Rehoming of retired
Walter Pike Feb 26, 2014
Bred and raced, process of reapplying for colours
Runs a facebook group called :
A Thoroughbred Second Life!
I acknowledge the fantastic support from this group
in coming up with coherent suggestions in a crowd
sourcing exercise I did.
The horse racing industry is under pressure
internationally regarding what happens to retired
racehorses. This presents a huge reputational risk.
A step in the process is creating a process of
responsible rehoming of these horses and to
communicate this effectively in order to manage
For the purposes of this document an Off The Track
Thoroughbred (OTTB) is a horse which has retired
It will be a Thoroughbred registered with the HRA
and had at least one start.
There is a greater supply of off the track thoroughbreds (OTTB) than demand
OTTB need specialised skill to successfully transition from racing to other uses.
OTTB are regarded as second tier/less desirable horses by the riding public.
So often go to second tier riders.
less experience as buyers - more likely to buy bad horses - further adding
to bad reputation.
Many OTTB are broken down or not suitable.
Unreliable, ﬂighty and hard to handle.
Take at least 1-2 years to recover from racing. Drugs and steroids
Can’t keep condition
Expensive to keep
Can’t compete with warmbloods
Not adaptable to different uses.
Risk of soundness
Note that it doesn't matter whether this is true or not this are what people think.
Transition is a major problem
The retraining of a racehorse to other uses requires a
level of skill.
Transition from a grain based to a roughage based
diet. Managing ulcers.
Reprogramming the horses mind from racing.
Retraining the horse to respond to different riding
Because the warmblood is regarded as a better sports horse the
OTTB market is a second tier market. Except in specialised markets
like Polo and Polocrosse we are dealing with second tier buyers.
Less experienced in buying - more likely to buy duds, unsound, bad
Mommy buyers - no experience at all
Less experience in horse management
Less riding skill.
Many times more likely to mess up a good horse, turn it into a
problem and then do further damage to the thoroughbred brand.
Improve demand by improving Brand OTTB
Manage the supply to ensure that the market is
supplied with better quality.
Assist with the transition to the Second Life
OTTB need PR. FB groups like Beyond Racing and
A Thoroughbred Second Life can help. But a full
PR program to position them as reliable,
competitive and tough horses
Identiﬁcation of disciplines where OTTB can excel
and offer special incentives for competition on
OTTB. eg polo polocrosse, eventing, jumping etc.
The certiﬁed OTTB programme (explained in next
The certiﬁed OTTB
Selected OTTB certiﬁed via the HRA
Rated in terms of soundness.
Rated in terms of temperament.
Homed in terms of a contract to an owner with
satisfactory conditions and some experience.
Registered on a register of OTTB change of
ownership required - web based database
Support for OTTB
Panel of knowledgable people to assist in transition.
Contactable via website.
The same website which holds database.
Membership contracted - but also incentivised by
OTTB top up prizes at shows.
Discussion group on FaceBook eg A Thoroughbred
Certiﬁed half way house
Horses move to people with experience at
Transfer to a roughage based diet.
Do basic training and settling work to create a
stable basis for subsequent stabling.
Individuals certiﬁed as OTTB
Horses out of the system
An information pack provided with each OTTB sold
or rehomed - provided to trainers free of charge
and with links to a comprehensive online resource
library available free to the public.
It is proposed that a small monthly levy be imposed
on all horses in training and on horses registered
with the HRA by breeders to create a fund which
PR - Beyond racing
Certiﬁed halfway house.
The OTTB Program