North America nears end of market dive

North American breeders have struggled through two downturns in the first decade of the new millennium.

The first setback lasted only two years – 2001 and 2002 – and the main culprits were the 9/11 Terrorist attacks and Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome (MRLS).

The second setback began in 2007 with minor losses and was made worse by the Global Financial Crisis stretching to its fourth consecutive year in 2010.

Nobody in North America is sure how long it will continue, however, the rate of decline for prices this year wasn’t as steep as it was in 2009.  That leads some people to believe the market dive is nearing its end.

In 2010, North America results for the four major categories at auction – Yearlings, Weanlings, 2YOs and Broodmares –grossed $597 million at an average of $41,443.  

That was a drop of 8% and 3% respectively.  The previous year’s declines in the same categories were 32% and 20%.

What many North American commercial breeders are hoping is that the decline in the size of foal crops will lead to further reductions in the number of horses being offered and, eventually, an increase in average.  They’re also hoping that the drop in the costs for stud fees will someday soon allow them to make a profit with more of their young horses.

Thriving North American auction houses enjoyed a record-setting run as recently as 2006.  The gross and average for the four main categories established new records that year at $1,225 million and $59,707.