Four former racehorses are showing their adaptability through a scheme to introduce more equestrian students to Thoroughbreds and encourage careers in the racing industry.
The British Thoroughbred Retraining Centre (BTRC), a charity dedicated to improving and promoting the welfare of retired racehorses, loaned four retired and retrained Thoroughbreds to Reaseheath Equestrian College in Nantwich as part of a pilot scheme.
A number of equestrian students qualify from college each year but, because they have never had any experience working with, or riding Thoroughbreds, they are reluctant to consider working in the horseracing sector – a sector which has a number of exciting opportunities up and down the country – and this is something the BTRC is keen to rectify this through this scheme.
The four former racehorses who have been loaned to the College enjoyed careers on the track before being retired and have since received support by both BTRC and Retraining of Racehorses (RoR). Landescent was ridden by well-known jockeys such as Pat Eddery and Jamie Spencer. Feathergrass had seven starts before being retired for breeding, and Lady In Love had two starts. These three horse came to the BTRC after a change in their respective owners’ situations meant they were unable to provide the horses with the high level of care they need. The fourth horse, Borolee, was gifted to the BTRC by his owner who wanted to ensure that he had a secure future for life – this is a great endorsement of the BTRC’s invaluable work.
Aged between 14 and 18 years old, these horses are perfect for working with the students at the College. They are experienced, sound, quiet and kind, enabling a smooth transition for the students between riding the other horses at the College and riding Thoroughbreds.
So far, the scheme is proving a huge success. The Thoroughbreds have settled in very well and the students are really enjoying riding a different breed of horse. The BTRC will be exploring opportunities to expand this scheme in the future.
BTRC is also working closely with the College and offer students work experience opportunities at the BTRC’s Centre outside Lancaster.
Gillian Carlisle, Chief Executive of the BTRC, said:
“BTRC is delighted to work with Reaseheath College to create this pilot scheme to use retired racehorses in mainstream equestrian education. Allowing students the opportunity to gain practical experience with Thoroughbreds will provide numerous benefits to both the equestrian and racing industries.
“Furthermore, this is an excellent use for older horses that are more difficult to rehome due to their age. Due to the success at Reaseheath, BTRC hope to roll this scheme out nationally to more equestrian colleges during 2017.”
Head of Equine at Reaseheath College, Kerry Owen, said:
"We have been delighted to welcome the BTRC horses to our team. They have settled in really well and are already favourites with the students.
"Our equine team are proud to be working with the BTRC on this scheme and our students also enjoy raising funds for the charity."