Monday, February 4, 2019

Creating Value

How is value of a horse determined and why is it important? I started thinking about this recently after reading a post over at A Yankee in Paris which talks about the kind of life she prepares her horses for and why. For me, an adult amateur who helps co-raise two children, works several jobs and has lots of hobbies outside of horses, it is important for my horse to have some intrinsic value. But beyond that I want him to have some actual value in the horse world -- so how is that determined?

What's this guy worth?
When I first moved Scout to his current barn, he jumped a 4'6" hotwire fence TWICE to go play with some neighboring horses. The BO was recalling watching Scout trot half-heartedly up to the fence line and just ping over it when he asked me what my plans were for him. And I gave him my generic answer which is that I'd like to take him BN, maybe Novice some day. But that I'm not super interested in heavily competing but just enjoying my horse. I explained that I knew he was more athletic than my goals warranted and that was okay with me.

And recently, while getting Scout insured I discovered that whether I knew it or not I've been adding to his value all along.

So how is all of that determined? Well, from a fair market value Scout has a lot going for him. He's big, bay and a gelding. He's just turning 6 this year and he's conformationally pretty correct and desirable. When I bought him his value was ~$5000, and now it's nearly doubled due to a couple of choices I've made along the way that have helped to increase his value.

When I started reaching out to professionals throughout owning Scout it was for two specific reasons... 1. the further his training and 2. to prepare him for me. At the end of the day, I want Scout to be much more advanced than my goals will get him to and beyond that, if life gets too hectic down the road, I want Scout's "value" to be more than just a BN event horse. If I ever decided to lease him out his value will be determined by his versatility and experience.

Has talent, needs direction
But before he gets to BN or anything else, he needs quality mileage. All of the pieces need to come together to help create a foundation for a great athlete. I've put a nice start on him, but my skill set only goes so far.

With my BO, playing at being a jumper
For Scout, that means time in a various rings. My BO would love to play with him in the 6 year old jumpers this year. I fully support this idea!

And even though I want him to be an eventer, it doesn't mean he has to be a one trick pony:)

Maybe cow pony?

Western Dressage???

So I was stunned when I went through the process of insuring him and they helped me to quantify his value. Obviously if a horse has a recognized show record that adds value, but what I didn't know was that professional training also is included in a statement of value. And while we've intermittently used a professional, the overall dollar amount equates to increasing his value by nearly double. I was very excited to learn this, but it was never the reason for me using a pro.

I just need him to be a solid partner
And having value goes beyond his monetary value, or worth in the show ring, because I also need him to have value as a solid citizen. When I recently stopped at the barn to organize some of my stuff, I ran into the main guy who does all the day-to-day stuff and he expressed how much he was missing Scout (he calls him "domestic" and always tells me what a nice horse he is). If nothing else, it's nice to know that my horse is a barn favorite, admired by many and an easy guy to handle and deal with daily.

But what's he worth to me?



  1. It's not just important that we as riders have big toolboxes in dealing with horses but that our horses have large toolboxes for living in this world, not just for sale reasons but if something happened to us our horses could find a useful life always.

    1. THIS!!!!! When I was working with a rescue organization, it really drove home the idea of making a horse valuable... Horses that end up in kill pens without any skills or usefulness makes rehoming them or saving them so much tougher. They need to have a purpose and at the very least, be solid citizens.