Thoroughbred Horses & Ex-Racehorses
Giving ex racehorses a brighter future.
Thoroughbreds & Ex-Racehorses
The Irish Horse Welfare Trust (IHWT) is committed to welfare of all equines but cares for many Thoroughbred horses in particular. Some Thoroughbred horses come through other welfare organisations that do not have the facilities to rehabilitate them. Other cases come through external agencies including Gardai and Department of Agriculture.
Thoroughbred horses are a high maintenance horse and usually require more specialist care than some native breeds. Thoroughbreds that come into care as youngsters are not trained for riding until they are at least 4 years old and even then the process followed is slow and steady.
Retired Racehorses are often given over to the IHWT when they have finished racing and the charity re-trains these for equestrian sport and leisure riding. In this way they can be re-homed to experienced new homes and live a useful happy life where they are well cared for.
IHWT – RETRAINING & RE-HOMING RACEHORSES
The Thoroughbred horse is intelligent and versatile and ex-racehorses can be re trained for many other disiplines including Dressage, eventing, hacking, showjumping, Polo.
It takes a minimum of 6-9 months to re-train and re-school an ex-racehorse and this time can increase depending on the individual. Racehorses come out of a highly stressful career and it takes time for them to settle into a new type of work. Most horses adapt happily given the chance and can go on to do other disciplines such as Hacking, Dressage or Show jumping. They are however not suitable for novice riders and need a lot of care and attention.
Ex-racehorses should be assessed during the first few weeks for any behavioral or other problems. They should be visited by the dentist and chiropractor. The horses have to adjust to a new diet and routine (especially those coming straight out of racing). Individual diets need to be formulated. Only when all of the above is done can the re-schooling begin.
Re-training starts with weeks of long reining and then some lunging before a rider is introduced. Once ridden work commences horses are worked with 3 or 4 times weekly in a combination of short flatwork sessions and hacks out – in company first and then hacking alone. Although some ex racehorses find this very stressful.
The Horse should get lots of daily handling and grooming and daily turnout in preparation for a new career living in a new home.
Many ex-racehorses that have come through the IHWT have gone on to have successful careers in showjumping and as leisure and riding club horses.