According to 'Horse Racing Ireland' Irish bloodstock sales have dropped by 43.6% in the second half of 2008. The slowdown is thought to be due to bad weather conditions and the economic slump. While the racing industry is nursing its wounds with concerns that their 'investment' and 'business' is at threat, I am left wondering - whats going to happen to the horses that don't sell?
These horses are bred for racing and that is their sole purpose until they retire. The sales figures from the last bloodstock market fell from €176.5 to €99.5 million in sales at the auction. Now I'm not sure how many horses you can buy for €77 million but I would guess that its more than a few!
There's always going to be many casualties when economies take a downturn, jobs and money may be lost within the racing industry. I would imagine that the breeders may see their horses as assets on a balance sheet and as horse sales decline they may need to dispose of the 'surplus' horses they can't sell into the racing industry. Due to their high value the horses that are bred for racing will more than likely be kept on until they do eventually sell. Some breeders who may struggle because of the downturn may be forced to sell their stock onto dealers.
What will happen to the horses if breeders do start to struggle?