Re-starting and re-training horses... as a business? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 07-02-2013, 04:22 PM Thread Starter
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Post Re-starting and re-training horses... as a business?

Firstly, let me start off by saying this is ALL theoretical. I'm at uni, and plan (in many years) to do something in psychology (clinical). As a result, I know that this theoretical plan won't be put into action for a few years (at the very least) as I don't have the money, or time, or facilities. But hey, a girl can dream!

So, now to the "business plan"... as it were. For me, it'd probably be more of a side thing - not my only (or main) income source. Simply because I would still want something to fall back on should this idea fall flat on it's face and result in me really ending up worse for wear financially - and let's face it, unless you're breeding or racing horses to a splendid level, horses aren't all that profitable anyway XD I would like to buy horses (or obtain horses) from off the track or at auctions (as "rescues from kill buyers, or just cheap) and then bring them on to a decent standard in a certain discipline before selling them on (for profit).

Well, that's the dream. I just feel that it could kill two birds with one stone. Some racers get put down after their career if they can't be sold, and there are some horses in auction who may be destined to be purchased by a kill-buyer... and by taking these on and bringing them up and selling them, it could give them another purpose in life as well as giving somebody a horse that is safe and "rescued" in a sense.

I don't really know.

Frankly, I don't see this happening in ten years - at least not as a full blown business. I intend to bring on horses as and when I come across them, and help them. That's the main goal - to help them. The money side is to just keep it going so I can better provide for them. I would definitely seek advice from any and all professionals and broaden my knowledge on horses... by expanding my evergrowing library of equine-related media XD This sort of project would not only be designed to help the horses, but I can further my knowledge and experience of the breeds and training too.

So, a question - do any of you guys do something like this? Have any of you brought on horses in poor state and turned them into some decent English or Western horses? And also, if you have, where are you from?

I don't think that there are many horses who go to kill buyers in the UK... I haven't thoroughly looked. If anybody knows of any specific auctions, etc, where there tend to be kill buyers or poor-conditioned horses, can you provide links? However, In my area, there are some groups who do have a lot of OTTBs and my family know of one man who runs a racing yard (all my past horses have come from him, and we've brought them on so I have - at least - a basic knowledge of OTTBs)

I've sort of lost the point I was making... er, anyways, if any of you have experience or advice, please let me know. I'd be ever so grateful to learn more from you guys.

(And again... all theoretical plans with me. It's a dream, but so far that is all)

ETA - well, apparently more horses go to the abattoir than I thought. I guess I just like to live in a fantasy world where the UK is all dandy... aside from these horsemeat scandals.
I saw this:
And now I just want to try and dent that number somehow and reduce it. Start raising some awareness in my area DX

Last edited by SeamusCrimin; 07-02-2013 at 04:28 PM.
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post #2 of 9 Old 07-02-2013, 09:13 PM
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Honestly, all I kept thinking while reading this was how much money it would cost, not how much you would make. I think the vet bills alone would kill your wallet before all the food needed to get them back into rideable shape. I do like your career choice for being able to work a real job and still ride. If you end up in private practice or an otherwise non-hospital setting, you could make you own hours and have weekends off to show. It's a very flexible job if you get into the right end of it.

I would suggest finding a place the rehabs OTTBs such as CANTER and maybe spending some time with them seeing what is involved in rehabbing horses. Maybe fast track yourself to your real job and dabble in project horses along the way.

You just have to see your don't have to like it.
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post #3 of 9 Old 07-02-2013, 10:22 PM
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I'll be back tomorrow after work (or to comment on this.
I had/have the same idea as you, except not quite so much into "rescues" as problem horses.
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post #4 of 9 Old 07-02-2013, 11:02 PM
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If you want to have a business like this, I can suggest what I did.

I looked at what I did as giving horses an owner upgrade. Went to auctions. Knew deputies in counties around me. Became known as someone who might take a horse that someone didn't want.

I was very particular. I only took horses that were sound, of had a very temporary and mild lameness issue, some a little thin, some obese but not yet lame. And I selected for brains, the horse's not the seller's. I ended up getting horses that were undertrained, under-utilized, or spoiled.

My goal was to always get them going nicely and resell within a couple months. We had a lot of riding to do, so that was easy. That part is necessary, in my opinion: Being able to spend a lot of hours in the saddle on each project. We also had thousands of acres of pasture and hay was not a problem, either. Very low feeding costs.

I had three daughters at the time who were also able to ride most horses from the time we got them and all of the horses I purchased within a couple weeks.

Finally, I only sold to good horsemen. Even if a horse was going to the grandkids, but somebody in the household had to be a good hand. That way I didn't get calls about things going wrong (because somebody was spoiling the horse).

I only got two returns in all the years I did this. In those cases the horses just weren't right for the jobs the people needed them to do, and I sold them to others with different needs.

This little side business supplemented my income by about 30%.
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post #5 of 9 Old 07-03-2013, 07:44 AM
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I do the same thing just with horses people don't want or cant afford anymore i hardly ever go to actions to many shady sellers for me you'll find your fair share of drugged up horses there just my two cents worth good luck i make some profit but nothing to write home about i do it for the challenge
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post #6 of 9 Old 07-03-2013, 07:46 AM Thread Starter
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@MyBoyPuck - I totally agree... it would cost a bundle in vet fees so, like Boots said, I'd definitely try being very particular with the horses I chose to take on. And that's also why I was thinking of not doing this for a few years - give me some time to work as a clinical psychologist and save some money aside just to help me start. Though I like the idea of dabbling into the projects alongside my career, that would make sense, and I'll look around for some volunteering placements at these rehab establishments. I'd love to do that anyway, but right now I can't really afford the travelling to and from such places. But it is something I'd like to do.

@Boots - Thank you for your input, I really did find that quite interesting and has definitely given me some ideas too of what I would perhaps like. I think the idea of choosing horses that are undertrained, etc, is really good, and would make things quicker to bring on and sell (like you said, a couple of months)... whereas OTTBs would be a lot longer as they'd need at least a few months to just be field kept. But I really appreciate your story, and it's definitely something I'm going to bear in mind if I start really planning it.

Doing something like this (as a big or small project) has always lingered in my head, as I see people around me buying and selling on cheap horses, and a family friend acquired OTTBs that she got to a basic level before selling them. Well, she got young riders (16-18) to hack them out and then she'd sell them when she felt they could go - or if she had another horse coming to her yard. I guess I never really agreed with her methods, as she was very stuck in her (what I guess are old-school) ways... and it inspired me to do something similar without all the violence and rush. She did have a few horses sent back to her from families who had problems, and she wasn't as thorough as you were Boots, with choosing the families. Whoever could pay her would get the horse XD
That's what really sparked an interest, and I just have an overall passion for horses and their wellbeing in general, so that's really why I want to do something like this.
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post #7 of 9 Old 07-03-2013, 08:02 AM
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I'm planning on a similar route. I found a year long working student position at a small barn, where I'll be riding several horses a day and receiving two free lessons a week, so I can really hone my riding skills. After the year is up, I'm planning on apprenticing with a trainer for another year or so. After that I'm going to take on a small job, while building up clients and connections, and then go all in on training. I want to specialize in problem horses, and turning them into good, all around, safe trail horses. I also want to work with people- so many people are scared of their horses, or are unwilling to take up a leadership position. My training stipulation will be that the owner has to work with me, too, so that that the horse doesn't revert to past behavior as soon as it is home and can get away with it.
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post #8 of 9 Old 07-03-2013, 08:47 PM
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There very well might be a niche business re-evaluating horses bought by buyers who were deceived by sellers. How many times have we all heard stories of a buyer who bought a horse, and then a few weeks later all hell breaks loose, horse is acting like a lunatic, leaving the buyer to wonder if it's the right horse for them. A trainer who could work with both with the horse and also evaluate the skill level and needs of the owner would be a tremendous asset. An independent objective eye would give the buyer either the tools to work with the horse, or the justification for selling it and finding a better fit. You might be able to marry your psych skills with your love of horses very nicely.

You just have to see your don't have to like it.
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post #9 of 9 Old 07-03-2013, 09:02 PM
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In a horse market that is still in good standing, this isn't such a far-fetched idea to make a living doing something like that. I know lots of people around here that did that before the market tanked.

Basically, though, you can't take in anything needing extensive re-training or time or feed.

What I would look for is a younger horse (usually under 10 make for the best flips, they are not as set in their ways and are still young enough to have a lot of good years left) that seems to have a basic good nature and sound mind, make sure they are healthy (a little thin is okay, mildly lame due to a very temporary problem is okay), and start there. With the price of everything getting so high, you really need to be able to get a behavior turnaround and have them going really good in 30-45 days...which isn't a lot of time. That's why I wouldn't really look at anything fresh off the track that needs "let down" for a few months, or something from a rescue that might need 3 months worth of feed or lots of vet visits before they are even rideable.

You can do it, if you can look at a horse for a couple of minutes and see the potential...and know exactly how long it will take you to bring them up to that potential.
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Always remember that feeling of looking at a big, open country over the ears of a good horse, seeing a new trail unwind ahead of you, and that ever-spectacular view from the top of the ridge!!! Follow my training blog:
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