Last August, the Ruidoso select Quarter horse yearling sale in late August saw average price rise from the record-breaking 2007 figure of $40,400 to $43,022, up about 7 percent. Last September, the Heritage Place Quarter horse yearling sale also was up 7 percent.
These gains prompted many at the time, including Jim Ware, who’s involved with the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) sale in Ft. Worth, to boldly pronounce that the Quarter horse business would not follow the downward trajectory of thoroughbred sales. He was quoted in a Quarter horse blog (Sally Harrison) at the time as saying: “I sat through all three sessions at this year’s Ruidoso yearling sale and it was fantastic. We’re expecting a great sale at this year’s NCHA Futurity. There’s a lot of crossover with the Quarter race horses and cutting horses, in that some of the owners and ranches are at the forefront in AQHA and NCHA. In 2001, right after September 11, the Keeneland thoroughbred yearling sale had a huge setback and one of the Quarter horse publications predicted that the NCHA Futurity Sale would follow the trend. But we had the best sale we’d ever had. Thoroughbred sales have never been an indicator for our sales.”
Turns out Mr. Ware was dead wrong.
His sale, the NCHA Futurity sale in December, saw average price drop from $21,082 in 2007 to $13,688 — a decline of 39 percent. Keeneland November, you’ll recall, also was down 39 percent.
The Quarter horse sales declines, as with thoroughbreds, have continued into 2009. The Heritage Place winter mixed sale in January was down 25 percent versus the prior year, and the NCHA Super Stakes sale in April saw average drop from $16,765 in 2008 to $11,004 — a 34 percent decline.