Have you signed up for Britain’s first Thoroughbred Census? *Promotion*

  • Promotional feature with Great British Racing

    Do you have a former racehorse? Is their passport up to date with you registered as the owner? If not, now is the time to take action. Throughout November, Weatherbys General Stud Book is running an amnesty on costs to allow owners of former racehorses to update their details free of charge. To qualify for the free update you must first complete the Thoroughbred Census and the horse must have been formerly registered with a British licensed trainer or ran on a British racecourse. Scroll down for more details.

    Why is this happening? Weatherbys has introduced the amnesty as part of its support for Britain’s first Thoroughbred Census. Now at more than 4,500 completions, there is a drive to try and double this before the closing date at the end of the year. The census, launched by the Horse Welfare Board with research experts at Hartpury, is aiming to help improve traceability of former racehorses after they retire from the sport.

    Did you know that any new owner of a horse is legally required to update their horse’s passport within 30 days of purchase? And that the passport is the primary source of equine identification and traceability for all horses in Great Britain? Awareness of how important this is appears to be low across the equestrian community, especially when it’s estimated that only around 20% of horses’ passports may be up to date with the correct current owner. That means four out of five people reading this article will be in this situation.

    So, if you are the owner of a former racehorse, now is your chance to take advantage of Weatherby’s offer. The first 500 passports sent in between Wednesday 1 November 2023 and Thursday 30 November can have their ownership details updated without having to pay the £32 administration fee.

    “The November amnesty is a significant moment in our continued efforts to improving the traceability of thoroughbreds in Great Britain, once retired from racing. The initial uptake of the Thoroughbred Census from owners across the country has been really positive, but the job is far from complete, and an industry-wide push is still required to make a significant impact,” explains Helena Flynn, programme director at the Horse Welfare Board.

    Improving traceability across the lives of all thoroughbreds bred for racing is a core part of the Horse Welfare Board’s five-year welfare strategy “A Life Well Lived”.

    The data gathered from the census will help build a wealth of intelligence on the lives former racehorses go on to lead. Improved data at this stage of a thoroughbred’s life will help British racing’s Horse Welfare Board and its aftercare partner Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) improve and adapt welfare initiatives. And most importantly improving the data held by Weatherbys General Stud Book will enable fast and effective contact in the event of an equine disease outbreak.

    Lizzie Kelly, Grade One and Cheltenham Festival-winning jockey, added: “Ensuring that all thoroughbreds go on to live happy and healthy lives after retiring from racing is a cause important to all of us within the sport. I’m very lucky to be looking after Tea for Two in his retirement and call on everyone else who is fortunate enough to own a former racehorse to complete the census”.

    Lizzie Kelly with Tea for Two

    Lizzie Kelly with Tea for Two.

    With an estimated 35,000 former racehorses in Britain, there’s a huge job to do to spread the word and get people participating. Every horse is important – whether they are 28 years old and retired in a field or competing to the highest level with RoR, all need to be captured in Britain’s first ever thoroughbred census.

    Have you taken part? Can you help spread the word? The census takes less than 10 minutes to complete, runs until 31 December and is collecting data including equine identification document (passport) numbers, microchip numbers, age, current residence, and second career choices. You can also support the census by sharing the census link and promoting it to anyone you know with a former racehorse to get involved using #ThoroughbredCensus2023

    The period of amnesty starts on Wednesday 1 November 2023 and ends on Thursday 30 November. In order for Weatherbys General Stud Book to waive the fee, owners will need to complete a paper application form and send along with their passport to Weatherbys Stud Book Dept, Sanders Road, Wellingborough, Northants NN8 4BX.


    • The horse has formerly been registered with a British licensed trainer or has competed on a British racecourse
    • The owner has completed the 2023 Thoroughbred Census for the horse for which they are completing the change of ownership
    • Completed form received by Weatherbys General Stud Book between 1 November 2023 and 30 November 2023
    • Horses with an FEI passport are NOT eligible to participate
    • Only the first 500 submissions will be eligible for the amnesty
    • Link to complete the census
    • Download change of ownership application form as PDF

    Passport updates

    All thoroughbreds are issued with a paper and digital passport (ePassport: www.weatherbys.co.uk/epassport). If the paper passport is updated, so is the digital version. Weatherbys must also be informed at point of death and the horse’s passport returned. This can of course be sent back to an owner as a keepsake, if requested via a covering letter.

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