I'm okay with that math. I'm losing money, but I'm gaining experience.
                                MVP, you ask many good questions that would take a lot of time to answer. But I'll focus on one. I like this horse. I like her temperament, I like her personality. She's buttery soft, and that's my kind of ride. She's full of try. So if she doesn't sell right away, I guess I wouldn't feel all that put out. Also, I have a daughter who could potentially outgrow her pony.....so maybe she'll just be OUR pre-children's hunter!
                                I wouldn't consider this an investment horse at all, then. Just a good horse for you to develop and learn on and possibly a future horse for your daughter...and it may be that to maximize her resale value if that is important to you, it's ideal for your daughter to show her for a few years. As dags mentioned this type is most saleable when it has a reputation and trainers who are waiting to buy it for their 2'6 kids.

                                If this horse would sell for $15k after a year in, well that math works more in an "investment" or true resale model.

                                If you understand that and are okay with not buying a true investment horse (one that you hope to earn a profit on..."hope" being the key word there ) then go for it, she sounds like a great fit for you and what you're looking for.
                                Jennifer Baas
                                It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. (Aristotle)

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Where are you that a reliable, good moving 2'6" horse is 5k? I am coming to shop!! Why do you think her limit is so small? A 16h TB with a nice stride should have no trouble with 3'.
                                  *****
                                  You will not rise to the occasion, you will default to your level of training.

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                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by Midge View Post
                                    Where are you that a reliable, good moving 2'6" horse is 5k? I am coming to shop!! Why do you think her limit is so small? A 16h TB with a nice stride should have no trouble with 3'.
                                    Rural NC; come on down! We show the local C circuit (occasionally the A shows, but very rarely for me). Okay, so maybe you'd have to pay $7,500. Maybe I was too conservative with that price tag. But still, it's a very inexpensive market for horses of this type.

                                    And maybe she will do the 3' someday. But again, I'm just trying to be very conservative in my forecasting!

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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by hairystockings View Post
                                      In my neck of the woods, I haven't seen what we call a "good do-er" in any shape or form that can go clock around the 2'6 hunter ring reliably with lead changes and the step (better if you have push for the step) and a decent jump be priced under $15k. I live near WEC, the 2'6 ring is very competitive. People with money are actively buying six figure horses just to show in the 2'6 ring in this area. I was recently shopping for one and it was maddening because people kept showing me horses at the top of my budget ($30k) that I thought should be priced closer to 15. If you can show a little horse like that and get a couple ribbons in the right company you can price it in the 15-20 range easily (and honestly in the 2'6 ring, not that hard, you just have to out ride some people). You might get negotiated down at the end of the day but that's to be expected. Of course this assumes you spend the money to show it to get that price tag.
                                      We literally just had one in Lexington for $7500. Small plain bay appendix mare. It was Reserve Champion in the Intermediate Childrens Hunters at WEC, but it's still a small plain bay appendix mare. It's adorable, swaps leads, and is an all-around do-gooder, but it will easily be outshined by the animals you're talking about.
                                      EHJ | FB | #140 | watch | #insta

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                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by dags View Post

                                        We literally just had one in Lexington for $7500. Small plain bay appendix mare. It was Reserve Champion in the Intermediate Childrens Hunters at WEC, but it's still a small plain bay appendix mare. It's adorable, swaps leads, and is an all-around do-gooder, but it will easily be outshined by the animals you're talking about.
                                        Ugh I wish we had known about that one when we had kids shopping in that budget. Everything in the Cinci area that has been to one of those shows and pinned like that has been priced in the low 5's it's maddening. I had someone show us a green, plain brown TB for 20k. His jump was cute but not cute enough for that price tag. People here use ribbons in that ring as a license to price hike.

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