The idea of owning a race horse seems like a glamorous and exciting thing to do. Whilst you obviously can make money from owning a race horse, the reality is that most horses actually cost their owners money rather than making them any. As a result, it feels as though there need to be a few benefits to doing it given the amount of people who choose to get involved in the world of race horse ownership. It is worth noting, of course, that there is something of a difference between owning a horse that wins and one that doesn’t.
The prevalence of syndicate membership has grown in recent years, largely thanks to the fact that it gives people the ability to get the benefits of race horse ownership without the cost of doing so on your own. Benefits such as receiving Owners and Trainers badges also play a part in the decision to become part of a syndicate or to own a horse outright. From exclusive trips to trainers’ yards through to a share of any prize money won, there are plenty of benefits to being a race horse owner that people need to consider.
The Different Ways Of Owning A Race Horse
Whilst it might seem as though owning a race horse is the exclusive right of the rich, there are numerous different ways in which people can go about the process of being involved in the world of race horse ownership. One of the most obvious examples is via a syndicate, which is where numerous different people all pay a certain amount of money to have the rights to own a horse. The Jockey Club runs their own syndicate, which involves a one-off cost of in excess of £3,000, with no further costs being hoisted on people for vet’s bills etc.
Sole ownership is perhaps the manner of owning a race horse that is indeed limited to those with an excess of disposable income. Owning a horse on your own allows you to make all of the decisions in terms of the trainer that they work with and the races that they enter, as well as to claim all of the prize money for yourself.
Of course, the downside to an ownership of a horse on your own is that you’re also responsible for all of the bills that accompany them, including unexpected ones when a vet needs to get involved, say.
Whether you’re part of a large company or a small business, the option to own a horse as part of a corporate entity is available. One of the main benefits of doing this is that it gives you the ability to name your horse after your business or brand, giving yourself a large amount of advertising and exposure to a huge audience.
Given the disposable income of many involved in the world of horse racing, this gives you a target market that can be very lucrative. Racing has, of course, long been a sport used to entertain clients and staff, with the added benefit of certain tax breaks also in play.
Perhaps the most accessible form of race horse ownership is by being part of a syndicate. The most obvious benefit that comes with being part of a syndicate is that you get to share the costs of race horse ownership with other people, meaning that you can pay just a small fee but get a huge amount of enjoyment. Such ownerships usually come in one of three forms:
- Trainer-managed syndicate, in which a trainer is responsible for all of the decision-making and is often a co-owner of the horse themselves
- Professionally-managed syndicate, whereby someone is employed to take care of all of the management details of the horse owned by a group
- Socially-managed syndicate, which is usually a group of friends or like-minded individuals who buy a horse, often with one person making the decisions for the group
Benefits Of Ownership
Regardless of the manner in which you choose to own a race horse, once you’ve done so, there are numerous different benefits that are opened up to you. For starters, you can join the Racehorse Owners Association, which comes with a series of benefits all of its own. You need to pay for the privilege, of course, but once you have done so you’ll get free admission to a racecourse, third-party liability insurance and discount on British Horseracing Authority registration fees. There’s also the ROA Owners Jackpot, which takes place every week and offers a £2,000 prize on top of prize money.
When you own something as expensive and prestigious as a race horse, you want to be able to show others. That is why you’ll often be presented with a certificate of ownership, regardless of which method you choose to go for. You can obviously also go and meet your horse, with owners often invited to the training yards where their horse lives and works. Mostly, though, the main benefit of owning a race horse is the fact that it takes the racing experience to another level entirely, offering thrills and spills that are difficult to replicate.
Whilst there’s no doubt that people who bet a lot of money on a race horse will feel the ups and downs of the race as it happens, it becomes even more intense when you actually own the horse. As the Chief Executive of the Racehorse Owners Association, Charlie Liverton, put it,
“Many people become owners because of their love of the thoroughbred, the competitive spirit and the experience the race day itself brings, as well as the non-race-day experiences such as visits to the training yards and engagement with fellow owners at events up and down the country.”
Increasing Your Understanding
One of the least thought about benefits of owning a race horse comes in the form of the increased understanding of the industry as a whole that you will gain. Being an owner means that you need to take increased interest in things such as their training, the food that the horse will eat and the work of veterinarians in keeping them in the best possible shape. Even the likes of the transportation of a horse from their training yard and stables to the race track is something that an owner needs to have at least a passing interest in.
Obviously sole ownership is the more demanding form of owning a horse, given that you take on the complete and total role of decision-making. Even if you choose to employ someone to make the decisions for you or you abdicate responsibility to a trainer, you need to decide who that person is or select the right trainer for your horse. Ultimately, those looking to make money from race horse ownership are barking up the wrong tree, so it is all about the other benefits you can get from the experience that make it worthwhile.