Yearling Clearance Time

By Kimberly Shogren. Added 01/21/08.

picture of andalusian

The holidays are over. Those cute little cards with pictures of our beloved equine friends wearing Santa hats are put away for another year.

Of course there are the annual New Year’s resolutions…live healthy, be wealthy and equine wiser. And it seems with the exchange of one year to another, a new sales season has dawned. Yes, it’s yearling clearance time again.

It seems that breeders go through some sort of amnesia between the birth of foals from one year to the next. Somehow they either don’t realize space issues or choose to ignore them until the spring when they drastically cut prices on the previous year’s foals to make room. Buyers can tell when it happens as the equine sales sites like Dreamhorse and eHorseTrade are flooded with the “Must Make Room!” or “Need Space!” headers in ads.

To see the absurdity of this condition, consider the Holiday Husband comparison. Valentine’s Day comes on the same day every year, February 14. That day also happens to be our wedding anniversary. Every year the day prior to, I sneak a little hint that something romantic would be appreciated. As what is now a routine, my husband goes into panic mode and scrambles to put together an evening. Usually everything is fine and we have a fantastic time. But I have to wonder if he would enjoy himself more if he had thought about the holiday in advance? Are breeders thinking about their needs in advance?

After all, most breeding farms are run as a business, so chances are breeders have considered their future needs in advance. So what’s really going on? Most of the time, breeders have had young stock for sale for awhile. Perhaps the pricing has been above market average, or maybe the advertising style shed the horse in an undesirable light. Whatever the case, January usually has good yearling deals galore…right?

Take another look. Of course there are the exceptions, which is a completely different conversation. But when buying from one of the larger breeding farms, buyers should seriously consider why this particular yearling is for sale at or below a weanling price. The rule of thumb should be that a yearling would sell for $3k-$4k more than what the sale price would be for a weanling. (Again, the discussion of what an “Asking Price” is in comparison to the “Sale Price” is another conversation.)

As when buying any young horse, especially the weanling and yearlings, buyers should carefully consider the following:

Stop and consider what the real need is.

Study characteristics that are desirable for the discipline of choice. Be sure that whichever choice is made aligns with long term needs.

Evaluate young horses by the resemblance to the parents.

Check to see if video and/or pictures are available for the parents. A more accurate estimate of mature abilities can be assessed by seeing what characteristics the parents have. Also take into consideration accomplishments of both parents and siblings.

Have a third/unbiased knowledgeable party evaluate stock prior to purchasing.

Engaging this step can prevent emotional purchases. There are several services who charge for time. A better route is to develop a friendship with a mentor within the breed that can expose buyers to some of the tricks of the trade that many buyers are unaware of.

Many times the best youngsters are promised to “friends of the farm.” Mentors may be able to assist with cultivating those relationships.

Consider the seller.

Can past buyers be contacted? What are the reasons for the sale of the horse? Both of these questions should be asked and answered. A hesitation on either could mean trouble.

Once those considerations have been addressed, buyers should take another look at prospective purchases. Are they within market value? Can this horse be resold at or above purchasing price? If the answer is “no” to the above questions, try negotiations with the seller. Sellers should be open, honest and helpful.

If all criteria are met and the price fits within a budget, chances are buyers will be happier in the long run with their purchases versus the outcome of an emotional buy. If not, then buyers should wait until the new crop of foals arrive and re-evaluate.

Ultimately, treat horse shopping like car shopping. Do the research, look at all the options, consider the needs and don’t purchase based on an emotion. There are always “once-in-a-lifetime” and “good” deals, just be sure that’s really what it is and not just a sales pitch. After all, it’s only January and there’s always tomorrow.

Skyhorse Ranch - Andalusian horse breeder in Texas with Andalusian horses for sale. Breeders of PRE Pura Raza Espanola horses with cartas from Spain. Selling black, grey, and bay Andalusians. Recommend Andalusian stallions at stud. Pictures, history, facts, and info. Spanish Andalusian horse farm. Bloodlines from Spain in the USA.

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