We need a program at each race track where, when a trainer no longer wants a horse, it gets evaluated by a vet. The evaluation is not a full vet check but rather a discussion with the horse’s owner/trainer about past injuries along with some flex tests and a basic health evaluation. This information gets recorded in a database like the Jockey Club records race records.
Horses that are believed sound get announced on a Web site as possible competition horses with the information from the vet inspection being disclosed. Buyers will be responsible for doing a full vet check to confirm the soundness of the horse. Horses with injuries that they can recover from, and be used for pleasure riding, should be referred to the rescues. Horses with life changing injuries or who can not live without pain killers should be put down humanly at the track. This would eliminate the whole slaughter/too many horses issue.
This is the idea I have for a new foundation to help the Thoroughbred industry. It just needs the funding to pay the vets at the tracks to assess and euthanize the permanently injured horses and pay for their disposal if the owner can’t or won’t pay. The existing network of rescues would now get the horses that could be rehabbed and re-homed making room for even more horses to have a second chance at a life after racing. The buyers of the sound horses on the Web site could pay a fee to pay for the upkeep of the site. No more “wareHorsing” TBs.
The Bits & Bytes Farm Web site has been a prototype for my idea. We have proven that people are willing to purchase horses from a Web site if they have enough accurate information on the health issues of the horses. Even horses with known injuries, like bone chips or old bows, can find homes as long as the buyer is fully informed. We have seen this with our Bargain Barn horses.
I welcome thoughts and ideas about making this foundation a reality. Do you think it can work? Go to our BitsandBytesFarm Facebook page (you don’t have to have a Facebook account to get to it) and post your ideas on on Discussion board. What ideas do you have for the Thoroughbreds who are finished racing and need a new career?