‘Champneys for horses’ seeks retired racehorses to kick-start new careers

The “Champneys” of racehorse retraining yards is looking for recently retired thoroughbreds to enjoy a stay to help kick-start their new careers.

Palace House, the National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art, in Newmaket is working with Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) to offer up to eight horses a stay for a maximum of four months.

The refurbished Rothschild Yard at Palace House is RoR’s flagship yard and has been a temporary home to Champion Chase winner Sire De Grugy and Ascot Gold Cup hero Big Orange (pictured, top).

Horses will have access to daily turnout, the all-weather Peter O’Sullevan Arena and highly-trained yard staff. The stay is free, other than bills for veterinary and farrier care.

“I suppose you could say it’s Champneys for racehorses,” says Palace House chief executive Dr Steven Parissien. “The standard of care really is first-rate and the horses benefit from being brought back into light work with general purpose tack.

“The RoR team teach them to stand at a mounting block, understand leg aids and work into an outline to start to develop the muscles and attitude of a sports and leisure horse.

“Pole work is also used to develop rhythm and balance, and to prepare for jumping, if they go onto that phase. These elements keep the horses’ brains active and prepares them for new phases of their careers; whether that be in dressage, eventing or showjumping.”

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Sue Molloy, RoR yard manager, added: “During his time here we worked on Sire De Grugy’s flatwork; teaching him the different leg and weight aids and to accept a rein contact, by working over his back to develop these important muscles. This helped him to make the changes from racehorse to riding horse.”

RoR chief executive Di Arbuthnot encouraged owners to take up the chance.

“The versatility of the racehorse is often underestimated and it is wonderful to have a facility such as that at Palace House where the public can see for themselves how racehorses can adapt, how good their temperaments are and how they can be retrained in a range of different activities,” she said.

“We recommend owners take up this opportunity to have their horses cared for and retrained at Palace House, or in the case of our retired equine heroes, to simply go there for a holiday and as a visitor attraction.”

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