Horses valuable commodity in Georgia -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Horses valuable commodity in Georgia

August 13, 2003 

Blakely- Kerry Fagiano has been riding and working with horses most her life.

"They just have been part of my family for so many years, I can't imagine life without them," Fagiano said.

 While she's full-filling her passion for horses and drissage, Kerry, and others like her, are stimulating the state's economy. Last year, horses brought $248 million into Georgia. Part of that money comes from people purchasing imported horses like Gason.

"He's a danish warm-blood," said her trainer Tom Harvey at Quail Valley Farm in Blakely.

They double in value once they're here. Then there's the expense of caring for the horse, a trainer and competition.

"Our hay bill for three months will be $2,500, so there's a hay grower in Quitman, Ga., that is benefitting from that," Harvey said.

Gason is a European warm-blood. That makes him a good candidate for drissage and jumping because of his strong, short back and the large bones in his legs.

"Those horses are specifically bred for specific jobs," Harvey said. "It's a science over there."

 And over here, the sport is expensive. You can spend from $15,000 to $300,000 on the horse of your choice.

 "So you can just go crazy," Fagiano said. "You have to budget. It's an expensive sport." It's also a time-comsuming sport.

"We spend so much of our time and our energy and our money doing this," Harvey said.

When riders take a horse as far as they can, they're often sold to another breeder, hopefully for a sizeable profit. Gason should sell for around $40,000.

Kerry's in no hurry to see him go.

 "We have all fallen in love with him." So the two will keep cantering through competitions and adding money to the state's economy.

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