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Equine Welfare

Thoroughbred Racing South Australia supports the welfare and promotion of thoroughbred horses before, during and after their racing careers. 

Thoroughbred Racing SA’s Equine Welfare Framework

Why do we need an Equine Welfare Framework? To show that we are committed to living our values; that it all starts with the horse, that we are meeting the expectations of the community, can stand incomparison with similar PRAs around Australia, and world’s best practice.
Thoroughbred Racing SA (TRSA) is the peak body representing the thoroughbred horseracing community in South Australia. Bound by a common principle, we govern, promote and support thoroughbred racing in the State.
The horse is at the heart of everything we do in South Australian thoroughbred racing and it always has been. The welfare of our participants – our animals and our people – is an absolute priority.
This Equine Welfare Framework outlines our ongoing commitment to build on the work of those in the racing community by continually evolving and improving practices focused on the welfare of thoroughbreds before, during and after their racing careers.

Statement of Intent

As the peak body representing the thoroughbred horseracing community in South Australia, we will:

  •  Support the welfare and promotion of thoroughbred horses before, during and after their racing careers;
  •  Work to grow understanding and awareness among the wider thoroughbred racing community of best-practice equine welfare, communicate our mission, goals and achievements in equine welfare to external stakeholders and general public;
  •  Increase transparency of equine welfare practices within the thoroughbred racing industry;
  •  Work to adopt the applicable recommendations of the 2016 Select Committee on Jumps Racing; and
  •  Position the South Australian thoroughbred racing industry as being committed to equine welfare best practice.

Partners

Beyond TRSA’s formal associations with national and state-based thoroughbred racing organisations such as Racing Australia, we also consult, support and work with a range of other partners in the area of equine welfare including:

  •  Harness Racing SA
  •  SA Racehorse Owners Association
  •  Horse SA
  •  Standardbred Pleasure & Performance Horse Association of SA
  •  Australian International Three-Day Event
  •  RSPCA
  •  Royal Adelaide Show
  •  SA Showjumping Championships
  •  Equestrian SA

Our Whole-of-Life Welfare Commitment

Our community (in partnership with Racing Australia and other state PRAs) is built around, and cannot function without, a shared passion for the horse. From the time thoroughbreds are foaled, throughout their racing careers and transition to life beyond, TRSA maintains a strong commitment to leading equine welfare practices.

Bound by this common principle, TRSA and Racing Australia have put in place a series of initiatives to guide us into the future and outline the expectations and standards for all members of our community to live this whole-of-life welfare commitment – because the horse is at the heart of everything we do.

Before racing
The life of a thoroughbred racehorse starts well before it ever sees its first track. In fact, measures are in place to ensure that every horse born of a thoroughbred is identified and registered.

The Australian Rules of Racing and the Stud Book Rules ensure traceability of thoroughbreds from the first few weeks of life. Foals must be registered with the Stud Book within 30 days of foaling, and each foal’s owner must be declared with the Registrar within a further 30 days.

TRSA works with Racing Australia to monitor compliance with these standards and to use the data to learn more about the lifecycle of thoroughbreds.

During racing

The integrity of thoroughbred racing in South Australia is overseen by TRSA Stewards and one of their primary responsibilities is participant welfare. In fact, our investment in integrity matters increased by more than $250,000 in FY17.

TRSA stewards monitor activities both on and off the racecourse, and in and out of competition, to ensure established equine welfare protocols are met or surpassed.

These activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Chair Race Meetings
  •  Integrity Management
  •  Betting Services
  •  Form Analysis
  •  Investigations
  •  Stewards’ Operations
  •  Conduct Barrier Trials
  •  Raceday Administration and Licensing
  •  Attend Trackwork
  •  Conduct Stable Inspections

Further detail about the activities undertaken by TRSA Stewards to ensure equine welfare best practice, can be found here:

www.theracessa.com.au/industry/stewards/official-stewards-policy

To complement the work of the Stewards’ Department, TRSA has in place a range of policies and protocols designed to increase compliance with equine welfare best practices. It has also identified a number of strategic imperatives to ensure continued improvement and an ongoing focus on participant welfare.

Weather policies:

Drug Testing:

  • The testing strategies and sampling regime implemented by the Stewards’ Department continue to be a critical element in protecting the health and welfare of horses, the safety of riders, providing a level playing field for all participants, and maintaining the confidence of the betting public and the broader community
  • For the past three years, TRSA has tested an average of 2,855 horse samples for banned substances each year. The rate of banned substance detection remains consistently low, with an average of 0.19% of tested samples returning a positive result over the corresponding period.
  • Over the same period, TRSA tested an average of 292 riders (urine and/ or breathalyser) for banned substances each year, with 2.3% of tested samples returning a positive result.

Raceday fatalities:

While the rate of fatalities in flat racing is low, TRSA remains committed to reducing the incidence of horse deaths attributable to racing incidents.

TRSA Stewards conduct a range of activities designed to assess the health and fitness of thoroughbreds for racing to help prevent catastrophic limb injuries and reduce the rate of raceday fatalities.

Ensuring compliance with these established best practices, including conducting barrier trials and attending trackwork, continues to be a focus for the Stewards’ Department moving forward as TRSA strives to make racing safer for all participants.

The appointment of an Industry Racecourse Manager is another example of TRSA committing to equine welfare best practice by ensuring optimal racing surfaces can be achieved at a consistently high level across racing clubs.

After racing:

In line with the Rules of Racing set out by Racing Australia, TRSA requires a Retirement of Racehorses or Death Notification Form to be lodged in the event of the death or retirement of a thoroughbred racehorse. The procedure for doing so is set out below:

  • As of 1st August 2014, the Rules of Racing (AR64J and AR64JA) make it compulsory for notification to be lodged upon the retirement or death of a racehorse.
  • A ‘Retirement of Racehorse or Death Notification Form’ must be lodged with Racing Australia within one month of a horse retiring from racing.
  •  It is the Managing Owner’s responsibility to ensure this form is completed and forwarded to Racing Australia.
  •  Trainers are reminded of their duty to also lodge a stable return within 24 hours of a horse entering or leaving their stable.
  •  Failure to comply with the provisions of this rule may result in penalties.
  •  Forms can be found on the Racing Australia website.

TRSA has an active retired racehorse program and has invested in building relationships and goodwill with key equine stakeholders to stimulate demand for retired thoroughbreds through several key initiatives and partnerships.

Presently, 65% of thoroughbreds retire into equestrian and pleasure riding activities reinforcing the importance TRSA places on maintaining and further developing its relationship with a key stakeholder in its whole-of-life welfare commitment. A further 23% go into the breeding industry.

The investment and relationship building has provided benefit in improving the perception of racing within the equestrian community. TRSA also collaborates with organisations running equine events, promoting and encouraging the participation of retired thoroughbreds in show and pleasure riding activities.

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 Equine Industry Networks

TRSA utilises and works with key stakeholder and industry groups with a focus on promoting the positive transition of horses from racing to a new career. Information is shared and projects are jointly run to help owners or trainers of horses that were bred for thoroughbred racing to be re-trained or re-homed when racing is no longer a career option.

For the transition of racehorses into retirement to be successful, support needs to come from both racing and non-racing sectors, and TRSA looks to connect these sectors to assist in the rehoming of racehorses. Key groups connected through TRSA’s Equine Industry Networks include Horse SA, Equestrian SA, South Australian Racehorse Owners Association and the Australian Trainers Association, as well as the many passionate and hardworking horse lovers.

Event Partnerships

Thoroughbred Racing SA currently supports specific horse-based events to promote retired thoroughbred racehorses that are competing, including:

  • Australian Three-Day Event – TRSA provides additional prizemoney to the leading retired thoroughbred racehorses in the two-star, four star and young rider championships.
  •  Off The Track - SA Series – is run voluntarily by a small team of passionate horse owners. TRSA sponsors this series to pay for prizes, prizemoney and assist in some administration expenses.
  •  The “Racehorse to Showhorse” category at the Royal Adelaide Show
  •  The Equestrian SA Horse of the Year Event
  •  SA Showjumping Championships

In line with the Rules of Racing set out by Racing Australia, TRSA requires a Retirement of Racehorses or Death Notification Form to be lodged in the event of the death or retirement of a thoroughbred racehorse. The procedure for doing so is set out below:

  • As of 1st August 2014, the Rules of Racing (AR64J and AR64JA) make it compulsory for notification to be lodged upon the retirement or death of a racehorse.
  • A ‘Retirement of Racehorse or Death Notification Form’ must be lodged with Racing Australia within one month of a horse retiring from racing.
  • It is the Managing Owner’s responsibility to ensure this form is completed and forwarded to Racing Australia.
  • Trainers are reminded of their duty to also lodge a stable return within 24 hours of a horse entering or leaving their stable.
  • Failure to comply with the provisions of this rule may result in penalties.
  • Forms can be found on the Racing Australia website.

Key development priorities

TRSA already has in place a robust set of policies and conducts a wide variety of activities designed to support the welfare of thoroughbred horses
before, during and after their racing careers.

Through the activities of the Stewards’ Department, TRSA is committed to ensuring compliance with established equine-welfare best practices to grow understanding and awareness within the wider thoroughbred racing community.

TRSA is also actively engaged with several like-minded equine organisations to achieve better outcomes for retired thoroughbreds and increase pathways for racehorses to transition into equestrian and pleasure riding activities.

These areas remain key development priorities for TRSA under its Equine Welfare Framework and provide guidance for all members of the thoroughbred racing community to live this whole-of-life welfare commitment.

The 2016 Select Committee on Jumps Racing listed a number of recommendations to improve the safety and transparency of jumps racing and map out future pathways for the sport. TRSA is working to implement the applicable recommendations as part of its current equine welfare strategy.

Through these various activities, partnerships and ongoing investments, TRSA aims to position the South Australian thoroughbred racing industry with an absolute commitment to equine welfare best practice. The horse is at the heart of everything we do and our commitment to the welfare of our participants goes far beyond the track – it’s embedded in our principles and lived each day by members of our community.

Download the TRSA Equine Welfare Framework 

If you have a recently retired racehorse and are looking for a home, below is a list of contacts to assist in re-homing.

Kim Jones
Meadows

0417 856 626

Rebecca Foster 
Finniss

0409 285 740

Megan Hansen
Buckleboo, Eyre Peninsula

0415 083 787 or 8627 4044

Fiona Evans Lucky Horse Program
Oakbank

0417 700 402

Kristy Dodd
Morphettville/Lewiston

0413 429 974

Kim Evans Yarraman Park Retraining and
Spelling Services
Nangkita, Fleurieu Peninsula

 0419 690 021

Please note that the persons listed here have volunteered their information and in no way have been endorsed by Thoroughbred Racing SA (TRSA).

Any arrangements made regarding the retirement of racehorses are between the relevant parties and TRSA accepts no responsibility.

If anyone would like more information regarding the retirement of racehorses, please contact;
Nick Bawden
Industry Operations Manager

(08) 8179 9827 
nbawden@theracessa.com.au