The top echelons of equestrian sport are incredibly expensive. While many riders are lucky enough to have wealthy owners funding their mounts, travel and show expenses, sometimes talented riders lose out on opportunities because they don’t have the same level of backing. Though the USET Foundation does help with funding as well, gaps still exist, and probably always will. Today, ExperienceEventing.com launched; it’s an innovative take on a common practice: syndication.
Racing syndicates have existed for as long as the sport has, and sport horses are also owned by syndicates in some situations (my trainer’s Grand Prix mount is technically owned by a syndicate, just on a much smaller level).
But a public push to fund top-caliber horses has not yet – to my knowledge – ever been launched. It’s a clever solution to ensure that America’s top riders compete on quality horses. While it’s not typically a profit-making venture, there are plenty of riders out there who are probably willing to shell out a few thousand a year (plus a buy-in fee) to say they own a chunk of an Olympic horse.
Better yet, there are tax advantages to becoming a syndicate member. Participants are also encouraged to speak with the riders directly, and to essentially become part of the team; to attend events, visit the rider/trainer, and encourage others to do the same. This is the important part; paying thousands a year for little more than some paperwork and bragging rights doesn’t have stickability. The people willing to buy in to this program are passionate about the sport and are demonstrating that by making a monetary vote to ensure that the US team remains at the top of the leader board. They deserve some perks, and ideally, this program will deliver.