Selecting a trainer is one of the most important decisions you can make as a racehorse owner, right up there with choosing your horse. There are a number of factors you might take into consideration as you ponder your choice:
- Location – you’ll be visiting the yard often, so you might like to consider where’s easiest for you to get travel to, or which area you’d enjoy visiting the most.
- Personality – you’ve got to ‘gel’ with your trainer, if you don’t ‘get’ them, it’ll be less enjoyable and eventually you may rub each other up the wrong way!
- Communication – each trainer communicates differently and it’s important you find someone that communicates well and makes you feel part of the team.
One other crucial factor to consider is the ownership experience you’re looking for and often the size of the yard can have a strong bearing on this.
Should you choose a big yard or a bespoke yard?
It depends on your personal preferences – do you want to be a vital part of a focussed hard-working team striving for success, or do you want to be a small part of a big machine?
People sometimes gravitate towards the bigger trainers due to their well-established record, or due to the prestige associated with them – but here are 11 reasons to choose a bespoke training yard over a big operation…
#1 It’s A Journey!
It could be said that choosing a bespoke trainer is really immersing yourself in horseracing. You can experience the highs and lows of racing with a bespoke trainer who’s truly with you every step of the way.
#2 Sense Of Achievement
Much like working your way up in life, you feel a greater sense of achievement if you’ve done it on your own efforts and achievements, rather than getting a leg-up from someone else.
Sending your horse to a bespoke yard, gives you the immense pleasure of working your way up with them, the achievements you attain together are deserved, cherished and reached through teamwork and dedication. This gives you, as the owner, a greater degree of satisfaction as you’ve had a greater input into the success of your horse and the yard.
#3 Personal Service
Aside from the training of your horse, bespoke yards are able to absolutely ensure that you get a personal service. Even tailoring the way they communicate with you and making sure you’ve got all the information you need in a way that works for you. You receive more one-on-one contact and an all-around more personalised service.
#4 Bespoke Training
As a lean operation bespoke yards are able to swiftly tailor the training method around each horse’s individual needs, to get the best out of them and to ensure soundness and wellbeing of your horse as a priority. With bespoke trainers each horse is given the same care, consideration and importance, after all losing a horse means losing an owner which is critical to the bespoke trainer’s business.
#5 Enhance Your Experience
With a horse in training with a bespoke trainer you’ll experience the thrill of attending the racecourse to watch your horse run more often. Bespoke trainers work to ensure that your horse reaches his potential through planning the best possible racing career, whereas, unfortunately the big trainers aren’t always able to do this, as it’s just not really practical or possible to do so. Bespoke trainers are ultimately in a better position to be able to manage your horse’s career and provide you with a more fulfilling, immersive and varied experience.
#6 Join A Team
As an owner in a bespoke yard you really do become a fundamental part of the team. You strive for success and excellence together. Your support and the decisions you take together on the career of your horse contribute greatly to your achievements and success as an owner and that of the yard.
#7 Become A Friend
You walk into a bespoke yard and the whole team knows who you are and how you like your tea, you’re welcomed as a friend. Bespoke trainers are naturally closer to their owners, whereas often it’s just not practical for big trainers to deal with everyone and so you get delegated out to someone else.
#8 Make A Difference
As an owner in a bespoke yard you can make a real difference to the lives and fortunes of other people. Everyone in racing works hard, no one is looking for a free ride, however, all yards need owners to send them horses to survive as a business. Without you, businesses fail, dreams are broken and unemployment rises. Sending your horse or horses to a bespoke yard makes a massive difference to very hard-working people in the industry. You are the pivotal factor that turns the team’s fortunes on its head. This might sound a little dramatic, but it’s true!
#9 Support The Industry And Encourage Diversity
Sending your horses to a bespoke yard is beneficial for the industry and the sport as a whole. There needs to be diversity to even make it a sport! It would be less of a sport with only a few large training operations competing against each other. Much like the supermarkets and the independent shops on the high-street, if owners don’t use bespoke trainers, they’ll disappear.
As often is the case, horseracing operates a few years behind the trends – local is the new global has been a trend for a long time…it’s time it came to racing. The proven method of reviving local communities is to encourage and support small independently run businesses and shops, and this seems to apply perfectly to the sport of horseracing.
The industry and the sport wouldn’t want to lose the diverse personalities and inspirational stories wrapped up in the strivings of the bespoke training operations and so the diversity of the trainers needs to be supported and preserved. Owners who send their horses to bespoke trainers are imperative to the sport.
#10 Support Ambition
Bespoke yards are never lacking in character or ambition. They’re driven by the same competitive spirit as any of the larger operations. Everyone started somewhere and bespoke yards continually look for every opportunity and work hard to get ahead. But like any business, they cannot do it alone and require the support of owners to fulfil their ambitions.
#11 Quality Over Quantity
Racing is clearly a numbers game in many ways and anyone could do well with hundreds of horses! Maths would suggest that a certain amount of them would be good horses. However, bespoke trainers keep their numbers low and endeavour to improve the quality of their horses over time.
There are likely many more reasons to choose a bespoke trainer over a large yard, I’d love to hear them if you can think of any more. Meanwhile, if you’d like to find out more about racehorse ownership you can download my comprehensive ‘Guide To Becoming A Racehorse Owner’ below or contact me to arrange a chat.