Tom Roberts Legacy Project

Join the opportunity to support  Horse SA and the writing of a book telling the story of Tom Roberts horse training principles, and how one man’s vision for a kinder approach to training continues to help horses world-wide. The book will be co-authored by internationally renowned horse training and behaviour modification expert Dr. Andrew McLean.

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Tom Roberts Legacy Project.

What’s out there for an ex racehorse?

The British racing season is in full swing and before we know it, it will be coming to an end for another year. The career span of a racing horse is a short one, lasting around three years, but this is not to say that after retiring from racing, your horse cannot go on to have a long and fulfilling life.

For some, there is a certain stigma around horse racing, whether it is the questionable animal welfare issues, or the betting element. The latter is slowly being phased out by other modern day gambling alternatives, with sites like RubyFortune.com taking people away from the betting element of horse racing and instead offering them online casino games.

However, despite the stigma, there are a multitude of options available to ex-racehorses. For example, dressage or eventing are ideal options for those horses who may not be as physically capable of racing as they once were.

Protectionist before the 2014 Melbourne Cup" by Chris Phutully - https://www.flickr.com/photos/72562013@N06/15523529040. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Protectionist_before_the_2014_Melbourne_Cup.jpg#/media/File:Protectionist_before_the_2014_Melbourne_Cup.jpg
Protectionist before the 2014 Melbourne Cup” by Chris Phutully – https://www.flickr.com/photos/72562013@N06/15523529040. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Protectionist_before_the_2014_Melbourne_Cup.jpg#/media/File:Protectionist_before_the_2014_Melbourne_Cup.jpg

In an open letter from Thoroughbred trainer Katie Ramsay, she says: “Some people think when a racehorse has retired from racing, that’s it.

“But just like us humans, retirement isn’t the end. For most, it’s only the beginning.”

Ramsay notes that, owing to a lifetime of physical exertion, racehorses are capable of going on to do great things in the field of polo, showing, show jumping, dressage, leisure riding and eventing. Indeed, having noted the potential of these beautiful animals, Ramsay set up her own business in re-training racehorses.

She says: “Having worked for several racehorse trainers during my 16 years in the industry, I can honestly say that the vast majority work extremely hard to re-home the horses once they retire from racing.

“I have personally re-trained and re-homed many horses.”

So what qualities do ex-racehorses possess that make them so apt for this career? According to Equestrian Life magazine, the opportunities are seemingly endless. Thoroughbred ex-racers have not only physical but also the mental agility to enter into any one of these disciplines, along with a versatility that will equip them for business or pleasure.

Having been bred to gallop, an ex-racehorse can guarantee a good performance in any of the aforementioned events, giving the concerned horse trainer a whirlwind of opportunities to let his or her horse enjoy life and even bring home a little extra money.

It is important that we do not deem ex-racehorses dispensable – just like humans, they have so much more to give when they come to the end of their careers, and whether it’s for sport or for show, these options can bring years of pleasure for both horse and trainer.