Racing NSW Equine Welfare Fund
Tips For Rehoming Your Retired Racehorse
In order to achieve a smooth and timely sale consider the following points:
An off the track thoroughbred may be sold for anything between $500 and $3,000 however many are given away to good homes. A horse with a higher price tag will have quality breeding lines with attributes that appeal to equestrian pursuits such a good temperament, strong jumping ability, exceptional movement or a special presence. An injured horse will attract a lower price as it will typically require rest and veterinary care.
When selling a retired racehorse it’s best to set a price that will reduce interest from knackeries and abattoirs. $500 is generally a suitable minimum.
The more information provided about a horse the more likely the ad will catch the eye of the right buyer. Below is a list of what should be included:
- Race Name, Sire, Dam and relevant lineage
- Height and age
- Date of last race
- Colour and markings
- Any vices
- Which discipline you think the horse may be suited to
- Location of the horse
- Good quality photographs, both close up and side on, so potential buyers can get an appreciation of the horse’s conformation and markings.
- Video is a great way of illustrating movement such as walking, trotting and cantering. Most potential buyers will ask for video prior to travelling to see a horse.
Finding A Buyer
The first port of call when looking to rehome a racehorse is the stables. Trackriders, jockeys, stablehands and trainers may want the horse for themselves or know a potential buyer. If that is unsuccessful, try posting an advertisement online. There are plenty of facebook groups and popular websites where a horse can be advertised free of charge or for a small fee. These include:
Horse enthusiast groups on facebook can also be a smart place to sell your horse. They include:
- Australian Showjumpers
- Show Horses Australia
- Thoroughbreds Off The Track For Sale Australia Only
Under section LR114 of the Local Rules Of Racing a horse owner must take reasonable steps to find a suitable new home where welfare is assured and the match is appropriate. Retiring racehorses are not suitable for inexperienced handlers and riders as they are typically young, green and can be unpredictable. The wrong match can result in injury or worse. Future owners of retired horses have protections under consumer law and potentially common law. It is therefore important to provide information about the horse that will assist them to make an informed decision about owning and managing the horse.
This information may include, but is not limited to:
- the horse’s temperament
- injury history
- known vices
Not all potential buyers will be competent horse owners. They may not adequately understand the risks associated with handling or riding a horse or may over-estimate their ability to manage a horse freshly off the track. In your efforts to re-home the horse, clearly state it’s only suitable for an experienced home and question the buyer about their experience prior to releasing the horse into their care. Keep records of your interactions with potential owners so you can demonstrate you took reasonable steps to find a suitable home.
Horses require a huge investment of time and money to ensure their ongoing welfare. When considering a home, ask the potential owner to satisfy you that the horse will be kept in accordance with the Code of Practice for the Welfare of Horses.
The Racing NSW Re-homing A Racehorse Form assists both parties to document the process and show the suitability of the match has been considered.
What do you do if you can’t find a home?
If reasonable attempts to re-home a thoroughbred have been unsuccessful the horse may be eligible to be surrendered to the Equine Welfare Fund at Racing NSW. They should meet the following acceptance criteria however exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis:
- The horse must be under 11 years and 3 months old
- Colts and stallions must be gelded prior to acceptance
- Horses must have completed their period of box rest if prescribed by a vet prior to entry and be ready to be turned out in a paddock
- Horses must have had 6 weeks spelling since their last race to let down
- The horse should have been formally retired (using retirement form) within 6 months of their last race