Racehorse welfare information
At RaceShare, racehorse welfare is of primary importance. That’s why we are a supporter of Retraining of Racehorses (RoR), the official charity for the welfare of horses that have retired from racing. Under this partnership, RaceShare has committed to donate £5,000 every year to the charity.
It is the responsibility of everyone involved in the sport of horseracing to ensure a good life for all thoroughbreds once their careers on the racecourse are over. We hope our annual donation will help RoR continue to do a brilliant job in retraining and rehoming ex-racehorses.
As part of the price per share in each of our RaceShare horses, we also include a percentage that will go towards a horse’s post-racing pension fund. This fund will be used at the end of the horse’s racing career to ensure the best possible post-racing care. This could be helping find full retirement to a great home or retraining to take up a new career.
In February 2020, the racing industry’s independently chaired Horse Welfare Board published its five-year strategic plan for the welfare of horses bred for racing. The strategy focuses on the ambition that every horse bred to race should lead – and be seen to lead – “a life well-lived”.
That means securing the best possible quality of life for horses bred for racing, promoting the sport’s collective lifetime responsibility for them (including the ability to trace their paths pre- and post-racing), ensuring the best possible safety for horses whilst competing and training (including the analysis of risk and reduction of reasonably avoidable injuries), and the maintenance of public trust in the sport.
Here are some key points from the strategy that illustrate the importance of horseracing as a sport and the commitment the British racing industry has made to ensuring welfare remains of paramount importance:
In Britain, we are a nation of sport and animal lovers. Horseracing provides the best of both: loved equine superstars competing at the peak of their athletic ability. It is not just a compelling sport but also a thriving industry that plays an important part in Britain’s culture and economy.
Horseracing brings huge benefits to the national economy, with an economic impact of around £4.1 billion. From racehorse breeders to trainers, yard staff, jockeys, vets and racecourse staff, the industry supports more than 20,000 jobs directly, and more than 85,000 when including both direct and indirect employment.
Thoroughbreds are athletes, and horseracing provides this historic and magnificent breed with a purpose. All aspects of their life benefit from continuous investment and improvement, from training and nutrition through to veterinary care and general wellbeing.
The 20,000-plus horses that race over the course of a year receive near-constant attention from the 6,000-plus stable staff who are dedicated to their care on a daily basis.
As with all elite sports – and, indeed, any activity – involving horses, there is an element of risk in horseracing. Over the last 20 years, British racing has invested more than £40 million to continue to minimise that risk, to advance equine veterinary science and education, and to make sure its athletes are cared for, healthy and happy.
Research and development carried out by British horseracing also leads to improved care and understanding for horses in all walks of life. Much of that investment is derived from its betting revenues.
British horseracing today is safer than it has ever been. There are around 90,000 runners in an uninterrupted year of racing and 99.8% of those runners return home safely after participating.
The full strategy, ‘A Life Well Lived’ can be found by clicking here
At the end of a racehorse’s career, there are numerous next steps available. Tens of thousands of former racehorses go on to fulfilling second careers via such avenues as:
ROR (Retraining of Racehorses), British racing’s own dedicated charity with whom c.12,000 horses are registered – more than a third of the estimated retired thoroughbred population. It has a vulnerable horse scheme to support any horse that falls on hard times.
Teaching the next generation of riders at the British Racing School and National Horseracing College
Breeding the next generation of racehorses, either at a commercial stud or for private owner-breeders
There are also less formal pathways, such as:
Racehorse owners providing retirement homes at their own premises
Stable staff, jockeys, trainers and their families providing retirement facilities, and sometimes a secondary discipline, for the horses they have looked after during their racing careers
Racehorses are often taken on by individuals with a longstanding direct connection to a racehorse yard, who then pursue equestrian disciplines – such as dressage, eventing, polo and show-jumping – for which the horse is retrained
Racehorses can also be taken on by individuals known to a racehorse yard, who ride and care for them for pleasure and as a non-competitive hobby