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Posted: 20th May 2024

Owners of former racehorses needed for survey
The survey forms part of the RVC's 'Life After Racing' research project.
RVC is looking for experiences of rehoming racehorses.

The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) has asked for owners and previous owners of former racehorses to share their experiences of the rehoming process.

The online survey will support the RVC’s studies into the factors which influence a successful outcome for both the racehorse and its owner.

The RVC’s research project, ‘Life After Racing’, aims to expand the understanding of retraining and rehoming former racehorses. It will explore the rehoming process, as well as assessing the factors influencing the racehorse’s suitability for a second career.

The project was launched in response to industry reports, which called for a better understanding of successful transitions for both horses and their owners in the rehoming process. It intends to provide an evidence base, which could lead to improved initiatives and interventions to racehorse aftercare.

As part of this second stage in the project, the survey will investigate how former racehorses settle into their new homes, and the key features that contribute to a partnership between owner and horse.

It will also ask questions about the owner themselves, to better understand how their experiences compared to their expectations.

The RVC aims to reach at least 500 respondents in the next month.

The survey findings will be considered alongside further qualitative research, and interviews with current, previous and potential owners of former racehorses, including those who had not owned a racehorse before. The RVC hopes this stage of the project will identify the challenges and perceived barriers of rehoming racehorses.

The results will be combined with findings from the first stage of the project, as the RVC seeks to identify ways which additional support can be provided to those rehoming racehorses.

It may also broaden opportunities for other potential adopters to rehome former racehorses.

A final stage will then link horses’ race performance and competition records, to assess any correlation with success in a future career. This could determine potential future pathways for former racehorses.

Darcy Bornemann, operational research for the project and a postdoctoral researcher, said: “This is an exciting project and I’m looking forward to working with horse owners and hearing their stories.

“Thoroughbred horses are versatile and amazing animals, and it’s wonderful to be with the RVC, alongside Retraining of Racehorses, in their mission to support former racehorses’ lives after racing.”

Image © Shutterstock

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