Horse Racing Syndicates: How to Share Costs and Own a Racehorse

Horse Racing Syndicates: How to Share Costs and Own a Racehorse

Syndicated partnerships are an exciting and affordable way to invest in a racehorse.

horse racing pack (Credit: Bee Silva)

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Horse racing partnerships, often known as syndicates, are a great way for racing novices to get involved in the sport of American Quarter Horse racing. The overhead cost can be lower than solely owning a horse, as the bills are shared between partners, and the fun factor is high, as you don’t have to be physically involved in the daily grind of caring for and training the horse. If you’re interested in getting involved in owning a racehorse, here are a few tips to get you started.

Keep the partnership simple and get everything in writing. If you’re a beginner when it comes to Quarter Horse racing, ownership can sometimes be overwhelming. Where do all the checks go? If you’re thinking of putting together a partnership, keep it as straightforward as possible. According to Butch Wise, AQHA first vice president and a racing professional who promotes Quarter Horse racing by forming ownership groups, keeping it simple is a key to success.

“If novices don’t have to go through the expensive lessons, write all those checks and pay that tuition, they’re going to have a helluva lot more fun,” says Butch. “They’ll probably be more likely to stay long term in this business than they would have otherwise.”

Be sure to have a straightforward contract with your partners that outlines terms regarding payments and number of shares owned.

Find a horse you like and a great veterinarian you trust. When purchasing your first racehorse privately or at a public sale, make sure your veterinarian accompanies you. Don’t have a veterinarian yet? Search Get-A-DVM to find an American Association of Equine Practitioners-recommended vet. It’s important to have the professional opinion of a veterinarian when it comes to reading X-rays and spotting other signs of potential lameness issues.

Decide how many shares will be offered in a horse. Try to keep it simple when dividing up shares. Butch recommends keeping the shares in a horse to 10. Keep the lines of communication open between partners to ensure trust and success. The person in charge of the syndicate needs to be a good communicator to keep partners informed of what’s going on with the horse.

Choose your trainer wisely. Do your research when it comes to choosing a trainer for your newly purchased racehorse. Once the horse clears the vet check, there’s an even better chance that your horse will stay sound if the animal is in the hands of a capable trainer.

Map out a plan and consult with your partners and trainer. Talk to your trainer and map out a plan for the horse – including certain races you want to aim for. If your partners want to watch the horse race in person, be sure to choose a trainer that frequents your local circuit.

Figure out what to do if the syndicate falls apart before you even get started. It’s essential to have a plan in place if one of the owners wants to sell his or her share. Offer the share to the syndicate members first; that way, if the horse increases (or decreases) in value, existing members get the right of first refusal. If someone outside of the syndicate offers to buy the horse for a nice chunk of change, there needs to be a voting process in place between members. Be sure to put everything in writing at the start of the partnership.

Have fun! There’s nothing better than running down to the winners circle to have your photo taken with your horse! Experiencing horse racing firsthand enables new owners to see the positive aspects of the industry. Win or lose, it’s all about the experience, the sportsmanship and the camaraderie.

Quarter Horse racing syndicates are a fantastic way to get started in the world of racehorse ownership with less risk overall. New owners are an essential part of the horse racing industry – and partnerships will help the industry thrive for years to come.