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breeder’s point of view

Will Tough Times Improve Our Industry?

By Gigha Steinman


s a sport horse breeder and stallion owner, it’s hard to deny that 2009 was a slow year. Speaking to others in the horse industry, it seems that nearly

all of us have been affected to some degree. But if you look a little deeper, maybe it’s not all bad. Horse people are tough and resilient. For sport horse breeders, the poor economy has led to some changes and out-of-the-box thinking, and in the end, the horse industry as a whole may actually benefit.


It seems that breeders have been some of the hardest hit, as foal sales especially have slowed and prices have dropped. Wendy Staub of Magic Rose Farm says she hasn’t sold anything in a year, whereas she was selling everything young she had just a couple of years ago. Jean Brinkman of Valhalla Farm, one of the premier Trakehner breeding farms in the United States, has been breeding horses for more than 25 years. She states that while she saw something like this in the 80s, nothing was as bad as last year for people in the horse industry. While this is tough for breeders, the

upside for buyers is that horse prices have dropped. For anyone who is in the market for a new horse, this is the time to buy! Breeders are unanimous that prices are down. Wendy, whose breeding program is in its fifth generation, says she “can’t believe some of the prices.” This doesn’t mean breeders are willing to give their stock away, but it’s a great opportunity for buyers to save thousands in some cases. Many breeders are also more open to creative

purchase ideas now. “I don’t want to ever discourage anyone from making an offer,” states Hanoverian breeder Maryanna Haymon of Marydell Farms. Maryanna sold a fancy two-year-old last year for half of the asking price to a very skilled rider with the agreement that the rider would take the horse to the FEI Young Horse Nationals if they qualified. This was a win-win situation, and while Maryanna admits it was certainly a unique sales arrangement, she says she’s “always willing to hear ideas from buyers.” Some of Wendy’s creative sales

50 May/June 2010

arrangements have included trading training in lieu of cash towards the purchase of horses. This has worked especially well now, as she’s also noticed an increase in people wanting horses which are already under saddle. Some sellers are also becoming more open to

arrangements like payment plans to get their youngsters matched up with the right buyers. If someone had approached me about buying a horse on payments a couple of years ago, I almost certainly would have turned them down. But as it turns out, last year I sold my first foal on payments, and so far the arrangement is working wonderfully. Josephine Walsh of JW Sporthorses says she’s seen more of this as well although she’s not quite comfortable with it herself. Wendy, however, has also successfully sold horses on payment plans but warns “sellers need a good contract.” The bottom line is that it never hurts to ask. The only horse you’ll never be able to buy is the one you never even inquired about. Lastly, some breeders are reporting

Maryanna Haymon’s stallion Don Principe with Courtney King-Dye.

Photo by Horse Sports Photography

an increased interest in in-utero sales. This process involves ‘buying’ or ‘reserving’ foals before they are born. The increased risk to the buyer is that although you can know the sire, dam, and bloodlines, you don’t get to evaluate the specific foal beforehand to decide if you like it or not. The benefit, however,

is that most in-utero foals are able to be purchased for a fraction of the cost of what you’d pay for the same foal once it has been born. The reduced price seems to be what is increasingly appealing to buyers who find the savings to be worth the risk. Scot Tolman of Shooting Star Farm says he’s had more

inquiries about in-utero foals this year than any year prior, and all of his anticipated 2010 foals have already been reserved in-utero. He believes in-utero sales are becoming more popular because it allows buyers to get the quality they want for less money in a time when people are really looking for ways to save. Most in-utero sales involve fairly substantial non-refundable deposits, but few will lock a buyer into buying a foal if they really don’t want it once it is born. It is important to review each seller’s contract as the more flexible contracts are usually the least risky for buyers. Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60
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