Great way to produce good, solid horses
, but I still don't see how it can be cheaper. Feeding, vetting and housing a horse even for just a year, then sending it out for 60 days training would cost me 3500$ at the very minimum. That's based on what I pay for 3 small horses on pasture during the summer and relatively cheap hay, no grain, not including any vet bills other than vaccines. And that's not counting the cost of board because I have my own barn (which I'm still paying for, but let's leave those costs out for now...). Not saying you can't do it, but it's different if you don't have the infrastructure already in place and cannot make your own hay, for example. For you to take an extra foal in with your herd may not be a major expense, but for someone just starting out with horses, the costs can still end up being quite high.
A friend of mine got a filly two years ago for about a thousand dollars, changed her mind and resold her as a two year old for double the price. But guess what, she had that horse two years, fed it, vetted it, had its feet done, and did some groundwork but never saddled her. That's going to cost far more than the thousand dollar "profit" she made re-selling. No matter how I crunch the numbers, it seems to me that buying a horse that has some basic training at a reasonable price (say around 2-3K USD), even if it's green or a little on the older side, will always be a better deal than buying a young horse, keeping it for a year or two until it's mature enough to ride, then paying for the training. Obviously if you have specific goals, then that might be good motivation to get a foal, but financially, I don't see how you can come out ahead if your goal is just to have a solid mount that doesn't necessarily have papers or special skills.
At this point, it isn't about the money for me. I enjoy the babies and youngsters, so breeding them (I own sire & dam(s)) and raising them, training them and then sending them out to finish being started, is all about love of the horse. Those youngsters I sold didn't really make me a dime but I didn't really try. Those 3 each had between 30-60 days training and were sold, so the price of 1-2 months training (down here $750) and they moved on. I don't really look at the costs of getting them to where they are up to the point of training, because I'd have had that expense regardless. So, for between $750 & $1500 I got them all on their way to a good career doing something and good homes to hopefully last them a lifetime.
Even if I went out looking for a new horse for me, if I decided not to breed it, I'd look at not older than a yearling and go from there. At least that way, they haven't been around long enough for some idiot to mess them up beyond repair, though they do try.
By the time we do all the ground work for a year, even if they've been taught bad manners or habits before they get here, they tend to work out of them. Then I send them to one trainer for starting, so 30-60 days there, then I bring them home for a few months to play, then send them to my dressage coach who then gets them going at a higher level. A few months there and I'm guaranteed not going to make a dime off any of them, but that's ok if they get a great person for their next owner.
Once she deems them "old lady" safe or I should probably say "Old Lady with PTSD" safe, then I'll get on and we see where we can go. If they're not suited for me, then they get sold on to someone who can deal with a more flighty or not real forgiving horse. I want a horse who is absolutely a rock and doesn't throw random fits (ahem Patti......), just lets me get on board and we go out and ride and do what we do. My mare Patti, who is the Diva and has emotional days, stays around because even when she's having a fit and melt down, she never does anything dangerous. If she hits one of my PTSD triggers and I melt down, she immediately turns into my ROCK, and gets over whatever she was throwing her fit about. We work well together, even if I'd like to kill her some days. Would I sell her to just anyone? Nope. She could be a real problem horse with the wrong person on her back.
Again, I'm not going to make any money off of a wash out, but at least I KNOW what that horse knows and where it can go because it's been with me since day 1. If it needs an advanced rider, then that's how we market it. Most fall into the not quite steady enough for what I want but still a whole lot better than what most people have found in the price range, suitable for an advanced beginner or medium level rider. If they're kid safe, that's even better. Husband safe, that's a score.
The IRS doesn't say I have to make a lot of money doing what I do, just that I show an "intent to profit" and that I can do, in spades. As long as I can continue to do that, I will continue to turn out nice horses for a decent price. And have a whole lot of fun doing it.
My latest project horse is a perfect example of not going to make money, if I ever sell her. It took me a year to finally get this mare here with me, so she was actually 2 when I got her. She'd been raised in a show barn and never allowed out with other horses. She's deaf. She'd been with one halter trainer who was really heavy handed and yanked on her lead line (never led without a chain) real hard and hurt her a lot. So when led, if you tapped the lead line, even without a chain, she'd get real light in the front end or rear. I kept her here for 2 months working with her to let her know that we are not going to hurt her and to work on a few bad habits she'd developed. At one point, she tried to use her teeth on me and we had to have a little chat about that, but after that one time she never tried it again. I paid less than $2000 for her when all was said and done.
Once we got her to calm down a little and be out on pasture with some other horses, I took her to the starting trainer to work with her on her halter stance and get her fitted for shows. I warned him, she doesn't speak horse, she is deaf so she doesn't speak English and since she's never really been out with other horses, she doesn't speak "sign" either. She was very inconsistent in her body language. Well, she's learning how to "sign" because she around other horses to learn from and she's becoming much more consistent in her body language and she's learning that it's actually FUN to work with humans, they pony you around and let you see all kinds of cool stuff and you get groomed and petted on and all kinds of good stuff.
Our original goal for her was to take her to Pinto World Championships and show her in a couple of halter classes, then bring her home to start under saddle. Since PWC has been postponed until November, we're moving ahead with the starting under saddle. By the time Nov. gets here, maybe we'll do something Walk/Trot at PWC and Color Breed Congress. Either way, she's coming along really well. She's going to be one that if I ever do sell her, even if I sold her for $25,000, I'd still be losing money on her because of all the training and showing. It's ok, we'll have fun losing all that money. If I choose to breed her (to a horse who will hopefully throw colored hair in those ears) I'm sure she'll throw a gorgeous foal. No matter what, she'll have a good resumee if we do sell. That's what it's all about for me.