Ex-racehorses are achieving outstanding successes in a wide variety of disciplines, ranging from dressage, show jumping, and side saddle through to endurance, eventing, polo and horseball.
You have only to take a look at side-saddle events for retired racehorses at the South of England Show and other county events throughout the country to see the transformation that can be achieved, turning these thoroughbreds into elegant, well-disciplined and talented competition horses.
Retraining of Racehorses- British Horseracing’s official charity for the welfare of horses which have retired from racing- is a major factor in this success.
The organisation, known as RoR raises funds from within the Racing Industry to help support this, as well as providing facilities and promoting the adaptability of racehorses to other equestrian activities. It also runs a well-established programme of competition sponsorship and clinics to help educate and improve rider handling of former racehorses.
The ultimate goal is to achieve a balance between the number of horses leaving racing and the number of enthusiastic, and suitable, new homes. RoR provides part funding for four charitable centres, which provide care and retraining for former racehorses before placing them in suitable homes.One of these , Moorcroft Racehorse Welfare Centre, is at Slindon in West Sussex, and the others are Greatwood, HEROS and the Thoroughbred Rehabilitation Centre.
Clearly not all racehorses go on to star in a different sphere, but RoR hopes that, on seeing what can be done, more riders will think about taking on a racehorse when they are looking for a new horse.
This will help the charitable centres, the professional retrainers and, most importantly, the horses to find secure and knowledgeable new homes. RoR runs annual Elite Performance Awards for each discipline, in which competitors accumulate points at events throughout the country.
A programme has already been set up for 2013, with the person with most points in a discipline receiving £2,500 and the runner-up, a second prize of £500.For details of this programme and for more information about RoR see www.ror.org.uk
* A new venture, EQuestrian Time run by RoR is a prominent discussion panel
tackling a wide range of issues. The first of these held in January 2013 at Oaksey House in Lambourn was a huge success when Sir Mark Todd joined Yogu Breisner, Bobby McEwan, Jamie Osborne and Lizzy Drury of Saracens to answer a variety of questions from the audience.
Topics covered ranged from kissing spines, gastric ulcers, feet and joint problems, through to advice on breeding and considering the right temperament for retraining for any discipline. EQuestrian Time evening shows are planned to move around the country, enabling everyone to benefit, with the next taking place at Osbalton Riding Centre in Blackburn, Lancashire on January 31.
For details of further dates across the UK during February and March visit www.ror.org.uk or the RoR on Facebook or follow on twitter @rorlatest.
For anyone needing individual advice on how to care for and retrain an ex-racehorse, or more personal and in-depth help, RoR also runs a Horse Care Helpline on 01780 740773 or you can e-mail email@example.com