It’s no secret that there are ethical questions around horse racing, particularly surrounding whole life care of race horses. As a lover of the sport and its equine stars I think it’s important to champion all that racing is doing to combat those ethical concerns about becoming a racehorse owner. There are a number of organisations working tirelessly to ensure that racehorses have guaranteed lifetime care after their racing careers.
The Mills Racing syndicate is dedicated to ethical ownership and is a charity partner with The British Thoroughbred Retraining Centre (BTRC). The BTRC are a specialist thoroughbred retraining and rehoming charity. Mills Racing have pledged 10% of their end of year profits to The BTRC and have also guaranteed that Mills Racing horses will have care for life with a place at The BTRC once they retire from racing.
The work the BTRC does for thoroughbreds is incredible. Their stables are impeccable, well kept and the most beautiful setting for retired racehorses to train for their next career. The focus of the BTRC is on care. They look to offer care and recovery spaces for injured horses as well as a dedicated facility for those who have retired from the track and are looking to be retrained for their next step in life. The team work around the clock to look after the horses and give them the love that all racehorses deserve.
In order to support as many racehorses as possible with a home for life the BTRC never sell any horses. They put the horses out on a life time loan to suitable people in order to allow the BTRC space in their stables to take on more horses, but they keep a very close eye on the horses’ care whilst they are out on loan with annual checks. They have an incredible page on their website called ‘Where are they now?’ where you can go and see the sheer numbers of horses who are being well looked after and cared for after their time in horse racing.
The BTRC are the pioneering Centre for retraining retired racehorses and have excellent facilities to do so. On a visit to The BTRC in April I was able to see the retraining work they were doing with a horse at the adjustment phase of the programme, who was getting used to poles on the ground. It is clear that the horses go through a very specific programme in order to be retrained and they often go on to have a successful second career.
Ensuring that racehorse ownership is ethical is so important and it’s important that organisations like the BTRC are able to keep expanding their programmes so that all racehorses benefit from lifetime care. Mills Racing have a pledge but if you are able to support such organisations there are a few here including their donations page.
The British Thoroughbred Retraining Centre: How to Help – The British Thoroughbred Retraining Centre (BTRC) (thebtrc.co.uk)
Retraining of Racehorses – New Beginnings: nbhorses.org.uk
Racehorse Rescue Centre: Racehorse Rescue Centre