Is it possible to make money as a small-time breeder?
What about doing the AI yourself? Is it possible to learn how to do it from a book? Would you ever recommend it? Have you done it?
I've only had two experiences with breeding. One, I sent my quarter horse mare to the stallion for four months last year, but she didn't take. (a 22-yr-old stallion) I did get to watch the breeder tease the mares, collect from the stallion and then inseminate the mares, which was really interesting. Second, I bought a warmblood mare already bred. Was there for the birth this year on Mother's Day! Very cool.
I am doing research on starting a breeding business on a small scale. So far, I have a very well-bred quarter horse mare and a well-bred warmblood mare. I'm planning to sell my first baby (warmblood filly) in the next few months.
We're moving to some acreage next year and I'll be able to get a couple more mares. I'll be able to keep them on pasture which will cut down on costs.
Any feedback is greatly appreciated!
My dad used to say that the only way to make a million dollars in the horse business is to start with two million. It is very difficult to make money breeding, whether you are on a small scale or a large one. Breeding is a huge responsibility - you are creating a life and these days there are more horses than their are owners, hence the slaughter issues and all the rescues out there. I had considered getting into breeding at one time but I only had to go to one horse auction to cure me of that. I could not imaging a horse that I created suffering like many auction horses do, and believe me they are not all plug horses, there are MANY well bred and nice horses that come to a bad end. OK, I'll get off my soapbox, but IMO, leave breeding to the pros.
I definitely agree with Nurse (love that quote by your dad:P). It is very hard to make money as a breeder. My friend is a small-time breeder and she also still has a full-time job; her breeding operation pretty much pays for itself, but she doesn't make an appreciable amount of profit. She does it because she loves the breed, but its still a hobby. I know you are still doing a lot of research, but ask yourself these questions and be as honest as you can with yourself:
- What can I offer that will make people want to buy my foals instead of Jane Doe's foals down the road? Are my mares proven winners in competition? Do they have exceptional bloodlines? Do they have exceptional conformation? Are they an unusual or highly sought-after breed? Will my babies be extensively handled and trained before they are weaned?
- Is there a thriving market for my breed: will I be able to charge prices that will cover the cost of breeding and keeping mares and foals? Is there enough demand for my breed that I will be able to guarantee (within a reasonable degree) that my foals are going to good responsible owners? Is there enough demand that I will be able to sell all of my foals to responsible owners every year?
- Do I have the time and/or manpower to run a breeding operation? Will I be able to juggle breed/bloodline research, multiple vet visits, late night runs to the airport to pick up air-shipped semen, basic ground training with foals, basic farm maintenance, AND a full-time job?
Those are good points, Nurse in Boots. I agree with you about not bringing any unwanted horses into the world. The breeding I'm going to be doing is not irresponsible. I'm using well-bred broodmares and proven stallions (so far I haven't paid less than $1000 for a stud fee). And I will only be breeding like two to four babies a year. That's not many in the large scheme of things.
The baby we've been raising this year is so good. So many people who've met her have fallen in love with her. The photographer at her inspection said that she would have loved to have bought her and passed her picture on to all her horsey friends in case any of them are interested. Our farrier is a roper and said he was going to buy her and make her the first warmblood to be a rope horse. He was kidding but he really likes her. I think part of it is that we've done such a good job handling her and raising her. She will make a really nice horse for someone and part of that is her breeding and part of it is the way we've raised her.
My daughter shows in hunter/jumper. We just spent several months looking for a decent show horse that we could afford. Finding one in our price range was not easy, and he has his issues. It's not always easy to find a good horse.
However, I won't just be breeding. I'm also going to buy young horses to raise, put some basic training on them and sell. And I'd like to have "project" horses as well. Those might be horses I buy at auction who need a little work. The goal would be to work with them and get them going well and then sell them.
I'm keeping my options open.
Thank you for your input, Nurses In Boots. I do respect what you have to say and see why you would feel that way. I get so angry when I hear of situations where people treat their animals like used toilet paper. grrrrrr :evil:
Sara... great questions!
Yes, I have asked myself those questions.
As for having the time, I do not work outside the home. I'm a stay at home mom. My job is the kids and the horses. My kids are getting older and more independent (13 and 11) and my husband is extremely supportive. He's the one who is pushing me to start my own business and he is okay with all the time I spend with the horses. He helps out a lot with the horses too.
It sounds like you're putting a lot of thought into it, I wish you luck:)
My friend usually rents a teaser pony during the breeding season, they've always had a shetland or mini stallion for the summer. They are usually a little easier on the stall boards:P
Thanks Sara. :)
I guess I should add that when I say make money, I don't mean like I need to support my family on this money. What I want to do is help pay for my daughter's showing. It's very expensive, and if I could make some money selling horses, it would certainly help with our horsey expenses. :wink:
regarding business in breeding
I have to agree with the other ones. There is a ton of horses out there and unless you have a line of world champions or show a ton you will probobly just break even. Also to remember there is alot of good quality horses that end up in slaughter. I recently bred my Tin Man mare to stud that has alot of points. I have had my mare since she was 6 months old and I love the personality of the mare and stud. But I am keeping the baby and it will be the last horse I will own, we have five with one on the way. I have one registered pinto I picked up for way cheap at a sale, and she rides down the rode and does anything you want, the rest I paid 9,000.00 and up for bloodlines. There is alot of choices to make I just know there are alot of good horses out there that dont have a chance.[/b]
I guess I'm confused. If there are so many good horses out there going to slaughter, then why did you breed your mare? Yet you tell me not to breed. :?
Everyone has their opinion, and it seems that we all can justify what we want when it's what WE want.
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