By Cynthia McFarland
Thrilling. Challenging. Rewarding. Overwhelming.
Ask anyone whose livelihood is tied to the world of thoroughbred sales, and all of those adjectives apply, depending on the day. Or the moment.
Because the whole sales process can also be intimidating at times, it's reassuring to find there's actually an organization that represents all players - large and small.
Located in Lexington, Kentucky, the Consignors and Commercial Breeders Association (CBA) is comprised of a far-reaching group of people who make their living in the thoroughbred breeding industry. The organisation was created to provide a unified voice of representation for the breeders and consignors who provide the horses that drive the industry.
The CBA was launched in 2005 by a group of prominent consignors and breeders who believed the thoroughbred industry could improve the way commerce was handled. They sought to do that by creating a non-profit, dues-based organisation that would educate and promote unity.
"If you look at the wine industry in California and Europe, the automotive industry and other trades, more often than not, unity brings about better trade. There is a cohesion of ideas and a progressive sharing of trade interests," observes Joe Seitz, current CBA president.
"There was a void where the people producing the product didn't really have a voice. We wanted to have a seat at the table when issues came up regarding ethics and integrity, veterinary topics, sales company practices, regulatory entities, legislation, and even how sales companies design and lay out their sales and facilities," explains Seitz. "This is a moving, fluid market, so we're always needing to make things better for breeders, sellers and buyers."
The CBA has filled that void in a most productive manner. The organisation's mission statement says it all: "The CBA works democratically on behalf of every consignor and commercial breeder, large and small, to provide representation and a constructive, unified voice related to sales issues, policies, and procedures. The association’s initiatives are designed to encourage a fair and expanding market place for all who breed, buy, or sell thoroughbreds."
That might sound ambitious, but the CBA has stepped up to the proverbial plate and become an educator, advocate, and representative for pretty much everyone who makes a living connected with the thoroughbred breeding business.
Although the name does not refer to them, buyers are an integral part of the CBA's mission. After all, when buyers have the information they need to make knowledgeable, confident, buying decisions, everyone involved - breeder, consignor, sales company and buyer - benefits.
Several important initiatives lie at the core of the CBA. These include:
ethics and integrity
veterinary science issues
working directly with sales companies
One highly successful project of the CBA is the "Plain and Simple" series of educational books, which clearly explain various aspects of the sales process and are available for free download from the CBA's website.
The booklets educate both buyers and sellers about key aspects of the public auction.
"They've been requested all over the world and have been reprinted in multiple languages, even Japanese," says Seitz.
"We've also held three symposiums in Lexington that were well received and covered a myriad of topics important to anyone buying or selling thoroughbreds," he says, adding that broadcasts are posted on the website.
Additional educational efforts include the CBA's quarterly online newsletter, as well as a monthly sales calendar email filled with sales deadlines and requirements designed to help breeders who are selling, as well as consignors.
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