A reader of this week’s post about the great work of the Thoroughbred Charities of America suggested that one way of funding equine charities would be to offer seriously rare seasons at auction and posed the question “Would it be possible, for the sake of charity, to auction off highly sought after breedings to pensioned stallions?”
Now, that is a good question. If scarcity increases value and what could be scarcer than seasons to pensioned stallions, then a shot at Storm Cat … or whomever was actually able to cover … would possess highly significant value.
But … as the following stallion managers explain, there are incidental considerations that would probably rule out charity seasons to pensioned stallions.
Ric Waldman, formerly consultant to Overbrook Farm and now consultant to other clients, said that “from the perspective of Storm Cat, if he were able to breed and impregnate mares, he wouldn’t be pensioned. There’s a considerable incentive to keep breeding him if he’s capable. He impregnated three mares out of the 32 or 33 he covered a year and a half ago. Even though he impregnated three, it took quite a few to get those pregnancies. As he ages, it would take a ratio larger than 10 – 1, you’d logically expect.
“Now if a cheaper stallion were retired due to unpopularity, that might be a different issue, but the dynamics that created the unpopularity would still operate if he were preeeding for charity. And there are a lot of other considerations involved in breeding stallions, whether for profit or charity,” such as expenses for insurance and labor.
Bernie Sams, who handles seasons and shares at Claiborne Farm, said that “if the horse is retired, nobody is going to do that. They have all been retired for a reason, either the horse’s health or fertility, usually. If a guy has retired a horse because he’s old, they aren’t going to take a chance of getting the horse hurt or getting one of the handlers hurt to breed a mare for charity. It just wouldn’t be a good idea.”