Since its launch in 2000, RoR has established itself as one of the country’s pre-eminent equine charities, promoting the highest standards of horse welfare and providing care and funding for former racehorses that would otherwise be vulnerable.
On average around 7,000 horses leave British racing each year. Some are retired to stud for breeding, some go on to race abroad and some go point-to-pointing; however, the highest percentage (over 40%) are retrained for an alternative equine discipline or recreational activity.
Greater awareness of the Thoroughbred’s versatility combined with a rise in the number of classes and competitions staged by RoR exclusively for former racehorses has served to significantly increase demand for the breed, thereby reducing the risk of former racehorses becoming unwanted and vulnerable.
However, a key aspect of the charity’s welfare work is to always be prepared and RoR has in place a nationwide infrastructure and ‘safety net’ ready to take-in and take care of former racehorses when the circumstances warrant it.
One of the outcomes of the independent strategic review of RoR in 2014 was the creation of the post, RoR Head of Welfare. This individual is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the charity’s 'Vulnerable Horse Scheme' and ‘Emergency Relief for Thoroughbreds'.
The Head of Welfare works with a number of accredited rehoming centres, geographically spread across the country, to deliver welfare care where it is needed. The role also entails working alongside the major welfare charities, such as the RSPCA and World Horse Welfare, as well as with the British Horseracing Authority (BHA).
RoR also recognises the role horses can play in helping humans and the charity actively supports the use of former racehorses in this capacity.