Thoroughbreds are well-known for their versatility off the track and a recent addition to the New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR) demonstrates this, along with the longevity of some of our retired racehorses.
The Horse Wall of Fame (found here) includes returnees from Hong Kong, Derby winners, top handicappers, moderate to fair racehorses, non-winners and unraced horses. Each of them has now found a role off the track, either as top performing eventers and show jumpers, therapy horses, happy hackers or much-loved paddock mates. Behind each photo is the story of the horse, its race record (if the horse did race), and its pedigree.
NZTR General Manager, Welfare & Sustainability, Martin Burns said the development of the Wall of Fame would help dispel some of the misinformation spread by those with no understanding of racing.
“A key part of our work in traceability has been ensuring we have more comprehensive records regarding where horses end up once they leave racing. This is now supported by the rules introduced earlier this year which require every horse to have an ‘accountable person’ who is responsible for ensuring a retired or rehomed horse goes to someone with appropriate horse knowledge, and providing NZTR with the details of that new owner,” Burns said.
While undertaking work which began back in February, it became very clear to Donna Cameron, NZTR’s Traceability Officer that those people she was talking to about their long retired horses were very keen to tell the story of what each of them was doing now.
“It was following discussion around this that the Wall of Fame was born,” Burns said. “We often hear anecdotal tales of what our thoroughbreds get up to in their lives after racing, and the Wall of Fame gives owners the opportunity to share these stories more widely.”
“Everyone who has one of these retired horses which currently feature on the wall has been incredibly eager to share their story and to reassure people that there is a good life for thoroughbreds off the track,” he said. “It has been amazing to hear about some of these horses in their mid to late 20s who are obviously still an important part of their owners’ families.”
The Wall of Fame will continue to grow and reflect the many roles thoroughbreds play in their post-racing lives with owners of off-track thoroughbreds encouraged to share their stories by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org