Racing Victoria has introduced a suite of programs and initiatives to support the fifth principle of our post-racing framework – ‘Safety Net’ – for at risk thoroughbreds. The Safety Net Program, made possible by the Victorian racing industry’s equine welfare fund, acknowledges that despite best efforts, retiring thoroughbreds, like all horses, may need extra support and often long after their first transition from racing.

The ‘Safety Net’ principle complements the current programs and initiatives underpinning our other four post-racing principles:

  • Visibility– of retired Victorian thoroughbred racehorses to the best of our ability;
  • Transition– best opportunity for a successful first transition for retired racehorses;
  • Demand– for thoroughbreds in equestrian and non-competitive environments; and
  • Longevity– for off-the-track thoroughbreds in their new homes.

The Safety Net Program creates a formal framework for a number of our post-racing programs and initiatives that are already operating or in development by our equine welfare team.

Onsite Humane Euthanasia Program

One priority 'Safety Net' initiative is our Onsite Humane Euthanasia Program (OHEP).This is for registered thoroughbreds where the decision to euthanise is for the best welfare outcome and has already been made by the owner.

OHEP aims to enable owners and trainers to euthanise these horses onsite at the Horse’s usual location or a Veterinary hospital / clinic in circumstances where the cost of this procedure would otherwise be inhibitive.

RV will provide funding directly to a veterinarian and/or OHEP service provider to pay for the cost of the onsite euthanasia procedure and the subsequent removal of the deceased horse, subject to the conditions outlined in the OHEP Trainers and Owners Guide.

The OHEP is not designed for or inclusive of emergency cases where immediate intervention for the welfare of the horse is necessary. These cases should be dealt with immediately by the owner and/or treating veterinarian in line with the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 (Vic) and the Rules of Racing.

If you have any questions about OHEP after reading the Trainers and Owners Guide or, any of our other programs, please contact our equine welfare team at: or call 03 9258 4258.

Emergency Aid

Our Emergency Aid support can provide equine-related support to owners and trainers impacted by situations outside of their own control, such as natural disasters. 

If you need support with your thoroughbred/s as a result of an emergency, our equine welfare team are here to assist. Please contact us on 03 9258 4258 or email

You must dial Triple Zero (000) in an emergency if you require the Fire Brigade, Police or Ambulance. Call the SES on 132 500 from anywhere in Victoria for a flood, storm, landslide, tsunami or earthquake emergency.

A dedicated Equine Emergency Support page is available by clicking here. This has a list of properties available to relocate your horse in the case of an emergency and information to prepare and plan your property ahead of any potential emergency.

STAR (Short Term Assisted Recovery) Program

The STAR Program is included within RV’s Equine Welfare suite of programs and complements RV’s Emergency Aid Program that supports vulnerable thoroughbreds. A thoroughbred accepted into the STAR Program will receive adequate care (and treatment if required) by an Acknowledged STAR Program Carer (ASPC), in order to recuperate prior to transitioning through RV’s post-racing program (e.g. Acknowledged Retrainer Program, RESET, Retired Thoroughbred Companion Horse Program - Pilot) or be responsibly rehomed or retrained by an ASPC, thereby improving the welfare outcomes for the thoroughbred.

Thoroughbreds accepted into the STAR Program would be voluntarily surrendered by their current owner to an ASPC or are currently owned by RSPCA Victoria.

For more information about the STAR Program, Please contact our equine welfare team at: or call 03 9258 4258

Full Circle Program
A mechanism for current and previous owners and other interested parties to list themselves as an ‘emergency contact’ for a retired racehorse on the Off The Track Community which would allow an equine welfare delegate to contact them, should the horse ever require assistance.
Welfare Visits

Other key initiatives that are being delivered within the 'Safety Net Program' include proactive welfare visits, working with RSPCA Victoria to investigate welfare concerns, and ensuring the Rules of Racing and licensing processes reflect our commitment to horse welfare.

If you have any questions about any of our 'Safety Net' initiatives, please contact our equine welfare team at: or call 03 9258 4258.