Which indeed applies so long as I actually own the horse. I'd only care for the horses of others if they paid me, or well actually because I liked doing so after school when I was younger (and the dogs and the cats too), but don't you go spreading that around now, people could start to think I'd gone soft.
I certainly don't dispute that a great many, perhaps even the vast majority of gladiators lived relatively comfortable lives in slavery, at least when not being killed or maimed.
Perhaps this is my professional deformation providing too much of a legalistic look at it, but considering that "manumitted" former gladiators became dediticii, which was a status worse than that of most slaves, as you've just explained above. So not seeing the status thing there, exotic pet of the elite maybe, but that shouldn't be mistaken for any sort of real status, imho. From what I recall dediticii could also hardly own any property, or at least what they did have could always be taken away at a moments notice on the flimsiest of pretexts since they didn't even enjoy the protection of the ius Latinum, much less that of actual citizens, as nominally "free" men.
So at best that would be a life of constant anxiety and more subtle terror and humilation in a gilded cage, I don't think my mc would particularly like that, especially since he wants to get revenge on the noble brat who got him into the whole mess. Course my mc did run a robbing and stealing street gang but still.............
On the other hand this is fiction, so I'm kinda hoping the author is a bit more generous with the terms of the mc's possible manumission later on or else my mc will never get the satisfaction of ruining his former tormentor and their family enough that they hopefully have to sell themselves into slavery.