Former racehorses with racing-related blemishes, and thoroughbreds that have been in training but have not run in a race, will have more opportunities from next year as Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) broadens its competition series.

The change follows recommendations from a recent review into how the charity spends its money. The review was prompted following more applications for funding due to the growing popularity of ex-racehorses.

One recommedation is that the “series should be expanded to include classes for those that were in training but never raced” and to “create classes for horses with accidentally received blemishes”.

These issues have long been gripes for owners.

“They [RoR] are currently excluding the very horses they were set up to champion, and I feel strongly about this,” one reader recently wrote to H&H.


To counter this RoR has teamed up with the Thoroughbred and Retired Racehorse Association (TARRA) for the show series in 2015 and there will be a final at the RoR Championships at Aintree in August 2015.

“The classes will continue under TARRA rules whereby racing injuries are ignored. An important change is that the series will be for amateurs only,” said RoR’s Di Arbuthnot.

A series of in-hand and ridden showing classes are run by TARRA. Classes are held throughout the country.

“It will allow horses that have raced overseas or have not reached the racecourse chances to compete under the RoR banner,” added Mrs Arbuthnot.

Grassroots boost

The charity has seen an increase in interest in recent years — in part thanks to the “Kauto Star factor”.

More than 10,000 ex-racehorses are currently registered for competition with RoR. However, it’s not all about the high profile horses. RoR is also looking to expand the grassroots series, with more eventing and showing due to an “increase in registrations at that level”.

“It was also clear that many lead useful lives at ‘grassroots’ level and catering for these is equally important to promote demand,” stated the review.

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (13 November 2014).