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Descriptive analysis of Thoroughbred horses born in Victoria, Australia, in 2010;

Barriers to entering training and outcomes on exiting training and racing

Meredith L. Flash, Michelle Renwick, James R. Gilkerson, Mark A. Stevenson

Published: October 28, 2020


The reasons for Thoroughbred (TB) horses not entering training or exiting the racing industry, are of interest to regulators, welfare groups and the broader community. Speculation about the outcomes of these horses threatens the community acceptance, or social license, of the TB breeding and racing industries. A representative survey of the 2010 Victorian-born TB foal crop was used to determine the outcomes and reasons for exit for horses that had not entered training, or had exited training and racing by eight years of age. Horses exported for racing or breeding (4%), or that were still actively racing (7%) at the start of the follow up period were excluded from the study. An online questionnaire was sent to breeders or trainers of 3,176 TB horses eligible for enrolment in the study. Of the 2,005 (63%) responses received, the two most frequent outcomes were that the horse had either been retired or rehomed (65%), or deceased (16%). For the 1,637 TB horses that had entered training, the majority of retirements were voluntary (59%), followed by involuntary retirements due to health disorders (28%). For TBs that did not have an industry record of entering training (n = 368), death (34%), or retirement or being rehomed (27%), were the most frequent barriers to entering training. The median age of retirement for TBs that raced was five (Q1 4; Q3 6) years regardless of sex, or whether their first race start was at two, three or four years of age. Relatively large numbers of horses voluntarily retiring at five-years of age suggests that industry-level, rather than individual horse-level factors are the predominant influences on racing career duration.

Copyright: © 2020 Flash et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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