A Gift Horse’s Mouth

I’ve been paying close attention to what might be the “perfect storm” of events in the business of buying and selling horses this week. That being a flurry of new players joining the game timed with a major dispersal of a quarter horse stable. There were a lot of nice horses in this sale and quite a few of the nicer ones were picked up quickly including new players taking full advantage of their access to that list. That’s what the list is for after all.

But that’s only part of the story. What’s really interesting is what happens about 48 hours after a horse is purchased. That’s the time a buyer has to wait before putting the horse up for sale again. In this dispersal, sure enough there was quite a few horses that turned over from new player to veteran player after that moratorium on resale had expired.  Some go for very generous prices, some go for not so generous prices and some go presumably for the same sales page that it cost to purchase it off the list of $1,000.
Some even are given away for free including in this most recent dispersal, a stakes winning mare who earned a six figure income and had already produced nice offspring.  She was purchased by a new player and then 48 hours was given away for free.  Earlier, two very nice fillies and one broodmare had been resold to a veteran player by a new player for the same price of $1,000 that had been paid apiece for them.

There’s a protocol for following when this is done which most experienced players don’t do, only very few. Veteran players go up and befriend new players, giving them suggestions for what to buy from AJ and usually these are pretty utilitarian but not really classy horses. Those come along later in the relationship when the veteran player needs them. The other tactic used has been when a player’s in the red financially, they’ll give cash to bail them out and then later call in that favor in a manner of speaking.  Basically, saying how can you turn down my offer after what I did for you?

That sales tactic came up once in the past few days. But then it comes down to the time when nice horses pop up on the new players list usually after a dispersal. Some veterans track players who haven’t logged in for a period of time anticipating the day that the barns disperse putting horses on the list for sale. Since they know the system far more than a new player would, this puts them at an advantage.

Only problem is that they are at a disadvantage because they can only purchase three horses off the list in a week.  Quite a bit less than the number afforded by new players.  Approaching new players to acquire these horses for them allows them to circumvent that horse limit. Why risk waiting for the new week to start and risk losing a very nice horse that might be picked up by someone else including another vet?

So this is when the courting of the new player, the mark begins. In some cases, new players pick up horses first and these horses have been flagged for “alerts” by veteran players sometimes before the dispersal. In many other cases, they are approached by veteran players to pick up specific horses again that might have “alerted”.

This might be done in exchange for cash, other horses or other options some of them won’t be included in the history of actions for that particular horse which makes it difficult to ascertain what the deal actually entailed. In other cases the buyer turned seller shares that information.  For example, if a horse is resold for the $1,000 price that might be the whole story or part of the story but not included in the information for the horse. Or it might be an act of charity or generosity on part of the new player to part with a very nice horse for that very low and in fact, zero profit margin horse.  That’s something that gets done that doesn’t show up in the history notation as well.

It’s good to give the benefit of the doubt that there’s more to it, the problem is that when I’ve seen the business dealing from start to finish, too often, it turns out that this benefit is wasted.  That happened two days ago when a player already questioned for one sale got caught by me engaging in another sale that was an exercise in what I thought at the time was Lowball 101.  But at least this player tried to offer some money or compensation that was much closer to the value of the horses than another player engaging in a similar game.

The true “gifting” of horses won’t be addressed because those players usually don’t approach people asking if they got a good price for the horse or whether they were paid a fair value. The focus is on those involved in business transactions, the case the majority of the time.

The “low balls” fortunately are also the minority though they do spike a bit around the time of major barn dispersals.  They’re never that high in number though because the veteran players engaging in them are themselves low in number.

Here were some of the interesting transactions.

Meet Op Poker of Fire who was part of that QH dispersal. She’s a very nicely bred quarter horse fire, the crossing of two pensioned and sublime stallions in Fire Fire and Ghostfreak. A very potent cross for breeding and racing and in this case, the breeder hit pay dirt. The filly was a “scary good” who worked 300 yards in 15.85 most recently.  She’s worth easily $300,000 or so and it’s a good market right now for good quality QH fillies. I sold two nicely bred wows/stakes that weren’t as good as this filly for up to $275,000 in a very short period of time so there’s definitely a good market there to get  a very good price for her.

The buyer was approached with a lot less and ultimately didn’t sell the horse. I think if you want a nice horse like that you should be prepared to pay well for it and the person owning it should be aware of the approximate value or worth of their horse. Yes, a horse is only worth as much as it sells for but all things being equal for a horse, there’s a difference between paying $300,000 to a savvy seller for it as opposed to paying less than $100,000 to someone who’s not as experienced or knowledgeable, a factor that the buyer is clearly banking on in his or her transaction when they approach a newer player to get the horse for them.

It stunk and it was just appalling to see a new player, a nice one who’s respectful get a harsh lesson that not everyone is going to be respectful back.  The player in this case seemed remorseful after the fact.  I think in this case, it was a pretty decent person who just had the misfortune to run up with poor mentoring.

But it gets even better.

Meet her dam, Strip Poker  who sold to another newbie for $1,000 and then within 48 hours was picked up by a veteran (who scored two other nicely bred fillies for the same price) for the same price.   A very nice mare worth probably at least $2oo,000. Yeah it’s a buyer’s market but as stated above, it’s actually a pretty nice market now for selling nicely bred and performing quarter horse fillies.  One hopes that again, there’s more to that deal than meets the eye like maybe the player will get a horse with earning power of about $200,000-300,000 from this player.

That’d be more believable if one horse had been purchased for that amount rather than three of them.

Again, a very nice player who’s new and trying to navigate both the game and its social scene.

The next one picked up on the 48 hour turnstile will probably be this mare who’s one of the most valuable in the dispersal being a stakes winner capable of turning out nice foals. It’ll be interesting to see who picks it up and for how much. But if it’s anything less than $300,000 its a steal if it’s a business deal and not a kindly gesture.

Oops, that one wound up being given away for free to the same veteran player involved in the previous transactions. The argument that someone made them accept a free horse.


What was so odd about this transactionis that this person went to the one free person to get them the horse that they knew was giving them out for free. Yet this person had sold horses to other individuals so why when asked would they refuse to sell this person a horse instead of just giving it to them?

Doesn’t make much sense. But if you really don’t want a free horse and someone’s trying to force one on you, there’s a simple solution for it.

Just say no.

I’m probably opening my big mouth again but I just dislike it a lot when people take advantage of newer players and build their stables or try to at their expense or on their backs really. I don’t get how anyone can really feel like they accomplished anything if they do that but then maybe that’s just me.  Sometimes I wonder if it’s worth it. I love my horses, my stable and I like talking to most of the nice people, ignore the rude ones and their friends. But honestly, one of the reasons I like it is because I spent 10 years dealing with people cheating or mistreating other people usually those at some disadvantage. It’s something you want some time to get away from, it’s just mind boggling of what’s basically binary code and pixels can inspire some really appalling and desperate behavior.

But it’s not the horses that cause that or the competition, it’s the way these folks who engage in it are wired to begin with. If they engage in these behaviors when the stakes are so small, how do they handle real life?  If they lie when there’s minimal discomfort in a game setting how do they manage to tell the truth during much more uncomfortable conditions in the real world?

I’ve come close to quitting several times and this is what does it for me. I actually flirted with it again because it’s hard sometimes to be confronted with such blatantly bad behavior that’s so universally accepted at the same time, being very much disliked. There’s no way to address it…because we as a population of players give those who rip off new players a free pass to keep doing it.

Unethical behavior and cheating are bad enough, but taking advantage of new players, if people do that, I don’t really be around them. I’m not worried about them being “better” or more “successful” because they’re not…they sell out their personal ethics and values just to “win” a game that though a lot of fun, in the scheme of life doesn’t matter as much as what’s real.

I have a lot of fun though playing though and have found the vast majority of the people very nice. It’s just a miniscule number who put a bad taste in my mouth.  I try to do my best to be positive for newer players in part because that was my own experience when joining. I never had anyone take advantage of me or try and in some cases I was saved from my own ignorance. I really appreciate that and try to play that forward. I think most people share that philosophy.

I enjoy developing my stable a lot including my mixers but I really don’t feel that hitting up new players to get me nice horses off the sales page for a lot less than they’re worth is the way I want to do it.  And I don’t do it. If a new player comes to me with a link and asks me if they should buy the horse and it’s nice, I say buy, buy, buy and I explain why.

The hardest part sometimes is explaining that I don’t want or expect anything from new players. I really can’t understand why any veteran player would ever want to accept a free horse from a new player. The veteran player already enjoys a huge advantage including experience, it just seems imbalanced and I think in that situation, it’s very hard not to be taking advantage of them.

I remember the way I was treated and how good it felt to be welcomed and encouraged and I just like to pass that along.


About Butterfly Collective

I'm just an ordinary person doing ordinary things in a not so ordinary world
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