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We are striving to produce top quality AQHA Reining/Cowhorses that are reasonably priced with phenomenal pedigrees, conformation and color.

Monday, September 21, 2009

WHAT'S IN YOUR PASTURE?



Being in the breeding business, we get lots of questions about how we market and sell our horses, how we choose our broodmares, how we've established a customer base, etc...  I could never answer that question in one paragraph but I will say that there has been wisdom given to me from many different kinds of people over the years.  The number one rule I've followed is one I learned years ago from an old friend of mine that had been breeding horses for many years.  She knew I was looking at some broodmares and we were chatting back and forth about bloodlines, etc...she said to me "no matter what kind of horses you decide to buy and raise, you better like what you have standing in your pasture."  Boy, oh boy, she wasn't kidding!  I learned a lot from her over the years, but those few words of wisdom were golden.

For example, I might be looking for a broodmare and find an own daughter that has a record, she's colored, she has a phenomenal pedigree, to top it off, she's CHEAP!  I inquire, ask for more photos, she's BEAUTIFUL and has everything I'm looking for BUT...... she's so crooked, I'm wondering how she can even walk.  But I want her, and I want her BAD! Lord knows I have talked myself into mares like this before.  I can just hear myself now,  "it's an own daughter of "Captain Kangaroo" AND she has a record AND she's a dunaroanalinosaurus, AND I'm sure her foals won't be crooked, AND, AND, AND......AND then it happens, I breed her, she has a foal, I'm lucky, as the foal has fairly straight legs, but then the phone rings, someone wants to come and see the foal AND it's mother!!  I'm thinking of every way possible to keep them from seeing this mare.  I go through scenarios of what I can tell them, I finally go to bed that night telling myself that I'll just get through it and they won't notice a thing.

They arrive...out we go into the sea of broodmares and babies.  I PRAY the foal is away from it's mom so I don't have to take the customer over close enough to see those legs.  I take the customer around to all my straight legged mares and talk all about them.  We get closer and closer to "ole twisty" and they don't say anything at first, but walk all around the mare, sort of like I do when I'm on the side of the highway with a broken down car.  I'm standing there praying for a bolt of lightning to hit her as I have no idea what my answer will be when they ask my why I'm breeding this three dollar bill.  Then here it comes,  "what happened to her legs?  Did she get in a trailer accident or something?"  I stammer through, change the subject, somehow, just never explaining why I would have a mare like that in my program.  I'm totally exhausted and wonder how I can dump this mare, NOW!

In todays market, you have to remember who you are and what kind of buyers will be your target. I can't hide a crooked mare with a few strategically taken pictures on my website.  Most customers that buy from me like to see what I have with their own eyes.  They will schedule a day trip to see my stallions and my mares before they make a decision on purchasing a prospect.  I really believe that customers can hear it in your voice when you think what you have in your program is specal and it makes them want to own a piece of it.  Being a small breeder, we don't just get internet orders for horses and put them on a truck with no questions asked like the big boys do.  Customers today are smart, they want the whole package and they will know when they come to see your horses whether or not you like them.  So before you buy, remember the words of my friend ""no matter what kind of horses you decide to buy and raise, you better like what you have standing in your pasture."

4 comments:

Laura said...

Oh, that story is so funny! You should try explaining to customers that momma dogs tend to lose their coats and look a little raggedy after nursing 10 Aussie puppies! Not to mention that I had shaved her beautiful feathering off in order for her underside to be cleaner and less complicated for the pups. They don't tend to want to believe you! Oh, and did I mention the ignorant people that thought Ginger was a mongrel because they thought that all Aussies were supposed to be the merle color, and Ginger is a red tri (solid red with white and tan points).

Actually I did just get a call yesterday from someone who bought one of Ginger's pups 3 years ago. They wanted to know if we had another litter, as their pup was the best dog ever and they wanted another one. That was a pretty good feeling, but I still don't have what it takes to deal with all of the other stuff! The dogs I can deal with; it's the people that make it so tough.

I don't think anyone could find a fault with anything in your pasture nowadays, Marcy! How's Hershey? I wish my pasture were less full. I want to raise another baby like Danny!

crazyhorsewoman said...

Great post Marcy! So true too! In your shoes (selling foals) I'd be pretty concerned about buying broodmares to be proud of and ones that will sell their foals. But in my shoes (as a rider not breeder) I have to sometimes remember that old saying "pretty is as pretty does". I am a SUCKER for a pretty horse! But some of the best horses I've ever know have been nothing to write home about in the looks department...or even for correctness. What is better, a mare who has OVERCOME a disadvantage in conformation to become a really good performer or a correct horse that appears to have all the hope of producing performaing foals, but didnt do anything herself? It is a tough call....especially when you have to think ahead to showing that broody off to a potential seller one day. I came very close to buying a Steady Tradition mare a few years back that was crooked as can be. She had color and performance behind her but also a VERY long face and flat croup. I walked away from her thinking I'd be mortified to walk into a barn with that mare. I was talking to a pretty big time breeder once about what they look for in a horse and mentioned that mare. She said, you know those Smart Little Lena's can be as crooked as all get out but they get the job done, and so do their get- which is proven in his produce record. So I know what you mean about "liking what is standing in your pasture" but I'm not selling foals so I have to remember that pretty is as pretty does... But then I imagine that the quality of your broodband (having looks, conformation, and breeding) is a testiment to the fact that in the end you dont have to compromise on either side of the equation...we can always aspire to have it all:)

McBride Quarter Horses said...

All great points and you really hit the nail on the head at the end. The whole point is to have it all. A breeding individual has to be outstanding in all departments. I will overlook a show record if the mare has a tremendous sire but just hasn't had a chance to get in the pen for whatever reason. She still has to have a fantastic dispostion and preferrably has been a saddle horse at one time. These are just my thoughts, I'm sure others would disagree, but if we really required more of our breeding stock, you wouldn't have had to walk away from that Steady mare as she wouldn't have been crooked!

Betsy Hardin said...

I really appreciate Marcy who shares business information with her friends and customers. One aspect of the passion of horses is that learning never stops and I'm helped a lot with Marcy's ideas since I don't have a natural "head" for business. I'm not looking to get rich but I certainly want to make a little money. So thank you Marcy!

I also remember riding the hejeebee's out my little quarter horse gelding. Frankly, I don't know why he put up with me. One day I rode him from Bellevue to Kirkland, showed him all day at a small show at Bridle Trails and then rode him home carrying a ribbon. I'm dating myself but I actually rode him on I-520 while they were building the Evergreen Point Bridge.