‘Exciting’ new programme to support thoroughbreds straight off the track

  • An “exciting new addition” to the British Eventing (BE) Howden Way programme will provide bespoke training and support to riders who take on former racehorses.

    The thoroughbred aftercare programme is to be run by British Eventing and aimed to sit with the Howden Way’s regional training, talent and young horse academy and young horse leagues. Details are yet to be confirmed but it is understood that it will involve the creation of a standardised national syllabus to help horses transition from the track to a second career as a ridden horse. It is understood that it will work in a similar manner to the Howden Way, but bespoke, and designed to help horses from the moment they leave the track and take their first steps on a new career.

    “The programme, within the Howden Way structure, will be specifically designed to assist riders from the initial point of taking on a horse leaving racing and transitioning to a riding horse,” a spokesman for the scheme said. “The programme will both encourage and assist those taking on a former racehorse by giving them the security of knowing they will have a comprehensive care programme wrapped around them. The programme will encompass everything that riders will need to know from both caring for ex-racehorses in terms of their nutrition, routine and welfare needs through to their ridden retraining. It will sit alongside the existing resource and guidance provided by Retraining of Racehorses.”

    The training will be delivered by BE coaches at level three and above, who have undergone the  thoroughbred aftercare standardisation training and will be supported by experts.

    BE chair Mark Sartori told H&H: “This is a tremendous initiative and one that I’m sure will be enthusiastically welcomed by the racing industry along with the wider equestrian community.  The programme will assist the thoroughbreds transition into a new life outside of racing whether it be as a riding horse or, in time, a future sport horse participating within our competition framework.

    “I would like to take this opportunity to thank David Howden for his support of The Howden Way which will now have the Thoroughbred Aftercare Programme incorporated into it. His vision for making top class training accessible for all horses and riders is second to none and to see this now rolled to support the thoroughbred as they leave their career in racing really highlights his vision and deserves applauding by the entire equestrian industry.”

    An RoR spokesman told H&H: “RoR is delighted that the Howden Way is extending the support offered to former racehorses. We are looking forward to working collaboratively with the programme to help maximise its impact. RoR works closely with coaches from BE, other disciplines and member bodies to support the retraining of former racehorses and widen the opportunities available to them. This new programme is a great example of how we can join up and find pathways for former racehorses to retrain and transition smoothly into second careers. Currently, RoR has over 12,500 former racehorses registered, and any further investment towards thoroughbred aftercare will benefit the horses and their owners, as well as complement our educational clinics and camps that this year have attracted moe than 1,000 riders”

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