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The RVC calls for ex-racehorse owners to complete survey

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Do you or have you owned a former racehorse? Take part in the RVC’s survey to support the industry

Researchers from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) are calling for owners and previous owners of former racehorses in the UK to participate in a new survey and share their experiences of rehoming racehorses to help uncover the different factors that influence a successful outcome.

The survey forms part of the RVC’s wider project, Life After Racing, which seeks to improve understanding of retraining and rehoming ex-racehorses by looking at the process and assessing the factors that influence a horse’s suitability for a second career. Questions will gather information about the horse as well as the owner to help researchers know more about the former racehorse population and key features of successful partnerships.

The findings will be complemented by wider qualitative research and interviews with current, previous and potential owners of former racehorses, including those who have not previously rehomed a racehorse, to help identify challenges or perceived barriers. Combined with previous results from the first phase of the study, which examined how racehorses are rehomed, the results will also help identify avenues for providing additional support to owners to aid successful rehoming and opportunities for broadening access to former racehorse ownership.

Dr. Darcy Bornemann, Postdoctoral Researcher in Pathology and Population Sciences at the RVC and Operational Research Lead for the Life After Racing project, 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.”

Professor Kristien Verheyen, Professor of Veterinary Clinical Epidemiology at the RVC, added: “The information gathered in this survey will be invaluable for better understanding the factors associated with racehorses leading happy and fulfilling lives after they leave racing, be that in a competitive career in another equestrian discipline, as a happy hacker or a much-loved companion.

“We would love to hear people’s experiences of rehoming a former racehorse, regardless of whether that was good or bad – gathering data from people for whom their former racehorse was not the right choice for them is just as crucial as learning about success stories. Only then can we start to unravel the key features of successful partnerships, with the ultimate aim of maximising the chances of former racehorses being placed in a suitably matched long-term home when they retire from racing.”

The final part of the three-stage project will link race performance to competition records in other equine sport disciplines, to assess whether and how success in racing is correlated with success in another career. These findings will help determine which pathway is best suited for horses post-racing including which other equestrian sport discipline they may perform best in.
To complete the survey, you must be over the age of 18, live in the UK and currently own, or previously have owned, an ex-racehorse.

To take part, visit https://app.onlinesurveys.jisc.ac.uk/s/rvc/racehorse-rehoming-survey

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