Racing Victoria (RV) and the Riding for the Disabled Association of Victoria (RDAV) are pleased to announce a formal partnership that will help create new opportunities for retired Victorian thoroughbred racehorses.
An initial $50,000 commitment will be made by RV to allow RDAV to expand its popular riding programs and to accommodate additional horses at its 34 centres across Victoria.
This will be achieved by enabling RDAV to increase the number of trained volunteers, accredited coaches and the riding and safety equipment made available so more people with a disability can enjoy safe, healthy, stimulating, therapeutic horse-related activities.
To support this expansion, RV will also fund the commencement of a pilot program for 5 horses to enter tailored retraining, with the goal of being rehomed by RDAV.
This specialised retraining will be supported by RV’s statewide network of Acknowledged Retrainers, and will provide a new non-competition pathway to drive demand for Victorian thoroughbreds.
The new pathway will complement RV’s recently established RESET Program, that is helping those horses that have struggled to transition to their perfect new home.
The partnership between RV and RDAV is made possible by the Victorian racing industry’s $25 million commitment to accelerate and expand its three-year equine welfare action plan.
RV General Manager - Equine Welfare, Jennifer Hughes:
“Thoroughbreds have a smart, gentle and intuitive nature and this is the perfect opportunity to support more people to experience the hugely positive effects of having them in their lives.
“It’s great that through our partnership with RDAV we can help increase the number of horses they can accommodate at their centres and expand the work they do in the community.
“The partnership signals another important step for our post-racing framework as we continue to develop a range of sustainable pathways for thoroughbred racehorses leaving the sport.
"It's envisaged that following the successful roll out of the pilot program more horses will be retrained to support RDAV on a long term basis, to ensure they don't have a shortage of horses, and can meet the demand for their programs.
“Our aim is to find every retired racehorse their perfect home. That might not come easily for some, so it’s important that we invest in these relationships to expand the opportunities afforded to every racehorse.”
RDAV President & Interim Executive Officer, Andrea Lucas:
“We are thrilled to partner with Racing Victoria to create a new pathway for retired Victorian thoroughbred racehorses.
“The generosity of donors and sponsors like Racing Victoria allows our dedicated team of volunteers to continue providing our programs to 1100 riders with a disability each year.
“It’s also great that we can create a new non-competition pathway for Victorian horses leaving the racing industry."
RDAV Oaklands President & Coach, Fiona Orr:
“It’s a very popular program, and now if we can have more horses involved, it means more riders can come into the program.
“I think it changes their life, they get to ride, they get to socialise with everybody out here, they get to bond with the horse, and I think that’s very important.
“The movement is the main thing for the horse, and thoroughbreds have a nice big movement, and once they get moving, the kids just fall in love with it.”