Marketing and the Morgan Horse

As many of you know, I am obsessed with the changing economy and the effect it is having (or will have) on the Morgan horse industry.  With the increasing cost of EVERYTHING, I am constantly thinking about how to approach my own little breeding program and whether I will be able to do all the showing that I want to do with my horses in the future.  I also worry about my best friends (my trainers) and how they will fair as the next few years march on.

Looking at the results of the Signature Sale earlier this month doesn’t give me much solace.  Although the were a few high sale prices, the average horse went for around $4000 (this number is probably a little high since only one horse went for $50,000 and it probably skewed the average value).   When I look at my cost of producing one foal, I certainly am not making much money if I am selling it for around $4000.

There has been much discussion on the Yahoo groups about how the Morgan Horse industry needs to improve its marketing to entice horse owners into the Morgan breed (thank you Yahoo groups for this post idea; I think it is very important!).  In my opinion, there seems to be a 2 aspects to this issue.   There is a need to bring more people into the show world aspect of the Morgan breed but, I also think there is a bigger need to find uses and homes for those horses that aren’t going to ever make it to an A-rated Morgan show. 

One thing that was brought up in one of the yahoo groups (not sure which one) was the fact that many new horse owners are looking for something broke or somewhat broke for them and/or their kids to learn on.  They don’t really care about the breed or the papers.  They just want something safe with four legs and fur.  Therein lies the problem with many of our non-show horses.  Due to lack of time and resources, many of these Morgans go to sales without any training, therefore, making them unattractive to many backyard or new horse owners.   I am not judging breeders and trainers for this since there are only so many hours in the day.  I just see it as a drawback in selling horses.  I wonder if other breeds have this problem too and if not, how they have overcome it.

Have any of you thought about this issue?  I would love to hear any ideas you may have on how to market the vast number of show and non-show Morgan horses.  Maybe we can have a little “think-tank” here on AboveLevel.com and come up with ideas for others to use.

2 Responses to Marketing and the Morgan Horse

  1. J Morse says:

    You wrote:”many new horse owners are looking for something broke or somewhat broke for them” and “I wonder if other breeds have this problem too and if not, how they have overcome it.” This is not a breed specific situation. It is true about new horse owners in general. Especially when the luxury exists in the marketplace to buy a trained animal for not much more than an untrained animal if one is patient and perseveres in their search. And especially if breed choice doesn’t matter to them all that much. As you say trained, 4 legs and fur is about all that is required. If the Morgan breed wants to separate and elevate itself in the equine market, the BEST thing we could do in the global sense is advance the training more on our horses for sale. The perception exists that our breed is hot and a bit flaky. IMO, this has developed to some degree from so many untrained animals making up too large a percentage of what’s for sale, especially in the public sales. The Catch-22 is it costs more to do this but until you do this, there isn’t enough profit in doing it.

  2. Black Eye Beth says:

    I agree with you totally. In my experience it seems as though this has been done with QH and TB’s. TB’s seemed to be very prominent in the hunter/jumper discipline around here. Many of them are off the track so somehow they have found a way to be productive if they don’t make it in their primary discipline (racing). I rode hunters over fences in just local schooling shows for years and we had classes of over 20 rider often times. Although most horses were TB’s and Appendices (not sure of the plural for Appendix!), many morgans I have seen could be very competitive in this type of show as well as some of the rated ones.

    QH’s have that reputation as being the laid back, easy going breed (which is not always the case) but I think many Morgans fit into this catagory also.

    Do you think there are more trainers willing to work with these breeds to get them out there to the public? And, if so, how does the Morgan breed get into the mix since I am sure they can be just as competitive as other breeds in the lower level showing? (I wish I knew the answer to this…I would probably be a millionaire; or at least be really, really happy with myself!!)

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