“It's not sustainable to fund the retraining of every horse coming out of racing, and in doing that you would devalue the ones that do find their own market.
“RESET is very much targeting those horses that are sound and have every chance of making it in the equestrian community, but no one is giving them that chance. The money that people make on turning these horses around would not have been enough to cover their costs to retrain them for three months.
“But by covering their costs to give this horse a chance, to put the extra polish on them at the end of their racing career, it does provide more options.
“If we can support them financially, they will get that three months to learn a few extra tricks, get sharpened up and be presented to the equestrian community a different horse three months later with a far better chance of a second career.”
That extra polish is more than just grooming and teaching racehorses a few new ‘tricks’ to make them appealing.
“The way the horses are trained to race is very different to the job they do in the equestrian disciplines,” Hughes said.
“They are carrying a different saddle, the riders’ legs are in a different place, the aids are slightly different, they might never have been over a fence before and some of them will be asked to jump obstacles.
“It’s an upskilling programme to convert the skills they have already got, into the equestrian field. It’s complementary to the existing retraining programme.” And, says Hughes, RESET has quickly had an impact following its July launch.
“We are piloting it for 30 horses but that’s because we didn’t really understand what the take-up would be. We launched it officially in mid-July with 10 horses that were already identified. We are actively seeking to fill the remaining 20 spots without too much delay.
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