So you love racing, and you’ve decided to take the ultimate step and buy your own racehorse. But how do you actually go about owning and keeping a horse? If you’ve never had your own horse, and you want to actually bring a horse home and keep it full time, then you will need some pointers on how to best do it, and that’s where we come in. If you have been bitten by the racing bug and want to know how to own a racehorse without the worry of actually bringing it home, then read on for some essential tips.
What You'll Learn Today
Owning A Racehorse Is An Expensive Hobby
If you want to do everything yourself, from buying to training and racing your horse, then be prepared for some hefty costs.
Your horse will need a stable, a field, facilities for training, and then there’s vet’s fees and farriers, insurance, feed and vaccinations.
If you do not already have these facilities then it may be sensible to think of ownership where your horse lives at a dedicated racing stables and is trained and looked after by experts in the field.
You can, of course, buy a racehorse outright then build stables, a gallop track and a field or two – but if you have the money to do this then it may be a better idea to simply invest in a really good horse and keep it at a race stables anyway!
If you are not already a racehorse trainer then you will need to pay someone to do it for you.
Race trainers will charge a day rate, plus they will collect a percentage of the winnings if your horse races to glory – but they are the best chance you have of making your horse into a racing champion.
Race trainers tend to be attached to a racing stables, but you can find the odd freelancer who would be happy to come to your stables.
Most racehorses are sold as yearlings at an auction – they are untried and un raced, so you will have no idea how they will eventually perform.
It is essential to take an expert with you if you are considering buying a racehorse at an auction, because they will know the sort of thing that you are looking for, in terms of conformation and gait, that might end up being the next world famous horse – Seabiscuit or War Admiral.
The price of these horses will vary dependent on its age, and its pedigree – obviously a horse from a tried and tested racing family will carry a higher price tag than one who is from unknown stock.
Other Ways Of Owning A Racehorse
There are other ways of owning a racehorse than having your own stables.
There are a few different types of shared ownership, ranging from you owning your horse outright and keeping it and training it at your own yard, to owning a stake in someone else’s horse.
The people who can afford to own the entirety of a racehorse tend to be incredibly rich (we’re talking monarchy rich), so if you’ve won the lottery recently then this might be the route for you.
The British Horse Racing Board suggests that the average monthly cost of owning your own racehorse is roughly $2,500 a month, so bearing in mind that a horse tends to only race once a month if that, it needs to be on a pretty serious winning streak for you to break even or make a profit.
Racing club ownership is a great stepping stone into the world of owning a racehorse. You will pay a membership fee and split any winnings your horse makes with other race club members, but you won’t have any legal rights to the horse, and the club will keep any profits from selling it.
A syndicate is the most financially accessible way of owning a racehorse for most people. You join up with a group of 10-20 people, and each pay a share of the horse’s costs, and claim a share of its winnings.
There will be a one off fee to purchase your share initially, then a monthly fee to cover its training and fees.
There are a great many online syndicates that offer surprisingly cheap rates on a racehorse syndicate, so it’s worth shopping around to see what’s out there.
If you own your own company, this is a great way to build up some extra prestige and advertising.
You can name your horse after your company or brand, and the jockey can wear your corporate colours for a wider audience coverage.
The horse will be owned by the company’s shareholders, and there will be a registered Agent to act on its behalf.
This is a great way to get a bit more client engagement, as well as offering a chance for employees and their families to get involved too.
Another advantage of this type of ownership is that you can reclaim tax and training costs from the tax man!
This is where the original owner retains complete ownership of the horse, but you “lease” it for a race or two, or even for its whole racing career.
You will claim any winnings the horse makes, but you will also be responsible for any fees it incurs, so this type of ownership comes with a vet’s bill risk.
On the other hand, it is a simple way to “own” a horse without being tied into an agreement for long periods of time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Buying a retired racehorse can be a good idea for experienced horse owners or riders who are looking for a challenge. Remember that it’s very important to consider the horse’s health, temperament, and training needs. A retired racehorse may need a great deal of time, training and effort to transition into a new career.
You can find retired racehorses for sale or adoption through websites specializing in rehoming racehorses, equine rescue organizations, and horse auctions. It’s very important to work with reputable sources that prioritize the welfare of the horses. Otherwise, you may find yourself taken advantage of and left with a horse that is sick, lame, ill tempered or otherwise not as presented.
A retired racehorse can be a good riding horse for a confident and experienced rider. In addition to your experience and ability, the temperament and former training of the horse are also very important factors to consider. Some ex-racehorses can adapt well to new disciplines. Others may have physical or behavioral issues that require patience and specialized training. It’s wise to get thorough assessments and professional guidance when choosing and transitioning a racehorse to a riding horse.
A retired racehorse mare makes a good brood mare if she has a sound temperament, good conformation, a desirable pedigree, and a sound reproductive health history. With these qualities, she could potentially produce some very fine offspring. Be sure to get a comprehensive vet check to ensure her suitability for breeding.
Retired racehorses’ previous training is specialized for racing. This is a very different skill set than those needed for trail riding, pleasure riding, jumping and other equine occupations. Racehorses tend to have a fast-paced mindset, so they may be less accustomed to slower, more controlled riding. Retraining helps retired racehorses adapt to new activities, develop new behaviors. Skillful retraining prepares a retired racehorse for a successful and safe second career.
Owning a racehorse outright is a great fun hobby, and although it might not make you rich beyond your wildest dreams, it is a great way to get a little closer to the sport that you love.
As long as you are aware of the potential costs involved, and the things that you need to bear in mind to be a responsible horse owner, then you can do it.