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Success stories RoR’s dedication to welfare: safeguarding the wellbeing of former racehorses

12th December 2023

Behind the glamour of the RoR parades and the excitement of the competition series lies an essential pillar of the Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) charity – its profound commitment to the welfare of retired racehorses. RoR’s welfare responsibilities are focused on the safeguarding the wellbeing of former racehorses and it believes that every former racehorse deserves a life well lived throughout every stage of their life.

From its establishment in 2000, RoR has provided a safety net to provide charitable support for any former racehorse in need. Today, this support is primarily channelled through RoR’s Vulnerable Horse Scheme (VHS). The VHS operates in conjunction with RoR’s charitable partners and well-equipped private operators, ensuring that former racehorses in need of assistance are identified and placed under the care of experts who can provide them with the support they require.

One such case emerged in early 2023, when an owner reached out to RoR expressing that they were no longer able to afford to keep their horse and support his recovery from a kissing spine operation. In response, RoR provided the financial support and coordinated the collection and transfer of the horse to a partner retraining centre, HEROS, where they knew he would receive the care and attention his previous owner could no longer provide.

On arrival, the horse was very dull and thin, with severe muscle loss over his back. However, within just a few months, thanks to the diligent care provided by the HEROS team along with their vet, dentist, and chiropractor, he made a speedy return to health and re-embarked on his retraining journey. During his time at HEROS, a lady visiting the facility developed a strong bond with the horse. After repeated visits to ride him to ensure they were a perfect match for each other, she made the decision to take him home, where he has seamlessly adapted to his new life.

Another crucial component of RoR’s welfare work is the Retraining Assessment Programme (RAP), launched in early 2022, in collaboration with HEROS. The RAP seeks to work with racehorse trainers, owners, and retraining centres to assess those former racehorses deemed as potentially more difficult and support their first steps out of racing. RoR is actively working on a sustainable funding model in conjunction with the industry, to support initiatives like the RAP and other key elements of RoR’s aftercare strategy. RoR is set to launch its three-year strategy in January 2024, which sets out its focus on welfare, retraining and accreditation, traceability, education and communication, in alignment with the recommendations in the Aftercare Funding Review.

The welfare of retired racehorses remains a matter of significant public interest, with ongoing questions and discussions regarding what happens to these equine stars after their retirement from racing. While many former racehorses enjoy long and happy lives in their post-racing years, it remains a reality that not every story is a success story. RoR is working diligently to ensure that every former racehorse is set up for the best possible life.

None of the vital work that RoR does would be possible without generous supporters like you. To find out more information about the work we do and/or to make a contribution, please visit our donations page.

Latest success stories RoR is always interested to hear of other success stories so please email us and send a photograph of your own story.

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