Sunday, April 29, 2012

Age Old Question: Prospective Project

 Before anyone reads this and gets hissy, this post is a culmination of general observations I have made. There are exceptions, and I know that. So keep that in mind :)

What is the answer to that age old question? Who decides? Ultimately, the buyer- but it is up to the people who produce and train horses to find/make/mold horses into what people want. I want to know what eventers want in an upper level prospect. I know what I want...but what do they? How do I find this out? I start with what I know and like...

I would like to find a horse who I can spend time with re/training, and resell as a prospective upper level eventer. No, I am not selling Yankee. If you know us at all, you know I am leasing him out, since I cannot afford to show him as much as I feel he needs to be to get qualifying scores. Ultimately, I want  him to be a 4* horse, but he is now 10, and even though he has talent, time is not onour side. We would have moved up to prelim 3 years ago, but I broke my arm, and then a multitude of unfortunate occurences happened...and here we are.

I digress.

How important is the REALLY to prospective buyers?

To me, it is of  utmost importance, and a delicate balance. Horses are creatures. They die. They have an expiration date, a prime age and a dumb baby age. Depending on the horse, dumb baby ages last from 4-10, prime age can be anywhere from 7-15 and they expire (from competition) around 15-20. Granted there ARE exceptions, this is just what I have noticed and others heed as well.

The perfect prospect for ME to SELL, would then be at least 4, but no older than 10, but lets be real, 5-7 is the perfect age. 4 is still pretty much a baby and but you might have a blank slate to work with. Pros and cons! The younger, the more time you have time on your side. YOU get to start the horse and you have time before they become "old".  But also, the more retarded they are and the more time you NEED to let the stupid play out. (for example, it took yankee from age 4-10 to become un-stupid.)

Unfortunately, the competitive society has the modern thought process that we need everyhting NOW. Now now now now now. We need babies to be smart NOW. We need to win all the things NOW. We need to qualify NOW. We need need need. This will be my demise. I want to produce a baby from scratch with PROPER training and cumulative, positive experiences. You can only do this by taking time. But time is money. SO CONFLICTED.

What is THE perfect height? Depends on who you ask. If you ask a taller person like myself, they might usually say, a horse over 16.2hh. Short, a horse on a smaller scale. And then you have the discipline biased heights. Jumpers are HUGE. Dressage horses are....warmbloods. (I know this is not a height). Hunters are 16hh. Eventers are the rest.

So honestly, it really just depends on preference. If I had my way, I'd ride an 18 hand horse that was light enough to have mad hops over 6 ft. fences. But lets be real. That horse doesn't exist, at least in ample supply. I can settle for a 17 hand horse. But most of them are clunky, fugly and can't jump. Horses under 16h hands are out of the question- I would hit the jumps with my feet. 16.1-16.3. MEH. I still look awkward BUT the smalller lighter horses stay sound longer.

But WHAT does everyone else want? Specifically, what do EVENTERS want (since that is my sport)? I hear answers all across the board. Generally though, 16.1 is the perfect balance between too small and too large. They juuuuuust right.

I would like to find a prospect between $500-$2000. That is my max budget. For when I get  a budget...

I would like to resell between $9000-$14,000. I sold Murphy (see previous horses tab above) in 7 months for $14k and he was a fugly, hateful, asshole of a horse. Pretty much what you would not consider in a competition prospect.

After the time cost though, what would my profit REALLY be? I'll have an entire post on this later.

I prefer TBs. Most eventers prefer a TB or a mix of one. Sucessful event horses are usually one of the two. But there are exceptions.

Conformation is really the important thing though. Lets start front to back, being impartial to beauty, JUST conformation (which I have issues with).
-head: clear, bright, kind eyes. Good/effective nostrils
-neck: well muscled, high set on shoulders. No screaming confrmation faults like ewe-necked
-shoulders: much debate on slope vs. no slope. i prefer a happy medium between upright shoulders and super duper sloped shoulders. I feel this produces quality gaits and mad hops.
-cheast: deep, wide chest
-front legs: long, strong legs free of extreme blemishes and previous injuries. Cool and tight.  Equal  pastern angle measurements to shoulder. I REFUSE to buy a horse with sinking pasterns. That is looking for trouble.
-hooves: good angles, 'plush' frog, well hydrated. No crumbly crumbles.
-barrel: deep
-back: happy medium between long and short. If I had to choose, short. Well muscled, free of soreness.
-loins: filled out
-quarters- balanced, muscled,  proportionate to front of body
-back legs: no awkward angles. You can just tell. The rest goes the same for front legs.

All of these horses are TBs. 

Too long back, weird pastern/feet angles

I really like this one. All of him.

Proven TB stallion. I dont like him-chunky, weird neck, downhill build

Not ALL of this is possible. So main areas of importance for me. Legs, feet, hind end. Second importance, barrel/back, shoulder, neck.

This is difficult to determine from initial rides. This will come in time, but you CAN note a horse who has balanced gaits, light on the forehand, spring in their step and has a general positive attitude.

Resale Value:
determined by performance and a culmination of previous factors

Personal preference BUT stereotypes ARE a part of life. Chesnut, TB mares are to be avoided at all costs. ALL COSTS. THEY ARE EVIL. Evil. Ask anyone.

Generally, people want geldings. Stallions and mares are too hot.

 Time Cost:
This will be an entire post on its own as well.

I have to take into account actual cost of horse, cost of upkeep (board, feed, vet, farrier), cost of additional upkeep (supplements, emeregency vet care), showing and travel cost, advertising cost, etc etc

In a jiff- a younger, athletic, super sound, preferebaly 16+ gelding, TB.

What do you guys think? Since I am only one person with one opinion and limited connections...need thoughts loyal readers :)


  1. You're in a better area to find TBs than I am. Seriously, I have yet to see more than five nice TBs here in TX. Nice QHs and WBs and appendixes, yeah... but not many well-built TBs. Probably why TX's racing industry is nearly non-existent ;)

    As for your qualifications: totally spot-on and relatively achievable if you know where to look (that's the big thing when you're on a budget is knowing where to look and what to look for).

    And seriously, you NAILED it here. I have trouble explaining to friends about this, and you freaking NAILED it: "Unfortunately, the competitive society has the modern thought process that we need everyhting NOW. Now now now now now. We need babies to be smart NOW. We need to win all the things NOW. We need to qualify NOW. We need need need. This will be my demise. I want to produce a baby from scratch with PROPER training and cumulative, positive experiences. You can only do this by taking time. But time is money."

    I will say though, I have seen some SUPER nice reining-bred and cow-bred QHs do upper-level events, and some weird breeds do well too, like drafts and baroque breeds (let's just say they have a lot of power in their hind end!) But they don't quite have the gallop like a TB. I had a friend who reached 1* on her TB-Arab. He had the gallop and gaits of a TB and the endurance and the soundness of an Arab, and did quite well. He was hyper though....

  2. I agree with a lot of what you said. I disagree on the age though. For what you are wanting to do I wouldn't touch anything under 7. Or would at least be 7 at selling. I don't think anyone willing to pay that amount for a prospect wants to deal with young horse issues. Especially when you are talking about an upper level prospect because they are usually going to be a hotter horse. I also think there should be a bit more emphasis on brains than you mentioned. I think half of a true upper level horse is physical and half is is mind and the heart.

  3. As a TB rehomer, I have a lot to say on the topic. Because I like to talk and not type, I'm going to sum it up real fast. There is a horse for every person, and a home for every horse. Haha, chestnut mares... don't you LOVE them???

    Who is the last horse? Looks like an Afleet line. Out of the three I like him best, then the one on top, then the one in the middle last.

  4. Lol Bre, Texas has a huge QH racing industry.... there are just no TBs here that race. Like, none.

  5. @ Bre, thanks :)
    @ Amy I want to buy young so I have a few years to work with them and sell them around 7-9, probably should have mentioned that! I don't expect to make a profit spending a short amount of time with a horse. UNLESS its older already and more sound in the head, then it'd be easier/faster. I totally agree with you on heart/brains! I sort of mentioned that under ability, but you won't really know until you begin training! Thats the gamble!
    @ TT I'm not sure, I saw him on From Racehorse to Show Horse. Wendy's husband took pictures of him. Funny we like the opposite!
    @ Andrea, I think she meant TB racing

  6. Bahahaha Chestnut Thoroughbred Mares are my favorite :) Loved your post. Excited for the next one on Time and Cost!!

  7. hahahaha yes, I meant TB racing. Like I said, we have some nice appendixes and QHs... but not many nice TBs... and certainly only one legitimate OTTB program that I know of, and I've honestly only seen one nice prospect come out of that program.

  8. There are plenty of Thoroughbreds racing in Texas. Not as many as some other states of course, but it is still has a good size program.

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