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There is a high turnover of horses in training – it is a tough sport and injuries are part of the training and racing of thoroughbreds.
The major stables in Britain and Ireland have the backing of wealthy owners who invest in horses every year. Winning championship races is the objective and that means many inferior horses fall by the wayside. At the end of every season on the flat and over jumps horses are retired due to injury or lack of ability which means the number of ex-racehorses increases.
There is a fatality rate which means the number of ex-racehorses is constant but many horses need a career in retirement from the track and there are various options.
Popular ex-racehorses often appear at race meetings and parade before the racing begins. For example, Red Rum is the only horse to win the Grand National three times and the horse became a celebrity in retirement. He made appearances at all types of functions and occasions and was busy as an ex-racehorse.
The second career chosen for Kauto Star caused an argument between the trainer and owner and the horse was much more suited to racing and jumping than his career as an ex-racehorse.
There is a national animal welfare organisation called the Retraining of Racehorses which helps trainers and owners find a function in retirement for former horses in training. Many ex-racehorses have benefitted from this organisation’s commitment to providing care for horses that formerly competed in racing.
Options for another career include dressage, show jumping and patrolling within the police. Trained horses are used to activity and routine and this body helps to provide a second career for an ex-racehorse.