Retiring a Horse

The Racing Victoria Off The Track program is dedicated to supporting and promoting retired thoroughbred racehorses. 

The versatility, athleticism, striking presence and intelligence of retired racehorses makes them ideal for a number of post-racing careers, including:

  • Equestrian (Performance disciplines including showing, dressage, show jumping, eventing, polo, polocrosse, western/sporting and others);
    Pleasure Riding;
  • Companion and Therapy Animals (Including Riding for the Disabled);
  • Working horses (Clerks of the Course, stock work and law enforcement).

The Off The Track program facilitates the placement of retired racehorses in second careers by assisting industry participants and educating the community about the post-racing options, versatility and the appropriate care and retraining required.

Racing Victoria’s Off The Track Program is able to assist with the retraining and rehoming of your retired racehorse. Please follow the steps below to submit a request:

  1. Register as a member of the Off The Track Community - ottcommunity.com.au/register
  2. Click OTT SEARCH and then SEARCH THOROUGHBRED
  3. Type your horse’s name into the search bar (use filters if your horse is unnamed), press search and then click on the name
  4. Click Request Retraining, then fill in the Request for Retraining form, including uploading a minimum of four photos. Please click here to view examples of suitable photos of your horse.
    This form does not have to be completed in one go, you can save a draft and come back to it anytime
  5. Click Submit Request - once approved by the Off The Track team your horse’s profile will be circulated to our statewide network of RV Acknowledged Retrainers

Note: If an RV Acknowledged Retrainer is interested in retraining your horse, they will contact you directly. However, if no one commits to taking the horse on within 10 business days, it may be eligible to nominate for RV’s RESET Program - an Off The Track initiative that supports horses that have struggled to transition to a second career outside racing.

If you have any questions about submitting a request, please contact the Off The Track team via email: offthetrack@racingvictoria.net.au

Transitioning your retired Racehorse

How to transition your retired thoroughbred to their second career:

Step 1:

Have you changed the SNS Stable Return for your thoroughbred to be updated to 'Retired' status?

  • No? Complete Stable Return form via SNS (Racing Australia)
  • Yes? You have two options:
    1. Thoroughbreds are highly sought after in the Off The Track community, with many riders looking for their next superstar! Your trainer can assist contacting a retrainer, or you can advertise through sale platforms such as Horse Deals.
    2. Racing Victoria's Equine Welfare team can assist through the RV Acknowledged Retrainer network. Complete the RV Retired Racehorse Placement Form so we can pass on your horses details to our retrainers for consideration.

Step 2:

If a horse is struggling to transition into their second career, they might be eligible for one of Racing Victoria's post-racing program's including the RESET Program. If you want more information on what options are available, please email offthetrack@racingvictoria.net.au.

Retirement of Racehorses Rule
It is now compulsory for the managing owner of a horse to notify Racing Australia if their horse has been retired from racing. The retirement form can be found here.

Owners must indicate, at no charge to them or their trainer, why their racehorse was retired. Trainers are encouraged to notify their owners of this requirement or notify Racing Australia on their owner’s behalf by lodging a stable return.

In addition to the new retirement of racehorse rule for owners, the rule requiring trainers to notify authorities of the death of a racehorse in their care has been strengthened. Trainers will also be asked to inform authorities of the cause of the death. This can be done by lodging a stable return.

The data gained by these reforms will provide the industry with greater insight into the reasons horses retire and their activities post racing, thus supplying statistics which can be used to better direct education and welfare initiatives, and be fed back to trainers and owners.
Retiring Your Horse
Most trainers and owners already have pathways in place to re-home their retired horses and Racing Victoria encourages continued use of these pathways.

For owners or trainers who do not have a pathway in place there are many options:
  1. Via the stable – An individual associated with the stable, including track riders or stable hands, may have expressed interest in acquiring the horse to the trainer or a stable employee;
  2. Trainers/owners can contact an RV Acknowledged Retrainer via the Off The Track Community and request retraining options;
  3. Horse sales websites, social media platforms and equine publications such as Horse Deals are popular with the sport and leisure industry; and
  4. Recommended public auctions including those operated by Inglis and Magic Millions (Please Note: If connections choose to sell a horse via a livestock sale, Racing Victoria recommends vendors provide sufficient information for prospective buyers, including name, age, pedigree, injury history, etc. It is also recommended that vendors place a reserve on the horse to ensure purchase by a legitimate source).