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RMR's Horsepeople's Forum

Current Status of the Horse Market 2010


Your thoughts on the current horse market:
1) What types, ages, & breeds of horses are currently selling?
2) What hopeful signs do you see in the market?
3) Are "unwanted horses" still impacting the value of horses?


Comments Are Now Closed. Thank you for your comments!


Sun, Dec 26, 2010 12:48 PM


"US in EQUUS" have created this dilemma for the horse, compounded by government legislation or lack of. There have been decades of mismanagement from the single horse owner to the mufti-horse owner and breeders. I liken this debacle of the horse to that of our lack of good government (Oxymoron?). 'We the People" are at fault on both counts.

Tue, Oct 5, 2010 3:47 PM


The first thing that people need to realize is that horses are "LIVESTOCK!" They are not pets!! I have 8 horses of my own that are part of my family, but at the end of the day they are livestock just like cows, sheep, and pigs. And, because I love my horses, I believe that horse slaughter houses need to be re-opened. Yes, I agree, there needs to be some reform in how they are treated and handled at these facilities. But, closing horse slaughter houses has been as disservice to the horse and the industry. The people who oppose horse slaughter are out of touch with reality and refuse to see all sides of the situation. What about the nearly 5000 horses in Kentucky that have been turned loose to starve to death? Are they being treated humanely? Would these people rather see a horse starve to death than withstand a short time in a slaughter facility? It is the close-minded, erratic mentalities of people wearing blinders that refuse to see the entire situation who are really causing the horses to suffer!!


Mon, Sep 20, 2010 10:07 AM

South Dakota

All being said (and there is A LOT being said), there needs to be regulation in both horse breeding, through the organizations, and the slaughter houses. For for either to take an extreme approach will only lead to further division and the continuation of the horse to suffer. Until people start to come together for a solution to benefit all, the horse will continue to carry the burden. It is a real shame for those of us who 'truly' love the animal. As far as I'm concerned, the horse should NOT be exploited for any agenda, political or otherwise (do you hear me PETA?) God help the horse should people not be able to work for a solution. Afterall, there are no problems in this world, only solutions. Let's step up and do what is right for the horse this time: Kinder means of processing, and responsible breeding programs with regulations.


Tue, Sep 7, 2010 12:13 PM

North Dakota

The market is soft. Good well broke handy geldings bring the best. Broke horses in general bring the best. Foals , need to find your buyers....and you need to spend the time on them , not run them through like cattle....I believe those days are over. Quality not quality not quantity sells way better and you will have to work for it. I try to sell what I would buy. Horses trained for a specific event sell ok too. If you are going to have use your mare as a broodmare at least ride her so she can have a second career if she ever has to be sold.
      I am sick to death of finger pointing at the breeders.....easy for the ones who started the problem in the first place to do. As always, when pointing fingers, PETA , the HSUS and all those like-minded will never notice the three fingers pointing back at them. On top of that we now have to deal with a crappy economy! America as I had known it has ceased to exist.
      Fact: PMU lines closed......flooding the market. Some of these big barns suddenly had hundreds of horses no longer bringing in an income. Some were sold for meat , others bred again for foals bred for meat.
      Fact: Along come the closing of the slaughter what? Bottom dropped out of the horse market. The vets, the hay dealers , the tack dealers , trainers ect. Never dropped their prices...had I mentioned the VETS?
      Fact: I had a friend who recently had her horse put down, how much you ask? Almost $400 dollars!!! Good thing they could bury it themselves!
      Fact: All too often the low horse prices attract low income type people into horse ownership. The lower price of horses does not negate the monetary needs of the horse as they are the same for someone like me as they are for those who are poor or uneducated and think they can pick up a free or cheap horse and it ends there, thus leading to neglect in many cases, and or the horse becoming unwanted.
      These are just observations I see everyday. Never thought this country would go this far as to debate a livestock issue with such a simple solution.


Sun, Sep 5, 2010 9:09 PM

Other Country

Be very careful about who you donate money too. HSUS and the likes are trying to create the cost of having a horse to expensive and they are very creative about how they go about it. They finally got slaughter houses closed. They are also trying to get all cats and dogs spayed and neutered too. Guess what that means....the prices for purchasing a pet will go up but the real agenda is that no one owns a domesticated animal and that means they would become extinct.


Sat, Sep 4, 2010 7:52 AM


We got into a situation by upping the horse population way out of reason. Horses in some communities were worse than "pets", they were evidence of status. You know how much stuff we accumulate to show off. But horses are alive, need care, and have a long relationship with humans around their work, which can benefit both species.

       In 2000, there were many times more horses nationwide than there were before the automobile, and only a few Americans, like the Amish, allowed horses a role in moving people and their goods. In areas with lots of land and smaller populations, horses had a natural environment, but limited opportunities for support in a killer economy.

       So, we are left with a comparatively large, increasingly burdensome financially, equine population. We should have seen it coming, I guess. But horses are an attractive, always interesting, creature--so it's understandable that we encouraged their growth, and looked on them more personally than other livestock. It's the horns of a dilemma--with our choices looking like "lose/lose" either way we go.

       It is a tragedy to now look on horses as "a lot of meat." What choices are out there to respectfully divest ourselves of horses we can't feed, and to look at feeding ourselves as a first priority?


Fri, Aug 6, 2010 2:07 PM


The current hay prices are forcing me out of the horse business. What's more irratating is to drive down the highways in Montana and see hay still baled and going to waste in the field or in the stack, at a time when the price is so high. Horses are still considered "livestock" in the state of MONTANA, not pets- The economy is destroying the horse market as well-, as well as livestock owners are resorting to 4 wheelers to replace the horses- Montana needs the slaughter houses and yes it does create jobs and help dispose of unwanted horses- Horse associations should be monitoring the horses market and advising the members of where and how the market is doing the best- WHEN are farmers and ranchers going to start working together again? I have not bred any mares for three years now- don't know if I can hold out another year- Do-gooders back east should stay back east and quit passing legislation on issues they know nothing about in Montana and surrounding states!


Wed, May 5, 2010 10:49 AM


First of all I resent the comments on the PMU rescues being the cause of the problems with the horse industry. Not all PMU horses were only fit for horsemeat. I personally adopted two. I adopted a PMU yearling, belgian/QH cross, which turned out to be a wonderful performance horse. She was High Point Pleasure Driving horse in the Washington State Horsemans assoc and Northeast Zone in 2009. She has taught me so much and is one of the most versatile horses I have known. She has the potential to be a working cow horse, I found her to have cow sence the first time we met cattle, one of the best trail horses I have ever ridden, potential as a combined driving horse, dressage or english pleasure horse. I have leased her to a woman for trail riding and driving. I also adopted a belgian PMU mare that was in foal 5 years ago. She turned out to be the most wonderful confidence builder. As bomb proof a horse as you can get. She gave me the most wonderful filly who now is my show horse. Yes a full belgian mare that will be shown this year in western and english pleasure, trail and halter and hopefully next year in pleasure driving. She is the most gorgeous belgian I have ever seen. She was High Point All Other Breed halter in the state as a three year old and in the zone from a yearling to three year old. Yes this is what horses you are saying are deserving of slaughter. Not all the PMU horses were as wonderful as mine, but many are.

As far as slaughter being a humane way to dispose of unwanted horses, I disagree. Untill slaughter is done in a humane way, not bleeding out horses alive, killing horses that are only stunned, shipping horses in dangerous over crowded trucks, inhumane handling at slaughter plants, overall horrible inhamane treatment, I think it should be illegal and illegal to ship to mexico and Canada where its even worse.

You say ranchers are breeding responsibly. I don't see that. As long as ranchers are having production sales with 50 or more horses up for sale, your contributing to the glut of unwanted horses. As long as the AQHA promotes the over breeding of quarter horses just to keep the # of new registered horses up, and keep the association as the biggest in the world, its just wrong. I can't imagine any true horse lover or horseman being so irresponsible to breed just to keep the registered numbers up even though many will end up dying a horrible inhumane death. I think anyone who thinks slaughter is a humane way to dispose of horses, needs to spend some time at one of those slaughter plants and look into the eyes of a wonderful companion who taught so many and was trusted and loved for most of their life.

Untill we face facts, horses will suffer one way or another. The only humane way to dispose of an unwanted horse is by the hand of a vet or by someone knowledgeable in putting a horse down.

Tue, Mar 16, 2010 8:41 PM


I want first of all to thank the responsible and compassionate horseowners and breeders. Those who put their horses' welfare before profit, even though more difficult economic times. The unfortunate truth is that the horse slaughter industry and horsemeat prices having been the baseline for the value of a horse is what has created irresponsible breeding and ownership all along. The slaughter industry actually has created more abuse and neglect, as has been credibly documented.

The recent toss-out of the Illinois bill which attempted to repeal the horse slaughter ban in that state will hopefully set a precedent for other states to follow sut. Horse slaughter facilities have destroyed the environment in their communities, brought no new jobs or profits, paid no taxes, and these facts have been well documented. I urge everyone to oppose any legislation in Montana to legalize slaughter facilities. The people of Montana will pay a heavy price, and so will the horses.

Unwanted and neglected horses will hopefully become fewer in number as those of you who are models of ethical, responsible and compassionate horsemanship lead the way as examples for others to follow. Many of you have also opened your barns and pastures and provided care to neglected and abandoned horses, without fanfare, out of your own pockets, and that says a lot about you.


Mon, Mar 1, 2010 10:08 PM


1 The horse market is very soft,and not looking to change very soon. One thing I don't here many people talk about is AQHA now allowing multiple foals to be registered each year per mare. Talk about killing the industry. (along with all the other resons everyone else has metioned) 2Proven perfomance horses and well broke gldings are doing ok but not great. 3 Unwanted horses 500.00 value and under affect the value and sale of the 10, 15, and even the 20,000 dollar horses. When people can't sell their cheaper or older horse, they can't afford a better horse. This becomes a chain reaction all the way up to the high priced horses.


Fri, Feb 26, 2010 3:59 PM


Very well broke horses for pleasure or rodeoing are holding their own on price, the rest are very cheap or you are unable to give them away. So many are unsuitable for use, either age, unsound, or rank and until they reestablish the slaughter houses for these " unwanted horses" there is going to be a problem. Lots of individuals stop caring for them and starve them or turn them loose on public land to fend for themselves. It is more humane to slaughter them than let them starve and be abused. Let's work on getting the slaughter houses reinstated.


Thu, Feb 25, 2010 2:02 PM


Montana 's in a serious market adjustment in the horse industry compounded by the slow national economy. Good horses are selling to knowledgable buyers. Those horses tend to be older, proven performers, safe to be around, with an ability to win at the level the rider is competing.

As a show and barrel race family, we don't see much light in the show market which has been really impacted by the overall poor economy and probably falls into the luxury items when families are cutting back. It was never a market driven by the cheapest horse, but is a market with too much breeding and too many young unstarted horses. We'll continue to show, but will be buying select new prospects not breeding for our own.

Juxapose the show market, is the emerging growth in youth rodeos in our area. With demand for the old, and even older horse, that has some talent and is kid friendly. This opens a market for the next step-up performance mount, as kids age into faster competition divisions. The new families become more knowable about what can get rider into the winners circle and if they're looking at high school rodeo...that's not the cheapest horse from the auction yard.

Over production is impacting the entire market, at a time when slaughter houses are being curtailed and cost of supporting horses is raising every year. We need slaughter houses for those unwanted horses. However, I think we need to be bolder in our education about what horse ownership means. As horse owners, we must assume responsiblity to support our retired and injured horses, who have serve us so well, through their aging years or coordinate for their humane ending, rather than sell them into the auction yard system to be past around, starved and abused.


Thu, Feb 25, 2010 11:52 AM


The horse market for the average horse is about like the market for the average dog, there is none. The horse has been downgraded to a pet. We use our horses and mules, about 40 of them. As they get to where they are no longer needed in our business, we get rid of them. We have been getting most of our horses given to us for the last few years, good young broke horses, 3-8 yrs. old. We have been giving our older horses to good homes for 15 years, when we are finished with them. They still have a lot of good life left in them, just not up to the hard work we have for them. Most of our horses still work hard until they are around 20. Some longer, others not as long. I don't see any signs the market is coming back. Hay prices are too high for the hobby horse owner in most places. If there is no market for the horse when you want to get rid of them, for whatever reason, who wants to own them. Some folks have horses around for their kids. When the kids leave the house, so does the horse(s). The only hopeful signs for the horse market is for the meat value. If you look at the price of a steer, say $800-1000, then go look at a horse for less than $100. There is a lot of meat on a horse. People may decide they like horses a lot.


Thu, Feb 25, 2010 9:59 AM


1) All horses. As long as we have too many horses in our country the market will be poor.

2) All living thing should be respected but there is a fairly small group of people that don't think humans should use horse as a ag product. This has resulted in a explosion in the horse population. It's a shame that the folks that shut down proccessing plants didn't have the forsight to see what problems they were creating. These folk should be shouldering the responibility of the problem they created and not the taxpayers. Also, the horse market is being flooded by wild mustangs that have been rounded up with no home to go to. I understand we have at least 30,000 wild horses corralled today costing tax payers $$$. Wild horses got wild over the past 400 years by living and dying without government "management". It cost up to $1,000 just to roundup one mustang. That same $1,000 could go the kids that have no money for education or other people in need. No wonder our country is in the mess that it's in.

3) Unwanted horses are the main reason there is no value in the market. Last year in New York PEDA killed almost 100,000 cats and dogs, not because they don't love these animals but, because the huge over poulation. Responible breeding and ownership can help at lot in this issue.
Thanks Shawn Welder


Thu, Feb 25, 2010 9:46 AM


There still seems to be a market for proven, good to go, well trained, safe and dependable trail/4-H horses. We use to raise a couple foals a year, but have stopped doing that, because I can go out and buy anything I need for way less then I could ever raise that foal. Hopefully, more people are doing the same so we can better take care of the horses that are already out there.
Until we get our base market back, which is the canary market I don't think things are going to change. We need to realize that horses are livestock not dogs or cats and treat them as such. There is a market out there for these dangerous and unwanted horses and thanks to the Humane Society we have shut the door on it.
The other thing that is totally out of control is our Mustang (feral horse) populations. We have about twice as many horses on the range then the range can support and millions of dollars spent each year to feed feral horses in holding pens.


Thu, Feb 25, 2010 9:10 AM


As others have noted, well-broke, sound, mid-aged, no-holes geldings still bring similar prices to those of 5-10 years ago. Young stock and mares? Forget it......
I do get weary of hearing breeders being bashed, as the majority probably don't contribute more than 10 new foals to the population each year, which normally would be easily offset by natural deaths. However, when the whole 'rescue' mentality hit the horse industry several years ago in the form of PMU farm foals and mares that entered the market when estrogen therapy started getting bad PR, and PMU farm lost their quotas, it was the beginning of a domino effect that certainly contributed to the current state of affairs. They'd been sold almost exclusively for overseas horsemeat markets prior to the intervention of US animal activist groups, and suddenly all the rage was to 'adopt' (for a fee) these critters to 'save' them from being slaughtered. The PMU farmers had quite a racket going, as did some 'rescues'....unbroke, unhandled, crossbred youngsters and mares were flooding the US, and the guilt factor became an issue....buyers who considered a nicely bred domestic papered foal or youngster were often chided for not taking in a Canadian 'rescue' horse instead. Added to the PMU burden was the growing number of BLM mustangs....instead of controlling the populations and only holding adoptions to relieve the excess on the range, the government seemed to realize that it might have a new 'cash cow' on its hands, and private breeders were now faced with competition from that quarter also(at taxpayer expense, no less). Our then Senator Conrad Burns tried to offset that by initiating the 3-strike law that would have required BLM to euthanize or send to slaughter mustangs that failed to be adopted at three events, but about then the squeaky wheel activists pushed for the national anti-slaughter legislation....with the help of celebs like Willie Nelson and Bo Derek, clueless lawmakers effectively put the nails in the coffin of the horse industry by passing the bill. I personally have 19 head at present -no donated feed, etc., even though I actually took in 4 'freebies' last year - the term 'rescue' makes me grind my teeth, frankly. I try to be optimistic, but unless the plants reopen........well, who knows?


Wed, Feb 24, 2010 11:42 AM



Absolutely, unwanted horses are still impacting the current horse market! As long as folks can get horses for "free" they aren't going to buy. I still think we need to get the horse slaughter plants back on line and going. Then we at least have a "base" price that folks have to meet to purchase their horse. It also gives the unwanted horses a place to be used in a practicle manner, with out waste.

Wed, Feb 24, 2010 8:44 AM




The depressed current horse market should be no surprise to anyone who has been involved for a long time. Even in 2000 there was evidence that this slowdown was coming. So many people jumped into the business and like the inflated housing market there is tipping point. The combination of over breeding and economic recession created a saturation point in all markets. Like any other consumer good, supply is greater than demand , so prices fall. Unfortunately, we are dealing with living, feeling, sale items and they often are the ones left unwanted and uncared for. It is up to breeders to pause in their activities. Quality should have always been a precedence in breeding rather than quantity. The market will continue to fluctuate as a sifting process, separating out quality breeders, happens. The ability to produce large numbers of animals and mass marketing schemes does not always mean quality is the goal of the breeder. It is the time for the consumer, the buyer to also place quality as a precedence. Buyers are in control of the market now, and hopefully their influence will be towards quality not quantity.

Wed, Feb 24, 2010 7:17 AM




Yes, the market is still way off it's norm.. We raise show and sell miniatures horses here in Montana . All though the horses are still $$ valued and continue to show and score in the top of their program, people want, if they can afford anything, a fully trained horse for $300. And most of these people have no idea what 'take care of' means..
I do not see the trend going up for awhile yet.... And unwanted horses need not be slaughtered, there are plenty of us that will take the horses and feed them until they are able to find homes for them.
I sold a miniature to a teen age girl, talked to the mother delivered ourselves, now this is a guy who taught me to cart and needed a light weight person to show him some and be gentle with his work program. All of that was made clear...
I discovered, he has been getting under fences, getting out and on the road, and is way to fat! That leaves me worried sick about any other horse i sell, you really don't know what the other person is going to do after you drive away


Tue, Feb 23, 2010 9:10 PM




I think the horse market is terrible!! I blame the anti-slaughter and the Humane Society of the United States !! They are a threat to animal agriculture!!! Their whole agenda is to stop all use of animals for anything!!! We need to have a slaughter market for unwanted horses or the horse will turn into our "Sacred Cow"! What is wrong with people wanting to eat horse meat anyway!! And for that matter whats wrong with people eating dogs and cats!!! There are too many people out there that think they can tell everyone else what they can and can't do! This used to be a free country!!!!!!!!!

Tue, Feb 23, 2010 7:53 PM




We are in the quarter horse breeding program. We stand one stallion, a nationaly ranked barrel horse sire. Since the slaughter horuses have closed down, we have seen a decrease last year of around 30%. This year looks to be even worse. People we have talked to say that they can't sell their foals because no one can afford to feed new horses along with their unwanted ones. The horses we are selling ourselves have decreased in price from $7500.00 down to $4,000.00 We get a lot of people interested, but they want to trade, not buy. A lot of our friends who raise slightly less well bred horses can't even give them away. One of our friends had 2 older, well bred mares they booked to a sale. After they paid commission and other fees, they recieved $0.75 for the pair! I believe this situation will not get better, only worse. It will mean the people tryng to make a living with their breeding program are going to quit. Only the wealthy-those who get their income elseware- will be able to stay in the business. Thank you for being concerned with this issue. Iva Korell

Tue, Feb 23, 2010 7:46 PM




I am a trainer in the Bitterroot Valley, MT and I currently have lots of horses for sale that are my clinets as well as my own. Here is a list of what is currently for sale:
13yr chestnut TB gelding, 2yr bayTB filly, 3yr chestnut TB/APHA filly, 5yr Tobiano APHA mare, 3yr buckskin grade filly, 4yr grey/roan AQHA gelding, 5yr red roan AQHA gelding, 4yr black overo APHA mare, 4yr liver chestnut TB mare.
I am constantly on-line looking at horses as well as attending auctions. Everyone says how bad the horse market got last year. And yes, horses were cheaper and still are currently. But I had an exceptional year in 2009, selling 7 horses. A record for me as a new and upcoming trainer in MT. I think the market is picking up a bit and will get better over this year.
There are lots of unwanted horses out there and we need better organizations out there to help with these "unwanted horses". Hay and feed need to be donated. Many are still without proper food and water and I just wish we had better "rescue" organizations to help rather then seeing decent horses sell to these "canners" at the sales. I go to sales all the time and lots of "wanted, useful horses" are being wasted. They are keeping the market cheap but people that try to buy theses horses are bidding against "canners", that's not fair. It also makes people who want and need to sell thier horses, not want to take them to the sale because of the "canners". Also, the terrible flaggers on craigslist don't help the horse market. Many people need to sell horses and are trying to find them better homes but flaggers are taking thier ads off within minutes. The horse world needs to come together to overcome all these issues and get the market and horse values back up to where they belong. Thank You

Tue, Feb 23, 2010 6:10 PM




We have a nice QH 5-year old mare with 70+ days professional training that does not have any papers. She is not selling even at a low price of $800. Looks like the only horses selling are the really broke horses with papers, good breeding, and experience at shows, events, or trained for a specific event. Not sure it matters on breed, or age, but that it is broke and trustworthy. I don't see any sign of the market getting better soon in our area. The unwanted horses that are being given away are making it more difficult for others to sell a fairly nice horse for any price. If you can get a horse without any exchange of money, then why buy one unless it is really broke and has great bloodlines or trained for a specific event you want to do. It is a difficult time for people presently with the economy and looks like in our area it is not on the upswing, still going down.


Tue, Feb 23, 2010 5:40 PM




The current market for well trained, correct confirmation, and solid bloodlines is a little off, but overall, still viable. We sell quarter horses, foundation bred, and have no problem getting our asking price. So long as breeders and or the recreational breeder watches what they are breeding, trying to not dilute or cross everything in the world to there "champion" the market will rise. Too many back yard breeders are crossing their "unrideable" horses to something or anything cheap, and this is bad for the horse industry. Lets try to keep pure our QH's, Arabian, Paints, Saddlebreds, Drafts, Warmbloods....instead of crossing everything to death to create the New and Improved World Champion of Nothing.
I do think the "unwanted horses" that are crippled, are sad, and I believe should be put down. The neglected horses should be fed and helped and placed into good homes. There are alot of good ol' boys that need homes, and are competing with these groups that are trying to save everything, not at all with the best interest of the horse in mind. These horses are often traded from home to home, and mistreated because the person that "usually" picks one up is not equipped to handle these types of horses.


Tue, Feb 23, 2010 5:10 PM




Winning/proven performance horses are still selling, although not as well as before.
Unwanted horses are still impacting sales. The United States needs to be able to dispose of dangerous, poor conformation and unwanted horses. Horse owners need to slow down breeding--quit producing horses that are not wanted/needed..most legitimate breeders ar eslowing down, it is the "unresponsible breeding" that is hurtig all of us.


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