8th May 2005
This often asked question has been partly answered in an excellent recently published book on America’s Billion-Dollar racehorse industry. Written by the Daily Racing Forms journalist and author of The Lives, Times and Past Performances of the 20th Century’s Greatest Thoroughbreds – Glenye Cain , this 2004 published book titled The Home Run Horse provides a graphic insight into the modern bloodhorse industry. Chapter 5 provides details of the Taylor Made Farm, a modern commercial breeding operation located just on the outskirts of Lexington, Kentucky.
Taylor Made Farm covers 1600 acres and holds about 650 horses for some 100 clients. Almost all are mares, their foals and yearlings; there are also 10 stallions. The farm’s involvement is from conception to weaning to the auction ring. Taylor Made handles it all and does so on an industrial scale. In regard to insurance at Taylor Made, Glenye Cain says:-
Not surprisingly, the breeding industry has spanned a thriving equine insurance business that can help offset some of the crushing losses that can afflict breeders – about 90% of the mares, foals and yearlings at Taylor Made are insured, though sometimes the cost of coverage can be expensive.
One common form of insurance for example, covers a foal from 42 days after conception until 30 days after birth at a rate of about 16% of its insured value. Some mares simply do not conceive at all, an especially frustrating problem
that can have multiple causes or no readily identifiable explanation. Barrenness, which might occur only once in a mare’s lifetime can become a perennial problem, has plagued breeders for centuries. In a business where the uterus is the factory and the foal is the sellable product, an habitually empty mare spells doom for a breeder and sometimes for the mare herself. If the factory closes down you’ve got no product to sell, says one prominent breeder. Mare barrenness insurance, popular in Kentucky, is not commonly used in Australia.