Global 'After Racing Care' Series - British Racing

One of the world’s most recognised racing jurisdictions and known for its love of all horse sports, British racing in the past few years has become a global leader in equine welfare and its measures to enhance the opportunities afforded racehorses once they leave the racetrack.

At the forefront of British racings ‘life after racing’ approach is the Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) charity for the welfare of horses who have retired from racing.

The RoR’s priority is to raise funds to help support the charitable retraining and rehoming of former racehorses; and to raise the profile of ex-racehorses to promote their versatility for other equestrian disciplines.

The charity’s work primarily revolves around four key areas:

  • Facilitating the transition to a second career for horses leaving racing: including a helpline to assist in the placement of racehorses coming out of training, a ‘Source a Horse’ website through which former racehorses can be bought, sold or loaned; and a ‘Retrainers Directory’ listing operators who can assist in the retraining process.
  • Educating owners and riders who take responsibility for former racehorses: through a nationwide regional network of co-ordinators, who are the points of contact for riders in their area, RoR stages over 300 educational events per annum attended by 1,700 participants, who have all registered their horse with RoR, events include club nights, clinics and camps.
  • Creating opportunities for former racehorses to participate and compete: through classes and competitions staged exclusively for former racehorses. Last year, RoR staged 40 separate competition series across 15 disciplines catering for and rewarding all levels of ability, from grassroots to elite. The disciplines included dressage, showing, polo, eventing, show jumping, endurance, hunting and horseball.
  • Protecting the welfare of former racehorses: RoR operates two schemes to assist any former racehorse in need of charitable support. Acting as a nationwide ‘safety net’, the objective of one scheme is to identify horses that without charitable intervention would become at risk or vulnerable. The other scheme is for more pressing situations where the condition of a horse warrants immediate action.

The emergency funding is very rarely used and RoR works closely with the RSPCA and World Horse Welfare to ensure a coordinated approach to dealing with cases that involve former racehorses.

For more information on Retraining of Racehorses, please visit: www.ror.org.uk 

Horse Welfare Board

Another important step British racing has taken to address its equine welfare concerns and approach to supporting ‘life after racing’ initiatives is the introduction of a cross-industry Horse Welfare Board in 2019.

The Board’s focus is the development and delivery of a sport-wide strategy towards welfare, including further measures to educate and support the rehoming of retired racehorses.

In February this year, the release of the Board’s four-year comprehensive strategic plan, titled ‘A Life Well Lived’, was developed to address the equine welfare challenges and opportunities British racing faces.

At its core is a proposal for collective lifetime responsibility, creating traceability across the lifespan of each horse bred for racing, and initiatives fostering greater understanding, encouragement and effective enforcement of this responsibility.

The report contains 20 central recommendations and proposes 26 projects aimed at furthering horse welfare. The proposals centre around standards and benchmarking, better data, safety improvements at racecourses, a review of current policies and practices, training and education, and communication.

To learn more about the Horse Welfare Board and to read the 2020-24 strategic plan visit: www.britishhorseracing.com/regulation/horse-welfare-board