The Race Horse
The Thoroughbred is the fastest and most valuable of the world's breeds, and around it has grown a huge racing and breeding industry. It evolved in England in the seventeenth and eighteen centuries as a result of the crossing of imported Arab sires with a native stock of "running horses"
The modern Thoroughbred is bred to mature at an early age and horses are raced a 2 years old, many youngsters breakdown under strains that are imposed. The thoroughbred possesses both physical and mental stamina and is very courageous.. But there has always been a mystery about what happens to the 4000/5000 British Racehorses that are "retired" each year or the hundreds of young thoroughbreds that are not good enough to make the race track.
A study in Newmarket was attempted to track 1,022 thoroughbred foals born in 1999 and discovered that 347 were only ever entered for a race in the UK and fewer than 200 remained in training as 4 year olds. Over 100 had been destroyed, died or were untraceable.
Horses may leave the racing industry at any stage of their life, as foals, during training, during their racing career or when they retire. The reason for being withdrawn from racing is poor performance, illness, injury and/or behavioural problems. A great many racehorses will have a career of only 2-3 years and yet their life expectancy is 25-30 years.
For those who think the prospect for these many racehorses will be spending their final years in beautiful meadows with the sun on their backs is little more than a fantasy. A great many go to the knackers yard, may go to sanctuaries, and some go to private homes, and many have been found in dire circumstances. So although the public expectancy is that these horses will be appropriately cared for in their retirement, (after all they have been bred for the multibillion racing industry. "The Sport of Kings") sadly they will not be, and those youngsters who do not complete their training are classed as "wastage"
H.A.C.K. has taken in many Racehorses over the years when these horses have sadly found themselves in dire situations
Lulu was bred for racing but after an accident as a yearling she was left in the field and forgotten about. She was deaf and only had sight in one eye and as time went by her balance was becoming compromised and after giving her one last summer she was put to sleep as she had become a danger to herself and others
Fran had raced in France and had ended up being a broodmare and was kept in dreadful conditions. She was part of a large rescue case that actually went to court and H.A.C.K. took in three racehorses (amongst a great many other breeds) and was later signed over to us by local authorities after the case was concluded. Fran is now 29 years old and has been under our care for several years. She is one beautiful horse
Izz was a successful racehorse and after retiring went on to another successful career, Sadly though she was passed on and at some point was used as a broodmare. She ended up in very sad circumstances and was brought back to H.A.C.K. where she is making slow but good progress
Monty and Chester Two little colts that had been locked in a stable as foals with many others and being kept in dire conditions. Although bred for racing both colts had a lot of making up to do and of course had to be castrated and went to Leahust, The large animal hospital. Over time both boys came back into good health and training began. Sadly Chester was found to have skeleton problems and was in pain and it left us no alternative but to put him to sleep. Monty however went on to be a lovely pleasure horse although a very bad start has caused a few health problems. He is now happily out on loan.