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Spinoff: State of the Horse Industry

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  • Spinoff: State of the Horse Industry

    After reading about the SoCal problems, I was amazed at the number of open stalls some of those places had. Barns with 6 month waiting lists that currently have 30 open stalls now.

    I am in Tampa, FL. I usually also have a waiting list for stalls but now have 3 open in my 20 stall facility.

    I also have seen a drop in my lesson program. I was teaching about 30 lessons per week and am now down to about 20. I know of some barns that have closed their lesson programs (they had adopted lesson horses from SBR that have now gone back to SBR) this year.

    By contrast, my friend who teaches in Gibsonville, NC has seen her lesson program grow to 45 lessons per week. Another barn in NC has just adopted two more SBR horses for their growing lesson program. I guess business is good in NC!

    Hoping people will chime in, do your barns have vacancies, is it uncommon?

    Are your lesson programs dwindling? What level of teaching do you do?

    Are you noticing horse sales picking up?

    Would love to hear how the horse industry is faring in the various regions.
    Every man has a right to his opinion, but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts.
    Bernard M. Baruch

  • #2
    As someone else posted, mustangs are not finding buyers, only 8 out of over 300 sold last Saturday and for an average of $91.-.
    Anyone that wants a mustang, they are going cheap.
    So are many, many other horses.

    Remember, the ban slaughter bill has been re/introduced.
    If it passes, as it may with the HSUS money behind it and this administration that owes them, there will be those yearly pesky 100,000+ horses out there, that now go to slaughter in Canada and Mexico, that someone will want to sell very bad with nowhere to go.

    I have seen some ads for very well trained horses with a winning show record, that would have still brought around $15,000.- a year ago, being offered for $4-5000.- and no one seems to want them either.

    I think that the horse industry is going thru the perfect storm, the economy, animal rights groups battering down at the hatches, an oversupply and a reduced interest for horses in the general public, all happening at the same time.

    I don't know how the horse industry will fare from all these and other we may be affected with.
    We will just have to wait and see what happens and then, in hindsight, it will be much easier to see where we should have been a little more proactive.
    That is the way things work, generally, no one has a properly working crystal ball.


    • #3
      I have no doubt the ban will pass in the House and then die like it always has. The Senate has never shown interest in banning horse slaughter and IMO never will.

      I've been selling young stock this winter sent 2 to Fl so far and sold some locally. But I've lower price to get them sold one that went to Fl. I got less then 1/2 then I did a full brother 2 years ago. But this month at the stock horse sale in Shawnee prices were strong about the best I've seen the last 3 years.
      Quality doesn\'t cost it pays.


      • #4
        The barn where I board has lost one boarder due to finances . . . the boarder gave both her horses away. A friend of mine who has a large lesson program with lots of loyal students, mentioned to me at dinner last night, in December she started seeing a downturn in her lesson program.
        "You gave your life to become the person you are right now. Was it worth it?" Richard Bach


        • #5
          Let's admit it, horses are luxury items.

          Kids can ride a bike or play video games vs. parents spending thousands of dollars each year. Look at the front yards as you drive...snowmobiles, boats, trailers, motorcycles etc...and none of these items have to be supported with feed and vet care. People are getting rid of the "filler" in their lives.

          Some horse prices are also going through a reality check...too many were priced WAY too unrealistically. "The master's eye fatteneth his own cattle" sure applies to horses.

          Some barns have hit reality too! I've looked at barns where the board charges were crazy for what they offered. I'm sure a lot of Southern Cal. barns fit this description.
          "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"


          • #6
            I have had 4 empty stalls since the summer, and huge downturn in how many shows clients are going to.
            My BO, who teaches begnner lessons, has seen a 50% decrease in interest...sigh
            "You can't really debate with someone who has a prescient invisible friend"


            • #7
              My barn is the one with 40+ empty stalls (that's out of 400, though- so it's about 10%).

              They raised prices last September (they are only allowed to raise once a year) by a significant margin, and I think it backfired.

              I worry that it's going to close, because there's nothing else within a 30 minute drive If I want dressage training I'd have to go even further.


              • #8
                I am just east of San Francisco. Our board has gone up $100/month over the past 2 years (it's now between $550-$640 for just the stall and feeding/cleaning depending on the barn). Where there were always waiting lists before, now people trickle in and out and there's always a couple empty stalls on the property. It used to be hard to get a lesson with any of the trainers that teach, now they all have openings here and there. Many people are pulling their horses out of training and cutting back.

                And we are one of the lucky barns, we are getting the flow of people cutting back and coming from some "training barns" that require training.
                On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog


                • Original Poster

                  Every man has a right to his opinion, but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts.
                  Bernard M. Baruch


                  • #10
                    Where are they going?

                    I am just curious as to where the horses are going. Most people don't/can't keep them at home, so I just wonder where they are all moving to. Almost all of the barns around here have vacancies. What do you guys think?
                    Second place is first loser.


                    • #11
                      Well, a lot of times horses are passing away and not being replaced. But, several people have moved their horses further out to save money, or to barns that are cheaper and offer fewer services.

                      The funky, cheap stable right down the street from mine is full still, though.


                      • #12
                        The barn where I board is full, with a waiting list. Go figure.


                        • #13
                          Apparently it hasnt hit our smallish barn...

                          Barn is full, pastures are full, but horses on pasture are now in with the whether. Lesson students are still pouring in. Some go but more come.

                          No one is getting out of horses. More people are wanting in. I guess jobs are more secure here than some places. We stay in a slump so thats probably it.
                          “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker


                          • #14
                            I am not a BO but I am definitely seeing smaller numbers at the shows. I, for the first time, consider the overall cost of a show before I decide to go there. If the stall fees are too high, I don't go. I am going to buy my own bedding too. I don't take many lessons so that does not figure into my equation, but I am definitely seeing people cut back.


                            • #15
                              What about trainers? I have had to cut back, and many people I know have had to do the same. It has to be hitting trainers hard as well!


                              • #16
                                I haven't seen a downturn at our barn - but it's a small operation to start with. In fact, my trainer has a bunch of clients at another nearby barn because she does not have enough stalls to house them all at her place. She doesn't really have a lesson string, other than a couple of her own horses that she leases or half leases out - and everyone who rides with her is in some sort of training/lesson program, so her schedule is about the same as usual. The weather has affected the schedule more than any economic woes, I think; we're have a colder/snowier/icier winter than usual.
                                We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


                                • #17
                                  I really thought that the barn where I boarded had a number of openings because of the economy...until I started looking elsewhere. Then I learned that place was empty for a multitude of other reasons, and everyone else had waiting lists. It was quite a surprise.


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by JohnDeere View Post
                                    Apparently it hasnt hit our smallish barn...

                                    Barn is full, pastures are full, but horses on pasture are now in with the whether. Lesson students are still pouring in. Some go but more come.

                                    No one is getting out of horses. More people are wanting in. I guess jobs are more secure here than some places. We stay in a slump so thats probably it.

                                    What state do you live in?


                                    • #19
                                      The state of denial Its very peaceful here.

                                      You have a PM.
                                      “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by county View Post
                                        I've been selling young stock this winter sent 2 to Fl so far and sold some locally. But I've lower price to get them sold one that went to Fl. I got less then 1/2 then I did a full brother 2 years ago. But this month at the stock horse sale in Shawnee prices were strong about the best I've seen the last 3 years.
                                        You are selling some pretty nice horses, aren't you? I think there's always a market for good horses who can "do" something. The market might not be -as- good, but it is still there..

                                        The problem comes up with the poorly bred, poorly trained, dime-a-dozen horses.

                                        As far as effects on the rescue, we're feeling it. Donations are down, adoptions are down, and people aren't fostering. I have an animal control officer who called and wants us to take in 2 horses he's seized. I'm going to have to tell him no - first time I've had to do that. But there's no place for them to go in the rescue (and that means the county will send them through auction).
                                        Visit us at Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society - www.bluebonnetequine.org

                                        Want to get involved in rescue or start your own? Check out How to Start a Horse Rescue - www.howtostartarescue.com