There’s a saying that “you run out of horses before you run out of shows” and the current calendar certainly illustrates this predicament.
I use a fantastic app, My Show Advisor, that lists all show dates right through the year. The amount of international fixtures is now staggering.
The calendar is so intense, it’s going to be intriguing to see how we’ll to continue to supply our riders with enough good horses to jump the Global Champions Tour (GCT), Nations Cups, Rolex tour and the other big shows.
If you look at a rider like Ben Maher, who had a brilliant season on the GCT with Explosion W, you have to ask, where is his second horse? The same is true for many top British riders, and meeting the demand for horses is going to be borderline.
That said, there has never been a better time to buy a horse — either to keep it and aim at the big prize money or to produce and sell in to this market as a medium to high-risk investment.
You just have to have to take a look at the incredible prize money: the Global Champions League (GCL) team playoffs in Prague offered €6.5m (£5.88m), while the Doha final was worth €3.5m. Just being on the winning team in Prague earned you €700,000 (£633,300).
In Aachen, the winner of the grand prix banked €400,000, the winner of the Geneva grand prix took €380,000 and in Calgary’s grand prix, first place earned you CAD $1m (£593,360). Add in the bonuses on offer in the Rolex grand slam and the money is mind-boggling.
Is all this money a good thing for the sport? You have to say it is. Showjumping is in the realms of top sport when it comes to the pay-outs but, unlike other sports, if you’re a high-level showjumping professional you can still make a very good living producing horses to feed the top table without being part of a big tour.
On the back of all this, there’s never ever been a better time for potential owners to make an investment. It’s not just the enjoyment and supporting your country or chosen rider — now there is also financial payback.
‘A good time for a breather’
The calendar has certainly been keeping us busy — we were away at shows for eight of the nine weeks before Christmas. We’ve had an unbelievably successful year and now is a good time to take a breather.
I’ve sent various staff away to put their feet up and we’ve taken advantage of the break and got the vets in to MOT all of our horses. With the current detection times, there are only certain gaps in the year where, if horses need treatment, you can sort out niggles.
We have 70 horses and 40 are in work, so it’s a big job assessing everything and getting the season’s early started up and running. We have four big trucks that will all need minor repairs and plating, too.
We’ll be taking 20 horses on the Sunshine Tour and in the middle of that, Harry has his first Global Champions League team event in Doha with the Miami Celtics. There are a lot of logistics and all this needs completing in a three-week period — so much for the breather!
Ref Horse & Hound; 17 January 2019