Attempts to retrain former racehorses for a new career have been successful, prompting a surge of initiatives in this field.

Racehorse rehabilitation specialists Fred and Rowena Cook have introduced a new sponsorship scheme to allow retrained racehorses to take part in competitions.

The first events to come under the “Promoting Racehorse Retraining” banner will be a series of unaffiliated dressage classes at Addington Manor Equestrian Centre, Buckinghamshire, where, the four highest-placed ex-racehorses will receive special rosettes. At the end of the competition series, the overall winners will receive prizes, including a rug for the highest-placed rider.

The Cooks intend to expand sponsorship gradually to cover various disciplines.

Competition Success

Meanwhile, established schemes – such as the South Essex Insurance Brokers Racehorses to Riding Horses competition – are proving extremely popular.

“The first year of competition was an undoubted success,” said SEIB spokeswoman, Nicolina MacKenzie. “We had many entries and last year’s winners set a standard that proves these much maligned equine athletes can certainly do more than just race.”

The initiative, which is now in its second year, is open to Wetherbys-registered horses that have previously been in training for either flat or national hunt racing. Horses accumulate points in affiliated and unaffiliated competitions, and the final result is based on total points gained during the 2003 season.

Find out more

Accessing reliable information is a vital step in retraining racehorses. To address this need, Retraining of Racehorses (RoR), a racehorse rehabilitation charity, has recently launched a website: www.ror.org.uk.

Set up by the BHB in 2000, RoR is designed to raise money from within the racing industry to help fund the retraining and re-homing of ex-racehorses. The website provides details of the charity’s work, as well as articles, event information and directories relevant to racehorse retraining.

For further information about the schemes:

‘Racehorses to Riding Horses’, South Essex Insurance Brokers Ltd., South Essex House, North Road, South Ockendon, Essex, RM15 5BE. For application forms please enclose a large SAE.

Promoting Racehorse Retraining: contact Fred or Rowena (Tel: 01780 740773; email: enquiries@equine-training.co.uk). For show dates and online entry forms contact Addington Manor EC (www.addingtonmanor.co.uk). Please state on the entry form that your horse was formerly in training.