Life After Racing: How racehorses are re-trained for life off the Track

Life After Racing: How racehorses are re-trained for life off the Track

When a racehorse’s career comes to an end, it is common for owners to offer the horse to trainers other than their own so that the animal can continue training and competing. Such horses are known as ‘second career’ racehorses, and there are many organisations worldwide that help place them in new homes when their usefulness as a racehorse has ended.

There are countless success stories in which ex-racehorses have forged new careers after their racing days are over. These animals have found second careers as show jumpers, hunters, eventers, dressage horses, or happy hackers. Those that can’t be ridden after their career as a racehorse can even go on to live happy lives as field companions for other horses. Keep reading to learn about the lives of retired racehorses once they leave the racing world.

What Happens To Racehorses After Their Racing Career Ends?

Depending on the age and track record of the individual horse, it could be sold for a variety of uses. For example, some horses are sold for breeding purposes. The majority of retired racehorses, however, are re-trained for new disciplines and lifestyles outside of racing. For racehorses that are unable to be ridden following their racing careers, many are sold to sanctuaries and owners looking for horses to act as field companions for other infirm or elderly horses.

What Happens To Racehorses After Their Racing Career Ends?

How Are Ex-Racehorses Chosen For Second Careers?

Before deciding what type of new career a retired racehorse might pursue, it is first necessary to decide which horses will actually be re-trained for second careers. Many horses that are retired from racing are too old or infirm to be re-trained for a new discipline. Those with soundness or behaviour issues are also not ideal candidates. When choosing which horses will be re-trained, owners and trainers consider the age, level of training and physical ability of the horse to be re-trained for a new discipline. While young and athletic horses are easier to train again, age is not always a factor. Many retired racehorses have proven their ability to master a new discipline despite being quite advanced in age.

The Role Of Re-Training Organisations

Many re-training organisations exist to help share knowledge and facilitate the transfer of retired racehorses to new owners and disciplines. These organisations also aim to increase public awareness of the many positive contributions these animals make to society after their racing days have ended. Such organisations also provide a network of owners and trainers willing to take ex-racehorses, and they take care of the logistics associated with transferring these animals to new owners. There are several re-training organisations as well as breed associations that help place second-career racehorses. Among the most well-known is the Re-training of Racehorses charity, which is the official charity for British Horseracing. They provide knowledge, help rehome racehorses, and help fund expert care for racehorses in need.

Show Jumping Competition Horses

Many ex-racehorses go on to become competition horses for show jumping, which is a popular equine discipline that requires a combination of athleticism and technical skill. These horses are well-suited for show jumping due to their athleticism, intelligence, and willingness to please their human companions. Show jumping is a sport that places great emphasis on athleticism, so it makes sense that retired racehorses might excel at this discipline. Some show jumping horses have even been known to have the same bloodlines as the famous racehorses of the past.

Training Racehorses To Be Hunters

Racehorses are renowned for their ability to jump, which makes them ideal for the sport of hunting. Many retired racehorses go on to become successful hunters after their racing days have ended. As with show jumping, it makes sense that retired racehorses might excel at this discipline since they are highly athletic and have been trained to respond to their human companions.

Training Racehorses To Be Hunters

Racehorses Going On To Become Eventers

Another type of re-training that has proven to be successful for retired racehorses is entering into eventing. This equine sport is composed of three disciplines: dressage, show jumping and cross-country riding. Within eventing, horses are scored on their performance in each discipline.

From Racehorses To Dressage Competition Horses

It is not uncommon for retired racehorses to go on to become successful dressage horses after their racing days have ended. Dressage horses must be responsive to their human companions and be capable of following a series of precise movements and changes in gait. Such horses must also be capable of remaining calm and collected even in the midst of loud crowds, flashing lights, and other distractions.


Re-Training Racehorses As Happy Hackers

Although some retired racehorses go on to become successful competition horses, many simply go on to live happy lives as companions. These animals are known as ‘happy hackers’, and they participate in a type of recreational riding known as hacking. Hacking is basically the equine equivalent of hiking, and it is a popular activity among equestrians. Many retired racehorses also enjoy being around other horses, making them excellent company for other happy hackers.

The Racing Betting Culture

Horses are not only raced for entertainment but also for gambling. While many people enjoy horse racing for the sport, others enjoy it for the betting aspect of it. As such, it has become a popular sport for people from all walks of life. People who bet on horses do so for many reasons. Some people bet on horses as a way to make money, while others bet to have entertainment at their fingertips. Some people bet on horses because they have a love of the sport. Whatever the reason, gambling is one of the biggest draws to the sport. It’s also why many people who love betting also enjoy partaking in online casinos and finding the sites that have the biggest selection of games to play.

Wrapping Up

The racing industry is an important one with a rich and storied history. Racing exists as a sport so that humans and animals alike can enjoy the thrill of competition. As with any sport, injuries can occur, but a great deal of care and effort goes into minimising risks to both human and animal participants. Unfortunately, due to the extreme nature of racing, many racehorses need to be retired from racing in their prime. Thankfully, there are organisations that exist to re-train these animals for new roles in life. These ex-racehorses can go on to become excellent competition horses in disciplines such as show jumping, hunting, eventing and dressage.

You may also like


horse racing with jockey

The Sport of Kings: Exploring the Legacy and Majesty of Horse Racing

Horse racing, commonly known as the “Sport of Kings,” has entranced both onlookers and participants for centuries. As we explore …
Redwings launch Christmas animation voiced by Dame Joanna Lumley a scene from the animation of a horse and cart.

Redwings launch Christmas animation voiced by Dame Joanna Lumley

Redwings Horse Sanctuary has launched its Christmas animation for 2023, which celebrates the life and legacy of Black Beauty author Anna …
Sporthorse Welfare Foundation logo

Sporthorse Welfare Study Identifies More Can Be Done

An extensive scientific study that examines key priorities regarding sport horse welfare has been conducted by the Sporthorse Welfare Foundation …
Celtic Silver and Sara Cork winners of the Ri-Dry RoR Racing to Hunting Challenge

Celtic Silver Triumphs in Ri-Dry RoR Racing to Hunting Challenge

In a compelling display of the vibrant second careers that await retired racehorses, Celtic Silver, a 14-year-old gelding, clinched the …
TikTok Sensation Antonio McIntosh Partners with Bliss of London

TikTok Sensation Antonio McIntosh Partners with Bliss of London

Bliss of London, the leading manufacturer of high-quality English designed and made saddles, has recently announced their latest brand ambassador …
Portia Taylor-Wilson riding Ballybur Oh Jessie at London International Horse Show 2022 (London International Horse Show/Peter Nixon)

London International Horse Show Welcome Showjumping Stars of the Future

In addition to hosting the world’s best international Show Jumping competitors, London International Horse Show will also welcome some of …


News, magazine articles, event reports, horse health, classifieds, competitions & more! Join Everything Horse, and you'll never miss a hoofbeat (and it's all free)...

We promise we’ll never spam! Take a look at our Privacy Policy for more info.


News Team

Author: Suzanne Ashton Founder, Everything Horse Ba Hons Marketing Management email:

Learn More →