It’s National Racehorse Week - a nationwide annual celebration of the racehorse and a chance to see first-hand the love, care and attention that goes into looking after them.
In September 2022, in an experience like no other, over 140 events across the country, including training yards, studs and retraining centres, will open their doors to the public to show what life as a racehorse is really like.
We thought we too would celebrate the racehorse and have spoken to Yorkshire based charity, New Beginnings, for their insight into working with racehorses.
New Beginnings looks after former racehorses both straight from the track and from private post-racing homes. With patience, expertise and plenty of TLC, Kevin, Pam and the New Beginnings team retrain and rehabilitate horses so that eventually, they can be placed in the ‘forever home’ that they deserve. Once rehomed, the charity retains ownership of all of the horses donated to them, providing reassurance that their welfare is always looked after.
Most notable horse of your career?
We have had many successful horses through our doors, Mister McGoldrick (who is now 25) Chill The Kite, Goldream and Nearly Caught, these are some of the successful horses who earned their racing owners money. But the ones who were not successful are just as important. They are bred to race, but that does not mean that they will all make a good racehorse.
Where do you source your racehorses?
Horses come to us straight from racing, but also from post-racing homes, where for whatever reason the owner can no longer look after them. A straightforward horses can be easily re-homed when its racing days are over. But the quirky ones who need more time and more understanding often find their way to us.
What do you look for when a horse first arrives?
When a horse first comes in it will be assessed by us and our vets. We assess each individual horse physically and emotionally. We will then turn the horse away in a selected small herd (usually 3 or 4) to allow it to come down and relax. In small managed groups horses can interact, we find that the older ones can teach the younger ones some manners.
Would you give a horse a break before training started?
When a horse first comes to us, we turn them away in a small herd as soon as we can so they can chill out. It also gives them the opportunity to become a horse that used to race, not a racehorse.
How do you manage their diet? They’re all sharp aren’t they?
All our horses are turned out full time through the summer, so they get plenty of Doctor Green. We feed SPILLERS HDF™ Lay Off Cubes along with Fibre-Beet and micronized linseed if the need that little bit extra. We are very careful what we feed as you get out what you put in.
Do you sell your horses?
We do not sell our horses, but when they are ready, we look for long term / permanent loan homes. We believe that this way we can give them security, as if anything goes wrong the horses will come back to New Beginnings. People’s circumstances can change so this gives both the horse and the loaner the peace of mind that whatever happens the horse has the security that it deserves.
What do you do with your horses.
We have three ambassador horses: Goldream (Remy) Nearly Caught (Nico) and Chil the Kite (Chil). We take these horses to stands or parades on racecourses to show the racing public “Life Past The Post”. This allows the racing public to get up close and touch a horse, often for the first time. In addition we have started taking them to dressage competitions too. This shows the true versatility of the former racehorse.
We also take our ambassador horses to local hospices and care homes. This gives many more people the opportunity to benefit from the magic of equine therapy.