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How would you approach?

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  • How would you approach?

    I believe there have been posts about blogs that cover something similar to this, but what is the best way to approach a TB owner and let him know that should he ever choose to retire a specific horse, you would love to provide a retirement home?

    A little background... I worked for a race owner about 10 years ago and they had quite a few fillies. I grew particularly fond of one filly. She was, however, a successful racehorse winning a couple stakes and went on to a breeding career for the same owners. A few years later, they sold her. She's now 17 and has produced a few winners and is the granddam to a stakes winner. I've found her current owner and his website states that "everything is for sale." I have no interest in breeding racehorses, so given her race and produce records, I assume that she'd be priced out of my range.

    Would you approach the owner and let him know that you'd be interested in her when he is done breeding her? I believe he has about 100 mares in his broodmare band, so I'm not even sure this is something he could keep track of. I've also wondered if correspondence like this would be considered insulting, because I'm not interested in purchasing her at her broodmare value. ("Hey, I don't want her at 5 or 6 figures, but if you'd ever consider taking $X for her, give me a call." And honestly, I'm not even sure what "X" would be, but I don't expect him to give away mares.) He's a commercial breeder, and lining up retirement homes for his mares isn't exactly a profitable venture.

    Any guidance, opinions, or links are appreciated, even if it means walking away and leaving this breeder alone.

  • #2
    Go for it. Lining up retirement homes such as what you're offering would be a godsend to most breeding farms at this time. Even as giveaways. What's her name? I can check to see if she was bred for this year.
    It's a uterus, not a clown car. - Sayyedati


    • #3
      I agree: Just go for it. Contact the owner and tell him you would love to provide a good retirement home for this mare. Tell him you'd be happy to contact him every year or six months or so just so that he doesn't have to keep track -- in other words, you'll do the work. I'm sure he'd be thrilled to know that he has a safe place for at least one mare to go.
      "If you can't feed 'em, don't breed 'em."


      • #4
        At 17, she is somewhere toward the end of her breeding career & the economy has been brutal to a lot of breeders. She may be dirt-cheap, she may be free NOW (or she may still be out of your price range, but until you ask, you'll never know).

        I've had people approach me several times, to let me know that if a specific horse ever needs a place to go, they will provide it. We're a small operation & while I haven't taken anyone up on it, I have appreciated the fact that there is someone out there who loves one of my horses enough to offer it a home. And frankly, for some of our horses, if someone offered to buy & give it a home for life, I'd sell very reasonably because we have a couple that I really like, but know would be happier with a human to call their own (and not have to share the carrots with 20+ other horses).

        I say approach politely, explain you are a retirement home for a horse you "knew way back when" & see what they say. Even if she is not in your price range now, come next autumn, you might get a call to come get her.

        We've been on both sides of this equation -- We once made an offer on a filly at the track - our offer was below her claiming price. The owner/trainer turned us down, dropped her for a claim a little above our offer (I think that was his way of negotiating price) & we didn't claim her. Several months later, he called & she was ours at our offered price.

        Keep it friendly, put your price range out there (but don't ask them to give her to you because then you look like you can't afford to feed her & they won't take you seriously) & make sure you can go get her when they DO call!

        Good luck.
        Hidden Echo Farm, Carlisle, PA -- home of JC palomino sire Canadian Kid (1990 - 2013) & AQHA sire Lark's Favorite, son of Rugged Lark.


        • #5
          If you want to buy her now, I agree with KB. However, I don't see anything wrong with offering to take the horse (for free) and give it a retirement home when her breeding career is over. Unless they are actively riding/training her, she really doesn't have much value to them (or anyone) when she's done breeding. Yes, you can offer a small amount -- about what they'd get at auction, but let's hope they know what will likely happen to her if she ends up at auction.

          If they are smart, they'll be thrilled to give her to you as a forever home when she is no longer breeding.
          "If you can't feed 'em, don't breed 'em."


          • Original Poster

            Slewdledo was kind enough to look her up for me and found that she was bred to Notional for a 2011 foal. She also gave me a mailing address for the owner. I've started drafting a letter to the owner and my plan is to mail a letter and if I don't hear anything back, follow-up by email in a few weeks.

            For anyone else who'd like to take a peek, her name is Swearingen. Based on my limited knowledge of commercial breeding, I assume that she still has some value as a broodmare based on her race record, despite her age. I still haven't decided what a fair offer would be for a retired broodmare, so I think I'll keep it a bit open ended in my letter. I'll offer to purchase her, though. I certainly don't want to insult him or his breeding operation and I hope my offer to purchase her lends a little credibility to my intention of giving her a good retirement home.

            Thank you to everyone for your input. It's exciting to have encouragement to approach the owner. I find it a bit intimidating and I can use lots of moral support!


            • #7
              I know the mare. Sold a foal out of her. Rob is one of the nicest guys in the business and I bet he would love to know that the mare would have a loving home when retired. He has a website www.liberationfarm.com. I would give him a call, tell him you have a history with the mare and would like to keep in touch. Then, follow it up with an email with your contact info. She's a stakes producer (Triple Cream), so they will probably try for another foal or two.


              • Original Poster

                Originally posted by Las Olas View Post
                I know the mare. Sold a foal out of her. Rob is one of the nicest guys in the business and I bet he would love to know that the mare would have a loving home when retired. He has a website www.liberationfarm.com. I would give him a call, tell him you have a history with the mare and would like to keep in touch. Then, follow it up with an email with your contact info. She's a stakes producer (Triple Cream), so they will probably try for another foal or two.
                Awesome! It's always amazing how small the horse world really is. I looked at his website, but I don't see a phone number. Unless someone on here has it, I'll try sending him an email from his website.

                In addition to Triple Cream, her daughter (Prettyatthetable) is also the dam of Pomeroys Pistol. I assume that he isn't quite done breeding Swearingen yet, but I'd like to offer a retirement home for her in case his plans change. I want to make sure she always has somewhere safe (and loving!) to go.

                Digital cameras were a novelty back while she was still on the track, so I don't have any pictures of her saved on my computer. I'm going to look back at a couple albums and see if I can find one or two to scan.


                • #9
                  I love Rob -- what a great guy. I'm sure he'll be very happy to hear from you. He's a fan of older mares for breeding -- he wrote a piece on it a few years ago. Brilliant man. Great advocate for horses, too. Next time I see him, I'll throw in a good word for you
                  "If you can't feed 'em, don't breed 'em."


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Bacchus View Post
                    I love Rob -- what a great guy. I'm sure he'll be very happy to hear from you. He's a fan of older mares for breeding -- he wrote a piece on it a few years ago. Brilliant man. Great advocate for horses, too. Next time I see him, I'll throw in a good word for you
                    How cool of you to make this offer.

                    Mrs. Smith, I wish you all the best in your quest to provide this mare a wonderful retirement home!
                    Proud owner of a Slaughter-Bound TB from a feedlot, and her surprise baby...!