Retraining of Racehorses 2013 Review – “A year of growth and expansion”

Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) has announced a 20% increase in the number of former racehorses on its books. By the close of 2013, the growth in demand for former racehorses was reflected in a total of over 8,700 horses registered on the database of British Racing’s official charity. There was also a 17% increase in the number of horses registered to compete in the wide range of equine disciplines the charity stages for former racehorses.

The activities and progress of Retraining of Racehorses are outlined in their Review of 2013. A year in which the charity appointed a new Chairman, Paul Roy, former Chairman of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) who succeeded his predecessor Ron Huggins in July.

Paul Roy, said: “The role of Retraining of Racehorses is becoming increasingly important to British Horseracing, helping the sport to honour its core pledge to promote the highest standards of equine welfare. By doing our best for our horses at all stages in their lifetime, we can help British Racing to feel proud and confident in its record as a global leader in equine welfare.

“2013 has been a record year of growth and expansion with regard to the public’s awareness of and engagement with the charity. Flagship horses such as HM The Queen’s Barber’s Shop and Kauto Star have played their part but significant progress has been achieved at grass roots level too. The success of competitions staged by the charity has delivered an increase in the demand for former racehorses. With the assistance of our education and training initiatives Retraining of Racehorses is now ensuring that more and more people provide racehorses with a fulfilling second career.”

During 2013 the number of horses registered to compete in the Retraining of Racehorses Series of Competitions increased to over 4,700, up 17% on the previous year. These former racehorses are now eligible to compete against their fellow thoroughbreds in classes in showing, show jumping, dressage, eventing, team chasing, endurance and polo.

The charity invested £230,000 in its education and training programme to promote the adaptability of former racehorses for new careers. In addition, Retraining of Racehorses has appointed 11 Regional Coordinators, who are helping to promote activities at county level including local clinics, dressage and riding club leagues. The charity is also organising ‘Question Time’ style evenings with expert advice from vets, nutritionists and physiotherapists as well as well-known equestrian trainers and riders. Meanwhile, one to one support is offered with the ‘Ask The Expert’ horse care and management helpline.

In 2013, the charity commissioned an independent led review of its strategy and policy, chaired by Jonny McIrvine, the former Chief Executive of the International League for the Protection of Horses (now known as World Horse Welfare). The review will include a study and analysis of where racehorses go upon leaving training and will make recommendations for the charity’s future strategy and policy as well as proposing guidelines for future funding arrangements. The review is expected to be completed in June 2014.

To coincide with the publication of its Review of 2013, Retraining of Racehorses is launching a new video highlighting the adaptability of former racehorses for other equine activities. The charity is also currently organising parades of horses for the opening days of both the Cheltenham Festival and Aintree Grand National Meeting to showcase the work of Retraining of Racehorses.

Monday 3rd February

For more information contact: Di Arbuthnot, Chief Executive, 01488 648998

Notes to Editors:

1.   Launched by the British Horseracing Board (now the British Horseracing Authority) in April 2000, Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) was awarded charitable status in Autumn 2000.

2.   In 2007 the charity amalgamated with the Racehorse Owners Association charity, Emergency Relief for Thoroughbreds. Retraining of Racehorses now also has responsibility for those rare cases when former racehorses are found in a sick, neglected or ill-treated state.

3.   Retraining of Racehorses is funded through the racing industry and through investment returns on generous gifts made by the Mellon Trust and Sheikh Mohammed. Contributions are made by owners through the ROA from entry fees, racecourses and the Horseracing & Betting Levy Board. The remaining funding comes from a range of bodies within the racing industry.

4.   Retraining of Racehorses supports five provides charitable  retraining centres for the care, retraining and rehoming of former racehorses: Greatwood, HEROS, Moorcroft Racehorse Welfare Centre, the Thoroughbred Rehabilitation Centre and Hollesley Bay. It also makes ad hoc payments to other homing organisations.