A New Idea for Re-Homing Ex-Race Horses

keeneland_20101008_008I have had an idea for several years now of a new way of finding homes for ex-racehorses and solving the problem of horses going to auction and/or slaughter.

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.keeneland_20090424_118.jpg

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?

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3 thoughts on “A New Idea for Re-Homing Ex-Race Horses”

  1. Horses placed could be easily tracked on a Facebook like site. It’s easy to upload photos and status updates. Everyone has a smart phone or a digital camera these days – or a friend who does. People would follow the updates and know that the horse they placed, or wish they purchased, was in a good home and being well cared for. If a horse dropped off the radar, a request could be made for someone in the area to stop by and see how the horse is doing. They could even do this anonymously and post their own photos if a horse was in poor condition. We need to use the new technology and social media to help place Thoroughbreds and track them.

  2. Great idea. Seems like TRF could easily incorporate this into their organization. In the long run, it would save them $$, which they seem to be lacking these days. And, as with dogs and cats, we should be STRONGLY discouraging the breeding of more animals, at least with the economy as it is and animals getting dropped off, or left in pastures, to fend for themselves.
    Too bad the US slaughterhouses were closed. At least unwanted/lame/ill animals were humanely euthanized there. Now animals that go to slaughter are inhumanely shipped to Canada and Mexico, with no Dept of Ag inspectors there to determine whether they are humanely euthanized…

  3. You should contact the Finger Lakes Thoroughbred Adoption Program. They are located right on Finger Lakes race track. The land to build the barn was donated by the Delaware North Company and I understand they have to pay a rental fee. They may be able to help with sources of funding and possibly the initiative to set up an adoption barn like theirs on ALL racetracks. I adopted my OTTB from their barn and he is absolutely wonderful.

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