Bloodstock agents are people who are paid a commission to buy and sell horses. A bloodstock agent assists owners in the evaluation of horses, based upon pedigree and conformation, for the purpose of buying and selling at public auction or private sales. Generally speaking, they may also facilitate the purchase process, including establishing credit with the sales company, finding an equine veterinarian and selecting an appropriate boarding facility.
It should come as no surprise that selecting the right bloodstock agent is not always as easy as it seems. However, as with any important business decision, exercise good judgment and sound reasoning, and above all, trust your instincts.
TOBA recommends that every owner consider these tips in making his or her selection:
Consult industry-accepted reference materials.
The TOBA Membership Directory and The Source for International Racing and Breeding, published by The Blood-Horse, Inc., provides the names and addresses of many bloodstock agents.
Solicit recommendations from reputable industry insiders.
Ask other participants in the industry, including sales company executives, owners, trainers, racing officials or investigators, their recommendations and endorsements.
Contact local horsemen's organizations for recommendations of reputable agents.
Ask others within the industry about the reputation and character of your candidates. Remember, there will be a reluctance on the part of many to make less than complimentary remarks about an individual. Instead, they may refer you to someone else or offer an evasive answer.
Conduct actual interviews of potential bloodstock agent candidates.
Evaluate the candidates as you would any other financial advisor.
Agents typically will charge a small commission (i.e., 5%) for the purchase or sale of a horse. Obtain assurances that your agent will fully disclose all commissions for every transaction. Determine if the agent regularly buys from the same consignor. This may evidence a good working relationship, and it should be discussed openly and frankly with your agent.
Review their past purchases with the references. Have the horses been successful? Does this agent have experience buying within your price range?
Establish guidelines to resolve potential disagreements.
Above all, recognize it is your investment, your money and ultimately your horse. Retain the final say.