SDP Buffalo Ranch mares and foals 2020
Photo Courtesy of SDP Buffalo Ranch

Deal of Fortune!

Last month, my blog mentioned the timelessness of faith, hope and charity, the need for us to not give into fear, and for keeping perspective and an eye on what lies ahead of us. I 100% stand by what I wrote and still feel the same today.

But, I feel as though I’ve lived through a year over the past month. Honestly, it has been surreal for me. I’m sure the same is true for you.

The whole world is affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, whether you are sick or not. I’ve made contact with friends on six continents, and all are affected. I watch the news; it seems way, way, way more dire and drastic than what real people are telling me.

I’m not saying “fake news.” I have friends that have lost parents. My parents have lost friends. I now know people that have tested positive. I feel like I need to be informed, so I need the help of the media, but how to trust what they are saying and get straight facts? This is just a terrible time to live in to get truth.

I know I am much happier when I just stay away from the news and social media. My advice to anyone and everyone is to extremely limit those two things in your lives and homes. Try it on for size.

My business friends’ input to me is a mixed bag. Some say they are excelling. Some see no change. For others, the walls are closing in on them. Even though all of these people are different and unique, they seem to have one common trait: optimism.

To be an entrepreneur, you’ve got to be optimistic. I have mentors and friends that are much more seasoned and experienced in business with many decades on me. They tell me about the cycles, riding the wave.

I watched an interview last week with Tilman Fertitta, billionaire owner of many businesses and the Houston Rockets. He said he has 45,000 employees either furloughed or let go. He said he’s learned through these cycles to be the first to cut, and that helps the business and it helps the employee to get to the unemployment office first. That was his advice. Well, I guess I’ll never be a billionaire.

The federal government has issued small businesses funds through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). This will be a godsend for every small business owner, giving them the ability to keep their people and help with the small pieces of overhead that the program allows for. It’s an amazing eight weeks of help.

I’m a staunch free market capitalist, but I’ve got to hand it to the Feds this time. Keeping businesses going and people employed is the best way to get the economy roaring again. I employ many people. I have not let any of them go, and it is extremely difficult right now. This year isn’t about profits; it’s about survival. The PPP is a real lifeline for me, my employees and their families. I know it has to be the same for millions of other small business owners.

I firmly believe, really and truly, the economy will come back with such force that we’re all about to get whiplash, and I mean that in the best possible way! That isn’t just my wide-eyed optimism, either.

I’m not Wallstreet. I can’t do calculus — sheesh, I have a hard time with my fourth grader’s math — but economic firm McKinsey & Company published this really good article: An instant economic crisis: How deep and how long?  If you want to take a look, follow that link and pay close attention to the section, “From expansion to contraction and back again?” Q2 is horrific economically. Q3? Boom time, baby. At least, that’s how I see it.

In the horse industry, I see signs, as well, I worked for weeks to source the highest-caliber broodmares I could think of for a client to lease or to “buy” an embryo to breed to his stallion. I do it every year for ourselves and for clients. One would think that it would be a “buyer’s market” right now … “deal time,” so to speak. Wrong. Completely wrong. I was quoted prices that have absolutely no market relation. Translation? They are doing just fine.

Here at the ranch, we offer training services by resident trainer Christian Miler. I would have expected a contraction with owners picking horses up. Nope. He’s getting more in training. He tells me his clients need it, to get out and follow their passion. Isn’t that great news?

It sure is to me! I’m not talking about the business end of things. I’m talking about folks following their passions, being “sick and tired of being sick and tired.” To use a very Texan term, “Come hell or high water,” they’re going to live life.

We are in the middle of breeding season. The pandemic literally could not have hit at a worse time than right now with stay orders, employment furloughs and economic fears. Why breed a mare when the world is coming to an end? Well, it isn’t coming to an end.

In the last 100 years, this world has gone through significantly harder times than what we are going through. So, we’ve got to have perspective. My wife, who is no horseman but has a Ph.D. in common sense, asked me a couple weeks ago, “How is the breeding season going?” I said, “Down, don’t know what is going to happen.” She said, “Well, they are going to breed. They have to. Their mare won’t have the baby till next year, and if they don’t breed, they lose money, or they lose their hobby.”

She’s right; my wife is always right. She even walks on water every Thursday. It’s kind of a hobby of hers. (wink wink)

So, we are in this mess. Breeding matters. We still have an industry. Shows are going to roar back soon. We still have vets, farriers, trainers and suppliers. Passion, drive, hopes and dreams are all still here. I see a plethora of “deals” to help mare owners on social media.

“COVID-19 deal time!” Not a bad idea, not a bad idea at all. As a guy that literally eats because people breed mares and buy horses, well, it’s pretty darn important for there to be a market of people that want to breed mares.

The stallion business is T-O-U-G-H. Tough, tough, tough. It has been said, business is war without bullets. Well, in the stallion business, the war is fierce. There are only so many mares out there, and there are only so many dollars that are spent on this. It is a little ocean with some mighty big fish.

I fault no one — zero, zilch, nada — for doing whatever they need to get attention. There are some stallions that are always in a deal mode with the hope of getting enough mares bred to have a chance to sire a winner. I’m not a rocket scientist, but I do know that you can’t have a winner unless you have a foal. More foals, more chances. You can increase your odds with my favorite trifecta: quality mare, quality owner and quality trainer. Get those three together, and this gamble is a lot closer to blackjack and poker than slots.

We here at SDP Buffalo Ranch and our stallion owners have put together what I think is an amazing roster with options galore. This link provides mare owners with an easy-to-navigate place to find the best stallion deal for their mare. Stallions need mares, and mares need stallions.

Shoot, there is a whole group of show mares in training and not going to any shows. My advice, if you can afford it, is to do an embryo transfer on that mare. The expenses you’ve saved in not going to two shows more than makes up for the breeding expenses. I know the baby you’ll get is most likely going to yield more of a return than the show winnings you didn’t earn.  I can at least do that kind of math.

Gretchen Plummer, daughter of SDP Buffalo Ranch's Shane Plummer, sitting in a chair

Please take a look at our roster. There are some great deals in there: a COVID-19 deal; quantity discount; quality discount; proven discount; your mare is sorrel discount; your mare has four legs, two ears and a tail discount. Take it however you want. All humor aside, there are great deals ready for you in there, and they make for great OPPORTUNITY! They go as low as $650 and up to $4,650 with lots of room in between.

Need a payment plan? We can accommodate in this area and want to have semen picked up rather than have it shipped. We’ve got a massage chair ready for you while you wait. It’s first class at SDP. First class!

This too shall pass; keep moving forward. Albert Einstein, a very smart man and one good at math, even, said: “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” It’s breeding season, folks! I look forward to your call.