Protecting your wealth and succession by mitigating financial risks.

Protecting your wealth and succession by mitigating financial risks.

There are many benefits to owning horses – they encourage us to be physically active, get out in nature, and socialize with other enthusiasts. Any horse lover will also tell you that the bond between a horse and its owner is like no other, especially since healthy horses live, on average, between twenty-five and thirty years.  

Horses can also be valuable assets, if you know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.  If you’re new to horse ownership, there are several things to consider, including:

Know your motivation. Did you have horses as a kid, or has it been a lifelong dream? Do you plan on taking care of your horse yourself? If so, know that they are a huge commitment. They need large spaces to graze in and all-day access to grass, hay and water; at least one other animal to keep them company, be it another horse, a donkey or a goat, and daily grooming and inspection for injuries. If you are working eighty-hour weeks or are always travelling, you must find skilled groomers, trainers and other staff with years of experience and top-notch references. This way you’ll know your horse is being treated like royalty when you are not around.   

If it’s purely financial, know that there are far easier ways to make and maintain wealth. While investing in racehorses can be lucrative, it is also very risky. Depending on a horse’s bloodline, there is a huge price range from $10,000 to the hundreds of thousands or even millions. These prices do tend to rise and fall with the economy, so it’s advisable to time your purchases and sales accordingly, as you would with stocks or real estate. You can also expect to spend about upwards of $60,000 a year to train, feed, house and tend to your horse’s veterinary needs. This, according to experts, for a meager 10% chance that your horse will win. And if it gets injured, you can forget about any return at all.  This is why experts will tell you that unless you really love the sport, you should consider owning a five or ten percent stake in the horse, or forgo it altogether. They also suggest that breeding racehorses is the safer way to go, especially for new investors. 

Know your breed.  Various breeds have different requirements in order to stay happy and healthy. “Hot breeds,” such as Thoroughbreds and Arabians, are lightly built and highly intelligent and spirited animals that thrive while racing or engaging in other sports; they can also be easily spooked. Other breeds, such as the Paint horse or American Quarter horse, are heavily and calmer. Once you know why you are buying the horse, you will have a better idea of what breed best suits your lifestyle.  

Get help from an expert.  Investing in racehorses is a complicated endeavor with an enormous learning curve. Unless you grew up with hands-on experience, and have the time to spend, you need to hire an advisor with a proven track record.  

Finally, if passing down wealth to your kids is a priority, speak with them about their interest in such an investment.  The goal is to protect and protect for them, not leave them with a burden. If they share your passion for horses, great. If they don’t, there are much sounder, less time-consuming bequests you can make to them.

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