Retraining Racehorses

Racing is a physically demanding sport, and even with the best intentions many racehorses end up with an injury that forces them into retirement from the track. And while some horses have serious enough injuries to warrant euthanasia or full pasture retirement, many horses, with proper treatment and time, can be rehabilitated and go on to second careers.
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For those who are contemplating giving a home to an ex-racehorse, here are some health, behavior, and training issues to consider.

Raising a racehorse is a gamble, and the majority of horses bred for the sport never reach the winner's circle due to lack of speed, injury, or a temperament not suited for track life. But many of these horses that are lackluster at the track become stars in other disciplines, from eventing to barrel racing. And with many racetracks now implementing a zero tolerance policy on owners shipping ex-racehorses for slaughter, rehabilitating these animals for second careers is becoming even more important.

"We try to educate owners and trainers to maybe retire a horse a little bit early, sell them, and make some money. Don't run them to the end when there's nothing left of them," says Laurie Lane, executive director of ReRun Inc., a nonprofit Thoroughbred adoption program.

But racing is a physically demanding sport, and even with the best intentions many racehorses end up with an injury that forces them into retirement from the track. And while some horses have serious enough injuries to warrant euthanasia or full pasture retirement, many horses, with proper treatment and time, can be rehabilitated and go on to second careers

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