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New programs open up more opportunities for retired racehorses

Racing Victoria (RV) is pleased to announce a suite of pilot programs to further Victoria’s support for retired racehorses.

The three pilot programs build upon RV’s existing post racing initiatives that aim to complement the work done by owners and trainers in transitioning and caring for their horses post racing.

The pilot programs will help incentivise those looking to take on a horse to opt for a thoroughbred instead of other breeds, while continuing to support non-competitive pathways for retired racehorses.

The Retired Thoroughbred Companion Program will support those people who take on a thoroughbred as a companion horse so they can enjoy a happy post-racing life in a paddock, when they aren’t suited to a riding career or able to transition through one of RV’s other programs.

The Clerk of Course Subsidy Program is being introduced to help achieve a goal of all Victorian Clerk of Course horses being thoroughbreds. Currently half of the Clerk of Course horses on Victorian racetracks are thoroughbreds, with the pilot program to provide further incentive to those re-educating horses for this vital raceday role.

The Refit Subsidy Program will provide additional financial support to RV Acknowledged Retrainers who take on retired racehorses deemed to be physically unsound but who, with short-term rehabilitation, have good prospects of being sound to enter a retraining program and enjoy a purposeful second career.

The three pilot programs complement Victoria’s post racing programs and initiatives that have been expanded and accelerated across the past three years through RV’s $25 million commitment to equine welfare.

This is headlined by the Off The Track Program which features a statewide network of 50 Acknowledged Retrainers and supports over 200 equestrian events annually in Victoria, rewarding those who compete on retired racehorses.

Off The Track proudly partners with many equestrian organisations including Equestrian Victoria, Pony Club Victoria, Riding For The Disabled Association of Victoria, Marcus Oldham College and Equine Pathways Australia.

Among the other new initiatives are the RESET Program, which provides support for retired racehorses who have struggled to find a new career post-racing; and the Acknowledged Retirement Farms Program which expands the long term agistment options for retired thoroughbreds.

Central to RV’s work to increase the traceability of retired racehorses is the Off The Track Community where current owners update the location of retired racehorses by ‘claiming’ them and members register as emergency contacts should a horse require emergency support in the future.

Over 4,000 retired racehorses have been claimed at since its launch, providing RV with greater visibility of horses no longer under the jurisdiction of the racing industry.

Any horse accepted into one of the three new pilot programs must be claimed on the Off The Track Community to assist RV’s work in improving the traceability of retired racehorses across the state.

RV’s General Manager - Equine Welfare, Melissa Ware, said: “As we embark on our new five-year equine welfare strategy, we continue to evolve our programs and initiatives from our ongoing lessons, data collected and our work with industry participants and our network of Acknowledged Retrainers.

“This has led us to developing three new pilot programs that aim to support those taking on thoroughbreds, promoting them as the breed of choice and assisting those horses that might need a little more time and attention before flourishing in their second career.

“I’m especially excited to see more retired racehorses complete the retraining to get back to the track to work as Clerk of Course horses. We want to see our numbers rise by five thoroughbreds each year to eventually be 100 per cent of horses used by Clerks of Course.

“As with all our post-racing programs, we will continue to monitor and understand how they can improve opportunities for retired racehorse in Victoria.”

Article courtesy of Racing Victoria

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