Horse racing has until recently been a very male-dominated sport. While there are a few news articles to suggest that females attended the races way back in the 1890s in Australia, we can definitely assume that they were not respected as racegoers. It was actually illegal for a female to become a jockey up until 1979, which only reaffirms this male dominance.
These days, it’s a different story, with fashion not just reserved for the females and horse ownership for the guys. However, if you look around the track on an average Saturday, there this still a disproportioned figure. If there are more males than females going to the races than it must be similar for racehorse ownership. This post outlines 3 steps on how to get more females involved in horse racing, in particular looking at it from an ownership point of view.
Female Only Syndicates
There’s no doubt that these female-only syndicates have definitely increased the number of females involved in horse racing. The extra prize money on offer in the 2-year-old Magic Millions races, which started in 2012 on the Gold Coast and just last year in Perth, has launched the idea of female owners and made it more attractive for trainers to get involved in. Up until then, it was rare to hear of an only female owned horse, with Man Booker being the first in WA.
Why are these syndicates encouraging more females to get involved? Perhaps it links back to this male dominance theory. With so many men involved, it can be daunting for a female to contact a trainer when she might have no experience. I mean, ladies you need to be more confident, but still, these syndicates remove those nerves that come with being new. Plus, as trainers usually decide which horses will be female only owned, it removes the pressure of choosing a horse when you have no idea what to look for. Lastly, with these syndicates bringing in more females, it’s further showing other females that they can get involved and so the circle continues.
Marketing it Correctly
Being a horse loving child is not an uncommon stereotype growing up. The love of horses is what drew me towards racing, why are these girls not transforming into horse racing owners? Owning eventing horses often isn’t an option for these females, so owning a racehorse seems to make sense. This, therefore, needs to be captured and shown to potential owners. Show them the beauty of the horse, perhaps even similar to the Longines ad which I talked about in my “how to change the public’s perception of racing” article. Trainers and the industry need to think of all the reasons why females fall in love with horses and then translate that into the racing industry.
There are so many other reasons why females should get involved in racing, which can easily be communicated on a trainer’s social media, as they really are the first point of contact for new owners. Show them the adrenaline rush of having a winner by sharing videos of your current owners having fun. In fact, that particular video could also help show that female owners are already a part of your stable.
Show them that they can make new friends/meet new people as well, which may be important for a social female who has moved to a new city or doesn’t have any friends around. As you get older, making new friends becomes harder. So, if you’re lonely, getting involved in a horse is an option, similar to joining a local sporting club. You’ll be able to bond with fellow owners over the horse, especially if it’s successful, and may even get to know other regulars who attend the track.
Make it Social
These may be stereotyping, but females love an excuse to dress up and go out with friends. Racing provides an opportunity for people to do that, especially around the carnival time, which draws owners and racegoers alike. Being an owner gives you regular excuses to get dressed up and get out of the house. If you invite a few of your friends along to cheer on your horse, then you’ve got a fantastic day out! By making it social, it also provides the opportunity for females to make new friends, which is a benefit I raised in my previous point.
Trainers and clubs can easily make ownership social in two ways. Firstly, have open days at the stables or track. This will enable owners to not only see their horses up close and personal, which feeds into the female love of horses, but also will enable females to get to know the other owners in a relaxed environment. Secondly, have events at the races. Hire out a room or a marquee at days like Pinjarra Cup and encourage all owners to come along. This provides a space for owners to mingle which might not happen if they’re at the track without a space. Again, it’s another excuse to get dressed up and meet new people too, all of which adds to the ownership experience!
By breaking down the stereotype that racing is a male-dominated sport, more females are likely to get on board as owners. This can be achieved through the female-only syndicates, which have been a roaring success, clever marketing which appeals to females and making it a social event. Hopefully, in the future, it’s a 50/50 gender divide when it comes to ownership!