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A Horse of Course

A Horse, Of Course
by Don Blazer

There are "old" hoss traders and there are "cheatin" hoss traders, but there are no "old, cheatin" hoss traders.
The combination doesn't promote longevity.
Ira always wanted to be a cowboy. He grew up in Brooklyn, New York.
When he was 15, he was learning to rope, training horses for resale and riding sale horses through the ring at an auction barn in New Jersey. Had nothing to do with cows.
"I also worked at Madison Square Garden when they had a rodeo. I tried to buy some of the grand entry parade stock, but mostly ended up with unbroke broncs.
"I can remember some days when I had wild horses running through the streets." Still had nothing to do with cows.
Fairly successful at training and trading horses on the East coast, Ira, like many of the young men of his day, went West. He ended up in Fort Worth, Texas, where he expanded his trading business. When he thought he was ready, he headed home and opened his own horse sale barn.
"Went broke," Ira readily admits. "I was 24 or 25 and had nothing. Maybe I should have bought and sold cows."
Instead of cows, Ira started buying and selling tack and western shirts. "I'd buy seconds and stuff with a little defect," Ira recalls. "I'd pay for it immediately so I'd get another little discount. This meant I could really undersell my competitors."
And Ira was a little ahead of his time, which paid off handsomely. Ira got himself a van and became the first tack dealer to go to horse shows. "Business was great, and I was making a lot of money," he remembers. "That was in 1966 and David Hopper and I started Longreen Farms in Lakeville, Connecticut. (A very successful operation.) The farm is still there and David is still selling a lot of horses."
In 1969 Ira bought his first horses in Arizona, then moved to Scottsdale in 1972. Since then he has established himself as one of the major "horse traders" in the country.
If you buy, sell or trade horses, soon rather than later, you are going to hear of or do business with Ira Schulman. Yes, his business is that big, reaching from coast to coast, into Canada and across the sea to Europe.
Ira specializes in "fancy horses of all kinds." When he says, "fancy," he means "fancy." "It doesn't matter to me if they are western Quarter Horses or jumpers, they've got to be among the very best.
"With nearly 50 years of trading experience, I've got a pretty good eye for selecting really nice horses for my customers. And that's what you've got to do; get them what they want. You can't sell them a bill of goods, you've got to get them what they can use. And fancy horses are what my customers want."
Ira says he has about 100 horses "on the cuff." That means Ira buys a horse, then sends the horse to a "partner" somewhere in the country. "We agree on a price that I want for the horse. My partner takes care of all the expenses on the horse and when he sells the horse he sends me a check.
"I got a check for $20,000 the other day on a horse I sent out a couple of years ago. I don't know what the horse sold for, don't care. I just hope everyone is as happy with the sale as I am."
Ira says two things account for his business success.
First, I never tell a lie about a horse. "I've been accused of a lot of things, mostly untrue. I never lie to anyone ever, not for any amount of money."
Second, I'll take any horse back if the horse doesn't work out for the customer. No questions asked.
With 50 years of horse trading experience, it's a complement to call Ira Schulman "an old hoss trader."



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