Becoming an owner of a horse is no longer as costly as it once was, thanks to syndicates in which groups of people split the costs of purchasing the horse, as well as the associated costs in keeping the horse fit and healthy and training it for races.
The latest odds on the Grand National sees Blaklion as the favourite at 12/1 and while a horse like Blaklion is likely to reap a profit for the owners, a horse should not be seen as an investment, but instead should be considered a way of further enjoying a sport. Blaklion may have made a profit for the owners, but the initial outlay on buying and training the horse would require some serious funds.
In the United Kingdom, those who want to become a sole owner of a race horse will be looking at an average price of £18,000 to buy the horse while it will cost around £15,000 per year in associated costs. While being a sole owner requires deep pockets, there are cheaper alternatives, such as racing clubs and syndicates which will cost a fraction of the price, but with that comes a fraction of the returns.
For a syndicate, there are usually a maximum of twenty shareholders allowed for a horse, meaning that if the maximum number of people invest in an £18,000 horse, then each would be expected to pay an initial fee of £900. A racing club offers similar benefits of a syndicate except people who invest their money will have no legal ownership of the horse. Some racing clubs offer membership for as little as £200 a year with the club’s investors only receiving money from the race winnings.
A sole owner will be expected to pay between £1,000 and £1,500 a month in various costs to keep the horse healthy, house it and train it, while a syndicate will be looking at anything between £150 and £300 per month for each member. The big question is though, with all of that money being spent each month, what exactly is it spent on?
Firstly, a trainer will need to be found and the daily rate charged will vary from trainer to trainer and can cost from £30 to £60 a day. For this amount the trainer will supervise the day to day care of the horse and will be expected to feed them, exercise them and get the horse used to human contact. The trainer will understand the best nutrition for the horse as well as advising the owners on which races to enter the horse into, as they will know which distance the horse should be able to cover. They will also advise the jockey on the best racing strategy in order to attain the best race results.
The vet’s fees will be another cost that is faced by the owners, as they will need to make sure their horse attends regular check-ups as well as paying for any medicines and operations that may be needed in order to get the horse back to full fitness, although this price is variable depending on the health of the horse. There are companies that offer insurance on race horses which may be a good option for those worried about vet’s bills if the worst should happen and the horse is injury prone.
Farrier costs are something else that need to be considered as the horse will need to have adequate shoes in order to compete and to prevent damage to their hooves. The farrier will be required to check the shoes regularly and change them when needed, but if this helps the horse to victory in races, then it is a worthwhile expenditure.
In order to reinvest money into the horse, they will need to be entered into races, although these are not free and the owners will be required to pay the entry fee. The alternative is to get lucky tips on the Grand National and continue to fund the horse’s care from a lucky bet. The owners will also need to pay the travel fees for the horse to travel up and down the country in order to enter into different races. If the trainer has the opinion that the horse is too exhausted and needs a rest, then they may advise the owners to send the horse on a holiday which will need to be paid by the owners.
While horses are certainly not cheap to keep, if you are an avid horse racing fan and would love to become more involved in the sport without having to spend a fortune, then a syndicate could be the answer for you. The money spent on a race horse is spent on keeping it in the best possible conditions and health. While some owners may get lucky and make a profit, the Racehorse Owners Association has said that for every £100 spent on a horse, the owner only get £20 back, meaning if you love horses and are not looking for a profit, this really is the way to go.