If you’re looking for the absolute perfect horse—mythological or illogical—I’m afraid I can’t sell you your own “unicorn.”
How about the horse market these days? If you haven’t kept up with what horses are being sold for—both privately and at auction—the demand for horseflesh seems to be high and the prices are strong. For sellers, it seems there is no shortage of buyers who recognize the value in horses. Buyers understand that competition from other buyers forces them to pony up some dough and pull the trigger when the right horse comes along.
I do both, and I must say, as a seller it makes me happy to see the prices have some momentum for the right kind of horses and prospects. I feel that someone who purchases a mare or gelding from me has something that holds its value when they load it up and take it home. And as a buyer, I am willing to pay a higher premium for a nice horse that I could have (in the past) bought for substantially less. It means there is positive momentum behind something I really enjoy.
It also means that more people are involved and excited about what we do for a living. And the trickle-down effect, from pickups to hay to fencing materials to curry combs, is affected in a positive way as well. Certainly, some folks might feel excluded, or put off by higher prices on the animals. But if the proper research is done and they employ the right team to help them, they could still easily find a riding partner that is worth the money and will hold value.
Now that being said, I’ve also noticed that a lot of people are on the hunt for “unicorns,” as they like to refer to them. I really struggle with that term. When someone calls me looking for their flawless dream horse (minus the horn growing from its forehead, I assume), I often tell them that I’m afraid I can’t really help. They might as well be searching for the actual, mythological creature.
I’m not saying that they aren’t out there, but based on my experience, “unicorns” don’t exist. And sometimes, those shopping for one often have fairly unrealistic expectations of what a healthy, normal horse should do. They want something that can win it all, stay perfectly sound, look the part, have the breeding and the tens of thousands of dollars worth of training behind them, stay that way no matter the jockey and be sold at a profitable price. Tough order.
It’s a little bit like selling something that’s “bombproof.” Everything has the capacity to spook and make a liar out of me once I dub said horse “bombproof.” Gentle? Yes. Safe for a kid or an 80 year old? Yes. But never bombproof.
Now, that’s not to say there isn’t the “perfect” horse out there for everyone. We all have a dream of what we crave in a riding partner, and I have no doubt that there are many good candidates out there eating hay right now, within many budgets. Yes, today’s market makes it a little intimidating to start shopping. But shows and competitions are firing back up, the trees are budding, snow is melting off the trails and despite the high cost, it might be time to find that next great horse. But the term unicorn? I don’t buy it.
And, honestly, if I had the choice, I would rather ride Pegasus anyway.