Horsing Around In A Virtual World

When I'm not working on the direct mail program, answering the phone, or verifying rules and requirements for various license types for HomeCEUConnection.com, I can often be found wandering the virtual world of Second Life. I discovered Second Life about 4 years ago when a good friend of mine moved to Germany. Rather than talking on the phone, we created avatars in Second Life which is a virtual world with over 2 million users worldwide that is entirely created by it's residents, so that we could go online and hang out together. I find it much more fun than a phone call without the long distance charges, and you can even use voice so we can talk to each other. Participating in this online world has become a fun hobby for me, so I'd like to share it with the extended family of HomeCEU! After I found this was a great way to communicate with my friend, I also discovered powerful building tools and found it very fun to create and build the environment I wanted my avatar to live in.
Over the past 4 years I've built houses, a surfing sim, had my own club with live musicians, and now have become a top horse breeder. What is a virtual horse breeder you ask? Well, about 2 years ago one of the Second Life (SL) residents came out with Amaretto Breedable Horses. It is based on real life horse breeding. You started with starter horses that had a particular coat like Palomino, Mustang, Appaloosa, etc. Each starter had a hidden trait built in to them that could only come out through the offspring of the starters, like different eyes, manes, tails, or special coats. The females had a breeding cycle, and could produce a new foal every 9 days. The goal was to breed out the hidden traits, and then breed unique horses that could have a maximum of 10 total traits. This quickly became a profitable enterprise for me.
Although anyone can create an avatar and explore Second Life for free, there is a monetary system for land and products, and these horses cost real money to buy and to feed. They became wildly popular, and it created an entire virtual marketplace with live auctions and direct sales. Plus I found I was good at breeding, so I created my own farm to breed and sell. At its height, I was not only selling enough to pay all my costs, but I was pulling out $300-$500 a month on top of that. The horses can sell anywhere from $2 to $100 each, and if a new coat or trait or something rare would come out, I've seen horses sell for as much as $1200. As more people got into it and flooded the market, the prices dropped and it has become a break even enterprise for me. But alas, a new breedable horse has just come out that you will actually be able to race. There are full-on race tracks, jockeys will have to go to school and be licensed, there will be paramutual wagering, and it is all starting over again. So as one breedable fades out, another new one takes it's place. I'm already training what I hope will be my first champion, and look forward to sitting in the stands, sipping a virtual mint julep, and rooting my horse to the winner's circle. So if you're on SL, I hope to see you at the races!!!
This article was written by Bill Ezra

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