Horse welfare is a strong priority for all those working within the Irish racing industry.

Ireland has an international reputation for the production of high-quality thoroughbred racehorses and for the excellent horsemanship of its many racing professionals. This reputation has been built on a long legacy of quality care and husbandry.

Horse Racing Ireland's policy on thoroughbred horse welfare is reflected in the 'Promoting Responsible Thoroughbred Ownership' document, to which we subscribe along with the other bodies concerned with welfare within the horse racing and breeding industry.

This document was prepared to give guidance to horse owners on the care of the horse and to outline the options available to prevent horses becoming unwanted or neglected. These options primarily include alternative uses and retirement. They also include inevitable end-of-life decisions, including euthanasia, humane destruction and disposal.

The key message in this policy is that those who own or keep a horse are morally and legally responsible for its health, safety and welfare while it is in their ownership/possession. 

The Irish Equine Centre fulfils an important role in the protection against potentially devastating equine diseases. HRI supports the centre by providing a substantial annual grant. HRI also directly supports the Irish Horse Welfare Trust (IHWT), which seeks to re-home and re-train thoroughbreds no longer active in racing.

Racehorse to Riding Horse 

Irish Thoroughbred Marketing supports the retraining of racehorses through sponsorship of 'Racehorse To Riding Horse' classes in Ireland, including the increasingly popular ex-racehorse class at the RDS Dublin Horse Show.

The winners of four regional shows in Clonmel, Cork, Gorey and Armagh receive automatic entry into the 'Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Racehorse To Riding Horse Class', scheduled to take place at the RDS Dublin Horse Show each August.

Recognition by ITM is very important as it shows the general public that the racing authorities are interested in horse welfare and thoroughbreds' usefulness after racing. By joining together we can promote the Irish thoroughbred’s versatility. Supporting the concept of ex-racehorse of the year will encourage people to take another look at the ex-racehorse as being a useful general riding horse, able to hold its own within the sport horse sector in many disciplines such as dressage, show-jumping, eventing and riding club/pony club.

Julie Morris, Racehorse To Riding Horse Ireland

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