Freyja Nemeth and her partner, Ran Garrigus, have been raising Amaretto horses for about 3 weeks. The Amaretto horses have only been available for about a month, so Nemeth and Garrigus have gotten in on the ground floor of this newest addition to breedable SL animals. Between them they own about 22 horses.
Prior to raising horses, Nemeth raised Ozimal bunnies. The horses, she explained, are more complex, and serious breeders keep track of bloodlines and traits in order to try to breed more exotic horses. “Each horse has two genes for each trait,” she said, “so once you start breeding them, that's when you can get out rare coats that sell for lots of money. For example, a starter horse might be a golden Palomino. Some hidden traits are coats like Red Arabians or Silver/Black Mustangs. And they can also get special eyes like Diamond or Opal or upright or long manes instead of normal manes.”
The Amaretto horses vary widely in price. If purchased as a pack of 1 male and 3 females, the cost is about $3000L. At the auction houses or from private sellers, the cost can range from as low as $200L to as high $80,000L. Rare stallions have been known to cause bidding wars at the auctions, she said.
Her dapple grey, “Prosperina”, was a special limited edition horse and very pretty. Nemeth also has a foal who was born with aquamarine eyes, another special trait. The foal was just hours old when I saw her, but she’ll be mature in 7 days and be able to breed in about 4 months.
The horses can also be ridden, and Nemeth assured me they were gentle. She hopped up on “Branwen” to show me how the horses move. Because they are worn, they can be ridden in any location, which is a plus. Like RL horses, however, these SL horses must be fed and cared for on a regular basis. If they aren’t cared for and fed, they can get sick, which means vet bills, medicine, etc. Horse food costs about $200L/month. Saddles, bridles, and other accessories are also available.
The horses were fascinating, so I decided to visit a couple of auction houses. The first, Herdy's Auction Barn, located at Nantes (56, 117, 23), was packed with residents and horses. I just missed the live auction, but there were silent auctions going on continually. Owners place their horses in the stalls that line the barn, set a minimum bid, and wait for auction fever to hit. "Beck", a silver Arabian female had almost 3 hours remaining on her auction. A resident named A. Lupindo (a distant cousin maybe?) had bid $10,000L, but he or she had been outbid. When I left, the high bid was $12,500L.
At Red Barn Horses, located at Lighthouse Oasis (196, 121, 301), horses filled a couple of barns and row and after row of outside corrals. Auctions are held every morning there. Signs were posted to explain the rules and how the auctions work, which was helpful.
For more information about Amaretto horses, check out http://amarettobreedables.com But if horses and bunnies aren’t your thing, just wait. The rumor around SL is that kittens are one the way.