​Beyond the Track:

As the thoroughbred racing industry continues to evolve, the treatment and fate of retired racehorses has become an increasingly important topic. Thankfully, there are a growing number of organizations and individuals dedicated to helping these horses find new homes and careers once their racing days are over.

Retired racehorses are often referred to as “off-track thoroughbreds” or “OTTBs.” While these horses may have once been highly valuable and successful on the track, they often face uncertain futures once they retire. Fortunately, there are many ways to help these horses transition to new careers and homes.

Retired racehorses can excel in a variety of disciplines, from dressage and show jumping to polo and trail riding. With their athleticism, work ethic, and willingness to please, these horses can make wonderful partners for riders of all levels and interests.

One organization that is doing great work in this area is the Retired Racehorse Project. Founded in 2010, the organization is dedicated to increasing demand for retired racehorses by promoting their versatility, athleticism, and train ability. They offer educational resources, training challenges, and other initiatives to help owners and trainers find new homes and careers for these horses.

Another organization making a difference in the lives of retired racehorses is New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program. Based in Ohio and Kentucky, New Vocations takes in retired thoroughbreds and other racehorses, rehabs them, and trains them for new careers in a variety of disciplines, including hunter/jumper, dressage, and pleasure riding.

There are also many private individuals who are doing their part to help retired racehorses. Some purchase these horses directly from owners and trainers and train them for new careers themselves. Others adopt retired racehorses from organizations like New Vocations or the Retired Racehorse Project.

But what about the horses that are not so lucky? Unfortunately, some retired racehorses do end up in undesirable situations, such as being sold for slaughter or neglected due to a lack of resources. However, there are efforts underway to prevent this from happening.

For example, in 2011, the Jockey Club launched the Thoroughbred Incentive Program (T.I.P.). This program offers awards and prizes to thoroughbreds that excel in non-racing disciplines, such as eventing, dressage, and trail riding. The hope is that by incentivizing owners and trainers to invest in the post-racing careers of their horses, more horses will be saved from undesirable outcomes.

In addition to these initiatives, there are several things that individuals can do to help retired racehorses. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Adopt a retired racehorse: If you have the resources and experience necessary to care for a horse, consider adopting a retired racehorse yourself. There are many organizations and individuals out there that can help you find the right horse for your needs.
  2. Volunteer with a horse rescue organization: Even if you’re not in a position to adopt a horse yourself, you can still help by volunteering with a horse rescue organization. These groups are always in need of people to help with everything from mucking stalls to grooming horses.
  3. Support organizations that help retired racehorses: Consider making a donation to a charity or organization that works to help retired racehorses find new homes and careers. Every little bit helps.
  4. Spread the word: Finally, be an advocate for retired racehorses. Share information about these horses and the organizations that help them on social media and in your community. The more people know about this issue, the more horses can be saved.

If you are interested in adopting a retired racehorse, it is important to do your research and work with a reputable aftercare organization or program. These organizations can provide guidance on the adoption process, help match you with a suitable horse, and provide support throughout the transition period.

In conclusion, retired racehorses are finding new homes and careers in a variety of disciplines thanks to the efforts of aftercare organizations and programs. By adopting a retired racehorse, you not only provide a loving home for a deserving animal, but also support the important work of these organizations in ensuring that all horses have a happy and fulfilling life after racing.