Who doesn’t love a day at the races? No wonder it’s a $4 billion industry. Watching these thoroughbreds’ run down the track to a victory is a favorite pastime of many. What most don’t realize is that after these horses have exhausted their bodies, then they are no longer needed. What happens to the many equines who can no longer race and provide their owners with an income? To be a retiring racehorse is certainly a scary position. This is because they become a liability instead of a revenue generator.
First, you must understand that the average lifespan of a horse is around 25-30 years. However, in the racing industry, most horses work 3-4 years. Only top champions might be able to extend their career to five years. For many people, racing horses is a job. Once they have run a horse into retirement, they no longer need them. They are off to find another equine to train and make money. It may seem a bit cruel, but it’s the nature of that business. The real question is, what happens to a senior horse once they are no longer viable for racing?
Top Four Most Common Options for a Retiring Racehorse
Once a horse has exhausted their body, they are often moved to another facility. Here are the most common places that a racehorse is transferred too after their racing days are over.
1. Breeding Farm
Though their racing days may be over, equines still have plenty of life left in them. Retiring male racehorses are often sent to breeding farms where they can be used to reproduce. These facilities are often called stud farms as the goal is to pass along the championship bloodlines.
Let’s say that a retiring racehorse has accolades and has won the Kentucky Derby and many other races around the county. Not only will he have the money that he made for his owners at the track, but a stud farm would pay top dollar to have those genetics for breeding purposes. It’s not uncommon for these facilities to pay millions for a desired horse.
Another option a retiring racehorse owner has is to adopt the equine to a family. Many people love having horses around, and they often look for good deals on a younger horse. Remember, just because five years is old in the racing industry doesn’t mean they won’t make great pets. These equines are very well trained, follow commands, and can make an excellent addition to any farm. So, frequently, they find new homes with people who want nothing more than to love them.
3. Switching Careers
A retiring racehorse still has a great deal of value when it leaves the racing world. Most have great agility and good health. Owners can sell them to other sports professionals who will use them in things like jump styles or dressage. Some people that are into racing are involved in other horse-related sports too. So it’s easy for them to make the transition from one performance sport to the other.
4. Rest at a Retirement Facility
Oak Haven Acres is a retirement facility, and we welcome retired, sick, or behaviorally challenged equines. We have dedicated our lives to helping people who have horses that are beyond their racing years. Additionally, we rescue horses from bad situations too. A sanctuary farm provides these equines a place to relax and spend their days grazing on the greens at our grounds. We make sure that their every need is attended too, and they have the medical care they need.
We have a resident veterinarian that makes sure that every medical concern is addressed promptly, plus we have farrier services and other specialties. Our horses are pampered, and I spend time with each of them. I find our farm is a haven for the equines and me.
If you know anyone in the racing industry that doesn’t know what to do with a retiring racehorse when they are beyond their years, or you have a horse that has medical or behavioral trouble due to age, then you should consider our farm. Our rolling acres here in North Carolina is a peaceful place for anyone to grow old. I feel incredibly blessed that when I wake up each morning, I get to spend my days in such a beautiful place.