The financial hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic have been felt throughout the UK and the horseracing industry is certainly not immune from its effects. With life grinding to a standstill in places and job losses increasing many horse lovers are concerned about the effect this could have on racehorse welfare.

Indeed, many owners have felt the financial brunt of a disrupted racing season, having to maintain facilities, welfare and training costs without any guaranteed source of income.

If you or someone you know is going through such financial hardship then don’t despair as there is help available.

The team at Equesure understands only too well the pressures that horse owners face. So, to help we’ve taken a look at the new Racehorse Relief Fund (RRF) that could provide some much-needed help in these difficult times.

During periods of such uncertainty it’s more important than ever that owners guard against the threat of unexpected and potentially substantial expenses.

Obtaining adequate insurance for your horse through Equesure is the best way to go about protecting you and your horse from any unexpected costs.


What is the Racehorse Relief Fund?

Open for applications from 14th October 2020, the new fund is part of a package of initiatives announced back in April to help racehorse owners suffering financial hardship as a result of the impact of COVID-19.

The measures came about following a survey undertaken by the Racehorse Owners Association (ROA) and the National Trainers Federation (NTF) that reported on a very worrying trend.

The survey found that of the 30% of trainers who responded there were already 77 owners unable to pay training fees at stables. This meant that over 1,500 horses were potentially at risk of being abandoned.

The RRF is initially being funded for the next three months by the Racing Foundation charity. It has been put together as a last resort to help mitigate some of the potential welfare and financial effects of the pandemic.

By providing a financial lifeline to owners it will allow racehorses to remain on licensed yards and for yards to cover daily ‘out of training’ costs for a period of up to three months. The aim is to give the owners and trainers valuable breathing space in order to consider the most appropriate future for their horses.

A pack of racehorses racing on a track

How to make an application

An application can be made by either the owner or trainer online at the RRF’s website. All applications should be supported by the following information:

  • Ownership details – You can apply for assistance whether you’re the sole owner, part of a partnership or a syndicate/racing club. If the horse is owned as part of a group the application must be made for a minimum 25% of the horse. Any partnership or syndicate agreement also needs to be uploaded if relevant.
  • Trainer and applicant details – Include the trainer’s email and telephone details if they’re not the same as the applicant.
  • Horse details – Separate applications need to be made for each of an owner’s horses. Details include name, age, sex, when the horse was taken out of training, passport and microchip number and a photo of the horse.
  • Supporting documents – These will include the training agreement, invoices for training and upkeep and invoices for veterinary fees for the last 6 months. You also need to provide full details of the horses’ previous veterinary history.

As part of the application you’ll be given two options to choose from:

Option 1

In this option the applicant will request help from the RRF with approved fees for an agreed period.

The owner will remain registered with the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) although an RRF marker will be placed against the horse’s name on the BHA register.

The owner can return to ownership status by paying back the RRF. An administration fee will also need to be paid.

Option 2

Here the owner transfers all management and control of the racehorse and all related rights to the RRF immediately. The owner will have no ability to return later to ownership status. An RRF marker will be placed against the horse and owner with the BHA.

In both options the horse should remain in its current yard. However, if the current trainer does not wish to keep the horse at the yard at the agreed daily rate, it will be transferred to a different yard.

Both these options require the horse to be removed from training in order to be funded by the RRF.

Once you’ve submitted your application an independent panel will look at whether all other options have been explored and whether the horse is definitely no longer affordable.


Cut costs but not care

Owning a racehorse can be expensive, but it’s not too late to think about reducing costs where you can, as long as this doesn’t compromise your horse’s health and welfare.

The costs of livery, feed and bedding could all potentially be reduced. Working with other horse owners to bulk buy or share costs could also help keep costs down until things improve.

Never risk compromising on things like proper veterinary care, horse insurance or professional services – a short term financial gain can soon turn into a long-term pain!

A girl brushing a horse carefully at a yard

Horse insurance to protect against the unexpected

Whether you own or part-own a racehorse or any other breed get help with any unexpected costs with insurance cover. After all, whether they’re a trusty veteran or a happy-go-lucky pony they can easily get themselves into trouble!

Make sure you’re ready for whatever life throws at you both by having the protection you need with a policy from Equesure. Our specialist team is here to make choosing the right cover a simple and straightforward process.

Our policyholders benefit from:

  • Vet fees covered up to £2,500 per incident but with an unlimited number of claims within the policy year
  • An additional discount for insuring more than one horse
  • Saddlery and tack cover available
  • Horseboarding cover available
  • Personal accident cover up to £20,000
  • Public liability cover up to £2 million
  • Legal protection up to £50,000 available

Get a quick quote for horse insurance today.

Policy benefits, features and discounts offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.

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