How Can a Thoroughbred Bloodstock Agent Help You?

bloodstock agents

What Do Thoroughbred Bloodstock Agents Do?

bloodstock agentsThoroughbred bloodstock agents are equine professionals who buy and sell thoroughbred horses on behalf of their clients in exchange for a commission. Bloodstock agents can specialize in racing stock, breeding stock, or a combination of both areas. Some agents may offer U.S. based services while others have specialty knowledge about thoroughbreds in other major racing areas such as Europe, Australia, and Japan.

On the racing side of the equation, bloodstock agents can specialize even further. While some agents focus on identifying prospects for clients who race what they purchase, they also may work with clients who seek horses that they can resell in a short period of time for a profit, which is known as “pinhooking.” For instance, these clients would purchase a weanling to sell as a yearling, or a yearling to sell as a two-year-old in training.

On the breeding side of things, a thoroughbred bloodstock agent may be involved with advising clients on breeding plans for their mares, as well as buying and selling stallion seasons.

Bloodstock Agent Duties & Responsibilities

Thoroughbred bloodstock agents have a list of duties that revolve around gaining knowledge about specific horses and bringing buyers and sellers together. Some of their typical duties include:

  • Analyzing pedigrees and conformation to assess the value of thoroughbreds being offered for sale, both privately and at public auctions
  • Bidding on horses in the auction ring for their clients and may initiate or broker deals for horses being offered privately
  • Advising clients on breeding plans for their broodmares; they may facilitate the booking of these mares to stallions that are in high demand
  • Appraising horses for insurance purposes or direct their clients to providers of insurance; agents usually receive a commission for the referral, paid to them by the insurance agency
  • Extensive traveling to represent their clients at sales across the country and internationally
  • Constant networking and building of relationships with industry professionals to maintain and expand their sales business
  • Working closely with veterinarians, farriers, and other equine health professionals to evaluate the fitness of individual horses

Bloodstock Agent Salary

Unless under contract to a major player in the thoroughbred industry, bloodstock agents are self-employed and do not earn a set salary. They are compensated for their efforts by a commission on the sale, generally 5%.

Some agents also are kept “on retainer” for a set price and provide advice on a number of horses for a particular buyer or seller. Experienced agents can make $80,000 to well over $100,000 while agents just starting out in the industry can expect to earn a more modest salary in the range of $30,000.

As an agent gains experience and develops more contacts in the industry, their earning potential increases dramatically. As self-employed individuals, bloodstock agents must take into consideration various additional expenses such as paying for their own healthcare insurance, maintaining a business vehicle, and other travel costs such as airfare and hotel stays.

Bloodstock Agent Skills & Competencies

A bloodstock agent should have additional skills to help them excel in their job, such as the following:

  • Knowledge: An excellent knowledge of thoroughbred pedigrees, equine anatomy and physiology, industry news, and current market trends.
  • Business skills: Strong marketing, sales, and business management skills to be successful in this career.
  • Know the rules: Be familiar with the guidelines for the ethical operation of a bloodstock agency; these guidelines were drafted by the Sales Integrity Program.
  • Credibility: A bloodstock agent’s success is closely tied to their reputation in the industry, so it is in their best interest to conduct business honestly and in accordance with these guidelines.

Work Environment

Bloodstock agents travel to farms and boarding facilities to look at horses for clients or potential clients. They also attend equine auctions.

Work Schedule

A thoroughbred bloodstock agent is typically self-employed, which offers the ability for them to set their own hours. However, their work time will likely be dictated by the schedules and needs of their clients.

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 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

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