Life-After-Racing programe finds homes for horses

Victorian Deputy Premier and Minister for Racing Rob Hulls on Thursday launched an outplacement program that will help find new homes for thoroughbred racehorses coming to the end of their racing careers.

Visiting Caulfield Racecourse to launch the program, Mr Hulls said the new industry-backed Cyberhorse Racehorse Outplacement Program would provide expert training and support for Victorian racehorses to help them make the transition to a life after racing.

“Victoria produces some of this country’s most talented thoroughbreds, but it is sometimes easy to forget that even the most successful racehorses have a relatively short racing career when compared to their lifespan,” Mr Hulls said.

“A lot of owners take this responsibility seriously and provide a permanent home for their horses once their racing careers have finished, including in broader equestrian activities, as breeding stock and or even as family pets. Sadly, others are not so fortunate.

“By helping to retrain thoroughbreds at the end of their racing careers, the new Racehorse Outplacement Program will further support the racing industry by providing realistic options for owners once their horses have left the track.

“Under the program, an outplacement consultant will work with retiring horses to assess their skills and temperament before retraining them, where appropriate, for an alternate career, and will also seek to match them with a suitable new owner.”

Mr Hulls said the development of a systematic and sustainable outplacement program for the thoroughbred racing industry was a major step that would improve the welfare of horses while also supporting the equestrian and wider horse riding industry.

“Just like the highly successful Greyhound Adoption Program, which retrains and finds new owners for former racing greyhounds, this program is another excellent example of how the Victorian racing industry aims to improve the welfare and quality of life of its animals,” he said.

Mr Hulls said partners Racing Victoria Limited and Cyberhorse, a privately owned internet resource for the racing industry, would provide funding over the next two years to establish the program.

Racing Victoria Limited’s Chief Strategy Officer Paul Bittar said the Victorian thoroughbred racing industry was committed to horse welfare.

“Thoroughbreds are a highly sought after breed when it comes to equestrian sports because of their agility and intelligence, making retired racehorses the ideal candidates for a spot in the dressage arena, pony club or polo field,” Mr Bittar said.

“The Racehorse Outplacement Program aims to bridge the communication gap between the racing industry and wider equestrian community to ultimately provide racehorses with a successful career well beyond their days on the track.”