Saturday, January 30, 2010

NY-Breds & VLTs --- a very good thing!

Aqueduct Entertainment Group’s (AEG) VLT strategy could make NY-Breds the most sought after state-breds in the country... the plan is good for New York breeders, good for horsemen, good for owners and good for racing....

AEG is projecting that NY Racing will receive $67 Million in 2010 and within a few years these payments will exceed $100 million per annum. By then, on an annual basis, NY Thoroughbred Breeders will receiving nearly $10 million and Racing Purses will be receiving nearly $50 million in Racing Support Payments.

Total Racing Support Payments between 2010 and 2023 areprojected to be over $1.5 billion.

To get UR share of NY purses with a Wild Girl call 1.877.WINS.BIG

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Empire Strikes Back -- NY Stallion Show a Success

What is now Empire Stud has long been one of my favorite equine properties in upstate New York. Located in Hudson, the picturesque farm is set atop a hill that shows off its bluegrass-style barns and elegant paddock design.

I remember visiting the farm as little girl, and it made an indelible impression on me -- the big stalls, high ceilings, miles of fencing, and the long tree-lined drive leading up to the stables were remarkable; it set a standard in my mind, which I have appreciatively held onto as a professional.

On this past Saturday, January 16th, Empire Stud held an Open House to show off their 2010 roster of stallions, and give an opportunity for clients and associates to mingle. It was a bright, beautiful day as the lauded horses paraded by, each one standing for observation and photos. The atmosphere overall was fun and relaxed, including a projector screen running video clips of the in-house studs’ memorable wins, tasteful catering, and plenty of available staff for conversation and questions.

The occasion displayed a successful break with the past; over the previous 25 years, many different outfits have tried their hand at NY breeding on the property, but none could get a foothold--even with the support of the state’s lucrative incentive program. Year after year, driving past the farm at the intersection of routes 9H and 23, the name on the entranceway would rotate like a billboard on the Northway.

Since Jamie LaMonica took over the estate, the facility has consistently been improved and a solid management team is in place, led by farm manager Bertrand deBrevedent.

I began doing business with Empire in 2007, when we sent UR mare Austin Runner to the farm to deliver her Catienus baby, now known as Desenfrenado. We then bred back to Midas Eyes, whose fiery temperament was in play for the crowds yesterday, when during his walk outside he reared onto his back feet with impatience. Truly her sire’s daughter, our girl Goldie is a mischievous, blazing Chestnut filly, who seemed ready to race the moment she was born.

A man with a vision, LaMonica has now stocked the farm with both proven sires and hot young prospects, a mix that certainly drew a large turnout for this week’s event. The vibrant spirit among NY Breeders suggested optimism for the future, and an eagerness to take advantage of the pro-business climate in racing; the imminent VLT program, high purses, and small foal crop are all excellent reasons to get involved in NY thoroughbred ownership at this time.

Unbridled Racing is proud to recommend Empire Stud, and wishes them a victorious 2010.

Frost Giant ~ Regally bred G1 Winner by Giant's Causeway

Posse ~ Champion Sire of Eclipse contender Kodiak Kowboy (G1)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Unbridled Expansion

UR Stable is fast out of the gate in 2010 prompting the construction of a dozen new stalls to house our young NY-Bred horses by Wild Desert, Ten Most Wanted, Hook and Ladder, Mustanfar and Midas Eyes. For those of you trying to reach me, I suggest the cell number this weekend! The pictures tell the story along with a few of my favorite quotes -- I hope you too will draw inspiration from them...

A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step....

This is kind of work that makes the gym seem easy.
“Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time.
Vision with action can change the world.” Joel A. Barker

My husband and best friend Andrew.

“The key elements in the art of working together are how to deal with change, how to deal with conflict, and how to reach our potential...the needs of the team are best met when we meet the needs of individuals persons.” Max De Pree (1924-); Author, Former Ceo Of Herman Miller, Inc.

“Integrity is what we say, what we do, and what we say we do.” Don Galer

Motel Malibu and Appro listen to the contruction.

“In life you can never be too kind or too fair; everyone you meet is carrying a heavy load. When you go through your day expressing kindness and courtesy to all you meet, you leave behind a feeling of warmth and good cheer, and you help alleviate the burdens everyone is struggling with.” Brian Tracy (1944-); Motivational Author

Tired from a long day's work, covered in dirt and just plain cold --, my daughter Rachel, the photographer, cheered me up with a mural on the wall.

“If you're trying to achieve, there will be road blocks. I've had them; everybody has had them. But obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”
Michael Jordan (1963-); Retired Professional Basketball Player, Businessman

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Real Cost of Boarding Horses in 2010

As the new year beckons us to consider all aspects of our lives, the issue of finances comes up for many people, and horse-owners are no exception. For those of you who board your horses, do you really know exactly what you are paying for? Not every stable offers a breakdown of the expenses covered by your monthly check, and while day-to-day necessities are typically priced the same regionally, board costs from stable to stable certainly are not -- nor should they be.

To better understand what your money goes to, first consider the most obvious costs: grain, hay, bedding, and labor. The average price of a 50-pound bag of quality grain is $15, and an average size horse, around 1200 pounds, eats between 12 to 24lbs per day, depending on activity level. Horses in training and pregnant, lactating mares consume the most grain. The typical price of a bale of hay is $5, a horse will eat between 1/2 to 3/4 of a bale in 24 hours. Shavings average approximately $6 per bag, and a horse will require 5 bags per week for maintaining a clean stall. An increased bedding cost will be incurred for mares and foals, who need to bedded on both straw and shavings. While they need the comfort and cushion of a shavings-base, the direct inhalation of shaving dust is a serious, potentially fatal risk for babies while lying down. Given that consideration, straw needs to cover the area of the stall over the shavings, protecting foals from dust. A mare and foal will go through 4 bags of shavings and 2 bales of straw per week; straw is generally priced at $5 per bale. The cost of labor, which can be estimated at $10 per hour for an experienced, knowledgeable farmhand, will vary according to how much time is spent care-taking for the horses, the barn, and the land, but for proper supervision of all elements, at least 8 hours per day can be expected. Other, more hidden costs are often related to the facility itself, and to as-needed aspects of equine care. For the barn, items such as camera systems ($500+), stall guards ($50 each), feed tubs ($30 each), water buckets ($10) each, and other necessities such as fans, heat lamps, tools and hardware, etc, can go unnoticed by the boarder, but certainly not to the property owner! The same goes for the miscellaneous use of medications, topical treatments, tack items, halters and blankets, etc. Tractors to seed, mow and maintain the pastures, repairs to the facility and fencing, snow plowing, as well as manure management and removal all require supplies and labor, and all of these can be also considered safety costs for your horse. The cost of electricity and heating, even used conservatively, has a significant impact, in addition. Yet, even beyond those sometimes forgotten expenses, one of the largest unseen costs is for insurance--a liability policy for care, custody, and control of horses can be quoted over $6-7,000 per year.

With those figures in mind, you will generally find that for a single horse, you are vastly underpaying the expense of boarding! This is only more true when you factor in the priceless expertise of a good caretaker, whose value is considerable. The cost of experience is ultimately the cost of prevention from illness, injury, or other trauma. So while the daily expenses stay the same, analyze what are you truly paying for with labor--a famous name, an attitude, or a facility that truly cares for your horse? If you are not already confident in and happy with your situation, reviewing these costs and factors can empower you to make a better choice.

If you have a moment please share your comments, thoughts and experiences boarding horses ~ I'd greatly value your feedback. With thanks ~ Susan.