Our Rockhampton, an ex-racehorse now competing as a 3-day-eventer. Image supplied by Renée Geelen.

What happens to all those racehorses?

What happens to racehorses when they leave the track?

Last week I was contacted by a number of people critical of our decision to display of a can of ‘Horsielicious’, created by the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses (CPR), in the Spirited: Australia’s Horse Story exhibition. The can was used in 2014 protests aimed at raising awareness of the need for a ‘retirement plan’ for horses involved in racing.

In recent years, animal welfare groups like the RSPCA, Animals Australia and the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses have raised concerns about the long-term care of horses from the racing industry.

In 2013 the Australian Racing Board commissioned Thoroughbred consultant Renée Geelen to undertake a survey of retired horses. Renée was one of the people who wrote to the Museum to express her disappointment that we had included the CPR’s can in the exhibition. I’ve invited her to present her perspective on the issue in this guest blog post.

“The wind of heaven is that which passes through a horse’s ears.”  Arabian Proverb

There is nothing much that beats the thrill and companionship that comes with partnering a 500kg animal at speed. You can’t make a horse do anything but you can become a partner and move together.  We celebrate the racehorse as the finest example of athleticism and partnership.  Their will to win drives an emotional connection, and the stories of our champions keeps the dream alive for everyone.

Racehorses have been specifically bred for purpose for over 350 years, and premier breeder Frederico Tesio summed it up when he said “The Thoroughbred exists because its selection has depended, not on experts, technicians, or zoologists, but on a piece of wood: the winning post of the Epsom Derby.”

Young Rockingham was the first official racehorse in Australia, imported here in 1797 and used to breed all types of horses. The first official race meeting was held in Sydney’s Hyde Park in 1810, and since then, the Australian racing industry has kept extensive records of every horse born or raced here.  A racehorse’s pedigree is more accurately known than most people’s genealogy, and every raceday outing is tracked and recorded.

The Australian racing industry is the second largest in the world (after the USA) with more than $520million in prizemoney on offer every year. Over 70,000 people own shares in more than 32,000 racehorses and the range of ownership is huge.  Some syndicates have more than 100 people involved in one horse, while bigger owners have more than 500 horses in work.

These numbers are huge, and the prizemoney is just the start of it. A racehorse costs about $30,000 a year to keep in training, and that money employs the strappers, trainers, riders, vets, farriers, feed companies and many others that look after the horse’s every need.     Racehorses are athletes, and live in five star accommodation, and the racing industry has always had a strong internal focus towards animal welfare. The industry bodies take care of the wider issues of animal welfare through the strength of their anti-drug policies and enforcement, their safety policies and through the use of racecourse vets to both ensure that horses are in a fit state to race when they are on course and to give immediate assistance to horses when required.

Racehorses mature quickly compared to other breeds, and can legally start racing from the age of two. Only 20% of horses actually race as 2 year olds, but these precocious horses have longer careers and earn more prizemoney than horses that take longer to mature.  The remainder of horses have their first start as 3 year olds or older, and in 2014, there are four horses racing that are still racing as 12 year olds.  For most horses, however, they retire before then and with a potential life span of 25 years, these horses need to go somewhere.

So what happens to all those racehorses? Every season, approximately 11,000 racehorses retire for a range of reasons, such as old age, injury, illness, or being not fast enough to compete successfully.  Owning a pleasure horse is not like owning a car, there is no central registration for them and therefore there is no data on what happens to all those racehorses.  I was commissioned by the Australian Racing Board (ARB) to design and undertake a survey on our retired horses.   Australian Stud Book records tell us that approximately 3,000 of the 11,000 retirees go to stud, staying in the racing industry, but this leaves 8,000 horses that we needed to collect timely data about.

An initial list of 25 trainers was compiled that represented the major city and country based stables across Australia. These trainers had an average of 100 horses that had raced for them over the past three seasons, and by tracking these horses we ended up with information about 2,514 horses.  Because of the initial bias towards large stables, the survey was later expanded to include 21 other country trainers to capture a wider range of horses across the industry.  The response rate was much lower, with only 12 trainers responding with data for 737 horses, resulting in a total of 3,224 horses surveyed.

The results were:

Still Racing Combined Results Total % of Retired
Different Trainer 662 21%
Still in Work/Spelling 1,015 31%
Exported 77 2%
Total 1,754 54%
Completed Racing Career
At Stud 664 21% 45%
Sold/Gifted as pleasure horse 450 14% 31%
Returned to Owner 205 6% 14%
Died/Euthanised by Vet 109 3% 7%
Unknown 19 0.6% 1.3%
Career in Racing 17 0.5% 1.2%
Knackery 6 0.2% 0.4%
Total 1,470
TOTAL 3,224    

While doing the survey, I also took notes on the different jobs that horses went on to do under the ‘Sold/Given away as a pleasure horse’ category, and they were quite wide ranging and interesting. Comments include “stars in horse movies”, “stock horse in Broome”, “eventer”, “champion show jumper in Victoria”, “polo”, “sports broodmare”, “nanny horse at stud”, “ridden by an 11 year old girl who loves him”, “plays Phar Lap in the Outback Australia show”, “owner’s kids ride her”, “riding for the disabled”, “he’s on a farm we bought for all our retired horses”, and so on.  Stock horses, pony club, and show horses were the most common comments for where retired horses had ended up.  Many country trained horses had owners who were graziers and used their retired horses on their farms.

This survey found that most retired racehorses find a new career after racing, and gratifyingly, from a scientific point of view, this data lines up with a previous survey done in 2002/03. It’s taken more than ten years, but this data has recently been published by Professor McGreevy et al, and in summary, found that of 1,333 horses that left a racing stable, 63% stayed in the industry with 243 (18%) going to stud, 229 (17%) moving to another trainer, 150 (11%) spelling, and 221 (17%) sold at auction. Of the 490 horses that left racing, 324 went to other careers, with a small portion being unspecified, dead or at a knackery.  This study used their data to calculate that in 2002/03, an estimated 650 Thoroughbreds went directly from racing to a knackery.

ARB CEO Peter McGauran said “This is a ground breaking study that injects statistical rigor and accuracy into an emotive debate characterized by exaggeration and distortion. The community in deciding between the competing claims wants accurate and reliable information. The racing industry, like all competitive animal sports, operates under a social license and must adhere to community standards. If we lose the confidence of the public, we will become marginalized and gradually become irrelevant.   Racing is a mainstream sport with enormous cultural and economic importance and adheres to the highest integrity and animal welfare standards.  This survey shows that the overwhelming majority of racehorses enjoy a productive or secure retirement courtesy of their owners who genuinely love the animal. That’s the way it should be. Owners are responsible for the humane treatment of their horse(s) both during and after their racing careers. By all means let’s have the debate on the retirement of racehorses, but let’s have it on the basis of the facts not an ideological obsession. The community deserves better than the propaganda and outright lies of the Animal Rights lobby.”

Animals Australia state on their website that the industry “discards” significant proportions of horses every year, while the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses (CPR) state that 15,000 Thoroughbreds are slaughtered every year by the racing industry. By chanting this, they are claiming that every Thoroughbred foal ever born is sent to the knackery. The CPR has, following the National Museum of Australia’s request for material, donated some of their protest items for display in the Spirited exhibition.  The can of “Horsielicious” is from an anti-racing protest that, from my understanding, attracted 10 protestors.

By contrast, the ARB study is further validated by research done by Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) in 2001 that used economic, recreational event data and breed society data to estimate the number of horses in Australia. They estimate that there are nearly 180,000 registered Thoroughbreds in Australia, of which 32,000 are racing, 66,000 are breeding or young stock, 24,000 compete in registered non-racing events (eg the Royal Easter Show), and 57,000 are used for recreation.  There are also 300,000 feral horses, 320,000 horses of other breeds (Standardbreds, Arabian, Quarter horses, pony breeds, etc), and 218,000 unregistered recreational horses in Australia (of which unnamed Thoroughbreds make up a significant proportion).

RIRDC uses an average life span of ten years for these horses, and this means that every year between 8,100 and 15,000 Thoroughbreds in leisure homes will die of old age, illness or injury and will need to be replaced. Simply put, there are a minimum of 8,100 new homes outside the racing industry for our horses every year.

This study highlights that the vast majority of racehorses go on to new careers in a large range of areas, including breeding, leisure horses, sport horses, stock horses and police horses.  Each of the state Principle Racing Authorities have a racehorse retraining system to aid in this process and these can be found on the various websites of these organisations.  The horse is a willing partner with a human and brings joys to many people in many facets across Australia.

Our Rockhampton, an ex-racehorse now competing as a 3-day-eventer. Image supplied by Renee Geelen.

Our Rockhampton, an ex-racehorse now competing as a 3-day-eventer. Photograph by Jenny Barnes. Image supplied by Renée Geelen.

———-

There is now a vigorous public debate about the long-term care of Australian racehorses. My thanks to Renée for her contribution to this important national conversation.

What do you think? What happens to horses leaving the racing industry? Please leave your comments using the box below. Just a reminder – comments are moderated. You can read the Conditions of Use for our website here.

 

[Feature image – Our Rockhampton, an ex-racehorse now competing as a 3-day-eventer. Photograph by Jenny Barnes. Image supplied by Renée Geelen.]

50 thoughts on “What happens to all those racehorses?

  1. Great factual article! Good to see the truth prevailing and getting out there to counteract all those unsubstantiated lies getting around!

    I 100% back the article with my personal observations of where retired race horses go, percentages don’t lie especially with such a decent cohort of over 3,000 horses, and the percentages play out perfectly in my personal experience, having worked in the industry for almost 8 years! I know where several of the horses I’ve rehomed over the years are currently and what they’re doing, I quite often see horses pop up on the recreational and event circuits, who we sent to other racing stables who have since been retired and rehomed! The new owners often love seeing photos of their horses when they were in work.

    Thank you for publishing our side of the story!

  2. Great to see a factual article at last with figures. Having worked in the industry for over 20 years I found it impossible to believe the extreme numbers that the animal rights
    Groups have been spewing out…clearly with no basis. Good on Renee and the ARB for collecting the real data and hope it continues into the future.

  3. This is really interesting. I very much enjoyed the exhibition when I saw it last week, and it’s worth pointing out that the Horseylicious was not anywhere near the exhibit on horeracing, instead being tucked away in a showcase about horse welfare.

    I would be interested to hear the perspective of the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses on this post. Will they be invited to respond?

  4. Excellent work by Renee as always.
    CPRs “Horsielicious” demonstration is a disgrace and an insult to the majority of industry participants who do the right thing. Tacky street theatre does not help horses, and is a sensleless waste of donated money, this is the kind of ridiculous nonsense they spend their donations on, if you are considering donating to them, I would strongly urge you to reconsider, and donate instead to one of the many genuine welfare orgs out there on the front lines actually helping horses and making a difference.
    More and more people are beginning to realise these outrageous figures produced by these so called “animal rights” activists are nonsense, and it’s great to have factual studies like Renee’s to help stop the spread of mis information, well done🙂

  5. Renee has put forth what has been well known within the industry for a long time. With the new “feel good” animal rights activists CPR filling up the editorials on slow news days it seems that the journalists interviewing them fail to ask some serious but simple questions. 1. What is your experience in the industry? 2. Are you a qualified vet to be saying this? 3. Where are you getting your figures from? please provide the source so it can be verified. Their shocking allegations against the racing industry always ensures media attention and public donations to the organisation’s coffers where, as an example, $313 was spent by CPR on horse welfare but $3000+ on camera equipment in their last financial year.

  6. Like many I was shocked to see the museum perpetuating what is essentially an urban myth by the inclusion of a street theatre stunt piece in their exhibition.

    The RSPCA study above clearly shows the vast majority of ex racehorses go onto other career post racing. So the statement above is actually misleading, the RSPCA had actually studied the issue and produced a report that states the facts, CPR has no basis to their 15,000 slaughtered claim what so ever, and it defies basic common sense. The RSPCA do not use this claim or figure, it is totally fabricated by CPR, the article should probably be revised to distinguish between those who have studied the area and those who run political campaigns against racing.

  7. Fantastic article by Renee – the featured horse Our Rockhampton was a Lloyd Williams import from the UK for the Melbourne Cup but after one run moved onto a career over jumps where he had a short race preparation and then missed 18 months before successfully campaigning in 2013 and was then retired and has moved to his new equestrian career this year. This is very typical of most thoroughbreds who do not go to stud once they retire where they move into a second career in the numerous equestrian sports.

    I have been taking photos of both racing and equestrian sports since the late 1990s and have kept details where I can of former and current names but there have been thousands of other thoroughbreds I have photographed at Royal shows, eventing, dressage, pony club. Both sprinters, stayers and many jumps racing horses – in fact in one class in eventing there were 5 former racehorses that had been trained by the same big name trainer from multiple stakeswinner, 2yo winner right to an unraced one. The thoroughbred in equestrian is currently being further highlighted by the Off The Track series and there is even a highest placed ex racehorse awards at the Olympic level Australian International 3De held in Adelaide in November.

    So the claims by groups such as CPR and seeing this group put one of their novelty items in an educational display is so frustrating when as part of both the equestrian and racing communities I see completely the opposite of what they promote and have only seen the thoroughbred become more popular in equestrian sports over the years.

  8. It is so nice to see actual facts on the so called wastage of Australian racehorses. Too many times random, and frustratingly exaggerated, numbers get bandied around by arrogant “animal rights activists”. This study is done on a decent size and absolutely refutes their claims. Thanks for clarifying this once and for all.

  9. I run a humble program in Tasmania that retrains former champions of the track for a life after racing. Restart now puts about twelve retrained horses per year up for sale. We do however take it that next level where we run master classes in retraining as we believe it is critical that the future owners are handy knowledgeable horse men and women. We do not let horses off the property until we believe the horse and owner are ready. The peak racing body here in Tasmania run ads in their racing calendar for the program but very little support is forthcoming when so much more could be achieved by a united approach. We are a not for profit entity and are currently seeking Govt support for the program which will provide much needed jobs and local equine hands on learning for equine enthusiasts.

    Sincerely
    Pru Cotton
    The Restart program
    CEO Wholly Horses tas inc

  10. Great article!! This study gives a real snapshot of what really goes on, not made up assumptions based on nothing but hearsay. Great work Renee!!

  11. They could basically add onto those unknown figures the amount of thoroughbreds who never raced and are still unnamed in the stud book but named and registered with show hack council, EA or as foundation mares in other stud books. Just because a horse does not race or was never named does not mean it went to a knackery as CPR state

    • Jean, I am currently expanding my study with the ARB to cover horses that didn’t race. We want to have a whole of life picture to counter any claims made. Plenty of people I have talked to in equine sports prefer an unraced horse to a raced horse, so I expect to find that these horses also find new careers. As one rehoming organisation says “Sport of Kings to Kings of Sport”

      • Hi Renee,
        I’m a PhD candidate at ANU and I’d really like to read your research in full – can you please tell me where I can find it published? The ARB website simply links to this blog post.
        Thanks,
        Isa

  12. Under the Rules of Racing and for future transparency all registered Thoroughbreds should have a notification provision of their registration that once racing career is over the immediate future owner/location is registered. “Given away to a riding school” often is a poor outcome. Especially when no identity or location is given.
    Congratulations on a great start Renee.

  13. To say only 6 horses out of 3,200 went to the knackery is naive in the extreme. Unfortuneately hundreds if not thousands go there annually. In Japan they eat horse meat whereas in this country we leave that to the canines.

  14. I race breed ride and save thoroughbreds. The problem of rehoming arises when the racehorse is not continued to be tracked through the industry Many Owners surrender ownership to a “lovely”home for that horse not realising that once they do that , the fate of the horse is at the whim of the new owner. I suggest a tracking system for all registered thoroughbreds and a data base similar to the ASB be set up for a transparent approach. Also that Owners can register their horse in perpetuity to be leased rather than sold so that the whereabouts of both the horse and themselves can be tracked in an instant if required. I am looking to do this on a small scale with my Gatekeeper foundation which is in the early stages of development and will operate as a charity. But largely if the industry as a whole were to manage this we would have excellent and clear outcomes for our equine friends and give an incredible validity and boost of integrity to our
    wonderful sport

  15. Michael = These figures are comparable (especially when Deceased and knackery categories are considered as one) to a separate study done by PCThompson and Hayek in 2004 (both studies were funded by the RSPCA) both available on the internet the used a combination of surveys from knackeries and racing trainers to report on racing thoroughbreds exiting the industry, where 6.3% went to knackeries and 2.3% dried or were euthanised. Yes these are different than Renee’s study but even when combined (8.6%) it doesn’t even come close (2580 of the 30,000 runners in the 2012/2013 racing season)to the figures spouted by CPR.

  16. Meredith=Yes the 2580 figure may well be around the mark, sad as it is. I bred thoroughbreds and know for sure thousands go for dog food. The dog food labelled 5 meats is largely horse but not labelled as such as no-one would buy it. Everyone who loves horses, hates this outcome but only limited homes can be found as hacks or eventers, often because of temperament. At the horse sales those that go for $500 or less invariably are for dog food. Of course a considerable number die in paddock accidents and colic. They are prone to charging fences and most studs have expensive wire mesh fencing that has a lot of give and safer than traditional post and rail.

  17. It’s greyhounds we should all be concerned about.Bred in awful puppy mills & have a horrible life in racing then shot when they no longer can race.45 dogs are destroyed every day in Australia, this is shameful.

  18. The only thing I could find fault with in your article is the rate at with Thoroughbreds mature. They mature no faster than any other breed. 2 yr old racing is legal in Aus but the skeleton of the Thoroughbred is not fully mature until the horses 5th or 6th year. Their knees are not fully closed and their growth plates are not fully formed, it is the same with all other horse and pony breeds.
    Other wise, a really good article and I enjoyed reading it.🙂

    • Have to disagree with you there. I’m not saying some 2y.o. Aren’t raced too soon but as the article states only 20% race at 2 and I have had 5 thoroughbreds and only 1 has even started once as a 2 yo. This is for the very reasons you state, because in the main the ones who race are those with more advanced leg bone structure. Training and racing also strengthens the bones, which is also why they are more mature as 2yo than other breeds.

  19. A good article, and good to see facts, however there is still room for more figures. Recently there were 18 yearlings sold at the Perth sales, to the knackery as they didn’t sell and the breeders didn’t want to take them home. Re home a racehorse stepped in and did a heavy ad campaign so these horses were saved. These would not have made your list, and they were just one instance how many more go that way?
    A lot more slip through the cracks. A lot go on to good homes only because someone steps in to rescue them.
    I think the horse industry both race horse and recreational, can still make improvements.

  20. What I am confused about is, how ex racehorses are defined. Are ex racehorses those that have raced and now don’t……if so what are the horses that are breed to race but don’t make the cut called? Are these still ex racehorses? My concern is that these horses may not appear in the statistics. There are obviously many horses breed that don’t make it to the race track for each one that does…what happens to these?

  21. TB’s are often able to go on to other careers and those suitable should be given the opportunity, but both some horses combined with inexperienced people cannot provide safe, harmonious, healthy and fruitful futures! Breeding of all horses is greater than demand, not only in the racehorse industries…

  22. Really? This Renee Geelen is a thoroughbred consultant who has her own business de Kabat Bloodstock and one of her clients is the Australian Racing Board…. Perhaps we can see some research from an independent of industry person because these figures are far off what I personally have seen happen to racehorses.

      • Well done Wendy🙂 a singular “researcher” sharing “her perspective” paid for by the ARB vs the TEAMS of proffesional researchers at the RSPCA, Animals Australia, The Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses and S.A.H.A Horse Rescue and Sanctuary. Seems legit😉

  23. All thoroughbreds bred for racing are microchipped and registered with Studbook (ASB). Until knackeries and human consumption export abattoirs are legally required to microchip scan and report on the thoroughbreds (and standardbreds)being “processed”, these figures don’t hold water.

    As if the surveyed trainers would have actually admitted sending their horses to the doggers. The “returned to owner” and “sold/gifted as pleasure horses” is where most of the knackery meat is coming from (they can use those reasons for sending them to a saleyard or a horse dealer to dispose of). Furthermore, with the “go to stud” figure – well, plenty of mares that go to stud also end up at the knackery or in a sale yard with a one way ticket to a knackery when they are no longer commercial.

    Aside from pet food, I think Renee also needs to look at the ABS figures of the quantity of horse meat being exported overseas – sure it can be fluffed off by ARB that these are brumbies, backyard bred horses and the like – but the reality is that export horse meat must be high quality, young, fleshy horses…which is predominantly made up by thoroughbreds and standardbred horses.

    I am not a member or involved with CPR but having heard Peter McGauran from ARB speak on this issue previously, knowing this study was commissioned by ARB and reading these results, credibility is seriously lacking.

    The problem with CPR’s campaigns – is while they are incredibly confronting and get attention – they also alienate the racing industry. The racing industry needs to find positive ways to better care for the full lifecycle of our mighty thoroughbreds.

  24. Just a question on the methodology of the survey Renee undertook – what evidence is there as to where the horses went other than what those interviewed said. Someone above mentioned tracking of horses for their entire lives – seems like a good idea because it can provide a totally accurate picture about each horse’s entire life.

  25. This study has been pulled to bits before, her data is collected only off trainers willing to give her information. This is not unbiased and the information is collected by those with a vested interest in racing. As a racehorse owner and someone who has been apart of the industry for many years I have seen countless horses abused, drugged and also sent to the knackery. The sales yards alone tell a completely different story, there are horses there all the time with racing plates still on. One horse a couple of weeks ago that CPR found had only raced 5 days prior to being dropped off at the sales yards, still with racing plates on and was sold for dog food. Is this the one of the 6 that apparently went to the knackery? Or don’t horses sent to the sales count? What about the 2/3 of horses bred that don’t even make the track? This study only shows those with trainers, the horses that are bred but deemed useless before even making it to a trainer are also classed as wastage by the industry and yet are not included in this study. I suggest before writing a piece that you study the industry as a whole and don’t take it as the truth when someone does a study who is employed by the industry and who doesn’t take on a full picture!

    • How did the moderator let your comments through? Are you suggesting that the racing industry would screw with the study. Look forward to hearing more on this.

  26. I would have thought that following the Equine Influenza outbreak, we would have better data about the number and types of horses and their use in this country. Certainly with Hendra although predominantly in Queensland and Northern NSW there is an opportunity to collect more data as to vaccinate, the horse must be microchipped. If you look at the Horse Deals mag, there are always many OTTTB’s (off the track thoroughbreds) for sale. I am a dressage rider and while many are going for Warmbloods now, I have mostly had TB’s. They are so willing, athletic and try so hard to please. With proper letting down from their race condition, retraining to stand and re-mouthing to stop rather than push through at the feel of the bit, they can have many good useful years. Other data can be collected from EA and the HRCAV surely.

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  28. I currently have 5 retired thbreds as my broodmares plus 1 x 5 yr old as my hack of which in 5 years time she will also become a broodmare. All were bought off the track and shown than retired to breed more show horses. Cpr should be made write the correct statistics and not just guess.

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  30. What about the number of horses that are bred for racing but don’t get there due to injury, breaking down etc? My horse is a ex pacer. Won +700000 for his owners, placed in his last race, “retired” and fortunately for me, rescued for $90 at the meat works. Explain that.

  31. Glad there has been a more extensive report done. I have only ever had off the track thoroughbreds. Two were retired due to injury, one became too slow as he got older, the other two I don’t know why. I would say most trainers do care about their horses and they are looked after well. A hungry, mistreated horse with poor nutrition and no care i.e no chiropractor (if req), supplements, farrier etc is not going to win races. When looking at OTT thoroughbreds going to knackery’s, how many of them were sent there by private owners, that may have been their second, third etc owners? Most would not have come straight off the track. A lot of times people take on Ott thoroughbreds because they are cheap or free, but they don’t have enough experience, therefor the horse becomes naughty and they can’t deal with it, or can’t afford upkeep so it goes to knackers. What about other breeds that are over bred. So many ads on horse sites for ‘broodmare with foal at foot and already infoal’, you cant even sell the first one!!! There are ponies etc being bred as children’s ponies but with out buyers and people who want them I’m sure they end up there too. Too many miniature ponies, they are fairly useless and too small for riders, and I see so many of them for sale as stallions when there is no need for them to be. at least most TB’s are from studs who keep records. Maybe all breeds of colts should be gelded unless they are at a registered breeders! Standardbred horses must be a big problem too, they require more training once off the track. Racing in general is picked on, the one or two horse trainers. What about … those at the top that breed or race an awful lot of horses in the hope of getting a ‘Black Caviar’? Horses then filter down, slower horses = smaller places and smaller prize money, no good on the flat, then they get tried over jumps or go to country races, at least they still have a chance. What ***** me is if those horses weren’t jumps racing, they would have one less chance, if they couldn’t find a home. And how many OTT race horses do those protesters own and pay keep for? None, I
    bet!

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  33. The two sides agree that it is wrong to send horses to the knackery. If we were to turn the whole thing on it’s head and refer to it as the horse meat industry (without the negative connotations – our pets and the French have to eat after all) perhaps we would get more accurate data.

  34. Where is your reference list for this wonderful article? I would love to read the published scientific studies. Thank you

  35. Microchipping foals and tracking them from birth to death is the real answer. Wonder how many foals are put down at an early age simply because they failed their xrays!. As for this ‘Scientific Study’, the good Professor could quite easily have obtained a list of all foalings for a specified year some time in the past….5 years earlier to be fair, and then focused on tracking down the fate of every foal. Would not have been hard to do.

    .

  36. All I can say is my daughter and I are lucky to have 2 beautiful 16.3 and 16.5 geldings with the most beautiful natures . They are very loved family horses , that we ngt try a bit of show hacking with for pure enjoyment , not even needing ribbons or trophies . They are safe and happy as we are to enjoy them everyday 🐴🐴💙💙

  37. I would have to think this survey was done some time ago as what i am seeing is a minimum of 6 more like 10 tbs going either knackery or human consumption EVERY sale that is 10 per week

  38. I don’t know how these figures were colated, but to say the vast majority of ex racehorses go on to another career is sheer fantasy.
    I am involved in horse rescue and see the vast number of thoroughbreds going through the sales every week and the high volume of them that end up at the knackeries is heartbreaking.

    Getting figures from trainers / owners is never going to get you the truth.
    Follow the sales every week for a year and you will get the true figures and trust me it is shocking.
    Then there are all the ones that go direct to the knackeries, these are the hidden statistics that no one knows about.

  39. Fair article. I believe more investment in accredited thoroughbred re trainers is needed so these horses don’t end up with clueless amateurs.
    I’m a registered coach, rode track work at Randwick 25 years ago and still ride retired racehorses, so think I have an idea 😊🌷🐎💕

  40. I think the Off the Track Program operated by Racing Victoria is doing a fabulous job & growing daily through their assistance to various horse rescue organisations. I have drawn this conclusion through personal contact.

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