Who gets paid when a horse is injured/in rehab?

Do you still pay the trainer if the horse is out for a few months or are you just paying the rehab facility? Do you have a contract with a trainer to keep your spot in their barn?

People are free to make any kind of arrangement they want, but generally speaking, racetrack trainers are paid by the day. If the horse leaves their care for any reason, the bills stop that day. I’ve never signed a contract with a race trainer and assuming the horse/owner didn’t leave on bad terms, there’s no reason they shouldn’t or wouldn’t be welcomed back.


Ok, I guess that’s not that bad then, I didn’t think it made sense to pay both the trainer and the rehab at the same time but I also didn’t know if you had to pay the trainer something to stay with them. So I guess the owners are the ones who decide which rehab facilities to go to, not so much the trainers?

It really depends on the people involved, but it isn’t unusual for the trainer to decide where the horse will do best (and make all the arrangements). Some racing owners aren’t hugely involved in the day to day part, and the trainer will likely have the connections to set things up and make sure they happen. We do some layups and often the trainer is the one who makes the call asking about if there’s space, hauls the horse or books the shipper, and follows up on any medical issues.

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Usually, it’s whoever has the knowledge and connections that chooses where the horse goes. As Highflyer1 said, sometimes owners aren’t involved in the day to day decisions. But on the other hand, some trainers only care about what happens on the track. If there’s a problem, they want the horse gone and they don’t care where it goes. Hopefully, in those cases, owners are qualified to step in–otherwise they need to get up to speed pretty quickly.

Usually those decisions are a collaboration between owner and trainer. A less knowledgeable owner might feel obliged to defer to a trainer, but they should keep in mind that ultimately they are footing the bills and they have the final say.


Just to add on what others have said, the “spot in their barn” might rest on a trainer’s stall allotment and current roster of horses. Sometimes an owner will have a horse ready to come in but might have to wait a few days for a stall to open up. Conversely if a particular owner has earned the reputation as a slow payer with nothing but bad horses, the “wait on a stall to open” is a good way for a trainer to shed a bad owner without necessarily burning the bridge completely.

This is all really informative, I’ve been thinking I may want to get into a partnership one day but I’d like to know how things work a bit behind the scenes before I entertain that as a goal. I know horse racing has pretty exorbitant costs, but it’s helpful to know where the money’s going and who arranges what.

Good questions and answers. I’ve had horses in training who have had to take a break — some trainers cut the day rate if they aren’t working the horse. A day rate is a day rate — pretty clear cut. Like LaurieB I’ve never signed a contract with a race trainer (oh, so different from other disciplines!) If the horse leaves, the bleeding stops (or just shifts…)

Where I’ve been disappointed is how much some trainers rely on the vet… and how that adds on to expenses. I’m a veterinarian myself so I know what everything costs! Of the three race trainers I have used, two had pretty much no add ons and minimal vet bills, one had crazy vet bills (in a different state and I could not be there for my horse.)

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If you are thinking what I would consider a ‘full’ partnership, yes, best to understand all the money that could come in vs all the money that can go out and may not be an inexpensive proposition.

Maybe a ‘dip your toe in the water’ is to look at the microshare partnerships like MyRacehorse. I buy into a horse at a fixed, per share cost. I have no further expenses, no trainers fees, no layup fees, no expensive vet bills, nada. Depending on how the microshare partnership is written up, I may get some itty-bitty percent of purse money as well as money, if any is left over after all expenses are paid, when the horse is sold.

You are not an owner, you don’t have any of the ‘privileges’ of an owner unless arranged by MRH, no winner’s circle, no backstretch access etc. Having said that, MRH arranges farm tours, opportunities to get to stand in the winner’s circle, MRH suites at the track.

I didn’t know anything about owning a racehorse. I have learned a fair amount about what goes into owning one after buying into a few MRH shares. What I do know is that depending on the horse, I’d be looking at some hefty vet bills (do I ‘pay’ for them, yes, when the microshare partnership is dissolved and all expenses are paid; did I have to write an additional check? No :slight_smile: ).

The partnerships are for-profit and yes, you can make a profit. MRH is up front about the risks of owning a racehorse (I suspect some still don’t ‘get it’) but, the opportunity is there (think Authentic). Maybe something to think about as part of dipping your toe in the water of owning a racehorse via a partnership.

Already on it :grinning: I think myracehorse has only further entrenched my love for the sport. I’m up to 9 horses and it didn’t help that I went to one of their events earlier this year to meet the new 2 year olds they have including the first horse I bought shares in. I like how transparent they are with the ups and downs of the sport.


I think one of the best things about MRH is how much info they share with owners. When we got started with racehorses 20 years ago, we had to learn everything by trial and error. Racing isn’t an industry where people with experience will pass along good advice; and unfortunately there were many fewer partnerships available to new owners back then.