What Do Thoroughbred Bloodstock Agents Do?
Bloodstock agents are equine professionals who, in exchange for a commission, purchase and sell thoroughbred horses on behalf of their clients. Bloodstock agents may specialize in either racing or breeding stock, or in a combination of the two. While some agents are based in the United States, others specialize in thoroughbreds from other major racing regions such as Europe, Australia, and Japan.
Bloodstock agents can specialize even further on the racing side of the equation. While some agents specialize in identifying prospects for clients who intend to race the horses they acquire, they may also work with clients seeking horses they can resell for a profit in a short period of time, a practice known as “pinhooking.” These clients might purchase a weanling to sell as a yearling or a yearling to sell as a two-year-old in training.
A bloodstock agent may be involved in the breeding industry by advising clients on breeding plans for their mares as well as buying and selling stallion seasons.
Duties and Responsibilities of a Bloodstock Agent
Bloodstock agents are responsible for acquiring knowledge about specific horses and connecting buyers and sellers. Typical responsibilities include the following:
- Analyzing pedigrees and conformation in order to determine the value of thoroughbreds for sale privately or at public auction.
- They may bid on horses in the auction ring on behalf of their clients and may initiate or broker private sales of horses.
- Advising clients on breeding plans for their broodmares; they may assist in booking these mares with high-demand stallions.
- Assessing horses for insurance purposes or referring clients to insurance providers; agents typically earn a commission for the referral, which is paid by the insurance agency.
- Extensive travel to represent their clients at national and international sales.
- Constant networking and relationship building with industry professionals in order to sustain and grow their sales business.
- Collaboration with veterinarians, farriers, and other equine health professionals to assess individual horse’s fitness
Salary of Bloodstock Agents
Unless they are employed by a major player in the thoroughbred industry, bloodstock agents are self-employed and do not receive a fixed salary. They are compensated for their efforts with a percentage of the sale, typically 5%.
Additionally, some agents are retained for a set fee to provide advice on a number of horses for a specific buyer or seller. Agents with experience can earn between $80,000 and well over $100,000, while those just entering the industry can expect to earn in the range of $30,000.
As an agent gains experience and establishes contacts within the industry, their earning potential significantly increases. As self-employed individuals, bloodstock agents must factor in additional expenses such as health insurance, vehicle maintenance, and other travel expenses such as airfare and hotel stays.
Educating, Training, and Certifying
There are no formal educational requirements for becoming a bloodstock agent, and no licensing program.
Anyone with a solid understanding of the thoroughbred industry and an evaluative eye for horses can succeed in this business.
Most bloodstock agents begin their careers in the thoroughbred industry by working on a top breeding farm, as a trainer’s apprentice, or for a sales agency.
After gaining some practical industry experience, many agents seek out an apprenticeship with an experienced agent to learn the ropes of the bloodstock business.
Bloodstock Agent Competencies & Skills
A bloodstock agent should possess additional abilities that will enable them to excel in their position, including the following:
Thoroughbred pedigrees, equine anatomy and physiology, industry news, and current market trends are all areas of expertise.
Business skills: This career requires strong marketing, sales, and management abilities.
Recognize the rules: Acquaint yourself with the guidelines for ethical bloodstock agency operation. These guidelines were developed by the Sales Integrity Program.
Credibility: Because the success of a bloodstock agent is directly related to their industry reputation, it is in their best interest to conduct business honestly and in accordance with these guidelines.
Prospects for Employment
The thoroughbred industry has begun to show signs of improvement after several years of slow growth. Those involved in the thoroughbred industry believe the industry is reviving. In the next five years, sales of bloodstock agents are expected to increase.
Environment of Work
Bloodstock agents inspect horses for clients or potential clients at farms and boarding facilities. Additionally, they attend equine auctions.
Schedule of Work
Typically, a bloodstock agent is self-employed, which allows them to set their own hours. However, their work hours will almost certainly be dictated by their clients’ schedules and requirements.