Saturday, November 26, 2011

Ridiculous Fantasies: Expensive Registered Yearling Horses

I just don't get it.

Breeders are STILL churning out unremarkable horses and expecting people to pay top dollar for them. Check out the filly below (click the Craigslist ad to enlarge it). She's got long, weak pasterns, she's camped out behind, over at the knee and downhill. Her butt-high conformation might resolve itself with time and growth, but the rest of her issues won't. Speaking of time and growth, it's going to take three more years of vet bills, feeding, ground work and boarding costs before this filly can even go to training to be broke out. 

And how much is the breeder asking?
Five THOUSAND dollars!
FIVE thousand dollars!
Why?! Because she's registered and sort of peachy-colored?

Check this out:

A registered paint horse, already very well broke and an experienced show horse, great manners-- for a fraction of the cost. At 17 he might have a touch of arthritis, but compared to the costs and risks of raising and training a youngster for three years, a little money for supplements is very well worth it. There's no picture here, so we can't judge the gelding's conformation-- but if he's still sound enough to ride after all those trail rides, he can't be any worse than the filly above!

 Some people seem to believe that raising a young horse "their way" is preferable. I think that's only true for a very few people-- those that have the time and experience to do so, and some very specific preferences. I'm thinking about higher-level show competitors mostly, the kind of folks that really want a very young horse to lope just right and are prepared to spend hours in the arena getting there. Most of us aren't at that level, and may not care to be. Most of us also really don't care whether our horse responds to a cluck or a kiss, or turns to face you or not after halting on the lunge. If we do, we can usually re-train a horse out of those minor habits-- the main thing is, it's broke!

Two-year-old Western Futurity Horses: Broke, Slow, Low & Unhappy

I think it may be true that there's a little extra bond between a horse and owner when that horse is raised by its owner-- but not always. You can't guarantee that you'll "click" with any horse, whether it's your hand-raised bottle-fed foal or an older auction pen bargain.

In short, I can't think of a good reason to buy a very young horse, unless you're a professional with a very specific purpose in mind-- or you're a sucker for a cute face at an auction :)

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