Setting the market standard for service
At Midwest, the essence of marketing is service and results. If you want to sell a horse, David Boggs will find a buyer. If you want to buy a horse, he’ll locate the right candidate and make it available. To fuel the engine of commerce, he and his staff bring in new customers in a myriad of ways. That is how it has been since Boggs burst on the scene in the late 1970s, and a few years later led the chestnut superstar stallion *Padron to the Arabian Triple Crown. He found fame in the show ring—and fortune as a marketer, beginning with the syndication of *Padron. When the *Padron partners were ready to sell, Boggs syndicated the important sire for a whopping $11 million in 90 days.
Since that time, the names of Boggs and Midwest have been synonymous with the ultimate success in halter horses, both in the show ring and in sales. The list of top of-the-line Arabians who have passed through Midwest’s Minnesota and Scottsdale facilities over the past 30 years simply defies compilation. It is not uncommon for more than one headline national champion in any given halter division to be sold through Midwest during a year, and equally routine that the farm’s show string will dominate the regional shows and futurities it attends. In the years that it has shown at the U.S. Nationals, a steady stream of silver trophies has gone to Midwest owners.
The reason for all of this success, says David Boggs, is that Midwest functions 24/7 on the principle of service to its clients, and he has no intention of slowing down anytime soon.
“I think when people go to look for a great horse, they’re also looking for the service as well,” Boggs explains. “What happens when you buy an expensive horse? Who looks after it? Who’s going to take care of your investment, and who’s going to guide that horse through his career?
If it’s a breeding stallion, who’s going to manage the horse, market his semen, and promote those foals? Midwest is really the full service package. You can buy the horse, raise the horse, show the horse and market the horse, all under one roof, at a five-star level. To me, that’s what has been important—to surround myself with that less than one percent of the best horses in the world, and then work hard. There are not many days off here; it’s seven days a week.” It works. “In my opinion, there is no one better at what he does in the Arabian horse business than David Boggs,” says Don Morse, who with his wife Janey, has been a Midwest client since January 2003. “David has helped us in every aspect of the Arabian business—choosing the best horses for us to buy and show, training and conditioning them, guiding us in our breeding operation, and introducing us to other Arabian business owners/enthusiasts throughout the world.
“He has won many national championships for us and has been in charge of millions of dollars of sales for us around the world,” Morse concludes. “I feel that there is no one that does this better than David. He is not only a great businessman, but he has become a great friend in the process.”
In The Beginning—The Sale
The Midwest experience for clients opens with a sale. Private treaty transactions go on all year at Midwest, featuring everything from promising prospects to established national champions.
For instance, the Scottsdale Champion Mare Dulcinea BHF, purchased through Midwest in early 2009 by Carlos and Christiane Roizner, of Uruguay, went on with Boggs to be named U.S. National Champion Junior Mare eight months later. In the spring of 2010, she changed hands again, this time going to Umberto Bonini, of Haras Ceu Estrelado in Brazil—and in the meantime, her unborn foal had been sold to Jaime Pinheiro, of Haras Vila dos Pinheiros, also in Brazil. In 2010 alone, more than two dozen high-level show contenders or top breeding stock, among them many national champions, sold through Midwest by private treaty. A very good year? Yes, but that is not unusual for the operation. The last time Boggs counted, he had sold an amazing 40 national or international champion mares. Included on that list were such standouts as U.S. National Champion Mares Bask Calonett, NH Love Potion, Amber Satin, La Duquesa, JBK Mystic Fawn, Europa El Jamaal, Bey Fireeshah, S Justadream, JJ La Estrella and Maggdalina.
Just as important to the equine investor, many of those individuals sold multiple times, increasing the return for each owner. JJ La Estrella, for example, sold three times, as did S Justadream, who now anchors the breeding program at DST Arabians in Olympia, Wash. RD Shahara Bey, 1994 U.S. National Champion Yearling Filly, sold five times, eventually joining the breeding program at North Arabians, in Romona, Calif. And the list goes on.
The story is the same for stallions. After Boggs syndicated *Padron, he presented and sold the stallion’s legendary son Padrons Psyche—and then Psyche’s son, the megastar Magnum Psyche, and Magnum’s son, the Brazilian Champion and United States Champion Junior Stallion, Magnum Chall HVP. That was not the first time Midwest has handled a dynasty. In 1991, Boggs sold $1.5 millon in Bey Shah breeding packages for Dan and Maureen Grossman. Then, in 1998, he sold Bey Shah to Shellbird, Inc. And he also sold the influential Bey Shah son, RSD Dark Victory, to Harold and Dolly Orr. The buyers have ranged from newcomers in the industry to internationally-known names. All in all, it is estimated that Midwest has marketed in excess of $30 million worth of international, national and reserve national champion mares, and more than $40 million in those categories of stallions. In addition, the sale of other bloodstock—leading sires such as El Shaklan, Fame VF, *Almaden, DA Valentino and Da Vinci FM, as well as proven broodmares, show prospects and other solid contenders—has attracted an estimated $20 million. That makes an impressive total of more than $90 million in about 30 years. Midwest also organizes public auctions which have become known for their high-dollar return. There have been many sales over the years, but the Midwest Invitational Sale, held during the Arabian community’s annual trek to Scottsdale, is the most famous. “In 2007, we sold over $20 million dollars in Arabians horses,” Boggs recalls of a recent auction highlight. “It’s been phenomenal.”
This year marks an innovation in Midwest sales. Instead of a glamour evening at its Scottsdale facility, part of the Invitational Sale will be held online. Buying a horse through the online auction is very simple, he says. “All interested parties have to do is go to the Arabian Horse Times website and click on the sign for the Midwest Invitational Sale. Then click on the bar that says ‘Register,’ and create your own account. From there, you’re shopping; a list of horses will come up. You only have to click on the ones that interest you and you’ll see photographs, pedigrees and background information. Near the bottom of the page is the form for bidding, which is simple. You can keep up with the bidding manually or, if you like, enter the amount that is your top price, and if necessary, the site will bid incrementally for you up to that amount. There is a button for ‘auction terms’ at the bottom of the page, and buyers should read that, but the whole process is pretty much the same as if you were sitting around the stage at our place in Scottsdale—except that you don’t have to leave the luxury and convenience of your home or hotel room.”
The Continuum—Long-Term Clients
The Midwest record of achievement for its clients has produced loyalty; many people who were with Boggs when he began in the 1970s are still customers. Current supporter Paul Emerson has supplied Boggs with show contenders for nearly 40 years, and Dick Ames, of Cedar Ridge Arabians, entrusted him with Gai Fawn, the trainer’s first U.S. National top ten mare (1979).
“The Ames family and the Boggs family go way back,” Ames says. “Our kids grew up together and attended shows. David showed our first top ten mare for us, Gai Fawn. He has also been very instrumental in helping us market some of our halter horses. He’s been involved with the sales of national champions Ames Jasmine, Ames Charisma, Smarty Ames, and a lot of the get that Magnum Psyche and Ames Mirage have produced. David is simply the best at marketing the Arabian horse.”
They aren’t the only ones with a long past at Midwest: Walter Mishek, Fernando de Santibanes, Lady Gina Pelham, Dan and Maureen Grossman and others have double-digit history with Boggs.
The Grossmans, who now have multi-U.S. National Champion DA Valentino, have known Boggs since 1984. “Over that time, we’ve become very good friends and clients, and we have a very good working synergy between our horse business and his horse business,” says Dan. “I know of no one in the world who has run an Arabian horse business to the level and expertise and consistency that David Boggs has. ‘Consistent, honest, extremely hard working, intense, fun, dependable’— those are some of the words I would use to describe his business.
“Any business has its detractors; people take shots about other people without having any experience with them,” he continues, “but with Midwest, I’ve lived it. David treats his clients like he would want to be treated. He couldn’t be a better match for me. Our relationship has always been black-and-white and ethical. He’s never been anything but straightforward with us, and we’ve done multiple millions of dollars worth of transactions. He’s bought and sold horses around the globe. I consider him a great businessman and great friend.”
Driving The Excitement—The Show Ring
Midwest’s record in the halter show ring is unmatched. Its show string is not only accomplished, but deep; for farm clients to finish champion and reserve in any given class is no longer considered surprising or a stroke of good fortune, because the horses are just that qualified. The names of champion show horses in Midwest’s ascendance is a who’s who of the halter show ring. Even recalling a few highlights since the time of *Padron produces a list that overloads the senses: Bask Calonett, NH Love Potion, Amber Satin and La Duquesa led the parade, along with an equally impressive group of stallions, in a line that just kept lengthening, encompassing the two wins of Magnum Psyche, and proceeding on up to the modern era of such headliners as JJ La Estrella and Maggdalina, LD Pistal, DA Valentino and more.
In 2004, the farm recorded 11 U.S. National Championships and reserves, an achievement it
duplicated in 2005; the following year, there were 15 U.S. National Championships and reserves;
in 2007, the total was 17; in 2008, 10 Midwest contenders were national champions or reserves;
and in 2009, the number rose to 12. The top tens were stratospheric.
Perpetuating The Excellence—The Breeding Stallions
The show ring and sales are only part of the Midwest scene. Continuing the Arabian
breed depends on the judicious breeding of foals. When a stallion leaves the show ring—
and even while he is competing—Boggs and his staff guide and promote his breeding
career. Here, too, the emphasis is on a global presence. The farm’s satellite program is an
innovation in the Arabian industry, facilitating service around the world by providing
local representation and banks of frozen semen at various locations.
The Engine That Fuels The Future: Promotion
One of Midwest’s unique contributions to the American Arabian scene is the scope of its promotional activities. At a time when the biggest challenge the industry faces is the attraction of new buyers, Midwest reaches crowds of potential enthusiasts. Its Scottsdale facility in particular hosts an array of activities for the non-horse public. During show week, the Midwest Family Fair invites the general public to enjoy Arabians in a relaxed, informal setting that showcases the beauty of the horses and the emotional satisfaction of interacting with them. At other times of the year, the beautiful layout is available for corporate parties and weddings, offering a low-key exposure to the equine lifestyle for participants who usually enjoy a level of income that makes ownership a very real possibility. In Minnesota, a special springtime feature is “Kids Day,” which addresses the future by working with today’s young people. Busloads of children from the Otsego and Twin Lakes Public Schools, with their families and teachers, are invited to the farm for a gala visit of fun, games and fresh-air fun. The event usually attracts about 300 children.
Bringing It All Together
David Boggs looks to the future with confidence. For the past few years, in the uncertain American economy, his best markets have been to foreign buyers. While he is proud of the record the farm enjoys overseas, he believes that the start of 2011 has witnessed a return of American buyers; in just four weeks, Midwest has seen more than a dozen sales to foreign and domestic buyers alike. That kind of news has everyone at Midwest enthused, clients and new associates alike. Longtime clients do not find the upsurge surprising. It is, they indicate, just part of doing business at Midwest. “David Boggs is the consummate professional, as a host, as a trainer, breeder, showman, father and most importantly, friend,” says breeder and owner Walter Mishek, who adds that he has known Boggs for more than 40 years. “In our friendship, we have a record of national and international champions—and millions of dollars in sales to breeders throughout the world.” David Boggs considers what Midwest does to inspire such sentiments. There is the showing, of course; winning attracts followers. But it is the service that keeps them, he says, and that relates not only to equine management, but in this economy, especially to marketing. “One thing that is paramount about Midwest is that those who are looking for special horses, whether or not they buy, won’t bypass Midwest without coming in for a peek,” he says. “They’ll come in and see what we have—and the horses really speak for themselves.”