Racing Victoria (RV) has taken steps to increase its visibility of former thoroughbred racehorses across the state by introducing a new online post-racing platform.
The Off The Track (OTT) Community lays the foundation for a state-based system that will improve data collection and close the knowledge gap on the ownership and location of ex-racehorses in Victoria.
The free online platform – ottcommunity.com.au – will allow retired racehorse owners to claim ownership of their horse, promote their progress post-racing and take advantage of a range of exclusive content and educational offerings – all while playing their part to improve horse visibility in Victoria.
The new system will automatically register all thoroughbreds retiring from the Victorian racing industry on the OTT Community – whether the retired racehorse transitions to their new home via an RV post-racing program or directly from the care of their trainer or owner.
Current OTT horse owners are being encouraged to register their former racehorses on the OTT Community, thus helping RV gain a better understanding of those horses that might be two or three times removed from the racing industry.
This will also allow previous owners and fans to track and stay connected with their favourite racehorse in their post-racing career.
The platform is designed to support the Victorian racing industry in identifying where possible gaps lay for horses leaving the sport and to allow RV to tailor its post-racing programs to better meet the needs of its equine stars transitioning to a second career.
Another benefit of the community is the direct access prospective and current OTT horse owners will have to RV’s statewide network of acknowledged retrainers to assist them in identifying their perfect next horse, retraining, or providing advice on how to care for their horse.
The community will also incorporate a full circle program for previous owners to be registered as an emergency contact in case the horse requires extra support.
To complement RV’s post-racing efforts, a greater emphasis has also been placed on the traceability of horses within racing, and a little over 12-months ago RV commenced a stable return audit to identify active, spelling and transferred stable returns of horses that had not raced in the prior six months.
As a result of the audit, RV received new data on 916 horses, highlighting the importance of trainers and owners maintaining up-to-date stable returns that reflect a horse’s location and situation.
RV’s equine welfare team has also conducted over 1,600 welfare checks on current and retired racehorses since the 2019 Spring Racing Carnival to ensure each one is receiving the care they deserve.
The introduction of the new OTT Community and projects such as the stable return audit and increased welfare checks are made possible by the two per cent prizemoney contribution from Victorian racing participants and the industry’s sustainability fund.
To access the OTT Community, please visit: ottcommunity.com.au
Attributable Quotes – General Manager, Equine Welfare - Jennifer Hughes:
“The introduction of our Off The Track Community is an important step to increasing our visibility of retired racehorses in Victoria as well as understanding how we can best support their successful transition.
“The majority of thoroughbreds have a longer post-racing career than they do on the track so it’s important that we have a better understanding of their movements to support them and direct our efforts to the right places.
“Our hope is that the new OTT Community will not only encourage people to claim ownership of their horse but for owners to take a greater interest in their former horse’s life after racing.
“With the support of current Off The Track horse owners we also hope to increase our visibility of those horses outside of our jurisdiction when they claim their horses on the new platform.
“Over the next 12-months the platform will expand its offerings to help increase our visibility of retired racehorses. One way this will be achieved is by all Off The Track sponsored events requiring riders to register for these events on the platform.
“Other anticipated additions to the OTT Community include a sale and transfer portal, expanded educational tools to support those caring for an OTT horse, and an incentive-based membership that will open the door to deals, offerings and prizes for community members.
“With the support of our trainers, retrainers, and owners past and present, we hope to make this the go-to destination for the wider equestrian community, while helping increase our visibility of retired racehorses to provide them with best possible care and support.”