Thousands of thoroughbred and standardbred horses each year reach the end of their time in the racing industry. Some are retiring after a successful career, some are “too slow” and some suffer injury or illness. In fact it is estimated that 700 in every 1000 Thoroughbred foals bred in Australia never even make it to a race in the first place.The good news is that programs and organisations finding new careers and homes for retiring thoroughbred and standardbred racehorses are growing in number and impact. However, at this early stage, compared to the number of horses needing rehoming, there is still a long way to go.
Here are details of some of the major organisations and programs doing their best to give these horses a second chance in life. You can find links to these at any time on the thoroughbreds and standardbreds pages on our site. If you know of a program not listed here, please let us know.
The NSW Thoroughbred Rehabilitation Trust has been set up as a charity and enjoy the considerable support of Racing NSW. Horses are spelled, receive groundwork training, and then head to the NSW TRT facility at Canterbury Racecourse for training under saddle. The horses are reasonably priced when they complete the program, and efforts are made to match horses to suitable homes. Take a look at their photo albums on Facebook to see horses currently available and also some that have been rehomed through this program.
The Cyberhorse Racehorse Outplacement Program operates in Victoria with support from Racing Victoria and a large number of sponsors in the horse industry. Thoroughbreds entering the program are trained by Outplacement Consultants, who take the horses through a thorough four stage training program that is tailored to each individual horse. When a new owner purchases a CROP thoroughbred, they receive a fantastic support package from the program’s sponsors with products and services of great benefit to a new horse owner (current value approx $1500). Take a look under the “sold” section of the “horses for sale” tab on their website to see horses that have already benefited from this program.
Equus, Beyond the Track are located in Victoria, they say: “At Equus we are passionate about retraining and finding permanent homes for Thoroughbreds.” They are sponsors of the Thoroughbred Riding Club Inc, who run events for riders of thoroughbreds, including clinics, rallies and competitions. A great initiative for promoting ex-racehorses and supporting riders in their retraining.
Standardbreds (Harness Racing – Trotters and Pacers)
Epona’s Pastures in Victoria are a not-for-profit organisation that specialise in the rescue and rehoming of standardbreds. They have been operating for years and you can see stories of many horses they have helped using the “Previous Rescue Stories” tab at the top right of their website. You can also see horses currently in care, and follow them on their Facebook page also.
Harness Racing Australia have started working with the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) to rehome standardbreds. These days standies are widely known for their quiet, trainable temperaments, and it is hoped that many more will meet the RDA’s requirements for super-quiet horses. The WA and Victorian mounted police have also expressed interest in taking on standardbreds. Watch a news report on this from Channel 7 here. The horse in this story is Benucci, who is one of many horses that have benefited from going through the Raising the Standards training program. Raising the Standards are located in Victoria, you can find out more about them at their website and Facebook page.
Some other individuals, businesses and other organisations involved in promoting and retraining standardbreds for other careers include “Anything But Standard” (Canberra/Goulburn, ACT) who retrain standardbreds to saddle, own racing standardbreds and also compete at local shows. They also blog about their activities. “Chapel Lodge Equine Services” are located in Lewiston, South Australia. They rehabilitate and retrain standardbreds, then match them with an appropriate home. They also have a Facebook page. “Kalimbah Standardbreds” retrain standardbreds to saddle, conduct clinics, work with Harness Racing NSW and Harness Racing Australia to promote the breed and “improve the post racing life of retired racing Standardbreds”. They are located in Bredbo in NSW.
In most states there are standardbred associations and clubs for people keen to bring a standardbred into their lives. Although they vary from state to state, some offer adoption programs, competitions, training days and more for standardbred pleasure and performance riding enthusiasts.
Standardbred Associations, Breed Societies and Clubs:
- Standardbred Pleasure & Performance Horse Association of Western Australia Inc. Website andFacebook Page
- The Standardbred Pleasure and Performance Horse Association of South Australia Website
- Standardbred Association Queensland Website and Facebook Group
- The Standardbred Pleasure and Performance Horse Association of NSW Website and Facebook Account
- The Standardbred Pleasure and Performance Horse Association of Victoria Website and Facebook Group
- The Standardbred Pleasure and Performance Horse Association of Tasmania Facebook Page
- Standardbreds Unharnessed Inc Website (ACT)
- Standardbred Riding Group Inc (Vic)
- The Association for Trotters Exiting Racing Inc (AFTER) Website (Qld)
Whatever sort of riding you may be into, or if perhaps you are interested in a horse as a companion or “paddock ornament”, please consider a thoroughbred or standardbred. They are wonderful horses and deserve to be given every chance. If you are not able to take one of these horses on, perhaps you could help promote them, maybe by spreading the word about whatever of these programs, organisations or other groups appeal to you.