The shelf lives of being competitive around the racetrack is very short, and while the care of the animals when they are in the sector, is of the fundamental importance, people often wonder what happens to these track stars when they finally recover.
The answer in short is, it really depends on the talent of the runner.
Horses that have won multiple Grade One races will have a different retirement plan from those that were only able to win listed meetings. Regardless, the aftercare for both is vitally essential, and it ensures that the horses enjoy the remainder of their life.
It will come to a shock to some of the horses how to actually act like a real horse; since most of their lives they would have been an athlete, competing in famous tracks like the Gulfstream Park or the Hawthorne race course. However, there are specialized companies that assist with the process. Let’s explore what awaits racehorses when they retire.
The most likely scenario for a successful thoroughbred is being taken to stud. There are already comprehensive programmes in place to fully utilise the means of maintaining premium bloodlines in the horses. A Stallion can mate the mares, but it isn’t that simple. There would be a rigorous selection process with in-depth research into what horses will match together well. It isn’t left to luck.
This industry is particularly huge within the United Kingdom, as figures for the Pricewaterhouse Coopers report from 2014 shows. They found that there were over 3,000 breeders within the UK, and this, in turn, produced over 10,000 jobs. There are 34,000 acres of land used for the process, and it adds an annual contribution of £280 million.
Due to the sector being so valuable, it is undoubtedly one of the best retirement plans for, and they are treated remarkably well while they are here. Some of the horses that have been bred through these include the champion sire in the UK and Ireland in 2015, Galileo; meaning that the stud fee for Frankel is now £125,000.
Rehoming & Retraining
There are an astonishing 10,000 racehorses that are registered with the BHA Retraining of Racehorses Charity. This offers a new lease of life to the animals and ensures that they can remain competitive should their character prefer that. Sports such as Eventing, Showing, Dressage and Polo are just a few that former racehorses can venture into. Typically, thoroughbreds are durable horses and therefore can transition seamlessly into a new sport. However, some don’t fit the specific requirements.
Just some of the many charities available in this sector include RoR, Godolphin Thoroughbred Rehoming, HEROS, Livery Yards and The Thoroughbred Rehabilitation Centre. The latter of which was founded in 1991 and is housed in Lancashire.
They are a team of dedicated welfare offices that are determined to prepare all horses for life after racing. They work in both the rehoming and retraining sectors and the future plans are all that they are interested in; with no horse getting special treatment.
They take the horses directly following the end of their career, and they are comprehensive in tests and research to ensure that they follow the path that best suits the horse they are dealing with. The rehabilitation program is the fundamentally most important factor in the aftercare process, as this is when the horse could become depressed that they are no longer able to race.
This only touches on a few points, there are thousands of charities across the UK that are dedicated professionals in ensuring life after racing is perfect for the racing legends of yesterday.