This marks our first Horse Market Special Issue—our response to the growth we’re seeing in the horse market that I’ve written about in this letter more times than I can count. Rather than just dedicating one section of the magazine to this subject, you’ll find that most of the stories throughout these pages have a horse-centric slant.
When we did our Breeder’s Guide in February this year, we ran a story I wrote called “Why the Numbers Matter,” emphasizing the importance of tracking rope-horse earnings across recreational and professional team roping. In that story, Denny Gentry said: “I’m seeing first-hand what they couldn’t do and what they had to do to get recognition and to develop the bloodlines…I’m amazed at how little I knew about such a critical part of our sport. Everything starts with the horse. It is such a given that we don’t even pay any attention to it, and just keep roping. But now, all of a sudden there just aren’t enough rope horses, regardless of caliber or price…so we have to elevate the importance of the horse to have a healthy industry.”
While these pages have always featured coverage of great horses, we’re moving even more so in that direction. Bill Myers—of Frenchmans Guy fame—called me the other day and made the suggestion that every time we caption a photo with a horse in it winning something notable, we add the horse’s sire and dam into that caption. I can’t say for certain that we can do that with every photo in every issue, but we’re dang sure going to try to make that information readily available when we can.
Long-time contributor Julie Mankin crafted a stellar piece starting on page 64 about the benefits of buying young horses out of futurity training programs, while my friend and barrel-racing-futurity and podcast producer Kayla Jones put together an explainer on how each one of the futurity programs and stallion incentives work to give you a big-picture overview of the payout, entry information, dates, costs and more associated with each incentive. Though, since she originally prepared the document in February, she’s had to update it three times with more programs. That means, at this rate, who knows how many new opportunities in the rope horse business there could be by the time this hits your mailbox.
Wherever you’re heading, I hope the steers are even and the handles are smooth.