It was very fun for me this weekend to finally meet a person that I have admired from afar for the past couple decades—Juli Thorson, from Horse & Rider magazine. You have no doubt read some of Juli’s articles in various horse publications in the past; I have always followed her work and enjoyed her insights about the horse industry. We had a nice dinner Friday night with Stacey and Jesse Westfall and Charles and Anne Wilhelm. It was fun to swap stories about the crazy funny things that have happened at expos and clinics and to laugh at each other’s tales.
Yesterday, Juli Thorson, Richard Shrake and I had a very thought–provoking discussion about where we are headed in the horse industry in the next ten years. How will the recession and the unwanted horse issue, combined with the subsequent kabosh on the breeding industry affect the horse population ten years down the road? What about the move away from the show ring and toward trail and recreational riding? And what will happen when us baby boomers have moved along to more docile endeavors, who will fuel the horse industry then? These are all real concerns and important factors that will influence the shape of our industry in the future. I just wish I had a crystal ball.
Where do you see yourself ten years from now as it relates to horses? What about this summer—will the economy affect the plans you’ll make with your horses? I’ll be cutting back a little on the competitions I attend this year, but not because of the economy—because I have a fuller travel schedule this year and am doing more clinics. I am optimistic that it’s going to be a good year and if our clinic registrations are any indication, it’s going to be a busy summer!
I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Enjoy the ride!
Thanks a lot for the lovely comments! Glad you can’t see me blush. It was well worth the drive to Boise to meet you, and Stacy Westfall, and I hope you’ll both come back to Idaho again.
Some thoughts on where the horse industry will be in 10 years:
* The average age of the horse population will be older. Breeding has been in decline (yes, in decline) since 2000, and is now decelerating quickly due to economic factors. This means we will have way fewer young-stock horses that we’ve been used to seeing.
* It will be much, much harder to find a broke-and-going horse than it is even today. Fewer people now have the disposable income to spend on professional training, and do-it-yourself trainers will feel even more a time crunch for getting in the saddle than they do now.
* There will be less of a commercialized, for-profit aspect to the horse world as the emphasis-pendulum swings back toward having horses for fun and personal growth.
* Shared ownership (and expenses) of a horse will be much more common than we see now.
I could go on and on…but had better save the full-bore version for an article (or a book, haha) instead of taking up all your comments space!
5 years from now – my son will be done with college, my house will be paid off (I’m 40 now), and my hubby and I plan to semi-retire and camp our horse lovin’ guts out. We have 12 horses now, and as they age we will probably not replace most of them. All but three of our horses are rescues. The breed registries need to stop allowing multiple mare births (surrogate), and go back to live cover. The breed registries are the cause of their own problems.
Ten years from now-well I’ll be in my 60’s (baby boomer) and my horse will be in his teens. That was the plan when I got him as a weanling-to have a good solid horse to ride when I’m in my 60’s and retired, though the retired part is now in question as for so many. My plan for the near future is to keep doing as per usual. My husband and I both still have our jobs and I feel it’s important to keep spending since we can. I think it’s bad for the country for everyone to cut back. We even are doing a few things like paying somebody to wash our windows, to help keep the money going around. I have big concerns about all the unwanted horses now and in the next few years. I have no answers but I hope people will cut back on breeding until some of these issues are resolved. Thanks Julie for putting out your thoughts. I find it interesting to hear your perspective and concerns. Sometimes on here, (unusually often) you will mention something that happens to fit perfectly with what I’m working on.
Hi Julie, Hopefully in 10 years from now I will be retired from my job in Maine. I’m hoping to still be involved in horses but who knows what the future holds. My horse now is 19 so in 10 years I will probably be looking for another one maybe or just volunteer at a therapeutic horse barn, which I did for a year before I got my horse. Thanks for all your tips and blogging with your busy schedule.