Racehorse Welfare

Care for Racehorses for Life

All owners have a duty of care to their horses and there are many ways which they and the ROA ensure this important commitment is upheld:

  • Owners pay £1.25 per race entry for the welfare of former racehorses - Rule (F) 106 - which equates to almost £250,000 per year.
  • Funding a horse’s care and costs from a foal or yearling to the end of their racing careers
  • The ROA executive has a staff member on ‘The Horse Comes First’ board
  • The ROA Gold Standard award takes into consideration equine welfare and now how the course is reacting to the ‘The Horse Comes First’ campaign
  • The ROA executive has a staff member who keeps up-to-date with equine welfare developments by attending relevant conferences and meetings
  • Many owners contribute to the centres who retrain and care for retired racehorses often also with support of their trainer
  • The ROA supports Racing Welfare - care for racehorses begins with staff who are well looked after.
  • The ROA holds member-only visits to sites of educational interest including veterinary hospitals and to racehorse retraining centres to further the knowledge of owners in these areas.
  • It is compulsory that all Thoroughbred foals are microchipped within 30 days of birth, meaning that horses can be tracked and identified throughout their life.
Racehorse Relief Fund (RRF)

The Racehorse Owners Association (ROA) in October launched The Racehorse Relief Fund (RRF), a fund of last resort to support the needs of racehorses whose owners are suffering financial hardship as a result of the impact of COVID-19.

Now open for applications, the fund is part of the package of measures agreed and announced in April by the leadership of racecourses, horsemen and BHA and will initially be funded by the Racing Foundation.

A survey undertaken by the ROA and NTF in April 2020 indicated that, from the 30% of trainers that responded, there were already 77 owners unable to pay training fees. While this situation has yet to materialise so dramatically, the fund has been put in place to help protect those horses that owners may face difficulty in paying their keep for, so ensuring the impacts are minimised and horses’ welfare effectively protected.

The RRF will help mitigate potential welfare and financial effects of COVID-19 on racing, supporting horses, trainers and owners. Maintaining horse welfare and assisting businesses financial stability, the RRF will also provide valuable breathing space to trainers and horses to fully assess the right path for a horse, whether in racing or beyond. The fund gives horses significant protection and ensures the industry’s high welfare expectations continue to be met.

The RRF will provide a financial lifeline, allowing horses to remain on licensed yards and for yards to cover daily out of training costs for a period of up to 3 months while the most appropriate future for the horse can be determined. The fund has an initial funding term of three months.

As a last resort fund, ensuring that those in need access support is a matter of priority for Racing. The fund will have strict eligibility criteria to identify that all other options have been explored and the horse is definitely no longer affordable. Owners applying must do so in respect of all their horses, where multiple ownership interests are involved. An Independent Panel will advise on applications to the fund, future options for the horse and have a right of refusal.

How to Apply
An application can be made by either the owner or trainer online at www.rrfund.co.uk. All applications should be supported by training and veterinary records. Full details, eligibility criteria and terms & conditions of the fund can be found in the Fund Details and FAQs sections on the website.

Horse Comes First

Leading organisations within the racing industry are working together to raise awareness of the high levels of equine welfare existing in British horse racing. The initiative aims to improve the understanding of the care given to our horses throughout and after their careers in racing.

Further information can be found on the dedicated Horse Comes First website.

Horse Comes First

Retraining of Racehorses (RoR)

Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) is British Horseracing’s official charity for the welfare of horses that have retired from racing.

The charity promotes the versatility and adaptability of racehorses for other equestrian activities following their retirement from racing. It also protects horse welfare through a nationwide ‘safety net’ that is available to assist any former racehorse considered ‘vulnerable’. In such cases, the charity provides funding and expert care prior to suitablerehoming.

As the sport’s official charity, RoR raises funds from within the Racing Industry, providing information and education for owners and trainers in both the racing and equine Industries to assist with the rehoming and retraining of formerracehorses.

The ultimate goal is to maintain a balance between the number of horses leaving racing and the number of enthusiastic and suitable new homes. To this end, RoR funds and runs a well-established programme of competitions and educational events across thecountry.

Launched by the British Horseracing Board (now the British Horseracing Authority) in April 2000, RoR was awarded charitable status in autumn 2000.

RoR has since established itself as one of the pre-eminent equine charities in Great Britain, working closely with organisations such as the RSPCA and World Horse Welfare, as well as all of the principle equinesports.

In 2016 the charity played an integral role in establishing IFAR, the International Forum for the Aftercare of Racehorses and it currently provides the Chairman of the IFAR Steering Group. IFAR is a vehicle for sharing best practice in racehorse aftercare across international racing bodies andorganisations.

The charity does not physically retrain or rehome the horses itself, rather it:

  • promotes and facilitates the retraining of racehorses;
  • funds and stages competitions for former racehorses in a range of equine disciplines;
  • funds and stages educational events and clinics for the owners of former racehorse;
  • funds and oversees the care and rehoming of vulnerable former racehorses

Retraining of Racehorses (RoR)
Office 6, Penfold Building
Westfield Farm
East Garston, Hungerford
RG17 7HD
01488 648998