“Mine That Bird” – How Much Is Your Horse Worth?”

mine-that-birdI love this picture of  “Mine That Bird” because it shows this horse in a quiet, intimate moment. Not on the racetrack or after the big win, with roses gracing his fabulous shoulders.

In case you haven’t followed the story, this horse won the Kentucky Derby this past weekend. A “dark horse” if there ever was one. And yet another American hero. Here’s the story.

“Mine” was bought just last fall for a piddling $9,500, which, in racing money, is pennies on the dollar. Most race horse candidates are bought as yearlings on the auction block, often for well over a hundred thousand dollars. So a seasoned racing mogul would say that purchasing “Mine” was definitely not a good bet. And yet look what happened. “Mine” won the big race and the big money! Now granted, he is a gelding not a stallion, so he can’t be put out to stud to rake in more bucks for his owners. But you know what, I don’t think they  care much.

Anyone who would buy and bet on this horse at that price has a lot more caring and heart on the line than ambition, and I totally applaud them. In fact, “Mine” was hauled to the Derby by his personal trainer in his own pickup and trailer rig, an unheard of and obsolete occurrence this day and time. These people obviously had great faith in this horse and felt he was worth all the trouble no matter what the outcome. They took personal care of him. And it paid off big time.

The gist of all this is:  how much is your horse worth? I think the answer is obvious.

People pay big bucks for horses, and yet it is quite obvious that the price in dollars usually has nothing to do with what that animal becomes worth to that person. I have clients and friends who have paid well over $100K for a horse from Europe, only to have the horse turn up lame for years, unable to fulfill in any respect the purpose for which he was bought.

On the other hand, I know people who have paid very little or nothing for their horse and achieved their lifelong goal with him. In fact I am a perfect example of this, having acquired my lifetime dream horse come true just a few years ago as a gift. I could have searched forever and paid a fortune and never have found as good a match.

There is no correlation to be had between money and finding the right horse. A fact that makes me very happy in some perverted way. I wish more people would realize this. The lesson is, if you find the right horse for you, and treat him properly, and work with him carefully and caringly, how much you pay for him has no bearing on how well your partnership will turn out and how happy the two of you will be.

So follow your heart. Pay what you have to for the horse, if you really love him and can afford it, but don’t ever equate a price tag with the results you hope to achieve. That’s going to come from you and your horse together, and from nowhere else.

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