It’s easy to see why there’s such a growing interest in owning ex-racehorses. And it isn’t just because these athletic, intelligent and well looked-after horses can be found at a great price. If you take on an ex-racer, you’ll be doing your bit to ensure these beautiful animals have the life they deserve after their racing careers are over.

After you’ve used Equesure to research what insurance for a horse is available, where do you find an ex-racehorse suitable for your needs? Read on to find out the best places.


Search on Source a Horse

Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) is British Horseracing's official charity for the welfare of retired racehorses.

It really is the best place to start your search for a new equine friend. RoR even has a dedicated website Source a Horse for the buying or loaning of ex-racehorses.

Whether fresh from a racing yard or after a period of retraining, this is a great one-stop shop to find a former racehorse in need of a forever home. The website couldn’t be easier to use. Simply do the following:

  • Choose the height
    Under or over 16hh.
  • Choose the age
    Under 5 years, between 5 and 10 years or over 10 years.
  • Choose RoR eligibility
    Direct from the racehorse trainer, out for training, being retrained, or already out competing.
  • Choose purchase option
    Whether you want to loan or buy, and what price you want to pay.

You can also browse their extensive listings. Are you looking for a 10-year-old raced gelding with potential to be a top-class dressage or show horse? Or perhaps a 4-year-old unraced filly who’s already in retraining and is showing lovely manners when hacking out?

Be careful though, you’ll soon be falling in love with a whole range of ex-racers!

Remember Equesure can offer multi-horse insurance policies if you have more than one horse.

A horse playing in a field

Direct from a racing yard

If you’re an experienced horse handler and you know what you’re looking for then approaching a racing yard directly can be a straightforward and quick route. Remember the horse may not have had a let-down period and may still be in racing condition.

As well as a lean appearance it may still be on a racing diet, it may be recovering from an injury or still require further rest or rehabilitation.

Such horses may not have undergone any retraining so you’ll need to be experienced if you want to make this rehoming a success.

Ask plenty of questions before agreeing to take the horse. As well as the yard itself, Weatherbys and racing websites are great sources of information on horses racing careers.

And don’t forget to take a look at the horse’s passport, it’ll provide plenty of information. Be prepared to sign a Non-Racing Agreement so the horse can never race again.


Attend an ex-racehorse auction

If you’re looking to choose from a variety of different horses in one place then an auction might be the route for you. However, it does need some experience and a good deal of pre-auction research to make sure you’re getting the most suitable horse for your needs.

Regular sales are held around the country, in particular Brightwells in Ascot, Doncaster Bloodstock Sales in Doncaster and Tattersalls in Newmarket. Get a catalogue and buyers guide before you attend the sale and make sure you’ve got a price already in mind.

It’s also important you have a clear idea of what you want to do with the horse. You don’t want to get carried away on the day and make a mistake both of you regret.


From a retraining centre

Many horses leaving racing are first sent to a racehorse retrainer to rest and spend time away from the racing yard environment.

Here they’ll start the retraining process and be assessed on their suitability for a new career outside racing.

The RoR has compiled a list of recommended retraining centres around the country. There’s a useful map on the RoR website to help you find one near you.

A horse standing in a field at golden hour

On loan from an equine charity

Obtaining a horse on loan from a charity is a great way to start life with an ex-racehorse – especially if you’re new to thoroughbreds or aren’t ready to buy a horse fresh off the track.

Equine charities have the horse’s welfare at the forefront of their mind and will work tirelessly to match a horse to the right home.

Every equine charity will have its own set of requirements you’ll need to follow. For example, some might need to make a home visit to check your facilities beforehand.

You might be asked to sign a loan agreement and a donation is usually expected from the rehoming charity.

Remember, even if the horse is on loan to you you’ll have sole responsibility for its care – this includes arranging appropriate horse insurance for its needs.

A great benefit of this is that if your circumstances change, or things don’t quite work out between you both, the horse can be returned.

Some equine charities worth looking at include:

Horse insurance protection for champions

However long your ex-racer’s career was, it’s your responsibility to give them the best start in the next stage of their life. An ex-racehorse will have a range of needs that you, as a responsible owner, need to meet.

With over 60 years’ combined experience in the insurance market, our team of specialists can offer a bespoke insurance policy to help you do this, whatever your circumstances and budget.

Cover for veterinary fees come in three options:

  • Option 1 – £4,500 per incident with unlimited claims in the year
  • Option 2 – £7,500 per incident with up to £15,000 in the year
  • Option 3 – £5,000 per incident with £2,500 top up for life-saving surgery

Multi-horse policies are also available when you have more than five horses.

Our policies can also cover saddlery and tack, personal accident up to £20,000 and public liability up to £2 million.

Call our horse insurance team for a quick quote 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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