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.

Find out more about our Off The Track program here.

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, whether their racehorse was retired due to illness, injury, for breeding purposes or at their request and whether the horse will be re-homed as an equestrian or pleasure horse, enter an official retirement program or be sent to a livestock sale.
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. Via one of Racing Victoria’s Acknowledged Retrainers – Trainers/owners can contact a retrainer directly or complete the online expression of interest form which will be issued to all Acknowledged Retrainers;
  3. Horse sales websites, social media platforms and equine publications such as Horse Deals, Horse Zone, Top Horse and Replay Classifieds which 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).