Pinhooking is a fancy term that describes the practice of buying a horse at one stage of development and selling them at the next. At horseOlogy, we buy weanlings to sell as yearlings and yearlings to sell as 2-year-olds. But why does this practice exist, and what is the benefit for breeders, trainers, buyers, and investors?
The History of Pinhooking
Did you know that the term pinhooking didn’t initially have anything to do with horses? It’s a term originally used in the Kentucky tobacco industry.
A speculator would buy all of the young plants from a farmer and later sell them at market with a pinned note. This stock market speculation of buying low and selling high would significantly profit the speculator.
Eventually, the practice, and the term, would become synonymous with the thoroughbred industry in Kentucky and beyond. Buying a young horse and selling them after development would provide more profit opportunities.
The Importance of Bloodlines
We have to make educated assessments since we can’t know how a horse will run when they’re just foals. One of the most important aspects is their bloodline.
We will often buy horses based on their pedigree, knowing the status of their sire and dam, which will help in the speculation process. The bloodline itself won’t change, but the relationship to their lineage can be impacted by other sales and how their relatives perform at the racetrack.
The Appearance of the Horse
The second factor we look at is their appearance. We want to evaluate the overall conformation, especially for young horses. Some of the most important aspects to manage of a Pinhook are proper diet, exercise, and training.
People can be very emotional when it comes to the physical appearance of a young horse. They are adorable, and attributes like coat color can create an initial attraction, but there is much more to a great racehorse.
Stages of Development
At horseOlogy, we buy weanlings to sell as yearlings and yearlings to sell as 2-year-olds. Our understanding of the stages of development for young horses is expert level. And like many industries, there is a certain amount of instinct in the process.
A weanling is still a foal but is no longer dependent on its mother. Their genetics, nutrition, and exercise will influence their development as they mature into a yearling. And the training process will give us a good insight into their constitution.
The truth is, the practice of pinhooking is a lot like speculating in the stock market or gambling in Vegas. We can have the best information about the bloodlines, but the talent has to lie in each horse as they mature. But selling pinhooks is also a skill, more like playing poker than blackjack. When we know what we’re doing, we can select horses that will make money for us and their future owners.
Our horses are sold at several sales throughout the year, from Keeneland in Kentucky to OBS in Ocala. It’s an art and a science, and it can give you a rush of adrenaline each time a horse goes to a sale.