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Breeding horses doesn’t get any simpler. Only the people do.

Where once long ago, breeders used only home stallions, they replaced that approach with syndication that caught fire through the 1950s through the 1980s. Syndicates allowed both control of important breeding stock by a fairly small group of people, and the concept spread the risk of stallion ownership so that it was more rewarding to syndicate a stallion and yet safer for all parties.

The tax law revisions of the late 1980s compounded with the evolution of the commercial marketplace to bring breeding its present state, essentially ruled by solely owned stallions overbred in numbers and overpriced in fees compared to any metric of value for their offspring in the market.

One tweak on the old practice of syndication is the creation of breeding rights, which offer lifetime access to a stallion without the annual expenses required by syndicate share ownership.

Spendthrift Farm has turned this approach to its benefit in the creation of groups of breeders with rights in most of their young stallions. And for their new stallion for 2011, Warrior’s Reward (b h 2006, by Medaglia d’Oro x For All You Do, by Seeking the Gold), the program works this way.

The breeder nominates two mares, one for 2011 and 2012, at a cost of $15,000 stand and nurse for each live foal. After payment of the two annual stud fees, the breeder owns a breeding right for the 2013 breeding season and “continues throughout the breeding life of the stallion.”

This is an interesting approach to the puzzle of getting enough mares to fill a stallion’s book, especially in the third and fourth years, and it offers an incentive to breeders if they believe in a horse and want to help make him successful.

Will other farms take up this approach or try something different?

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