Horse Traders Mathematics



Being a retired fruit and vegetable peddler brings to mind the methods of calculations we used in computing the total costs of lets say 25 baskets of squash at $1.75.  Believe it or not this was a period before pocket calculators and with the chore of carrying packages to the buyers trucks etc. it was cumbersome to carry pads and pens, so the only thing left was to calculate in ones head.  There was a method developed called Horse Traders Mathematics and we will detail it for you in this feature.  We will initially post the first fundamentals and as time goes on we will update it and bring in the more sophisticated avenues of “in head” calculations. 


In time you will become very mathematical when you don’t have the “crutch” of hand devices and the like that I believe stifles the mind.   In fact as I age with the prospects of Alzheimer’s lingering over my head I am actually going to take time to outline this method, revive it so that it will be therapeutic to my mind and it is written that using your mind is the way to avoid some of the ravages of old age, or as the old saying goes “If you don’t use it, you lose it”


Let’s get started with “Horsetraders”


The original Horse traders is in the first segment, the whole, quarter, half and three quarter method.  In our use of this method we have refined it and have employed different variations of the original and rather simple means to achieve calculations in ones head.   There is value in calculating in ones head especially when you are in one on one negotiations and have an edge on your counterpart.  There are many other values to it but we won’t cover them at this time.



The “WHOLE, QUARTER” HALF, and THREE QUARTER method is the foundation, but easily leads to smaller denominations, percentages ranging from zero percentile to 100% or more.   In fact it leads to fascinating abilities that will be cultivated if you have the patience and the diligence to perfect it.  The method is not reserved for “peddlers” it will apply to any trade where numbers are involved and where expediency in deriving these numbers will be of extraordinary value.


Let me give you a quick example to wet your appetite.  If you don’t mind let me use my past peddler examples so that I can reminisce at the same time regarding my past. 


Figuring 30 baskets of apples at 1 dollar is a no brainer, 30 bucks right?  It is when you get into quarters, half’s and three quarter denominations when it gets much more difficult.  So let’s make it a little more difficult.


One more principle before we get down to work, let’s taking care of the first raw fundamentals. 


Fundamental 1.  When you want to multiply a WHOLE (whole being to the dollar, 1 dollar, 10 dollars, a thousand dollars or even a million dollars) the method such as the example above and below are easier.  30 pieces at $1.00 = 30 bucks, 20 pieces at $4.00 = $80 bucks.   16 pieces at $3.00 = $48.00   I hope that last “whole” calculation wasn’t too tough as it was a little trickier than the preceding examples.  When you become horse traders programmed you will “SEE” in your mind immediately that 16 times 3 = 48.  To give you a little preview there is one variation of horse traders and we will use the 16 times 3 = 48 as an example.  In most of our “in head” calculations you have to (SEPARATE OUT) certain parts of the equation to just make it easier and I will explain.  It will involve a little mental storing such as the memory functions of a hand calculator.  In the 16 pieces at $3.00 we simply calculate 10 times 3.00 = $30.00, tuck that 30 number away, then deal with the 6 balance, 6 times 3 is 18, then bring back the 30 from memory and add it to the 18 = $48.00.  We will get into this storing business as we progress.


Fundamental 2.  The QUARTER principle.  The quarter principle is when you have a quarter of something,  you half the whole and half it again.  Example:  80 jelly beans at 25 cents.  25 cents representing a quarter of something.  O.K.  If you half 80 you come up with 40, if you half it again you come up with 20 as 20 is half of 40.  So the answer is 80 jelly beans at 25 cents is $20.00.  Are you with me?


Fundamental 3.  The half method and this was essentially covered in the example above, but let’s give an example of the half method anyway.  Let’s get a little dangerous on this one.  How about 55 bananas at 50 cents each.   We will be employing a couple of the 16 times 3 variations and this includes a little mental storing.  Now we know that in order to find a 50 cent calculation we have to half it as we halved the jelly bean example and of course in that example if the jelly beans were 50 cents and there was 80 of them it would simply calculate to $40.00.  Half of 80 is 40, right.  Now in the banana example I have decided to be a little cruel and press your mind, forgive me.   In this case you have to use your memory as this calculation is a 2 step affair.  ( In my later versions we can get to 6 or 8 steps in a calculations so please do not wilt on me with a 2 step affair.    In the banana example we have to also incorporate the “Rounding” or Separating procedure.  I am sure you are acquainted with “Rounding off” O.K. so let’s start with Rounding off the 55 back to 50 to make the figuring a little easier.  Let’s just set aside the 5 in the 55 for a minute.  50 bananas at 50 cents each using the “HALF” principle is simple, 25 right? or  $25.00.  Now that you have taken care of the rounded off/separated 50 bananas you have to deal with the extra 5 that we set aside.  5 bananas at 50 cents shouldn’t press your mind = $2.50 that’s pretty easy.  O.K. now you have to call up your first calculation $25.00 and the second calculation $2.50 and just add them together or $27.50.  Congratulations,   Go to the head of the class.


Last is the THREE QUARTER method that is somewhat different from the QUARTER method because as you know to derive a quarter of something you half it and half it again and olla you have the answer.  In the THREE QUARTER method you start the same way by halving the whole number, then halving that but instead of settling on the results as you would in the QUARTER method you take the second half and ADD it to the first half.  Example:  60 lbs of apricots at $1.75 a pound requires a little memory (don’t you dare write this down) 60 lbs at 1.00 =60 bucks right?.  Let’s just put this in the back of your memory because we have to deal with the 75 cents using the THREE QUARTER method.  O.K. So now we have to half 60 which is 30 we have to half 30 which is 15, we have to add the 15 to the 30 which is 45 and than we have to call up the back of your memory the 60 and add it to the 45.  Again olla the total is 105.  So 60 at 1.75 is 105.


Now let be a little daring here now that you are really grasping this method.  Lets say that instead of $1.75 times 60 it was a 1.85 times 60.  Oh my God is the peddler asking me to store more than 2 steps?.  Yes because it is the only way you can do it, so as the ole saying goes “Let’s do it” 


Again we have to round off three steps.  First the WHOLES or 60, second the THREE QUARTERS or in carpentry we you used to say 3 Quarts which is  45 and we still have 10 cents to deal will on top of the 75 right, right.  10 cents times 60 is what, 6.00 bucks.  O.K.  So now you  really  have to dig deep into the depths of your memory banks “You can do it and we can help” as Home Depot says.  60 plus 45 is 105 from the previous example plus 6.00 = $111.00 that we nastily added to the equation trying to intimate you.  Hey come on that wasn’t that bad was it?


I am going to set aside these types of calculations for a minute here and bring in what I call “BALLPARKING” usually referred to as “In the ballpark” There are times when you are doing a mathematical problem that you become confused with whether you are as in the hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands or even millions, so the first thing that has to be established is “Where the hell am I” is it 30, 300, 3000, 30,000, 300,000 or 3 million?.


Example : 400 times thousand.  This is an easy one 400  hundred thousand right, right.  Let’s inject another one in like 200 times 800.   Now don’t let this intimidate you.  One of the first things you would do with a 200 times 800 is getting you in the ballpark in a couple of ways.  Just temporarily knock off all of the zeros in both number and this gives you a simple 2 times 8 and this results in a 16 factor so at least you know your answer is 16 something.  Next I would want to know in what total ballpark is my answer.  It certainly isn’t 160, it certainly can’t be 1600, so where are we?   What I would do is a little rounding just to get in the ballpark so I would say let me round off the 800 to 1000 and easily come up with 200 times 1000 versus 200 times 800.  200 times a 1000 is  200,000.  So at least I know what general area I am in and when I do my 200 by 800, know I am 16 something and I am close to but a little less than 200,000 my answer has got to be 160,000.


Nickels and Dimes


This is another version of Horse traders and one that I have developed on my own but still feeding on the original horsetraders.  Actually when I use this Nickel and Dime method I use it more for percentages or as in 5% or 10% percent and I use 10% a lot for ball parking.   Example: 6% interest on  $150,000 on a per annum basis.  I think the best way to handle this guy is just do a simple 10% factor to see just about what area we will be in.  10% of 150,000 should be 15,000, that shouldn’t be too hard to arrive at without employing any horsetraders magic.   If we drop back to 5% a little less than the actual 6% and we do a little hank panky halving, like half of 15,000 this would be 7,500.  So now we know what area we are in and when you get deeper into this, these calculations come to you within seconds.  Now we have to deal with the exact equation 6% on $150,000 per annum.  Let’s do our separating technique.  6% of 100,000 has to be $6,000.  6% of the remaining $50,000  (6 times 5 =30) has to be $3, 000.  $6,000 and $3,000  is a grand total of $9000.  That’s the answer dammit.


In time you would take a real short cut on this and multiply 6 times 15 in your head and come up with a 9 factor something and almost at the same time you are have already got in the ballpark.   Let me interject another little equation into this example.  Let’s say this interest is paid on a quarterly basis.  Hey that rings a bell (QUARTERLY) almost sounds synonymous with QUARTER in our horsetraders method.  Well it just so happens it does and we will do it by applying the $9000 to a quarterly basis.  How would we arrive at a quarterly basis using 9000.  Half it = 4500 and half that (oh come on this isn’t that bad) half of 4500 has to be like 2250 right?  So the quarterly interest on 9000 is 2250.  Again go to the head of the class.   My God you just accomplished a Quarter operation.


We will leave at that for now, you have a lot of practicing to do.  So when you are faced with doing either washwomen talk or productive horsetraders mathematics my hope is, you know what?


Percentages continued…..


What is the interest factor of a $360,000 investment that is paying $36,000 per anum?  I thought I would be kind starting you off with what they call a “soft ball”.  I don’t think it takes much mind power at this juncture with the previous examples we have provided to come up with a 10% factor, 10%.


O.Ks So lets stiffen up the terms of these examples…   If the return was $18,000 on the previous $360,000 investment.  In this case what I would do is just ask myself without knowing what the rates is to use a 10% factor and doing so I would discover that a 10% factor  would exceed what the $18,000 dollar return is.  So once I discover what 10% is, I may be able to easily ascertain what the actual return is.  O.K. So if 10% is 36,000   and the return is only $18,000 all I would do is employ my half method in Horsetraders.  Now if on trial I halved $36,000, I would come up with $18,000  the actual return in the investment and if $36,000 is 10%,  $18,000 has to be 5%.


Parts of…..  I call this techniques parts of because that is just what it is.  Let me give you and example and then put to work.  Lets start with a couple of simple Simons.   When I see 10 being part of 40 I automatically think 25% as 10 is 25% of 40.  If I see 15  part of 45 I immediately think 33% or 1/3.  Now this concept comes in very handy.


This information is intended to heighten awareness of potential health care alternatives and should not be considered as medical advice. See your qualified health-care professional for medical attention, advice, diagnosis, and treatments.



More to come.......