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One part of Observer’s question was how shuttle fees compare to native Argentine fees.

Overall, the shuttle horses are much more expensive, usually three to five times higher than comparable horses.

But the Argentine breeders don’t like throwing money around. They are pretty conservative with their financial outlays, and as a result, they do some creative arrangements: multiples for a reduced fee, package purchases for stallions from a particular farm, and season swaps between farms or breeders.

It sounds somewhat complicated, but so long as the principals are happy, it’s their call.

One thing that makes the more complicated arrangements possible, I believe, is that most of the principals in these deals are closely involved. Typically an adviser or manager will arrange things, but the owners know what is going on in detail. That level of involvement makes everyone more comfortable and makes the deals simpler.

*** There is also the peculiar situation that the Argentine breeders have some very good home-grown talent in the stallion ranks that are very modestly priced.

Until this year, the top young sires Equal Stripes (by Candy Stripes) and Sebi Halo (Southern Halo) could be used at very modest fees. Yet they have proven themselves as the equals of or superiors to the fancy and expensive shuttle stallions in this environment.

Racing and training in the Argentine environment makes an important difference.

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