Finding Your Perfect Horse
I often get asked and even have the thought from time to time of what makes the price of training worth it. $850 per month can be a lot of money to ask someone to spend on a horse. But then I think about how expensive it is to buy a finished, quiet solid horse. As anyone who has ever gone horse shopping before knows, if you are looking at horses under 10k, you are playing the lottery. There are many horses that are not as gentle, or finished or as sound as many people claim they are. You can also run into horses with chronic problems that will likely never turn around. If you truly want a nice roping horse you can count on spending 10k and more.
When it comes to buying a horse for your own personal use it can be difficult. Where professional horse trainers have looked at thousands of horses in their lives, many people have only looked at a couple ever and this can make it very intimidating. First and foremost a person needs to be aware that many problems, even in young horses, will often never be fully solved, especially without an experienced horseman helping and advising. If someone has created problems like running off, lunging across the area or box issues, it can put a buyer at an initial disadvantage that is usually unnecessary. So just be very aware that problems can be hard to fix on your own, especially if you don’t rope or ride everyday.
Trying to Train a Young Horse
As the continued thought and part of the cost of training, I have been thinking about the logistics of training a young horse and cost of doing it wrong. Young horses are very impressionable and when trained wrong, can develop problems for life. Horses can develop a complex about the box, or the rope or even the run in general and this can very very hard to fix. Young or Green horses can also be quite difficult and even dangerous when approached in the wrong way. Young horses just simply don’t make good choices all of the time and this is compounded if they are not ridden everyday. Just like teenage boys and girls, when left to their own devices, their decision making goes rapidly down hill. With all young horses there are many ways to get hurt and very few ways to actually do it right. Horses are very big and powerful and can hurt us so easily, sometimes not even intentionally. Many inexperienced horse people are just asking for a wreck to attempt it them selves. I recommend people look at horses that are slightly older say 7 or 8 rather than horses that are just not mature yet.
Have One Trained
This leads me to my next point which is sometimes the best option is just to have a horse made for you by a horse trainer. When done correctly it can solve all three of the above problems and leave you with a horse you can rope on for many years. First of all, a horse trainer can help you to locate the correct horse and weed out the potential plugs that are in the market. They can also help you to not get taken advantage of by the wrong seller and to help with vet checks to make sure the horse starts their career off on the right foot. Having someone to even send a video to or a picture of horse papers can be extremely helpful.
Secondly a horse trainer can help you to avoid fundamentally problems in a horse, because they will hopefully not want you to have to deal with them, but also because they don’t want to ride them either. As a horse trainer of many years I can tell you it is much more enjoyable to ride a kind young horse then it is a problematic one. Not that a good trainer can’t fix many problems but they will most likely always be able to produce a better result when starting from scratch rather than behind the 8 ball.
As I spoke of above, the best horse is usually the one that is started correctly the first time rather than having to fix things. But this leads us to the young horse problem above. This is again where your trainer comes in. If you want a truly nice horse the best thing to do is often go purchase a quality young horse, send it to a trainer that you trust for several months and let them form that horse to your liking. At the end you will have a horse that is without problems, is not dangerous to deal with and is formed specifically to your personal needs and skill set.
The Financial Side
I know what you are thinking, that sounds great and if I had a bottomless pocketbook I would gladly go that option, so let me show you some numbers to alleviate your financial stress. If you go the professional training route, you can usually purchase a nice young colt for under $6500 and that is being very generous. I have purchases several for clients around the 4500 dollar mark. If you put 4 months of training on them, that equals $3400 bringing your total to $9900. If you are able to get a horse purchased for $4500 that allows another 2 months of training or bringing your total to $7900 allowing you to be vastly under the budget of 10k.
Made for You
With the Trained route, you have the horse of your dreams, that you know has been trained correctly without being previously blown up anywhere. And you never had to actually ride the bronc, didn’t have to feed them for 4 months and if your trainer does their job, (I always ask my clients how they want their horse to feel when I bring them back) the horse is trained for you specifically, rather than just patterned generically. So if you’re interested in building the right horse rather than just playing the lottery, give us a call. We rope 7 days per week and are always working to improve our horses.
AJ Fuchs is a roping horse trainer, and PRCA roper who lives in Stephenville, Texas with his wife and two kids. AJ has been professionally training horses for over 10 years, he specializes in Team Roping horses and overall horsemanship. Look him up on FB at AJ Performances Horses or website at ajfuchs.com