“Luxury” trail horses seem to have become a thing in the last 20 years. I saw an ad at one point before the pandemic, for a farm in North Carolina, that seemed to cater to women of a certain age- late 40s to early 50s. You know, the empty nesters with disposable income.
They had horses of all shape, sizes and colors, and provided long, well produced videos on every horse for sale. I will say most were tall, like 16 hands was common. Nothing like marketing the flashy, 16 hand horses to older women with the money to buy them. Not all that practical for the trail, as once you get off to pee, you also have to be able to get back on. Most were not registered, so no way to track a horse’s history or accomplishments, or problems. The price tag on each horses- an astounding $35,000.
Now mind you- this was prepandemic.
I am not sure how you would define a “luxury” trail horse. I am an avid trail rider. My horses all move forward when asked at what gate I ask for, know what the word whoa means, stand to be mounted, load on any trailer- whether it be a step up or ramp, stand tied no matter where you leave them, as well as stand hobbled. They are not spooked, for the most part, by wildlife, and I have encountered bears out on the trail, in addition to snakes, coyote, deer, and people.
My older horse came from a university breeding/ training program and I paid $2,100 for him 15 years ago. He was raised across from the university’s football stadium, that boasts attendance of 110,000 on game day. He spooks at nothing and never has, but when you are raised with fireworks and marching bands what is there to be afraid of??? He is stands about 15.1, is sorrel, so not the most flashy color, but he certainly isn’t ugly!
I bought my 4 year old as a 2 year old for $1,000 almost 3 years ago. I sent him to my trainer for 3 months for the cost of $1,000 per month. He came home knowing his leads, riding out by himself, working cattle and being roped off. He loads on anything- no questions asked, and I moved him 850 miles back in July. We stayed at a farm temporarily for 4 days until we could make settlement on the new farm, and he acted like this was something he did every day. He is a bay paint, all of 14.2 hands, so not exactly boring, but not exactly exciting!
I firmly believe the marketing of “luxury trail horses” is nothing more than that- marketing!
Are they broke, broke, broke? Possibly, but you don’t know until you get them in certain situations.
Are they pretty? Sure, they have to be to get the high dollars they are asking for! And pretty and broke are not the same thing!
Are they guaranteed? Doubtful, and my bet is if you attempt to return one, you won’t get your money back. If you are lucky, you might get to swap it out for another horse they have for sale plus you will need some added cash.
My trainer sells horses. Horses he rides daily to check his many, many head of cattle. Sometimes they ride directly off the farm, sometimes they haul to farms in different counties. They ride through rough terrain. They work cattle. They get roped off of. They get ridden in groups and alone. I have never been disappointed with any results of his training from any horse I have sent to him. His sale horses start at $7,500 and go up from there. No where near $35,000!