Syndicates and The Event Owners’ Task Force

Behold photographic greatness

The Thursday activities at the USEA convention–or at least the activities I will write about–concluded with the Event Owners’ Task Force meeting.  Before I jump into writing about syndicates, let me just apologize in advance for the many typos I will have this weekend.  I write most of these meeting recap posts as the meetings are going on so that I can make it to as many meetings as possible.  It’s a perfect storm for grammatical and spelling incompetenec.   Also, I am here to serve your reading desires, so if you have any special requests for convention coverage please let us know in the comment section of this post.

The Event Owners’ Task Force meeting was all about syndicating event horses as a way to get more owners involved and give riders better access to funding.  The beauty of syndication is that splitting horses up into less expensive shares allows more owners to become involved with more horses.  The EOTF is a great resource to help facilitate the formation of syndicates and it can provide significant experience and cost advantages to help make syndicates happen.

A few key points that were stressed by the EOTF’s Dr. Mark Hart:

–A well designed syndicate proactively protects both owners and riders.  There have been several high profile ownership messes in the past year that could have been avoided with quality legal contracts.
–Every syndicate is different and it should be shaped accordingly.
–From experience, syndicates work best when the horse is managed by the rider in consultation with the owners.
–A reasonable legal cost for a syndicate through the EOTF is around $2,500 by modifying their existing contracts rather than $15,000 for drafting completely new contracts without the EOTF.

The EOTF asked Boyd to give a speech about his successful experience syndicating both Neville and Otis Barbotiere.  Boyd owned Neville for a long time before syndicating him into 10 shares for $15,000 per piece and $3,000 per year.  When Boyd found Otis he couldn’t gather enough people to fully syndicate the horse so he partially funded the purchase himself.  Boyd then sold off the remaining shares of Otis over time and the horse is now fully syndicated. 

Boyd said that he was comfortable finding a horse, purchasing it, and then syndicating it after the purchase, but this is obviously a high risk strategy.  The advantage is that you can secure the horse and demonstrate commitment while you take the time to find owners.

Boyd strongly suggested not using syndication as a means of financial gain for the rider.  He also suggested that the rider should update the owners consistently with good and bad news.  Boyd also recommended insurance for a syndicated horse because the rider is typically liable for expenses above what the owners agree to pay each year.  Coordinating travel plans/accommodations with owners, having dinner with the owners at events, and making sure that the owners are invited to all of the social functions at events are other important steps that Boyd suggested to keeping owners happy.

One thing I think was very smart that came out of the discussion is that the rider should ideally own at least one share of a syndicated horse.  This shows the other prospective owners that the rider’s interests are aligned with their own.  We were sworn to secrecy in the meeting, but stay tuned for an exciting new initiative of the EOTF coming soon to a computer near you, soon.  Go eventing.

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