How to Become a Bloodstock Agent

bloodstock agent

bloodstock agent

What is a Bloodstock Agent?

An equine expert known as a bloodstock agent purchases and sells thoroughbred horses on behalf of their clients in exchange for a commission. Bloodstock agents might focus on breeding stock, racing stock, or a mix of the two. While some agents may focus on providing services in the United States, others may have specialized knowledge of thoroughbreds in other significant racing regions including Europe, Australia, and Japan.

Bloodstock agents can specialize even further on the racing side of the equation. While some agents concentrate on finding opportunities for clients who race the horses they buy, they may also deal with clients who are interested in finding horses that they can quickly flip for a profit, a practice known as “pinhooking.” They could buy a weanling to sell as a yearling or a yearling to sell as a two-year-old in training, for example.

A bloodstock agent may assist clients with buying and selling stallion seasons as well as giving advice on breeding strategies for their mares.

Duties and Responsibilities of a Bloodstock Agent

A bloodstock agent’s responsibilities include learning about particular horses and connecting buyers and sellers. Among their regular responsibilities are:

  1. Studying pedigrees and conformation to determine the worth of thoroughbreds up for auction, both publicly and privately.
  2. Placing bids on horses for their clients in the auction ring and initiating or brokering arrangements for horses up for private sale.
  3. Giving clients advice on how to use their broodmares for breeding; they could also arrange for the booking of these mares with desirable stallions.
  4. Evaluating horses for insurance reasons or directing clients to insurance providers; bloodstock agents often get paid a fee for the recommendation from the insurance company.
  5. Extensive travel for client representation at domestic and international sales.
  6. Maintaining and growing their sales career requires constant networking and relationship-building with individuals in the industry.
  7. Assessing each horse’s fitness in close collaboration with veterinarians, farriers, and other equine health specialists.

bloodstock agent

Salary of a Bloodstock Agent

Bloodstock agents are independent contractors who do not get a predetermined wage unless they are retained by a significant thoroughbred enterprise. A commission on the sale, often 5 percent, serves as payment for their work.

For a predetermined fee, some agents are also placed “on retainer” and offer guidance on a variety of horses to a specific buyer or seller. While inexperienced agents might expect to earn a lower compensation in the area of $30,000, experienced agents can make anywhere from $80,000 to well over $100,000.

An agent’s earning potential improves significantly as they gain industry knowledge and make more relationships. Bloodstock agents must consider a number of additional expenditures as self-employed people, including keeping a company vehicle, paying for their own health insurance, and other travel expenses like lodging and flights.

Bloodstock Agent Certification, Training and Education

Being a bloodstock agent has no particular educational qualifications, and there is no official licensing process.

Success in this profession is possible for anyone with significant thoroughbred industry knowledge and a keen eye for horses.

The majority of bloodstock agents rise through the ranks of the thoroughbred industry, beginning their careers as apprentices to trainers, sales agents, or working at top breeding farms.

Many people decide to go for an apprenticeship with an experienced bloodstock agent to learn the ropes of the bloodstock business after acquiring some practical industry experience.

Knowledge and Skills of Bloodstock Agents

To thrive in their position, a bloodstock agent needs to also possess extra talents, such as the following:

  1. Excellent understanding of the pedigrees of thoroughbred horses, equine anatomy, physiology, business news, and current market trends.
  2. To succeed in this career, bloodstock agents need strong marketing, sales, and business management abilities.
  3. Know the rules for conducting a bloodstock agency in an ethical manner.
  4. A bloodstock agent should do business honestly and in compliance with the rules since their success is largely related to their reputation in the industry.

bloodstock agent

Bloodstock Agent’s Environment for Work

In order to look at horses for clients or potential clients, bloodstock agents visit farms and boarding establishments. They regularly go to horse auctions as well.

Schedule of Work for a Bloodstock Agent

Typically working for themselves, bloodstock agents have the flexibility to choose their own hours. The schedules and requirements of their clients, though, will probably determine how much time they spend at work.

Whether you are new to the game, experiencing more losses than wins or just looking for a new approach, I am confident that I can help you breed or buy a better racehorse. To find out more about OPTIMAL Matings and how they can help your program, please subscribe to my Blog/News page HERE to receive future information on complimentary mating recommendations, sales short lists, stakes winner pedigree analysis, news on personal client success and any other random thoughts or ideas that I may have. Also, receive a complimentary copy of my report “Blind Luck or Designed Luck? – How A Kentucky Derby Winner Was Bred” sent directly to your inbox.

For inquiries or more information about Shepherd Equine Advisers, please contact Clark Shepherd at 859-321-6618, or by email at

I would love to hear any comments or questions that you may have. Please submit them below. Maybe we can address them in a future post!

I am a thoroughbred bloodstock agent and sales adviser. I help like-minded owners and breeders challenge the status-quo of commercial speculation by breeding or buying better racehorses via extensive pedigree analysis, physical evaluation and results-driven experience. To find out more about how my services can help your program, please contact me at 859-321-6618, or by email at

One thought on “How to Become a Bloodstock Agent

  1. I have been following your Facebook page for about 4 yrs and appreciate your knowledge and honesty. I have been involved in racing for almost 30 years as a former backstretch worker, and owner . I have had success in partnership and more recently as an owner of a black typed mare who is now retired and in foal to Hoppertunity. I am thinking of putting her in the mid Atlantic mixed sale this December. I am looking to stay in the game but I am finding it harder due to my finances. I look forward to your continued information and any advice you may provide me as to how to survive in this very difficult but rewarding game I so love , called horse racing.

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