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Spin-off from A/O trainwreck: Make yer own!

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  • Spin-off from A/O trainwreck: Make yer own!

    As usually happens, someone finally says "Hey, you good ammies too broke to buy into the A/Os, quit yer whinin' and go make up your own from green! Then sell it for alotta money and voila-- you are there, problem solved."

    I think a horse is probably the worst investment vehicle ever. But that common wisdom aside, my question is about what this "make yer own" scenario would look like.

    What do you need to make this work?

    Buying it--

    You buy it as a 3 year old? Younger? You don't bother with an OTTB because it costs the same to feed a fancy one as a plain one and you need "fancy" for your investment project to pay off? So you need to be able to buy in Europe? Or you need a pro with good contacts and a great eye? Or you need that skill?

    Feeding it-- come hell or high water.

    You feed it and take all the risk. You certainly insure it and manage it the best you know how. If you were smart, how long would you plan on owning this horse? Between what ages?

    Training it--

    Remember, you are a competent, ambitious ammy who can't pay a pro to do the job. Does that mean you need to be good enough to do all the riding yourself? If so, how much pro help do you pay for and when? Does this plan mean you take a couple of BNT clinics per year?

    I welcome your "I did this with a $1,500 OTTB" stories. I also welcome the opinions from folks who have watched the training careers of many 3'6" hunters and jumpers and have a sense of what this looks like "on average" or the key ingredients in make this work or fail.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat

  • #2
    Good thing I just popped open this nice chilled Stella Artois! Bring on the trainwreck!

    For what it's worth, I agree. There are a lot of GOOD amature riders out there that are missing a great opportunity to achieve the rewarding experience of bringing one along themself =)

    And then selling it for a pretty penny.

    Comment


    • #3
      I have bred them, trained them, shown them and they are still with me. Haven't sold one yet. Hummmm there is a missing piece to this puzzle. I am going to go fetch me a crisp cooler and ice for this one. Let the games begin.

      Comment


      • #4
        I've done this, with homebreds mainly, but also with one I purchased as a four year old for myself (well, I told my mother it was a sales horse, but um....). I would say it does not cost less money, but, realistically, I have had nicer horses than I would otherwise have had, since spreading out your investment is always easier than taking the plunge of putting the money up for the finished product. I've had one finished product to show, and that was a result of the mythical "in the right place at the right time" approach, which I highly recommend if you can get it .
        I did them all mostly myself, with a good groundperson and in a good program, and a few rides here and there if I felt I needed someone with a different approach or, more commonly, more strength (I'm small, but also stubborn ). Maybe twice a year on the last three, I can only think of once on the one before that, but it was a while ago. It's certainly doable, but having a good person on the ground helps a lot. My last young horse I didn't have regular help, and it's much harder to judge a) what you actually have and b) when to do MORE at the risk of starting something that might not go as well as what you're doing NOW. I'm more cautious without someone there to say, yes, this horse is ready to move up/ do the step/ canter the fences/ try an in and out...... because if you're wrong and it wasn't ready, then you are a hundred steps behind where you last were. So, my advice is, when you're doing what you're doing really well, get that help when you are ready to take the next big step. Then go home and work on that until you're ready for the next step. Keep in mind there are lots of steps, but they do get smaller as you go.
        Clinics I don't know if I would find helpful with a young horse, since it has to be an individual approach, and for your groundperson to be effective they need to see where you were before to have an idea of where you are going and how you are going to get there. If I see your horse midway through its training and it's brave and careful, I may not know that it was more careful before it was brave, and I have a good chance of scaring it when trying something new.
        The one I bought I think was at a perfect stage for buying them. Four years old (which is when you can tell what you've got, generally), trotting fences, flatting, but not cantering fences and no leadchange. Those last two pieces you don't want someone putting on a horse that doesn't know what they're doing, so you have to be careful when you're buying them already installed in a young horse. It is easier to train than retrain. If you buy younger and less started, you have a lot more risk, but probably less purchase price. If you're a nutcase and breed homebreds, you have to feed it until you can tell if it's useless or not, and you're stuck with what you get when it comes out. If you buy a cute foal it might still be useless, but at least you know from the start that it has a pretty head. If you're smart, you sell it as a pregreen horse and let someone else worry about whether or not it's going to jump the 3'6". Or you can take that risk, and hopefully have a good horse to show in the a/o for a few years before you sell it to another amateur or a kid. But that last step of move up is the final gamble, and a big one.

        Comment


        • #5
          (peeks out from behind a standard) I'll play!! I'll play!! I have bred 4 that I never could have bought as made hunters. The 2 I sold, to A show barns w/ trainers and owners w/ lots of cash, are relatively famous on the circuit. The two I kept are beautifully talented, great movers eh hem.... and older than they should be for what they are doing.

          Now, I sold the 2 for a nice profit. I sold them unbroke, but winning on the line ( don't go there.......a whole 'nother topic). I was luck to have good contacts.

          As for the two I kept, I'm getting there... life got in the way.

          I'm lucky, they made it through all the "IF's". If the mare gets bred, if the foal lives, if the mare lives, if they are correct, if they aren't a holes, if they can jump............

          For all the money I have spent on them, in a lump, I could have bought my baby winning in the 3'6 back. And he is big bucks...
          Come to the dark side, we have cookies

          Comment


          • #6
            If you're a nutcase and breed homebreds, you have to feed it until you can tell if it's useless or not, and you're stuck with what you get when it comes out. If you buy a cute foal it might still be useless, but at least you know from the start that it has a pretty head.
            ---
            They're small hearts.

            Comment


            • #7
              I did this ... and while I am sure I spent just as much in the long run, it allowed me to spread out my investment. I was able to buy a just broke three year old with good breeding and potential in the low five figures and took four/five years to get her to the A/O ring. I was lucky - she stayed relatively sound and had the talent to take me to the level I wanted. And when we put it all together, we won ... even at big shows. She took me to indoors for my first time and I won my first zone championship on her. It was tough, it was painful (literally, I fell off that mare more times than I can count) and it was rewarding. It was the only way I could afford a nice horse at the time and when I am ready to buy again it will probably be the only way I can do it then.
              http://community.webshots.com/user/Diva1998

              "Reality has a liberal bias" - Jon Stewart

              Comment


              • #8
                How about how much fun it is????

                Making a young horse....going to the first small shows.....getting those first ribbons...winning that first hack, it doesn't get better than that!! It takes so much of the pressure off.....because each step, each show, is a learning experience for your horse. If he wins, great, if he doesn't,you can enjoy what he did learn!! Your first really good round feels like a championship ....regardless of what ribbon you win. ALL that pleasure, and in the end, a made horse, ready to be fun for someone who doesn't make their own. I love doing it so much that when they are finally made, I can't wait to start all over with a young one!!!
                "Over the Hill?? What Hill, Where?? I don't remember any hill!!!" Favorite Tee Shirt

                Comment


                • #9
                  I wanted to buy a big ole piece of land where I could have mares and foals a-roamin but I would not sell them because I get too attached.. So my horse raising history consists of a few different roads:

                  Horse 1 - 4 year old QH ranch horse paid $150.00 beat up, abused and neglected... I was extremely young; but managed to work with her and her trust issues and she turned out to be the best bareback eq horse evah.... This was in the late 70's.

                  Horse 2 - 3 year old Appy/TB off the track paid $350.00 beat up, abused and neglected.... Again young but didn't really think things out, just wanted to jump... years of gaining his trust - best Eq and Hunter evah..... in early 80's and even into the later years (2000's) he did Hunters, Eq, Western, 3 day eventing, barrel racing, endurance rides.... passed away at 40 years old.

                  Horse 3 - 1 week old cute as a bug, sassy little WB/TB brown colt bought for $2,500.00 good lines and great mover..... If you buy them young (before 3) be prepared to pray A LOT! It was one injury or issue after another.... but after years of work, feed, vet bills, waiting, riding, waiting again - he was valued at 30,000.00. I was offered $80,000 at one point and guess what? Yeah you guessed it.... I "still" have him.... 12 years later.

                  Horse 4 - 1 month old WB colt - potential to be BIG. Paid 4,500.00 Nice mover, great lines - and just like horse 3, injury, surgery, finally riding at 3 years and poof - illness and died. Did have him insured got my 4,500 back - all the time, money, and vet bills not covered by insurance... and seller wasn't honest about some heath issues horse had..

                  Horse 5 - 13 year old HUGE Danish WB paid $2,500.00 with mental abuse issues and feet issues. Loved on him, gained his trust, worked on his feet and today he is becoming a lovely Eq horse for his old mama.. (yeah that's me). Was told by BNT horse is amazing and could be a 100,000 horse! yeah that made me smile... but he aint going anyplace.

                  I did have a few OTTBs -

                  1) freebee - 16.3 hand stallion - fixed rode and sold for $2,500.00
                  2) freebee - 16.2 hand mare - fixed rode and sold for $2,500.00
                  3) freebee - 17 hand mare - was to be sold but got ripped off when person took her and never paid for her.

                  The moral of the story is (IMHO) horses are awesome to be around but you just never know what your are going to get or what type of people you will come across..... it's a tough buisness!!!

                  My goal is usually making them for myself because I cannot afford a "made" one. Well what I really need is a "packer"...
                  Live in the sunshine.
                  Swim in the sea.
                  Drink the wild air.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Oh and cost being the same - it's really not... because if you raise em yourself you are making "payments" vs "mortgaging" your home to buy that big 3'6" Eq horse.

                    But the risk IMHO is much greater making em yourself. Lameness, feed/board costs, and waiting to get to the ring while you get them going. And injury for us older Ammies
                    Live in the sunshine.
                    Swim in the sea.
                    Drink the wild air.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Average joe ammy with a I bought my own horse and trained it story...

                      My current a/o hunter I got before she turned 3 y/o. I've always trained my own horses, but I guess I'm a good enough rider to bring along a greenie (I've done it with the last 5 horses I've owned), and I have only ever had a few thousand dollars to spend on a horse at one time. With that being said I never had the intention of doing the hunters with this horse, But everyone was like why the heck is this horse doing the child/adult jumpers, she jumps to good. I did have to wait some time before moving over to hunter-land because the mare couldn't do a flying lead change. Once we got that it was an easy transition. I don't have the average amateurs situation as far as keeping a horse at a show barn and lessoning every week. I trailer into my trainers for maybe 1 or 2 lessons a month and meet them at horse shows. What makes it work for me is that my horse is an easy keeper as in only needs to be ridden 5 times a week. She doesn't need fancy farrier work ie "gasp" I show her barefoot. She also doesn't need a lot of training rides, I think I only have it done once or twice a year. She also isn't high maintenance. I do this all on a budget too. Oh and said horse is not an ottb or a warmblood either.

                      So, yes, you can buy a young or cheaper horse, and show it on a budget, BUT heres the kicker, it does take work and commitment to be successful at it.
                      I want to be like Barbie because that bitch has everything!

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        I bred and made up a nice 3'er. He wasn't built to do more and stay sound for the years and years I wanted for him.

                        Loved him, loved the whole process. I'd like to do this again. He was better than anything I had ridden to date, but that meant I didn't breed fancy enough. That's the hard part for me. I can spot a great mind a mile away. I didn't grow up around really nice horses, so I can't do the same for the athletic side of the equation.

                        What you all say is right: It's the same money spread out over time. The one thing I did wrong with mine was make him up too slowly. I was always afraid of breaking him-- my investment, the one horse I could afford at a time. I'd go a bit faster with the next one. Maybe this is a typical problem for DIYer ammies.

                        The other problem I had was finding a way to get help with gymnastics. A friend who had her horse with a BNT said they had a grid set up at all times. They used it a lot for their hunters. In my world? That was like pulling teeth by the time you built it and found a ground person-- whether or not that person could help you make those subtle adjustments that the horse needed on that day.
                        The armchair saddler
                        Politically Pro-Cat

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          It can be fun, but it is not cheap. My current baby I bought as a 2YO. I was not looking for a horse, had small children and had not ridden in 5 years. However, I really liked her and her breeding, and apparently, no one else did.

                          I don't have my own place, so I have to pay board. Then I paid someone to start her western. Then I moved her to our training barn, where I do all of the riding, but my trainer is a good ground person.

                          I'll take her to a local schooling show next month just to see how she is off-property (the way our weather has been, it may well end up being inside, or being the first time I ever jump her outside).

                          Then, it's off to Chicago for two weeks for a pro to ride her in the baby greens and me to do the adult 2'6" stuff, and the same drill in Traverse City. She will be green as grass, I will likely look like an idiot, and by the time the summer is over I could have imported a nice 3'6" hunter when you consider everything I've put into her.

                          But. I had something to focus on during the years that my kids were starting preschool/kindergarten, even though I wasn't actually riding. And, while babies can be frustrating, they can be filled with pleasant surprises as well.

                          Overall, I'd say it's a gamble, and your best case scenario is that you end up making payments on a nice horse instead of paying in a lump sum. 3 or 4 year olds going under saddle are a much better gamble, but it's harder to find really nice ones that haven't been discovered or messed up.

                          Regardless, this will be my last baby. It is so much work. So. Much. Work. Then again, I have a distinct memory of asking a trainer to shoot me in the head the next time I mentioned buying a baby while I was riding a particularly frisky one. His reply? "No thanks. I have small children. I can't go to jail."
                          Trinity Farm LLC
                          Quality hunters and jumpers at Midwest prices
                          Like us on Facebook:
                          https://www.facebook.com/TrinityFarmLLC

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Claudius View Post
                            Making a young horse....going to the first small shows.....getting those first ribbons...winning that first hack, it doesn't get better than that!! It takes so much of the pressure off.....because each step, each show, is a learning experience for your horse. If he wins, great, if he doesn't,you can enjoy what he did learn!! Your first really good round feels like a championship ....regardless of what ribbon you win. ALL that pleasure, and in the end, a made horse, ready to be fun for someone who doesn't make their own. I love doing it so much that when they are finally made, I can't wait to start all over with a young one!!!
                            This is my favorite part too. Growing up I would get a couple babies (any where from a weanling to 3 depending on what I could find cheaply) every few years to break and sell. It was so much fun. Every day was an adventure and you learn a lot. I never had (and probably never will have!) the money to buy a made horse. This was the best option I had to make a little money to show with and have some half decent horses to show, even if we may try to take down every jump on the course or spook all the way across the ring because of a stroller. I think it is fun and much more rewarding! I was lucky that my parents have a small farm and they let me keep my projects board free and my dad does their feet. That saves a lot on what I have to put into them!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I can spot a great mind a mile away. I didn't grow up around really nice horses, so I can't do the same for the athletic side of the equation.
                              The problem is that they rarely, very rarely, come together, especially in young horses. That kind of horse is like winning the lottery, and none of us are that lucky. And many of the things that people think make a great mind, ie no spook, no play, dead quiet... make for pretty untalented horses. If they can't buck you off, trust me, they can't jump. If it has no spook and never stops; it probably is going to jump average. If it's lazy, it's dull, and you're always going to be missing the spark that makes a top hunter. If you buy a total @sshole your odds are much better!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by CBoylen View Post
                                The problem is that they rarely, very rarely, come together, especially in young horses. That kind of horse is like winning the lottery, and none of us are that lucky. And many of the things that people think make a great mind, ie no spook, no play, dead quiet... make for pretty untalented horses. If they can't buck you off, trust me, they can't jump. If it has no spook and never stops; it probably is going to jump average. If it's lazy, it's dull, and you're always going to be missing the spark that makes a top hunter. If you buy a total @sshole your odds are much better!

                                You are SOOO FUNNY! And glad to hear you feel that!

                                I think that's why I pick the ones I do... either beaten rejects no one could deal with or the sassy little butt heads! I always thought I was horrible about picking minds but felt I could spot a awesome mover a mile away... but those were always the ones that have attitudes...

                                Nothing better than riding around on a horse that thinks his poop don't stink!
                                Live in the sunshine.
                                Swim in the sea.
                                Drink the wild air.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I bought a failed Dressage horse as a 5 year old. He was underweight, terrible hoof condition, and a bad attitude on the ground (but totally game for anything under saddle). He bucked through his lead changes when I tried him, but gamely took a long spot to a 3' vertical. He dumped me 3x in a row on my first ride at home with him.

                                  We called him "Baby Bop". He had a lot of growing up to do: http://pets.webshots.com/photo/11845...sNg?vhost=pets

                                  3 years ago, I was offered 8x what I paid for him, when he was a winning 3' hunter. A junior taking lessons on him while I was out of town fell in love.
                                  Around this time in his life: http://pets.webshots.com/photo/24635...RFl?vhost=pets

                                  Today, I have a 3'6" horse. We don't do A Shows, as its just not in my "do it yourself" budget. However, we have done 1 AA Show where we did the 1st year Greens and the Amateur Owners: http://pets.webshots.com/photo/26459...mfo?vhost=pets

                                  He's currently at the top of the division for the Local Working Hunters 3'6" and we just tried our hand (hoof?) at 3'9" jumpers over the weekend =]

                                  In Short:
                                  Buying it - 5 year old, barely in the 5 figures
                                  Feeding it - 6 years at variable costs. Only insured these past 3 years and only for what I purchased him for, not what he's worth.
                                  Training it - I do the riding myself. He's gotten maybe 20 pro rides over the 6 years I've had him. For the first 2 years I took 1 group lesson/week. For the 3rd year, I took 1 private/week. For the 4th & 5th - lessoned sporadically. This is our 6th, I've lessoned about 2x/month. I've ridden in what averages out to less than 1 clinic/year (Nona Garson, Kevin Babington, Shelby French, Rob Gage).
                                  CLIPclop Bodyclipping by Morgan
                                  Serving North GA with high quality clips.
                                  --> Just Press Start // '99 Oldenburg
                                  --> Always The Optimist (reg. Simply Stylin) // '02 Thoroughbred

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by CBoylen View Post
                                    If they can't buck you off, trust me, they can't jump.
                                    Classic!

                                    I happened to be sitting near a famous jumper rider at Indoors a few years ago as he was explaining the green/made question to some people. He said by the time you get a green one and make it up, you've pretty much spent the same amount as getting a made one in the first place, except with the made one, you KNOW it can do the job you have in mind. You might spend all that time and money on a green one, only to find it doesn't actually have enough ability for the job. Of course, he was talking about a horse that could do the Grand Prix classes, which takes quite a bit of talent.

                                    It also doesn't account for the fun factor.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by mvp View Post
                                      As usually happens, someone finally says "Hey, you good ammies too broke to buy into the A/Os, quit yer whinin' and go make up your own from green! Then sell it for alotta money and voila-- you are there, problem solved."

                                      I think a horse is probably the worst investment vehicle ever. But that common wisdom aside, my question is about what this "make yer own" scenario would look like.

                                      What do you need to make this work?

                                      Buying it--

                                      You buy it as a 3 year old? Younger? You don't bother with an OTTB because it costs the same to feed a fancy one as a plain one and you need "fancy" for your investment project to pay off? So you need to be able to buy in Europe? Or you need a pro with good contacts and a great eye? Or you need that skill?

                                      Feeding it-- come hell or high water.

                                      You feed it and take all the risk. You certainly insure it and manage it the best you know how. If you were smart, how long would you plan on owning this horse? Between what ages?

                                      Training it--

                                      Remember, you are a competent, ambitious ammy who can't pay a pro to do the job. Does that mean you need to be good enough to do all the riding yourself? If so, how much pro help do you pay for and when? Does this plan mean you take a couple of BNT clinics per year?

                                      I welcome your "I did this with a $1,500 OTTB" stories. I also welcome the opinions from folks who have watched the training careers of many 3'6" hunters and jumpers and have a sense of what this looks like "on average" or the key ingredients in make this work or fail.

                                      Hehe...

                                      I did it with an auction purchase OTTB. Who since I bought him, has never had a pro ride. Actually, had never shown in the 3'6 hunters before.

                                      First show of the year, he got a 2nd place O/F and a 3rd under saddle....and he consistently stayed in the top 8 throughout the season with some VERY fancy horses.

                                      However....I paid a hell of a lot more than $500 for him and he had good training and a small, yet consistent show record. A lot less than your typical A/O horse though. And yep, he lives outside 24/7 (with exception of afternoon naptime) in a herd with steel shoes and we only lesson at the horse shows.

                                      Showing in the A/O's: http://img684.imageshack.us/i/miles4m.jpg/

                                      Originally Posted by CBoylen
                                      If they can't buck you off, trust me, they can't jump.
                                      Oh boy...can he ever buck..... Im with you 100% there.

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                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Smiles View Post

                                        So, yes, you can buy a young or cheaper horse, and show it on a budget, BUT heres the kicker, it does take work and commitment to be successful at it.
                                        And competence. Don't forget competence...
                                        madeline
                                        * What you release is what you teach * Don't be distracted by unwanted behavior* Whoever waits the longest is the teacher. Van Hargis

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