Retired Racehorses: Transitioning from Racetrack to Ribbons

From selecting a horse to rehabbing and feeding him, learn how to transition an ex-racer to life as a riding mount.
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By Barbara Sheridan

Many ex-racehorses are finding second careers once their racing days are over, thanks to the ever increasing awareness of what these multi-talented athletes can also do off the track. As a result of this growing movement to retrain the racehorse, Thoroughbreds, Standardbreds, Quarter Horses and other breeds have successfully been transitioning from the track to a new lifestyle as sport horses, show horses, or all-around pleasure mounts.

Canadian Olympian Jessica Phoenix is a huge proponent of the “ex-racehorse” breed and has successfully worked with them for years. Two of her top horses—Exploring and Exponential—were off-the-track Thoroughbreds (OTTBs) that successfully took Phoenix to top international levels in eventing.

“Exploring went to the Pam Am Games in 2007, and Exponential went to the Olympics and the Word Equestrian Games in 2010 and 2012,” says the Cannington, Ontario resident. “Exponential is such a tough horse. He’s 17 now and is still competing at the four-star level

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Equine Guelph is the horse owners’ and caretakers’ center at the University of Guelph, supported and overseen by equine industry groups, and dedicated to improving the health and well-being of horses.

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