Racing Victoria (RV) has renewed its association with Equestrian Victoria (EV) by extending its Off The Track naming rights sponsorship for the 2021-22 season.
The mutually beneficial partnership has seen an increased number of off-the-track horses compete in EV events since the introduction of RV’s Off The Track Program in 2012.
In more recent times, while COVID has reduced the number of competitions that have taken place, demand for off-the-track thoroughbreds remains on the rise, with OTTs making up over 40 per cent of the total horses participating in the Horse Trials last season and over 15 per cent of horses competing at the 2021 Victorian State Jumping Titles.
As a key driver for growing demand for the thoroughbred in the equestrian community, RV’s Off The Track Program will continue to support some of EV’s major events, including the Spring Horse Trials (October 2021), Barastoc Horse of the Year (February 2022) and Melbourne International 3 Day Event (June 2022), as well as sponsor the inaugural Spring Owner Rider Show (October 2021) and Young Ambassador Program (June 2022), offering increased opportunities for riders of off-the-track horses.
The Young Ambassador Program sees state finalists for each discipline (jumping, showing, dressage and eventing), attend an intensive assessment and training weekend in June 2022, at the end of which four winners are chosen to be the ‘faces’ of their respective disciplines, based on their sportsmanship, performance, leadership qualities and contribution to the sport.
RV will continue to support dedicated Off The Track categories and prizes for riders competing at EV major championships and regional events across Victoria, including EV affiliated horse trials and show jumping events, as well as the addition of 10 EV affiliated dressage events, which will recognise the Best Performed OTT in preliminary classes, offering the chance for more retired racehorses to be recognised for excelling in their new careers.
In addition, new jumping classes have been added to the roster of EV affiliated show jumping events, increasing the opportunities for off-the-trackers to be rewarded across various levels.
Future opportunities for EV members who own an off-the-track thoroughbred have also been increased thanks to the launch of RV’s new online post-racing platform, Off The Track Community, in May this year.
Already well supported by the Victorian equestrian community, more than 2,000 off-the-track thoroughbred owners and riders have claimed their horses on the platform, to not only assist RV in tracing former racehorses across Victoria, but to access a variety of exclusive content and educational tools to support their passion for the thoroughbred.
OTT Community members can also sign up to be the ‘Full Circle’ emergency contact for horses should they find themselves at risk long after their transition from racing.
RV’s partnership with EV is made possible by the Victorian racing industry’s three-year $25 million expanded and accelerated equine welfare action plan, which has a priority on the wellbeing of retired racehorses.
“We are thrilled to once again partner with Equestrian Victoria to support the equestrian community and showcase the versatility of retired racehorses across a number of different disciplines," Racing Victoria General Manager - Equine Welfare, Jennifer Hughes.
Equestrian Victoria does a fantastic job in celebrating the people and horses that are so vital to the equestrian industry, whether it be in a Led OTT Show Hunter class to the CCI 4* at Melbourne International 3 Day Event, and it’s great to see off-the-trackers excelling in these opportunities.
Although many events unfortunately did not go ahead in the past 18 months, we’re hopeful that they will take place in 2021-22, and we look forward to seeing retired racehorses enjoying their second careers.
We also look forward to the upcoming Equestrian Victoria Awards evening, which will once again recognise the fantastic work achieved by our Acknowledged Retrainers during another difficult year of COVID restrictions, as well as, for the first time, feature the OTT RESET Achievement Award, which will go to a member of the community who has been outstanding in supporting our newly developed RESET Program, providing direct support for horses that are sound and have good prospects but have not been successful in transitioning to a second career outside of racing.
Our partnership with Equestrian Victoria also complements our recently launched post-racing platform, Off The Track Community, which acts as a hub to register retired racehorses, find events, take up additional educational opportunities and follow the stories of other horses.”
“Equestrian Victoria has been working closely with the Racing Victoria team over the past three years and we thank them for their ongoing support across the organisation, especially through these challenging times," Equestrian Victoria Head of Partnerships, Tracey Button.
“We are so grateful for Racing Victoria’s continued support of the EV Awards Night, Show Horse Nationals, EV Horse Trials, Spring Horse Trials, EV Summer Show, Barastoc Horse of The Year, Jumping Victoria State Titles and the Melbourne International 3-day event.”