Taking excellent care of the Thoroughbreds involved in horse racing is a vital part to the sport. This, of course, means ensuring that racehorses are happy, sound, and healthy during their time on the racetrack. It also means protecting their well being when their time on the track is through.
Horror stories of ex-racehorses ending up in kill pens or starving in barren pastures have made their way onto the internet. It is a tragic thing that no fan of racing ever wants to happen. No one does.
Unfortunately, those who do not know much about horse racing see these stories and believe that this is the fate of every racehorse. They take to the streets and to government buildings to ask for the sport to be banned. The entire sport, they say, is evil and is killing horses. They see the tragedies and not the love that those in the horse racing industry have for their horses.
Because of this, and because we must do what is right by the horses, we must push for better aftercare programs for racehorses at all levels, at all tracks, in all states. You may see this as a task better left to those with more power, but there is something everyone can do.
Take the following list into consideration. See what any average fan of horse racing can do to support Thoroughbred aftercare.
1. Donate to your favorite accredited Thoroughbred Aftercare Organization.
There are so many amazing organizations spread across the United States that are dedicated to helping ex-racehorses transition from the racetrack to a new career. The Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance has a strict code of standards they use to accredit organizations. You can find a list of organizations that passed the test here.
2. Become a Retired Racehorse Project Ambassador.
The Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) works to increase the demand of Off Track Thoroughbreds by showing their abilities in all disciplines. You can sign up to become an ambassador here. They will send you flyers, posters, and magazines that you can distribute.
3. Volunteer at the Thoroughbred Makeover.
The Thoroughbred Makeover is a competition held at the Kentucky Horse Park. Each year,
Thoroughbreds that left the track just ten months (or less) ago compete in 10 different disciplines. At the end of this three-day long event, one ex-racehorse will be crowned “America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred”. You can volunteer here without any special experience! Fill out their volunteer forum here.
4. Share adoptable horses on social media.
Find and follow your favorite aftercare organization on your preferred social media account(s). Most of them will post adoptable horses on these accounts. If you are not in the market for a new horse, sharing these posts greatly increases the reach these organizations will have for these horses and will help them find a safe home.
5. Spread the positivity in our forum.
Champions of the Track is asking that everyone that has experience with OTTBs shares their stories in this forum. We are hoping that this will help to spread the word about the great things these horses are capable of.
Things are improving for our beloved racehorses. Many racetracks are setting up programs for horses who race there. The New York Racing Association and New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association just recently announced a new program to ensure aftercare for horses in the claiming ranks in their state.
Prospective owners claiming a horse will have to pay a 1.5% assessment on top of the claiming price of the horse that will be donated to the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance. They will also have to donate $10 each time their horse races.
The Thoroughbred racehorse is one of the most incredible creatures on this Earth. They are one of the best athletes in existence. Supporting aftercare is showing your respect for these amazing animals.
Champions of the Track is a partner of CANTER USA. Canter is a non-profit organization that helps to rehome, rehabilitate, and retrain ex-racehorses. They take horses into one of their 18 chapters to rehabilitate or retrain them. They also assist trainers in finding homes for their horses by allowing them to list their horses for free on their website. To assist CANTER in their mission, Champions of the Track shares success stories of horses that have transitioned through their program. We also donate 5% of merch sales to their organization.