Re-Training of Ex-Racehorses
We retrain and re-educate ex-racehorses. Our facility is perfect for this as it comes with 42.5 acres of land, including gardens and high-quality grazing land, which is well laid out, partly stud-railed and surrounded by mature hedging. There is easy access to and from the main equestrian yard.
The yard itself has 16 stables but we are in the process of adding 10 more. We also have a 50m x 40m arena, as well as two natural rivers running through the property – a bonus for rehabilitation.
Equi-Ed promotes the versatility and adaptability of racehorses for other equestrian activities following their retirement from racing. This is a specialist activity as re-training and re-educating of thoroughbreds from a racing background is not the same as the process for native breeds.
A problem when rehoming ex-racehorses is that many prospective owners don’t understand that they require a different type of care and management than that of other breeds, be it with regards to their nutrition, their work regime or their free time. We can work with owners to achieve this.
Our team are experienced and qualified to work with these horses. We can deal with them and rehabilitate injuries because the centre runs as an injury clinic also and the owner is a qualified equine physio and neuromuscular specialist. Everyone associated with Equi-Ed is trained to the highest standard through our certified training programmes.
The re-trained racehorse can, in the right hands, provide considerable pleasure and fun and be quite capable of competing in a variety of disciplines, which suits the vast majority of riders. And, of course, there are those re-trained horses that go on to excel at much higher grades, even at elite international level. Some might only be suitable as a hack and again, that suits some potential owners.
Whilst undergoing re-training, we constantly assess each horse so we are able to give a realistic appraisal regarding its future life.
As we have already said, retraining a racehorse requires a very calm, patient, methodical and flexible approach throughout the process. In the early days some horses can appear as if they are never going to learn or change certain behaviours, but given time and encouragement, the transformation can be wonderful to witness.
Ground work is by far the best way to get retraining underway. We elect to do this by long-reining as we are able to work on teaching the forward driving aids, accepting the contact, using of the back, etc. before a rider gets on board again.
After the process is complete and the horse finds its new home, we are very mindful that many people acquiring ex-racehorses are not equipped for this specific role; we have therefore developed a training programme ‘Racehorse to Riding Horse Aftercare’ that we strongly feel all new owners should embark upon. This will equip them in the best possible way to success and help to avoid an ex-racehorse being passed around owners because it is ‘unsuitable’, invariably because they don’t understand the breed and what is required for a successful partnership.