Britain’s first ever thoroughbred census has been launched to help improve the traceability of former racehorses after they retire from the sport.
With all owners of former racehorses being asked to complete the census between 28 June – 31 December 2023, the results will help build an improved thoroughbred data bank about these horses and the lives they go on to lead.
The new census is going to be carried out by equine research experts at Hartpury University, with a primary objective to help improve traceability of thoroughbreds after they have been retired from racing.
Helena Flynn, Programme Director of the Horse Welfare Board, said: “Improving the traceability of thoroughbreds after they retire from racing is a fundamental part of the Horse Welfare Board’s five-year welfare strategy.
“The launch of this census is a significant project to help increase the depth, quality, and volume of data about thoroughbreds at this important stage of their lives.
“Just as importantly, this campaign will help us talk about responsible ownership and the critical part every thoroughbred owner plays in ensuring their equine identification document (passport) is up to date.
“We are delighted to be working with Hartpury University on the census and hope that between us we can encourage as many owners as possible to participate.”
In detail, the census will request information on each horse’s equine identification document (passport) number, microchip number, age, current residence, second career, and more to provide a ‘robust view’ of the 2023 British retired racehorse population.
With improved data, British Racing and its aftercare charity, Retraining of Racehorses (RoR), can better support owners with access to educational resources and routes to compete if desired, as well as continue to build informed and helpful communities.
“We’re delighted to be part of this proactive initiative as Hartpury is committed to supporting the equine sector to improve the quality of life of the horses’ we all love,” added Jane Williams, Head of Research at Hartpury University.
“The census will present an opportunity to understand more about the lifetime care of thoroughbreds, generate evidence to safeguard against future disease outbreaks, and showcase the huge benefits thoroughbreds bring to so many people.”
The board has also detailed that improved data at this stage of a thoroughbred’s life can also help improve and adapt welfare initiatives and will enable effective contact in the event of an equine disease outbreak.