At it's launch in 2000, the aims of RoR were relatively simple: to raise funds from within the Racing Industry to support, where needed, the re-schooling and rehoming of former racehorses.
Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) was launched in April 2000 and was awarded charitable status in the autumn of that year.
Its establishment followed a period of review and consultation within the British racing industry during 1998-99. The review concluded that there was evidence of racehorses requiring charitable intervention on welfare grounds subsequent to their retirement from racing.
The British racing industry collectively recognised that it had a responsibility to these horses and the charity was established in order to address the issue and develop a coherent strategy to minimise such eventualities in the future.
Following a review of its role in 2003, the charity changed its name from ‘Rehabilitation of Racehorses’ to ‘Retraining of Racehorses’, as this was a more accurate reflection of its key objectives and activities.
The man largely responsible for setting up the charity was Brigadier Andrew Parker Bowles OBE. A former Director of the British Horseracing Board, Chairman of the Jockey Club Veterinary Committee and Vice Chairman of the International League for the Protection of Horses, he was RoR’s first Chairman and remained in the role until 2007.
Since its launch the breadth and scale of the charity’s activities have grown considerably. RoR now stages over 300 classes and competitions each year exclusively for former racehorses across a dozen different equine disciplines. And via its nationwide network of regional co-ordinators, it stages over 120 educational events per annum for the owners and riders of former racehorses.
In 2014, in view of the charity’s expansion and evolution, RoR initiated an independent strategic review of its activities in order to clarify its priorities and optimise the use of its funds.
Included among the review’s recommendations was the appointment of a Welfare Consultant together with an increase in and a better geographical spread of RoR approved centres equipped to take in and care for vulnerable horses. Until then RoR’s financial support of centres had almost exclusively been restricted to three and then four operations. The revised scheme was considered better suited to ensuring the money raised by racing was spent directly on looking after the vulnerable horses that needed care and rehoming.