For the last 6 months, Horses for People at Ballygraffan have undertaken a ground-breaking project to retrain ex-racehorses for equine therapy work.
The pilot was initiated by thoroughbred charity, Racing to Relate in conjunction with Down Royal Corporation of Horsebreeders to provide alternative careers for thoroughbred horses once their racing career has ceased.
The pilot is a truly collaborative approach, contributing data towards an international PhD with the University of Bristol, UCD, The John Pearce Foundation, The Childwick Trust and The Sir Peter O’Sullivan Charitable Trust. The aim of the data collection and study is to produce an evidence base for a global standard to optimise the progression of a racehorse towards a new career.
Having recently completed her Equine Management degree at CAFRE, Daria Fidgeon was selected for a 6 month placement to monitor the racehorses as they progressed through their retraining. An added bonus was that Daria is a gifted photographer so as well as collecting the data, she complied a beautiful phot library of all the horses.
Horses for People have worked with four ex-racehorses over the six month programme and although all have very different personalities, all of the horses have successfully progressed through the programme. Our Seamus, Elusive Time and Drumboy will continue with equine therapy careers whilst Nouhime has got many options because being young, bright, kind, sound and full of energy, she could have a happy and successful ridden career.
For more information, visit the recent article in Irish Field.