MNREP – Thoroughbred Racehorse Adoption

Why Adopt a Retired Thoroughbred Racehorse?

The next best thing to owning a racehorse who is racing is owning a retired Thoroughbred who is ready for a second career. It is another experience that is unlike any other. Thoroughbreds, especially retired racehorses, are highly intelligent and ready to train in just about any discipline or field.

Looking for a horse with boundless affection? You cannot go wrong with a retired Thoroughbred. These horses have been born and raised with constant interaction and attention from humans—they crave attention. Horses in general offer love and acceptance to anyone they meet. Thoroughbreds are eager to please and are ready to tackle any challenge.

Racehorse Adoption Program Partners

The Minnesota Racehorse Engagement Project (MNREP) currently works alongside two Thoroughbred retirement organizations that assist in the transition of horses who have raced at Canterbury or are Minnesota bred. One of these groups is the Hugo, Minnesota-based, This Old Horse’s Racehorse Reimagined program.  This Old Horse is a Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA) affiliated group, which means that they have passed stringent protocols to provide excellent care for retired racehorses.

This Old HorseIt is an asset to work with a TAA-accredited program because programs, like This Old Horse’s Racehorse Reimagined program, follow TAA’s Code of Standards. Each program application is reviewed by the American Humane Association and the American Association of Equine Practitioners. The mission of the TAA is to accredit, inspect and award grants to approved aftercare organizations to retrain, retire and rehome Thoroughbreds thanks to funding provided by the entire Thoroughbred racing industry such as the Breeders’ Cup Ltd., The Jockey Club, etc.

Photo Courtesy RRP

Koch Thoroughbred Transformations retrains Thoroughbreds who are unable to race or rehabilitate and finds them new homes to live happy lives.  They acclimate each horse from racetrack life to life with a family. Some are even trained to have second careers in disciplines such as show hunters and jumpers.

Bowman’s Second Chance Thoroughbred Adoption is headed by veteran Minnesota Racing Commission veterinarian Dr. Richard Bowman. His ranch in North Dakota offers professional care and plenty of open land for retired Thoroughbred racehorses to let down and prepare for their next careers.

Racehorse Adoption : FAQs

Are all racehorses retired injured? 

The majority of off-the-track-Thoroughbreds are retired sound and healthy. Trainers and owners will retire a racehorse for a multitude of reasons, including a lack of competitive drive on the track, the owner reducing their stable, or the horse has simply become too slow to compete. However, there are some horses retired with injuries, but most are the type that just needs time to heal.

Aren’t racehorses hyper?

That is a common misconception, however, usually, all it takes is some rest and relaxation away from the track, a change in diet and expectations so they can learn to be just a horse again.

What about vet checks?

All adoptees are encouraged to have a veterinarian perform health exams prior to adoption. Accredited retirement facilities should provide veterinary history for each horse, but we encourage any prospective adopter to ask questions and open a line of communication with the retired racehorse organization.

How old are Thoroughbreds when they stop racing?

Thoroughbreds typically begin racing at 2-years-old. Depending on their health, soundness, and success, they can continue racing up to age 10. The average age of a retired Thoroughbred is between 3-5 years of age.

How old do Thoroughbreds live?

The average lifespan of a horse, including Thoroughbreds, is between 25-28. Provided quality care and nurturing, a horse has been known to live up to, and beyond, 30.

Are Thoroughbreds good for beginners?

Just like any other breed of horse, Thoroughbreds can have a variety of dispositions. Thoroughbreds can be good for younger people or beginners, but they can also require an experienced horseperson for training.

What can an Off-the-Track-Thoroughbred (OTTB) do?

Perhaps a better question is what can’t an OTTB do? Retired Thoroughbreds have been successful in a multitude of disciplines in the equestrian world, from fox hunting to three-day eventing, trail riding to barrel racing, and jumping to dressage. You can see how successful OTTBs can be during the Thoroughbred Makeover Project, presented each year by Thoroughbred Charities of America.

If you are interested in learning more about adopting a retired racehorse, we encourage you to reach out to MNREP, This Old Horse’s Racehorse Reimagined program,  Bowman’s Second Chance Thoroughbred Adoption, or Koch Thoroughbred Transformations.

Retired Racehorse Radio is a great resource for information on the world’s retired racehorses.

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