Balance in the Horse Industry, by Aaron Ralston
I attended one of the largest horse sales in the country, where I saw an awful lot of different situations.
First, there is the horse trader. These are the guys that are pushing horses out to buyers. They sell a horse, then repurchase something else, often times buying someone else’s mistake or misfortune. I don’t have a problem with this, if it is done with proper training and ethics. Most traders these days are hobbyist, and like to have a project that they can improve, resell, get their money back, then feel good about their accomplishment. The “glory” days of the professional trader are behind us. Only a few exceptions remain in their respective disciplines.
Second, there is the broken dream breeder. These break my heart to see, but is a harsh reality. These folks had a dream and took a chance, often out of their budget, to raise babies and deliver them to the public. Throughout this process they slowly realize the expense, hard work, etc, but continue on in hopes that it will get better. When they finally begin to sell colts, the prices are depressingly low. Very few buyers want a yearling or two year old that will not be ready and safe for two or three years. This is America. We want instant gratification! Unfortunately, these breeders become so sour that they sell everything and buy a motorcycle or boat. But in the meantime, the results of their broken dreams still exist and must find a purpose.
Third, there is the wanting dreamer, afraid to buy and ruin their mental image of what could be. These are great people to talk to because they know exactly what they want but just can’t seem to find it. Their enthusiasm is so high and their curiosity is endless. They become addicted to the search for perfection. Their dream is never realized, but it is never broken.
My last observation is of the seasoned veteran. This individual knows all the lines, all the tricks, has probably made all the mistakes but finds the occasional diamond in the ruff. This person has few words and asks serious questions while looking deep into your soul to hear the meaning behind your words.
These examples show a growth and transformation of experience. This is usually the best method of discovery, however, the problem lies with the stewardship of the live animal that wants to live on, despite the absence of the people responsible for creating it. My only solution to this problem is the sharing of knowledge in an attempt to promote responsible breeding. There are plenty of mistakes to make and dreams to be broken without creating more unwanted horses. Perhaps through our modern information exchange we will see a balance in the horse industry. In the mean time, enjoy what you have and have what you can afford. I am speaking from my experience, I have been all of these.