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Long term consequences for the American horse market.

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  • #41
    Originally posted by Lady Eboshi View Post

    It's like asking "What's wrong with America today?" There are a complex matrix of societal, cultural, and especially economic forces in now in play that are going to be re-ordering the horse "industry" landscape--just as they always have done.
    Excellent point. It is a complex set of circumstances. Your phrase, "reordering the horse industry landscape" is very apt. The huge middle ground of ownership is where we will see the most extensive reordering.
    Sheilah

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    • #42
      They tell me there are way more participants lately in barrel racing, team penning/sorting, team roping, reining and such type events.

      Seems that there are still many people in the SW at least, that want to do some things that are fun with horses.
      Those suitable horses for that are being sought after and still selling in a fairly good market.
      Many of those are younger people and families, not just those that grew up watching westerns on Saturday afternoons.

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      • #43
        Do you think that if we dumped an extra 50,000 horses this year at auction to get our numbers down to a more marketable level that this would solve the problem? That no matter how many we make available to the killers, they will scoop them all up? The slaughter houses won't buy any more than they need to fill their contracts. No matter how many do or do not get bailed out by rescuers. They leave them getting fat on feedlots now, processing them as they are needed to fill their orders.

        There are no unwanted horses. Any horse with some meat on its bones is very much wanted by Bouvry et al. The question is, does someone else want it MORE. And we will have to keep wanting them more for as long as there is a market overseas for horse meat, if you want to keep them out of the slaughterhouse. As clearly the rescuers very much do want. Just how few horses do you think we need to have in this country before they are all worth some minimum amount of money, more than their carcass is worth? Until we get there you are going to have a rescue mentality, because people who view horse slaughter as inhumane aren't going to stop wanting to rescue those horses.

        Is your point that the horse market will be a sustainable one when your average, sound, rideable horse below 10 years old has an automatic value of at least some amount, say $5,000? Or is it better if there are always horses in the free to $500 range for those who want one just as a companion or light trail horse?

        I don't know what the answer is but I don't follow this notion that if we slaughtered more we would have a better market for the ones that are left. Or that the rescues should just stop trying to save horses from the kill pen because the market would be better off if we just let them all get slaughtered. There isn't going to be a shortage of slaughter-priced horses any time soon, if ever. Even if rescues stopped bailing any out for the next ten years.
        \"Non-violence never solved anything.\" C. Montgomery Burns

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        • #44
          Originally posted by caballero View Post
          I hardly think a proper use of public lands is to support a feral pest not native to our ecosystem.

          Far better that it be used to feed animals that we actually eat. God forbid someone make a meager profit out of that.
          Bring back the buffalo.

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          • #45
            Originally posted by MandyVA View Post
            Do you think that if we dumped an extra 50,000 horses this year at auction to get our numbers down to a more marketable level that this would solve the problem? That no matter how many we make available to the killers, they will scoop them all up? The slaughter houses won't buy any more than they need to fill their contracts. No matter how many do or do not get bailed out by rescuers. They leave them getting fat on feedlots now, processing them as they are needed to fill their orders.

            There are no unwanted horses. Any horse with some meat on its bones is very much wanted by Bouvry et al. The question is, does someone else want it MORE. And we will have to keep wanting them more for as long as there is a market overseas for horse meat, if you want to keep them out of the slaughterhouse. As clearly the rescuers very much do want. Just how few horses do you think we need to have in this country before they are all worth some minimum amount of money, more than their carcass is worth? Until we get there you are going to have a rescue mentality, because people who view horse slaughter as inhumane aren't going to stop wanting to rescue those horses.

            Is your point that the horse market will be a sustainable one when your average, sound, rideable horse below 10 years old has an automatic value of at least some amount, say $5,000? Or is it better if there are always horses in the free to $500 range for those who want one just as a companion or light trail horse?

            I don't know what the answer is but I don't follow this notion that if we slaughtered more we would have a better market for the ones that are left. Or that the rescues should just stop trying to save horses from the kill pen because the market would be better off if we just let them all get slaughtered. There isn't going to be a shortage of slaughter-priced horses any time soon, if ever. Even if rescues stopped bailing any out for the next ten years.
            Agreed with this. I'm old enough to remember the purge of the late 70's, when riding school, camp and private buyers couldn't outbid the killer buyers because the demand for horsemeat, and therefore the price, was so high. Believe it or not, you had to put a minimum price of like $1,200 on a horse to keep him out of the pipeline--and that would buy you a darned nice horse back then!

            There are ALWAYS going to be horses for the KB's for the simple reason that horse breeding and training is, sad to say, often a "fail." Many horses are made unsound early in their lives; many are destined for early unsoundness by conformation unsuitable for their intended use; and there are enough difficult temperaments, frequently made unsalvageable by bad training, to supply the feedlots of Canada indefinitely. And while "rescuing" these might be sentimentally appealing in individual cases certainly, as policy it accomplishes little.

            What I'd like to see an end of is:

            (1) Horses being bred "randomly"--misbegotten bizarre outcrosses as mentioned;

            (2) Horses being bred just because "I have a mare who isn't doing anything;"

            (3) Horses being bred with known, heritable flaws whether conformational or things like HYPP;

            (4) Horses being bred as "one-trick ponies" with very slim prospects for a useful life after their brief few months on the track or in the arena have passed.

            (5) A total end to "futurities" and "incentive funds."

            Think of a good dog breeder. S/he breeds a litter when someone wants puppies; they are often spoken for in utero, and the dollar value has increased markedly.

            While I would hate to see the middle class priced out of all the happiness that owning horses brings, I have personally witnessed the "Rescuer" syndrome that has brought a lot of bottom feeders into horses who have no understanding of the level of commitment--time, money & knowhow--required in horsemanship.

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            • #46
              The "rescue" phenomenon is interesting.

              Those guys have found a way to market "Not A Good/Useful Horse" as a valuable commodity. IMO, this has to do with the aging US population. If owning a horse meant that you were fit, had some skill, took some physical risks because you owned the horse primarily to ride it, a huge (and well-off) segment of the population wouldn't be in the market. If, on the other hand, you can market a version of horse ownership (and horses) that requires none of these things, you can add value to animals previously considered worthless.

              I think, too, that the rescue types benefit: Rich or poor, they have horse-centric lifestyles and get the satisfaction of thinking that they are doing something noble and important.

              Truly, the rescue industry is curious to me. It didn't exist with such organization when I was a kid.
              The armchair saddler
              Politically Pro-Cat

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              • #47
                I don't think you can lump all rescues together. And honestly, the ones that appeal to people's emotions can't be responsible for more than 1% of the horse ownership in the country, if that. They just seem to have top of mind for a lot of people because they are always appealing for help, have learned to work social networks, and are of variable quality (to say it nicely!). But if you look at the big picture, they really don't have much of an impact on the horse market.

                I am appreciative of the rescues who have an eye for a good horse, have reasonable fund raising, get GFAS certification, prep the horses for something useful, and for the most part serve a very important function in re-purposing horses. Just like it doesn't make any sense to throw away aluminum cans after one use, it doesn't make any sense to kill a great horse just because it wasn't good enough for its intended use, or because someone neglected it, or because it had a bit of bad luck. Rescue with discretion is an ethical and useful function and I'll always support a rescue with that approach.

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                • Original Poster

                  #48
                  Originally posted by oldernewbie View Post
                  My point was just that the person Isabel was talking about didn't pay $800 because there was a glut of Arabians. I think it's a lot more complex than that. And, as I think both you and I know, having unregistered Arabs floating around, as there are for a number of reasons including people being honked off at AHA, only becomes another of the many factors that depresses the price of Arabs in general.
                  Well... I mean... she paid for the horse via an online auction. Based solely on the the bloodlines. (She grew up in the breed, and she knows enough about them to be able to do that know what she's doing.) Other horses sold for less. The $800 horse was a horse that nobody else was willing to pay more$ for. So if that is not a glut, it is certainly a case of a horse that nobody else wanted....... At least an oversupply.....
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                  • Original Poster

                    #49
                    Originally posted by Lady Eboshi View Post

                    (5) The permanent loss of middle-class jobs in the manufacturing and office help sectors make it more difficultt to own a horse today in a country where both the landscape and the culture are increasingly urbanized. Once again, if your kids can "do" an activity with a fixed, reasonable price tag which "everyone is doing," as opposed to an archaic activity which is unpredictable, specialized, dangerous, and expensive, well, I guess we're right back to the video and Facebook, aren't we?

                    (6) The game is changing as well due to the much higher profile animal welfare is receiving, in part due to the exposure of YouTube and the like. There are far fewer rocks for some things to hide under, and regrettably the uninformed need not see too many videos of Big Lick, eventers flipping, Mexicans tripping, or race horses running on shattered legs before they paint all "horse sports" with a broad brush of disgust. Publicity like Anne Romney got does us no favors, either. We don't live in a self-protected little world of our own anymore, and must learn to police ourselves.

                    You offer several excellent ideas. I can address a few that I am directly familiar with.

                    My area is still has a 4-H presence, pony club, fox hunt, and lots of agriculture in general. The young people I am concerned about ARE involved in agricultural activities. BUT since there is a 'kill buyer' initiative locally (Camelot auction in NJ) more people are increasingly involved in 'rescuing.' These include young people whose entire idea of horsemanship is being shaped by this. (Heaven save me from a teenager with a political agenda....)

                    And amateurs who dump $ into often totally pointless rescue efforts. I know a few people who have gotten (very young) horses at Camelot and then have gone on to do well with them. BUT.... I also know many, many more circumstances of not-so-young-anymore horses/mules that were purchased only to be back on the market a year later. And not because they were such fabulous resale prospects......

                    As to you point 7, this thread is an effort to 'police ourselves.' How do we keep people focused on the development of the industry. And not get bogged down in the notion that while some people breed horses that have a 95% chance of NOT doing the job they are bred for (like race horses) others (generally those farther down the food chain...) should spend their time running in circles trying to clean up the mess that those people make?
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                    • Original Poster

                      #50
                      Originally posted by clanter View Post

                      While advising we added provisions to the Transportation Act of 1993 to provide $50M for equine trails. (commonly known as Rails to Trails)
                      No kidding really? Cool.
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                      • #51
                        Just a friendly reminder that this BB represents mostly the mid to higher end breeding, showing and hobbyists in the equine world.

                        And as many of us as there are on these types of BBs...our type of horse owner is a drop in the bucket compared to the majority of horse owners in the USA.

                        And FWIW...$0-$500 in many parts of the USA will get you a nice safe, sane and sound broke riding horse. Not a companion or pasture puff. And $800 does not = unwanted or 'junk' of any type. For that Arab it just meant that nobody from a breeding or show background wanted it at the time and/or place it was being marketed.

                        Let's not shoot the entire industry and the vast majority of owners in the foot by attempting to price everyone but the upper-middle class with aspirations of Grand Prix something or another out of the market. For every mid-level show rider and/or lesson taker on either coast there is about 50 pleasure only riders buying the Didn't Cost $1500 For Sperm grade animals. And enjoying their horses just as much.

                        We're but a microcosm of the enormous equine industry...even if we are the most vocal and most self-important.
                        You jump in the saddle,
                        Hold onto the bridle!
                        Jump in the line!
                        ...Belefonte

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                        • Original Poster

                          #52
                          Originally posted by mvp View Post
                          The "rescue" phenomenon is interesting.

                          Those guys have found a way to market "Not A Good/Useful Horse" as a valuable commodity. IMO, this has to do with the aging US population. If owning a horse meant that you were fit, had some skill, took some physical risks because you owned the horse primarily to ride it, a huge (and well-off) segment of the population wouldn't be in the market. If, on the other hand, you can market a version of horse ownership (and horses) that requires none of these things, you can add value to animals previously considered worthless.

                          I think, too, that the rescue types benefit: Rich or poor, they have horse-centric lifestyles and get the satisfaction of thinking that they are doing something noble and important.

                          Truly, the rescue industry is curious to me. It didn't exist with such organization when I was a kid.
                          Yes thank you. I am pondering these notions as well. I know some 'older' folks who volunteer mucking, etc at horsey rescues to get their feel good horse time. But they aren't dumping tons of $ into it.

                          It's the young people devoting all their (considerable, hyper, naive, hormone fueled) passion into it, and the mooshy moosh amateurs pissing off their spouses paying board on unrideable rescue critters, that are most concerning to me. 'Rescue' has truly become a 'sport.' There are clubs (the individual rescue organizations/groups) and 'trainers' who cultivate clients to invest $ and resources into their 'product.'
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                          • Original Poster

                            #53
                            Originally posted by MistyBlue View Post


                            And FWIW...$0-$500 in many parts of the USA will get you a nice safe, sane and sound broke riding horse. Not a companion or pasture puff. And $800 does not = unwanted or 'junk' of any type. For that Arab it just meant that nobody from a breeding or show background wanted it at the time and/or place it was being marketed.


                            We're but a microcosm of the enormous equine industry...even if we are the most vocal and most self-important.
                            Focusing on the sale price of a horse may not be the way to go. But if it is being 'marketed' by a rescue/alliance/save the poor babies organization, then it ain't exactly the same as a 'regular' sale horse. If piles and piles and piles of people are jumping up and down begging for it to be 'saved/snatched up cuz it's just so special' (even if those jumping up and down SWEAR that there is a very, very good reason that the horse in PERFECT for you but NOT for them....)

                            So no, it is not the purchase price, necessarily. But the tenor of the discourse/transaction. Increasingly, that transaction is not "horse for sale," but "please oh please somebody save the animal cuz it's current owner don't want it and I'm sure it will be great for you even though I don't want it and it's worth so much more than they are asking for it oh somebody hurry up and SAVE it."
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                            • #54
                              Originally posted by Isabeau Z Solace View Post
                              Well... I mean... she paid for the horse via an online auction. Based solely on the the bloodlines. (She grew up in the breed, and she knows enough about them to be able to do that know what she's doing.) Other horses sold for less. The $800 horse was a horse that nobody else was willing to pay more$ for. So if that is not a glut, it is certainly a case of a horse that nobody else wanted....... At least an oversupply.....
                              Several points to be made:

                              1) Auction (especially online) prices for Arabs are typically much lower than private sales. A couple of the prominent online Arab auctions are, well, let's just say, very very buyer beware. Horses show up in those auctions because people may not want them but that is not necessarily because of oversupply. A lot of them are burnt out show horses or others with issues. Prices from them are not an accurate gauge of the going rate for the breed any more than CL tells you what the average QH sells for.

                              2) Your run of the mill Arab person is not totally tuned into the whole sport horse thing. As a very well known Arab show manager said in a regional meeting one day "those dressage judges are kind of weird" and that is how a lot of them feel about the whole thing. So a horse with sport horse potential is not of much interest to your average Arab main ring person and will get sold at a price that reflects that lack of knowledge/interest.

                              3) In my humble opinion, Arab breeders find themselves in a bad market with no bottom at this point. Is that oversupply? Certainly if the number registered has dropped by about 2/3 since 2000, and the market has not improved, what is the magic number for breeders? 1000? But it's not just a numbers game - it's the very bad decisions that started to be made by Arab breeders in the 1980s, changes in the tax laws, poor public image of the breed thanks to a wide variety of factors, people who breed for pretty or bloodlines or prestige rather than real using characteristics, and on and on.

                              I'm really sad about the situation with Arabs - they are great horses and are the victims of lots of bad human behavior. The only reason I keep harping on them in this thread is that the sorry state of the market for them is not due exactly or solely to oversupply or overbreeding - unless overbreeding in this case means that we revert to the state the breed was in way back when, when there were about 1000 or so Arabs in the country.

                              I guess I am trying to put forth some nuance to counter your very black and white views about the problems with the horse business.

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                              • #55
                                AQHA registration numbers the past three years averaged 50% from a high in 2004.
                                Food for thought.

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                                • #56
                                  Originally posted by Bluey View Post
                                  AQHA registration numbers the past three years averaged 50% from a high in 2004.
                                  Food for thought.
                                  Really? I knew they had dropped, but that is quite the crash. Interesting!

                                  Comment


                                  • #57
                                    Increasingly, that transaction is not "horse for sale," but "please oh please somebody save the animal cuz it's current owner don't want it and I'm sure it will be great for you even though I don't want it and it's worth so much more than they are asking for it oh somebody hurry up and SAVE it."
                                    Ah, I agree with that 100%.

                                    Mainly it's a combo of the saturation of the internet/instant info and the saturation of the Rescue Brigade.

                                    I'm all for helping out animals in dire situations. Otherwise my eye-rolly-muscles are all strained from all the ZOMG I'm Crying, SAVE It crapola.

                                    I'm not so sure it's having an affect on sales prices per se...there's a lot more flapping gums than flapping wallets on the issue. And we're seeing it online...it's not as prevelent when you remove the audience the rescuers are looking for.

                                    And I'll just stop now before the Halo Polishers start making voodoo dolls of me to beat with their curb chains.
                                    You jump in the saddle,
                                    Hold onto the bridle!
                                    Jump in the line!
                                    ...Belefonte

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                                    • #58
                                      I don't know if the rescue industry is propping up the bottom of the US horse market, or encouraging wasteful breeding, since those horses are still not profitable to breeders. It probably does result in more money spent before they are adopted/slaughtered/put down. It has definitely allowed people who would have been sketchy low end horse traders in a former life to claim the legitimacy of "rescue."

                                      I think that there are a number of activities that we might be wrongly conflating as rescue though--even if they are somewhat related. Broker lots use the rescue tag lines but are really just horse dealers, and track listing services are neither rescues nor dealers as they don't take ownership or take part in the transaction (I still don't understand the OP's issue with those).

                                      Owning ANY horse is wasteful in some ways (over their lifetime, they cost a LOT). I hate seeing the wrong people make money, and I don't like to see people taken advantage of. At the same time, I think there has always been some market for cheap, low performance horses, as well as a glut of unwanted ones. I think the rescue craze has changed the way people talk about that segment, but I'm not sure it's wildly changed the economics.

                                      Comment


                                      • #59
                                        Honest to Dog, people! The main perps of this highly emotional rescue approach cannot be "saving" more than what, 5,000? horses a year and I think that's being generous. I can only think of perhaps 6 or so groups that do this - one auction group in WA, one auction group in NJ, one broker type in PA, one really notorious broker that now seems to be operating out of WA and OR. As far as I can tell, they cannot be dealing in such high numbers that they could be crashing the horse economy.

                                        Thread has made some legit and useful points, but let's not get overemotional about the emotional rescues, eh?

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                                        • #60
                                          http://www.thehorse.com/articles/312...council-formed
                                          "I would not beleive her if her tongue came notorized"

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