Father and son duo Clint and Todd Peterson have been in the horse trading business ever since they can remember.
“All I’ve ever really done is trade horses,” Clint said. “Todd’s been doing it since he was big enough to.”
Under the name of C and T Horse Company, Clint and Todd have sold horses all over the United States. On the schedule for early March is a trip to Maine to sell a load of horses to a long-time customer who provides horses to summer camps in the area. “I’ve been doing that since 2004,” Todd said. Before that, Clint made the annual trip for about four years.
Clint and Todd have ridden the highs and lows of the business many times and are currently on their way back out of a low that hit after the slaughterhouse law was passed in 2007.
“It really affected prices. They dropped quite a bit for a while,” Clint explained. “Right now, we’re suffering for it because there aren’t a lot of horses around. They weren’t worth anything so no one was raising them.”
The horse trade business is just now starting to recover. “People are starting to show interest again,” Clint said.
“It’s on the way back now,” agreed Todd. “The worth is going back up because of the shortage of horses. We just gotta keep weathering the storms.”
“It got tough back in the ‘80s, too,” recalled Clint. He survived that downturn and has every confidence that C and T Horse Company will survive the latest one as well.
Todd grew up helping his dad take care of, buy, and sell horses and also became very skilled at horseback riding. In high school, he was the Minnesota High School Rodeo Association Bareback and Saddle Bronc Riding Champion for three years straight. Spending a lot of time with horses gave him the experience he needed to later ride the rodeo circuit. After high school, he traveled all over the United States riding professionally for a rodeo company until 2005 when he decided it was time to settle back down. “It’s the best way to see the country for nothing,” he pointed out. “I’m still friends with some of the people I met back then.”
Over the years, Clint has sold horses to kids who then bought horses for their children. Those children grew up and are now buying horses from Clint for their kids. Three generations of satisfied customers speaks volumes to the integrity of C and T Horse Company. “I’ve been doing this a long time,” Clint laughed.
“A lot of people try to buy horses on the internet. I guess I’m old school, but that’s not a good way to buy horses,” Clint commented. He and Todd have seen many people get scammed that way. He prefers to talk to people face to face or on the phone so they can communicate about the condition of the horse.
In addition to doing some advertising, a big way for Clint and Todd to get the word out about C and T Horse Company is through livestock auctions. They help put on auctions each year in Lanesboro and Decorah. People from all over the country have attended those sales.
Todd hosts ranch rodeos and competitions on his farm which is only a few miles from his dad’s. He also leases cattle to other shows. “It’s a good way to promote the horse business,” he explained. “We meet more people and draw in more business.”
Between their two farms, Clint and Todd have between 50-75 head of horses. They own a 23-year-old stallion that used to breed 60+ mares a year, but since the slaughterhouse law was passed and the demand for horses dropped, now only breeds around 10 mares a year. Colts sired by the stallion are in demand across the United States. “I had a lady email me last week to tell me how much she loved the pair of colts she bought from us,” Clint said.
C and T Horse Company has always been a family business. “My wife Marlene helps with the horses,” Clint commented. His daughter Debbie put a lot of time in with the horse business as well when she was younger, and now brings her own daughter to the farm. “Our family is very horse oriented,” said Clint.
The family still uses horses in the everyday operation of their two farms. “We ride the fenceline just about everyday during the summer,” Todd said. The horses are also used to gather cattle.
Todd and his wife Amber’s kids are only four and two years old, but they’re already getting into the business as well. Four-year-old Lainey loves to ride her pony and even helps out at sales.
Like his dad, Todd doesn’t plan to push his kids into the family business. “They can do it if they want to,” he said. If they’re not interested, he’s okay with that too.
You can find out more information or contact C and T Horse Company by visiting their website at www.cthorses.com.