How Do We Price Our Horses?
As in any business, the supply and the demand set the price of the product. There are many markets now for Thoroughbreds! Hooray! It has been our mission since 2001 to create a market for Thoroughbreds when they are done racing. Sound horses are getting harder and harder to find these days. There are several different groups looking for these horses:
- Racetrack trainers
- Hunter/Jumper trainers
- Event Riders
- Competitors for the Thoroughbred Makeover
Let’s look at each of these groups and see why they have become buyers or buying even more Thoroughbreds.
Sound horses that are not competitive for racing in Kentucky are being snapped up by trainers at low end tracks in other states with bigger purses due to casino gambling funds being added to the purses. They are paying a minimum of $2,500 for a horse that is sound for racing. As an example: In Kentucky (where many of our horses come from) a $5,000 claiming race is at the bottom of the race scale. The winner of any Thoroughbred race earns 60% of the purse. When you win that race in Kentucky, you will earn 60% of the purse ($3,000) because there is no casino gambling in Kentucky to make the purse larger. Take that same horse to a track in Pennsylvania (a state that has casino gambling) and a claiming race for $4,000 race may have a PURSE of $11,400 – the winner takes home 60% ($6,840) for a $4,000 claiming race in Pennsylvania. Now those trainers have the money to come get the sound, slow Kentucky horses that are not competitive in Kentucky at the $5,000 level and take them to race in other states that have bigger purses with lower claiming levels and not as tough competition. Trainers who do not care what happens to their horses can readily find buyers for sound horses who want to race them in other states. Many of those horses will be raced every few weeks because if they can finish a race, they will earn a paycheck. Horses at low end tracks are often raced and raced until they can’t pass the state vet inspection to get into the race.
Hunter/jumper trainers are also scouring the racetracks because of the new Jockey Club, Thoroughbred Incentive Program (T.I.P) classes and awards at the “A” shows. Trainers know there is a whole new market of more price sensitive hunter/jumper show riders who will pay a good price for an off-the-track Thoroughbred that is ready to show. These trainers are also looking for horses that are sound for jumping – another option for a race trainer to sell a sound Thoroughbred quickly.
Event Riders Have ALWAYS Been Buyers
Thoroughbreds have long been the breed of choice for event riders because they are athletic, fast and easy to train.
Retired Racehorse Project Contestants Are Buyers
And last but not least, we have everyone wanting to get a Thoroughbred for the $100,000 Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium at the Kentucky Horse Park this October. Over 164 Thoroughbreds have already been purchased from race tracks and entered. And people wonder why they cannot find a big sound Thoroughbred!
Supply and Demand
All of these factors drive up prices on SOUND Thoroughbreds. If you find a big gelding and he is priced really cheap… you might want to question why the price is so low. Just sayin’… buyer beware of deals that are too good to be true. The sellers may have a great excuse for the low price, but you better spend some serious money on a vet check because there are lots of buyers for sound horses and you don’t have to price them cheap to get rid of them. Horses that might not pass a vet check are priced very low in the hopes that the buyer will not want to spend much on a vet check because the price is so low. A good vet check is your best insurance and knowing the past history is a good indication of future soundness. If you don’t have all the facts, the purchase becomes more of a gamble.
Buying a horse with a hidden problem could end up costing you thousands of dollars that you will never get back when you discover the real reason the horse was sold for cheap. You might have six months to a year of board bills and training investment before the problem shows up. Then you could spend thousands more trying to find out why the horse is lame. One buyer who called, bought a big “sound” gelding that came with “clean” x-rays only to find out he had advanced arthritis in his knee. She found this out when he arrived and limped off the van. She had to call the vet to see what was wrong. Now she has a horse that will never be rideable or sellable and she has spent $1,500 buying the horse, $1,000 for shipping and a vet bill (she finally got her own x-rays) for a horse that she now has to feed. But this buyer was “Penny Wise and Pound Foolish”. She took the gamble and it did not pay off.Whether you buy one of our Thoroughbreds or go it alone, spend a little more up front and know you have a sound horse. Our horses are pre-screened for soundness and temperament. Sellers with sound horses know what a sound horse will sell for, so why would they sell it for cheap??? Get a vet check with your own x-rays. Sellers have been known to use clean x-rays from sound horses to sell horses with soundness issues.
It Costs the Same to Feed a Sound Horse as It Does to Feed an Unsound Horse
Don’t buy the horse if the price is too good to be true bu t that is all you can really afford. Wait, save up some more money and get a horse that will give you years of pleasure. A free (or really low priced horse) might be the most expensive horse you ever own. It costs the same to feed a sound horse as it does an unsound horse but the unsound horse will come with larger vet bills as well. Save and get the horse that you want… not the one you can afford today. If you were buying a new Mercedes and the price tag was $10,000, you would wonder why so cheap and ask questions. Do the same when buying a Thoroughbred. But remember, the seller of the Thoroughbred needs him gone fast as he keeps eating and costing the race trainer money unlike that expensive car. The horse seller will tell you what you want to hear so you will buy the horse. Race horse trainers know what you are looking for and they will all tell you this is the “perfect” horse for you.Once you buy from someone you don’t know, they may not respond if you try to reach them after the sale. Sure you can get great deals at the track but can you be sure the seller is telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth? How much money are you willing to loose if the seller is lying?
What Can You Expect to Pay For a Sound Thoroughbred?
Our prospect horses are all priced at $5,000 or less – with the average being about $3,500. A nice big sound gelding on CANTER can be priced up to $4,999 so our prices are in-line with the market for SOUND Thoroughbreds and we give added value for the same price. We stand behind our horses and pre-screen them and know their background. We have long time relationships with the owners, trainers and breeders we sell Thoroughbreds for. They love their horses and care about where they go when they are done racing. They do not want to see them end up being raced into the ground at lower end tracks. They want to know who gets their horses and they want to follow them in their second careers and know that the horses are still OK. We require our buyers to sign the Bill of Sale and agree to stay in touch with us.
We Are Here For You and Have Been Since 2001 (check out our oldest news stories)
We do not own these horses. If you don’t buy our horses, it does not cost us a thing. We want to make sure the match is perfect. We are always here to help our buyers with information, training and feeding tips. We have a 14 year Internet presence and a farm in Georgia that you can visit. We will be here for you before, during and after the sale. If you ever need to sell a horse purchased from Bits & Bytes Farm, we want to help you market it and get it sold. We will advertise it on our Web sites, Facebook, Google+ page and YouTube…FOR FREE! You will never be stuck with a horse you don’t want. We put that in writing in our Bill of Sale. There is no incentive for us to sell you a horse that is not a perfect match.We want to follow the horses we sell and be a safety net for them so they always have a good home and don’t end up getting dumped at an auction. That is why our breeders, owners and trainers ask us to find homes for their horses – and that is why we have really nice horses for sale. They come from people who love their horses and want them to always have a good home. There is no reason for us to lie and sell you a horse that is not as represented, as you will just ask us to go to work and find it another home and that will cost us time and money.
How Much of a Gambler Are You?
The choice is yours… take the gamble on a low-priced Thoroughbred from someone you know nothing about or spend a little more and know that we are here, we care and we will always help our buyers. That is the real reason for buying a Bits & Bytes Farm horse.