Retraining of Racehorses has told H&H it was “pleased” after 12 horses were sold for a total of £7,070 at the first auction of ex-racehorses for the riding horse market.

Brightwells Auctioneers and Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) staged the auction at the Three Counties Showground in Malvern last month (20 May).

28 horses went under the hammer, many from National Hunt trainers including Tom George, Venetia Williams and Anabel King Murphy.

12 of these horses sold for an average price of £589 and the rest were unsold due to not meeting their reserve.

“Racing did its bit by providing horses for the sale which were suitable for sport horse market,” said Di Arbuthnot, chief executive of RoR.

“As it was the first time we have tried this we are pleased with how the sale went, but in the future we need to do more with the auctioneers to ensure the buyers are there in greater force.”

The ex-racehorses ranged in age from three-year-old Reet Petite, a 15hh mare who has raced on the flat, to Storey Coburn, a 12-year-old gelding who hunted under a whipper-in last season.

The horse that sold for the highest price was six-year-old Barton Blount for £1,100. He will go to the event yard of Jeanette Brakewell.

“It’s an excellent initiative, and as with the whole second career movement, it’s about matching horses to opportunities. However, it will take time for people to understand the opportunity — buying and selling at auction isn’t such an established mechanism outside of racing,” said Jenny Hall, chief veterinary officer at the British Horseracing Authority.

Andrew Elliot, bloodstock manager and auctioneer at Brightwells added: “This being the first sale of its type, we really did not know how it would be received. However, the feedback from trainers has been very positive and we are greatly encouraged by how well it has been supported.”

He said he was “pleased with the quality of the horses entered” and has “no doubt that they will all have the potential to find a rewarding second career after racing.”

Every horse was sold with a “non racing agreement” clause added to its passport preventing the horse from returning to racing in the future.