Is training and then selling a horse profitable? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 02-27-2010, 03:56 PM Thread Starter
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Question Is training and then selling a horse profitable?

I really want to buy a young horse, train it, and sell it . These are the two scenarios. Will either be profitable?

1) Buy a young horse and board it at a stable(I don't have one). Train it for 90-120 days and sell. It will either be trained in hunter/jumper or dressage, depending on the horse. Boarding at the stable is $400/month and I'd pay under $1500 for the horse. How much would I profit. I'm thinking $1000-$2000. I'd also pay probably $500 for vet and farrier for that time.

2) Possibly getting an acreage, everything would be the same except I'd only be paying for the hay and doing all the work myself(feeding etc.f. I'd also pay around $500 for vet and farrier for that time.

BTW, I've trained many horses from the start including 3 year olds that had never been touched.
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post #2 of 12 Old 02-27-2010, 05:27 PM
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I'm not competely sure. However, I know a couple people who started doing that, got known for their skills in the area, and now everyone goes to them to get horses trained. If thats what you want, then I say go for it. I want to train horses, and that is how I intend to start.
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post #3 of 12 Old 02-27-2010, 05:30 PM
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Is it profitable? Depends on how you define "profitable"! I bought my last pony for $1200. He only wore shoes in the front. No extra vet bills. I had him for exactly a year and I sold him for $10,000. When you add board, equipment, SHOWS, etc etc I made about $3000 profit. When you do the math, I made barely minimum wage. I was lucky on that one. There are some I've just broken even.

I can tell you right now that board is the biggest killer when it comes to profit. You might be thinking "i'll put 120 days on it", but what if it takes longer then that to get him marketable? what if the market is bad? what if he gets injured? It's hard to sell a horse as soon as he's ready. That $400 adds up unbelievably fast. If you end up having him a year board alone will be almost $5,000. Doing it on your own acreage is much much easier.

I don't know about a lot of other disciplines, but if you sell to a hunter it's going to need to be pretty quiet, they're going to want something with a lead change -preferably auto- (HUGE price difference between a horse that has one and one that doesn't), moves well, and has show miles. That's really hard to make in just 90-120 days. And "prospects" (meaning no show miles, maybe a little green in some areas) are not selling for much these days. If you sell to a jumper it's going to need to be scopy, brave, responsive, need to know how to comfortably do combinations, preferably have a lead change, and again, have show miles. Hard to do in 90-120 days.

I'm not trying to discourage you in this if you really want to do it. But I'd do it for the experience at this point, not for the money. In fact, be prepared in case you lose some. I've been doing it for about 6 years and while I'm certainly getting my name and reputation out there, I am definitely not getting rich!

Last edited by upnover; 02-27-2010 at 05:33 PM.
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post #4 of 12 Old 02-27-2010, 05:32 PM
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In so many areas right now the horse market is way down. Unless you are training top level show type horses, I can't imagine how profitable things are going to be. Around here, high end show horses are going for pennies.

Unless it weighs a ton... it's just a horse. Draft horse motto.
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post #5 of 12 Old 02-27-2010, 06:23 PM
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I think you're dreaming. If you're paying under $1500 for a horse he's either completely untouched or not a promising show horse. Taking a completely unbroke 3/4 year old from barely handled to well started for hunter/jumper or Dressage is pretty unrealistic in 90 days unless you are a professional trainer. And when I mean well started, I mean worth the $5,000 you seem to think he'll be worth to make a profit on him.

Elaine just sold an Arabian Warmblood filly for $5500 as a well started Dressage horse with a tiny bit of show experience as a coming 5 year old. The difference? This filly was for sale for a lot more then $1500 even before Elaine schooled her for a couple months. You may have gotten her for that price if she was an untouched 4 year old, but that $5500 is based on solid training since she was 3 years old.

Unless you're a professional, no, there is no profit in training horses. You need to be able to take that cheap greenie from unpredictable to solid within a matter of months, or be breeding some pretty spectacular bloodlines if you're hoping to make money off horses.

If you are a talented H/J trainer or a Dressage trainer, you're much better off doing what Elaine did and that's buying an already promising horse for several thousand, putting some solid work into it for 30 days and re-selling it for a couple thousand more then you paid for it. Again though, this is only really doing to work if you're a reputable trainer who's able to get the job done properly.

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post #6 of 12 Old 02-27-2010, 06:45 PM
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I am going to answer from my personal experience.

It is nearly impossible to turn a horse around for a profit in a 3 month to 1 year window with the board meter running. You would have to find a true diamond in the rough to turn it around in 120 days and make a profit while covering your board and farrier expense.

The big increase in value in a horse is not where most people think it is. Any reasonably competent person can back a young horse and get it to w/t/c both directions. You've added $500 - $1000 to the value of an unbroken horse by doing this, but the catch is, there's no market for that green broke horse.

The real value add is taking that green broke horse and finishing it in a certain discipline. The number of competent people who can do that is much smaller, and it takes some cash outlay to get the horse that experience. That takes a very specific skill set in that discipline, and the ability to put the necessary miles on the horse without paying premium price to get those miles.

Here's the circumstances under which I turned around green horses for a profit:

I was managing a busy lesson/training barn and always had at least one greenie coming along. I could always - 1.) throw the greenie in a lesson or schooling session at will 2.) haul it to a show or schooling session when there was an empty spot in the trailer and make the decision to leave it tied to the trailer, lead it around the show grounds, lunge it, hack it around, or enter it in a schooling class based on how it handled the experience 3.) put a select variety of decent riders on it to see how the greenie reacted under different riders and 4.) could compete it inexpensively.

Here's how I lost money or just broke even:

When I had a nice young horse it a tiny leased facility that was never exposed to anything and I had to pay to haul it off the place to get it any exposure. Took an outrageous amount of time to finish the horse and cost me dearly.

Oh, and that previous personal experience I mentioned? That was when the market was good. I wouldn't attempt it now without the first scenario (busy barn), and no board meter running, and maybe not even then.

There are too many nice finished horses out there with sale prices at way less than what it cost their owners to get them there.
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post #7 of 12 Old 02-27-2010, 07:33 PM
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Is this the first horse you are going to attempt to train? I am currently doing the same thing, but not for profit, and as my first attempt, its shaping up to be a year's worth of work. i'm paying a trainer, vet, chiro, dentist, farrier, board and supplies and equipment. I don't think she'll ever be worth what I have paid or will be willing to pay for her, but i guess it really isn't about that for me. it is the hardest thing I have ever done, and the most rewarding. It takes up ALL my free time, but she's my passion and we're plugging along just fine.
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post #8 of 12 Old 02-27-2010, 10:43 PM
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I have had some success doing it but I didn't have to pay for the board. I kept them at my house and put the shoes on myself so all I had into them was some feed and I still didn't make alot of money. In fact there is maybe only one or two horses that I made over a thousand dollars on. If you have to pay for board and a farrier then it is unlikely that you will make any money.

What are you planning on having the farrier and vet doing that will cost you $500 on a horse that you will only have for 3 months?

There's nothing like the Rockies in the springtime... Nothing like the freedom in the air... And there ain't nothing better than draggin calves to the fire and there's nothing like the smell of burning hair. -Brenn Hill
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post #9 of 12 Old 02-27-2010, 11:57 PM
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Excellent response Maura! Agreed 100%. The reason I've been able make a profit is that I get discounted board (but still pay board nonetheless), I get free trailering/daycare at shows (which saves me literally thousands. -and the experience and show history increases his value quite a bit), and have access to quite a few riders to help me out when I don't have time to ride him or two show him in classes I can't show in. The position I'm in right now makes a world of difference. In any other situation I don't think I would be able to make much at all. If any.
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post #10 of 12 Old 02-28-2010, 07:46 AM
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why don't you try retraining tbs sometimes they are free or very cheap as no one wants they and will probably be going to the knackery if no one takes them
that way you will be helping a horse and maybe making a profit
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