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Discussion Starter #1
Been thinking about it heavily all year. Ive had a lot of people start to push me to try it out. I have two horses I keep on my dads property (project couldnt stay there unfortunately) and my personal riding horse I have done all of her training-more heavily this year-and I have been wanting a challenge again. When I was riding with my trainer, I rode and helped train all of her green ponies. Been bucked, reared, and bolted with. Not scared of it but wouldn鈥檛 look for a project with those vices.

Give me your experiences, advice, the good, bad, and ugly. Really id just like to break even and have this be a good hobby, maybe find my dad a horse other than our dinky arab 馃ぃ

I won鈥檛 go into my own details, ive already thought a lot out. As I said I have been thinking about this since last summer probably. But anything you got, share!
 

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I do not know the area you are in but my advice would be to take a good hard look at the horse market where you are located. Look at prices of well broke horses in whatever discipline you are planning to train the horse in, then look at the cost of said project horses and the cost of keeping them and the cost for your time. It would seem since you are keeping horses at your Dad's property that some of those costs will not transfer to you.

We are headed into the winter months where I live - you can purchase horses cheap now - but the cost of feeding them through the winter is fairly high - and selling horses in the winter in my area is iffy (due to feeding a horse you do not ride in the winter months)

When I was in high school I broke and trained (I use this term loosely- based on my knowledge at the time) horses for other people and purchased or was given young or hard to ride horses that I sold. This was in the 80's - I made a little money and took in about 4-6 horses every year. This all stopped when I had a young horse (2 yr old colt) for a neighbor down the road. I had him at my parents house for about a week. He was always trying to get out of the pen he was in, and one day he did get out and one of our geldings chased him around the pasture - he bucked up to kick at the gelding and came down on a fence post - he tore a huge gash in his abdomen and his intestines spilled out and he continued to run. My Dad and I were outside and witnessed it all - we called our vet immediately - caught our horses up and this poor colt by then had collapsed and was dieing - our vet came and put him down. It was a freak accident. The owners of this cold immediately threatened to sue my parents - it was a HUGE mess - they claimed this colt was worth thousands (and it was not) it caused a lot of heartache and grief for my family and they almost lost their home owners insurance coverage because we were not insured to have a training facility or boarding at our home.

I realize that may not apply to you if you don't take in horses for other folks but just know that even training and selling horses from your parents property could cause insurance issues for them.
 

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I broke even on my first project, but only because I consider them my own personal horses until they're sold. Feed, vet, dentist, delivery, so on wasn't calculated against the sale price, if it had, I'd of lost money. But I gained experience, so it was worth it. Silver lining or w/e...

You never know what a horse may be hiding, mine had more problems the more I dug down. Her breed was also a huge negative in the local market, as well as her size.

So, like Carshon said, study the local market before getting a project.
Also, have spare money to dump into it & potentially never getting it back. Don't rush the horse, that may produce more problems & no one is paying you for this, so there's no reason to bumrush through it.
 

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I once thought I could do this - buy, train, sell... but I care too much where they end up, to make it a good business proposition - horses I have had to part with, I turn down so many buyers who are not good enough & tend to keep the horse way too long, till I find an appropriate home. I've been offered & turned down good money, and accepted a lot less than they're worth, to good homes. So, from an economic point of view, for me at least, almost regardless of the horse market, it's not worth it. I just hate selling/rehoming animals.

But we just recently (last week) came home with 3 that are short term prospects. My 17yo son has wanted to train a horse from scratch & I believe he's been up to the task for some time. He's great at befriending & handling untouched horses(also volunteers at a brumby sanctuary), and great at putting further education on 'greenies', just hasn't done the whole 9 yards on a horse by himself. So we agreed to take on a horse for him to do so, on the grounds that it will have to be sold on when he's 'broken' it. The reason this deal turned into 3 is, the horse we originally found & agreed to is a wild(apart from some traumatising handling) 2yo who's as yet skinny & a bit small & young for my son to ride yet, then not an hour after committing, I got offered a 6yo OT standy mare with a 4 week old foal at foot for nothing! So... the skinny filly we will get healthy & my son can get her well handled & friendly on the ground, then we will sell her on as soon as, while the standy mare is already good on the ground, will be a good & easy one for my son's first 'saddle breaking' experience. Trouble is, we are both already majorly attached to this gorgeous girl. And her filly, which goes without saying, who will unfortunately have to be rehomed when she's weaned.
 

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I once thought I could do this - buy, train, sell... but I care too much where they end up, to make it a good business proposition - horses I have had to part with, I turn down so many buyers who are not good enough & tend to keep the horse way too long, till I find an appropriate home. I've been offered & turned down good money, and accepted a lot less than they're worth, to good homes. So, from an economic point of view, for me at least, almost regardless of the horse market, it's not worth it. I just hate selling/rehoming animals.

But we just recently (last week) came home with 3 that are short term prospects. My 17yo son has wanted to train a horse from scratch & I believe he's been up to the task for some time. He's great at befriending & handling untouched horses(also volunteers at a brumby sanctuary), and great at putting further education on 'greenies', just hasn't done the whole 9 yards on a horse by himself. So we agreed to take on a horse for him to do so, on the grounds that it will have to be sold on when he's 'broken' it. The reason this deal turned into 3 is, the horse we originally found & agreed to is a wild(apart from some traumatising handling) 2yo who's as yet skinny & a bit small & young for my son to ride yet, then not an hour after committing, I got offered a 6yo OT standy mare with a 4 week old foal at foot for nothing! So... the skinny filly we will get healthy & my son can get her well handled & friendly on the ground, then we will sell her on as soon as, while the standy mare is already good on the ground, will be a good & easy one for my son's first 'saddle breaking' experience. Trouble is, we are both already majorly attached to this gorgeous girl. And her filly, which goes without saying, who will unfortunately have to be rehomed when she's weaned.
How fun for him! I definitely think that will be my issue as well. I want to make sure they go to good homes. I am involved in a saddle club in my area and know them all and their horsemanship well to get interested buyers from them as well. I do have a few connections that are very close and trustworthy to get a jump start on interested buyers who would more likely check a decent hope box. The president of the group is a trainer who I respect greatly and she has a ton of connections and is frequently asking around for horses in their interest.
And of course everyone I have spoken too online and irl has said they have gotten attached. I definitely see that happening however the horse I have right now I strongly feel is my heart horse and I already hate having to split my time with her on the other horse on our property. So I think she will make it a lot easier to sell them on.

Thanks for everyones imput thus far!!
 

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I also went the project horse route for a while. I had a different problem than others have described, probably because of the project horses I chose. I chose nice looking talented horses that appeared to have some little quirk that was easily fixed, like being barn sour or bucking a little when asked to canter. The problems quickly resolved themselves after some wet saddle blankets. I made a little bit of money when I sold them . . . but what happened all too often was that after I sold them, they reverted back to their problem . . . or worse yet, they developed some other problem that was even worse. I ended up having to stay involved with the new owners, trying to get them to learn to handle the horse. It would ride fine for me, but when they'd try to manage on their own, there were problems. It was just a headache and not worth the small profit that I made. I cared about the horses and wanted them to do well.

I also showed the horses and fox hunted them to increase their value and prove they were good horses, and that got kind of old (well, not the fox hunting--that never gets old, but people in the hunt club got sort of tired of me having untried horses in the hunt field).

I liked the horses a lot, and knew they were good horses, but couldn't seem to train other people to get them to do what I could get them to do. I decided training for the public wasn't for me.
 

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Back when I was in college, I did some colt starting. Some were prospects I bought; some were for others. Some panned out; some did not.


I bought a 2 yo filly at an auction that (according to the description) had not been started. Really nice papers for running barrels. Took her home and found out she already had very nice ground manners, so that was great! Did the first couple rides inside the pole barn b/c it was too muddy outside. She was a bit skittish but nothing out of the ordinary for a first ride. Finally was able to ride in my round pen, got on, and all of a sudden I was bucked off. Totally was not expecting it. After that, never was able to "ride" her again. She would take off bucking before I could even get on her. If I did manage to get on, she ran into corral panels, reared over on me, bucked, etc. She was TERRIFIED. It wasn't mean behavior; she was panicked. Well..... turns out owners (the breeders) had lied and first trainer they sent the horse too was scared of said horse. They thought if she had a fresh start she would be fine. Let me tell you that I told every horse person about their lies that I came across. Looking back, I should have taken them to court (I had her emails admitting they lied). I ended up only paying $300 for her and luckily, I was able to sell her for the same. (with full disclosure to new owners) I did bang up my knee the one time I got bucked off but thankfully nothing serious.



That same year, I bought another 2 yo filly, barely halter broke. Flighty, head shy, and was terrible for that first week. I was a bit worried. Then all of a sudden, perfect. Never bucked. Never pinned an ear. Sweet filly. One of my favs. I think I bought her for $700. Nice cutting lines. It took longer to sell her. I think it was late in her 3 yo year when I finally found a buyer. I can't quite remember, maybe I sold her for $1500? $1800? To a lady wanting to get back into horses again and wanting something quite and safe. This one was!


The following year, I bought a 6 yo with somewhat unknown history. Horses were court ordered to be sold due to a nasty divorce case. Weren't sure if she had been started or not but man she was a nice looking horse. Big boned too. I think we paid $1800 for her. And she had indeed been started! Super nice horse; I had her doing flying lead changes in less than 30 days. So smart. If I recall, I think I sold her for $3200 in a couple months. So that one worked out. (although I really wanted to keep her!! so nice)


So sometimes you get lucky. Sometimes not. But if you are okay with breaking even, or going into the hole, LOL. Go for it.
 

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I bought and sold project horses for years. I really enjoyed it.

A few things made it doable for me.

Location. Lots of use for horses where I am. They're not just a luxury here. And even if someone does want a horse for low level competition, chances are very good that they'll also use them for work.

I do horse physical rehab. And while I can help horses recover from injury or reduce the effects of poor conformation, I also have a good idea of what to avoid when choosing a project horse. I never bought one without at least three ideas of what he or she might be good at.

I had three kids, several friends, and friends of my kids, who wanted to ride everything and needed an extra horse occasionally. So my horses got lots of saddle time. The youngsters who rode got paid unless they were borrowing for work.

Some horses came via law enforcement when taken from neglect situations. Most from auctions. I was very selective about who I sold to. Eventually, you had to either know me, or come with an introduction from someone who did.
 

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What happens if you get a horse with major health or behavioral issues? Are you willing to euthanize or retire? My project horse had both behavioral and health issues (uveitis in one eye). $1000 is the cost of eye removal and then you still have the possibility of the disease switching eyes... So unless you are planning on spending $500 on x rays and a good pre-purchase exam, there's always a risk you might end up with a horse with some major health issues.

Then there's always the risk of the horse becoming injured after you buy it, or having a catastrophic colic, or maybe the horse might need treatment for ulcers, or arthritis injections...
 
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