We Ask the Stallion Owner, Part 2 – More Decisions to Consider when Standing a Stallion
Becoming a stallion owner is a huge decision. It involves hard work, dedication and a firm belief in yourself and your horse. In Part 1 of this series, we learned the beginning steps most stallion owners go through to create a game plan to promote their stallions and offspring.
Once you have your stud started in the industry, the waiting game begins. For Part 2 of this series, we talked more in-depth with well-known stallion owners, Kristen Galyean, Jan Shepherd Pittman, Amy Gumz and Kathy Tobin about the ups and downs along their journey.
Choosing the Price
Genetics, World and Congress Champion titles and the economy play a significant role when a stallion owner decides on a stud fee to offer the public. Kristen Galyean, the owner of the established AQHA stallions, VS Flatline and VS Code Red, wants to see her studs carry on the legacy of the phenomenal mare, Vital Signs Are Good aka Lucy (pictured right with Kristen).
“With their bloodlines, they are the most royally bred stallions in the business today,” Galyean said. “Pair that with their incomparable show careers, and it’s hard to put a price on it. At the end of the day, I want to share them with the world and give others the opportunity to experience riding their babies with their great minds and superior talent. I want them to be affordable. Lucy is changing the industry through them, and that’s something I want them to carry on forever.”
The current economic stance of the horse industry can help determine a stud fee. Jan Pittman, owner of the notable AQHA stallion, VS Code Blue (pictured left), knows her customers want a proven stud with a manageable price.
“I look at my market and my clients and choose what I think is reasonable,” Pittman said. “The stud fee is just the starting point of the cost to the mare owner. I believe the mare owners are the foundation of our industry. As a mare owner, I understand. I think it is based on the economy and the quality of your stud. The genetics play a huge part. His bloodlines speak for themselves. As he continues to put out babies, I see more and more of them in the hands of trainers winning in the show pen. That makes the price go up as your demand is going up.”
Pros & Cons
Owning a stallion brings on many pros and cons to the owner. Having a stud is a big responsibility and requires lots of work, but it can have its advantages. Amy Gumz, the owner of the famous AQHA stallion, Its A Southern Thing, has experienced both sides. (pictured right)
“In my line of work, there are several disadvantages to owning my own stud, with the main one being a perceived conflict of interest,” Gumz said. “Other stallion owners and potential clients feel I would naturally push my stallion over theirs. In reality, that couldn’t be farther from the truth, but it is an obstacle. The advantage to me is that I am able to service my broodmare band with an in-house stallion that I truly believe in. However, I still breed to other stallions if I feel that is a better cross.”
“I love owning my boys, and my heart melts every time I see one of their precious babies,” Galyean said (pictured left with VS Code Red). “Watching the legacy they are creating as every champion is crowned is indescribable. They bring me so much joy, and it all started with Lucy.”
“It’s a personal perk for me,” Pittman said. “I get excited to see his babies. You want to see what his offspring are doing and hearing compliments from the customers about their babies is complete satisfaction. The horse industry is a lifestyle. People sometimes don’t get it. There’s a bunch of blood, sweat and tears. It’s a lot of work, but there are a lot of rewards.”
Changes in the Industry
Change is inevitable, especially in the horse world. The breeding industry has grown tremendously over the past few decades. Kathy Tobin, owner of the remarkable AQHA stallion, Allocate Your Assets (pictured right), says that she has seen a lot of growth since she started breeding her stud.
“I feel the breeding industry has changed as more stallions are being stood,” Tobin said. “Also, breeding farms are standing many stallions, so there is a lot more competition, and the economy affected the industry too. There are so many variables.”
“You have to be strong-willed and thick-skinned,” Gumz said. “You must believe in your horse 200% and support him completely. It’s a huge mental, emotional and financial commitment.”
“You need to sit down and put the numbers to it,” Pittman (pictured left) said. “You need to talk to different stud farms and find out what they charge, their rates and their services. I think communication is always number one. It’s a lot of work, but there are a lot of rewards to come out of it.”
“For those who want to buy a stallion and stand him, it’s not easy,” Tobin said. “It takes several years before you know if your stud is going to sire great ones. It takes perseverance. It’s not cheap to promote and stand a stallion, but if it all works out, it’s so rewarding and exciting.” (pictured right is Tobin’s stallion, Allocate You Assets)
We would like to thank all eight of the stallion owners in this series for giving us their input. High-quality studs are an asset in our industry, and we are grateful to have so many incredible options.
Photos © Shane Rux, Impulse Photography, bar H Photography, Scott Kesney, Amy Gumz, GoHorseShow
About the Author: GoHorseShow writer, Courtney Hall is a graduate student at Missouri State University. She is obtaining a Master’s Degree in Agriculture with research in agricultural communications. She started showing the APHA & AQHA all-around circuit as a youth and continues today as an amateur.