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Oh where has the horse industry gone?

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  • Oh where has the horse industry gone?

    In the past few weeks, I have been keeping an eye on a well known group that tries to sell horses that are in the holding pen (kill lot broker) from New Holland Auctions in PA. These holding pens are owned by specific horse meat dealers that allow certain groups to come in, photograph and video tape the horse under saddle, post specific info and a price (above what the holding pen sellers are asking so a profit can be made in lieu of shipping to Canada).

    Now, I am only going to post some observations and I am not going to get into a debate about slaughter, etc. The following horses have been posted on this website in the past few weeks. Please note that when I say "sound" they appear to be in their video's and it these animals have not been seen by a vet etc...

    American Warmblood, branded, sound under saddle, no obvious issues
    Oldenburg, branded, sound under saddle, no obvious issues
    Hannovarian, branded, ridden under saddle, a bit off at the trot
    Thoroughbred, gelding, 90+ starts, $140,000+ in winnings, walk, trot, canter under saddle, sound with papers
    Registered Morgan gelding, with papers, sound under saddle, would make great kids horses
    Registered Paint mare, amazing transitions, pushbutton, sound under saddle.
    Registered Quarterhorse, with papers, pushbutton, sound under saddle.
    Registered Hackney pony, with papers, rode and drove, sweet little pony, sound
    Registered Appaloosa, with papers, sound and sweet heart personality
    Registered Mini Mare with foal nursing at her side...need I say more.
    Reg. Andalusian Mare, with papers and a note from owner stating mare had won championships and had 4 foals and easy to breed. Mare was about 13 I think.

    Are we, as horse owners, overbreeding or has the economy hit so hard that people are dumping their horses anywhere they can? I do know that every time I open a horse magazine, I am overwhelmed at the number of stallion ads to choose from. Please know, I am not anti-breeding, but I think to breed, you need to be responsible and know your market. If branded Hanovarian, Oldenburgs, and Andalusians are hitting the kill pens, what is next?
    Keep in mind...normal is just a dryer setting.~anonymous

  • #2
    the costs of keeping a horse has gotten beyond the capabilities of the average american. I know it has for me. When half of your money goes in your gas tank, and your house is worth half what you mortgaged it for, horses get dumped.
    "You can't really debate with someone who has a prescient invisible friend"


    • #3
      The short answer to your question, Mr./Ms. Wake, is "yes."

      The economy sucks and there is a surplus of good horses around. There's also a surplus of skanks and poorly bred somethings that also drags down the market.

      And the youngsters that in the past might be looking at riding are today playing video games (and that's not just the boys).

      Hard times will be with us for a while.

      Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


      • #4
        7 years ago I thought it was cheaper to buy than breed. I still think that.

        By the time you pay a stud fee + the shipping + the handling fees + the vet fees, you have a minimum of $4-5k into a foal. And that doesn't count keeping the mare for a year.

        I think more and more people are coming around to this way of thinking as well. Some are predicting that before too long there will be a lack of quality foals available and I just can't see that. But in the meantime, you are going to see even more horses go thorough the auctions.


        • #5
          Real unemployment is over 10% and salaries are hugely depressed for those who are still employed. People don't have the money.


          • #6
            Originally posted by vacation1 View Post
            Real unemployment is over 10% and salaries are hugely depressed for those who are still employed. People don't have the money.


            • #7
              Originally posted by vacation1 View Post
              Real unemployment is over 10% and salaries are hugely depressed for those who are still employed. People don't have the money.
              You cant give horses away. Good ridable quality horses. To get rid of ahorse you cant sell what else do you do? Auction.

              Barn gets calls weekly--kid going to college/grad school, need to stop board cost, free. No room no time no money.

              Sad. Really.
              “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker


              • #8
                It's too bad really, because on the other side are people who are looking for horses. We just don't have a riderless horse/horseless rider clearing house of information.

                He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).


                • #9
                  There is also the crowd who will not `give` them away, even if they could.
                  "Gypsy gold does not chink and glitter, it gleams in the sun and neighs in the dark"


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by mroades View Post
                    the costs of keeping a horse has gotten beyond the capabilities of the average american. I know it has for me. When half of your money goes in your gas tank, and your house is worth half what you mortgaged it for, horses get dumped.
                    Too true. I reduced my herd by half, from six to three in Sept. (good homes, not auction) and my salary increased. I haven't bought anything extra and still can't put anything into savings. Got word this week that my truck needs a $3000 tranny job, so won't be hauling anywhere this summer. The horses will never be "dumped", but times are tough.

                    And I do think a lot of folks should stop breeding as well. Folks call us at least twice a month and ask us to take/find a home for their horse
                    "And I will be an embarrassment to all
                    Who have not found the peace in being free
                    to have a horse as a best friend."


                    • #11
                      And yet I can't find a decent advanced beginner safe, can jump a 2'6" jump once and a while, and go on trails horse for under $7000.00.

                      I am curious as to how OLD the horses in the list are. Is it that people are dumping old riding horses that they can't afford to retire and broodmares that no longer have a market?
                      Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


                      • #12
                        You may also want to take a look at Camelot Horse Weekly on FB. Lots of nice horses going through this NJ auction each week. The auction owner, Frank Carper, allows certain volunteers to post the information about the horses. This is not a rescue, of course, it's buying from a dealer, but there's no "rescue" middleman taking a cut. Since late 2009, none of the feedlot horses have gone to slaughter via Camelot. There's a lot of horses this week - going to be tough to find buyers for all of them.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by vacation1 View Post
                          Real unemployment is over 10% and salaries are hugely depressed for those who are still employed. People don't have the money.
                          This is so true.

                          CHT, the horses are all different ages. Not super old at all and yes, most are sound too.

                          With no money, people are forced to sell their nice horses through an auction. They simply can't afford to keep racking up monthly board and upkeep bills while trying to get a fair market price.
                          I don't always feel up to arguing with your ignorance


                          • #14
                            ""American Warmblood, branded, sound under saddle, no obvious issues
                            Oldenburg, branded, sound under saddle, no obvious issues
                            Hannovarian, branded, ridden under saddle, a bit off at the trot
                            Reg. Andalusian Mare, with papers and a note from owner stating mare had won championships and had 4 foals and easy to breed. Mare was about 13 I think.""

                            My opinion, which is not the popular one, is that these horse above are not your average backyard bred horses. These fancy farms who breed for fancy shows need to stop breeding too!!!!

                            Also, I have seen the mentality, I am finished with my pony, but because I am spoiled and my parents allow me to be, I will not allow anyone else to take said pony and use her.

                            Both of these make me sad.


                            • #15
                              Seeing all those registered/branded horses signals something deeper and longer in the horse industry that's catching up with Americans horse breeders and owners.

                              Breeding is a game of odds. You will produce many "misses" for every great, money making horse you produce. When the middle class could afford horses, there was a market to absorb the culls. Of course, people lost money on those all the way along. Someone paid to feed and train horses who would never earn what it had cost to produce them.

                              I think the market most recently has been "culled" as well. People who have the money, interest and dedication to riding competitively in some discipline chose a purpose-bred horse. Those who wanted an all-around nice horse to just ride and enjoy are understandably deciding that horse ownership in general doesn't work for them any more.

                              Of course, the "culls" of breeders producing registered horses here and in Europe have always been slaughtered. It seems to me that we just notice now because breeders are selling these horses to individual people who then make them rideable before also running out of money. If/when breeders deal directly with kill buyers, the whole thing happens under the radar.
                              The armchair saddler
                              Politically Pro-Cat


                              • #16
                                While I think there have been some breeders that weren't breeding responsibly, I think the economy has a great deal more to do with this right now, than anything else.


                                • #17
                                  The economy has gone to crap and affording multiple horses (or even one horse) is a luxury and often one of the first things to be cut from expenses.

                                  However...I've been shopping the auctions on and off for decades. Seeing all different breeds that are sound, not aged and registered isn't anything new. It's quite common, has been since the early 80s when I started going to the auctions on a regular basis.

                                  Some are breeding culls...and not culled for reasons that would put many to most average buyers off. Some are shipped in from other areas from larger breeding operations because they get more that way. (yes, even at a few hundred dollars) Some are from big dealer trucks that go around the country picking up horses and bringing them from auction to auction until they sell, etc.

                                  I've bought countless horses from auctions that were safe, sane and sound and registered. (and have had a few turkeys that were nutjobs, LOL. And a few that were fine once they were handled)

                                  The only one I was surprised to see was the Andie mare. Those you just don't see often...even crossbreds.

                                  My last two auction horses are outside right now scarfing down hay...waiting for the vet for annual vaccines/teeth. (well, they don't know about that second part hee hee) Both QHs...not what I was actually looking for but really nice horses. Both from the midwest, one from Crowleys and one from New Holland. Both safe, sane and sound. Both purchased young and registered. (5 and 7 when purchased) Either one I can put almost anyone on, both are pretty darned versatile.

                                  If you can shop wit your head and not your heart and have a decent eye for horses...finding registered and nice young horses at auctions isn't hard to do.
                                  You jump in the saddle,
                                  Hold onto the bridle!
                                  Jump in the line!


                                  • #18
                                    It's also long term demographics.

                                    The market since the late 80s has been fueld by Baby Boomers remembering Rawhide, Black Beauty, etc. The children of the Boomers are fewer in number than they were and are less interested in horses. The grandchildren of Boomers are even fewer and less interested. And the Boomers are aging and finding out that taking that first, big step up in getting tougher.

                                    So, yes, the economy and foolish breeding practices are major contributors to our present woes. But so is a changing population. I fear the "salad days" are gone for a very long time.

                                    Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


                                    • #19
                                      I must say, I was shocked to see so many seemingly high quality horses at the brokers lot. It's hard to believe the owners couldn't sell those warmbloods privately.

                                      You know who really pulls at my heart though? That TB with 94 career starts.

                                      His name is Jackety Jack, born in 2000. He last raced 4/30/11. If this were next year, he'd be coming home with me. Very impressed with that one and VERY depressed that I do not have a place for him.

                                      It's so terribly sad and why I will keep my horses 'till the day they die. I don't want to wonder if they ended up where these poor souls are now.


                                      • #20
                                        That is what has happened with us. My office closed, so I am working less than 10 hours a week (and hunting hard for a job with more hours), and my dh had a forced transfer that cut our money to nearly half..Struggle? Oh yeah. Last night, I was offered a beautiful Paint filly that I would love to have. If we didn't have to pay board per horse, then she would be at my place this morning. However, the place we were renting was sold out from under us, and I am currently not in a position to take this filly. A lot of people are in the same boat. Last summer, I was offered a jam up AQHA filly for 200. This filly in a good market would have been sold for 4-5K, based on her bloodlines, the way she had been started and just all around wonderfulness (I know, not a word).

                                        That is what has happened to the industry.

                                        She may not have changed the stars from their courses, but she loved a good man, and she rode good horses….author unknown