Repurposed racehorse first to find new home in pilot scheme

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Ollie with his new person, Rachel Clay.
Ollie with his new person, Rachel Clay.

An OTTB racehorse named Ollie is the first horse to find a new home under World Horse Welfare’s pilot scheme with Retraining of Racehorses (RoR).

The scheme was devised to use World Horse Welfare’s expertise in preparing horses for new lives and finding new homes for them through its rehoming scheme which is the largest of its kind in the UK. Funded by RoR, the scheme is in addition to World Horse Welfare’s existing UK rescue and rehoming operations and led to the appointment of specialist groom, Emma Sawyers, who previously worked at the Darley Racehorse Rehoming and Retraining Centre and now retrains the horses on the RoR pilot scheme at World Horse Welfare’s Hall Farm in Norfolk.

Ollie schooling with Emma Sawyers.
Ollie schooling with Emma Sawyers.

Wold’s Agent (Ollie) arrived at WHW’s Hall Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre in January this year to undergo rehabilitation with Emma. Ollie had a short racing career, running five times before he was bought by a lady who began his training outside of the racing world. Unfortunately, due to an injury she became unable to care for him and so he joined the World Horse Welfare ROR pilot scheme.

Following physiotherapy and pole work to develop and rebuild muscle tone, Ollie’s ridden work progressed quickly and after a few months he began to take part in low-level dressage competitions, receiving high placings each time. Once he joined World Horse Welfare’s rehoming scheme, Ollie received a lot of interest from potential rehomers but Rossdales Equine Hospital secretary, Rachel Clay, turned out to be the perfect candidate.

“I have been riding for almost 30 years in a range of disciplines but since becoming a mother I have been taking things easy with just hacking and light hunting” Clay said.

“Now the children are older I was keen to find a horse which would help me get back into competing and rehoming seemed like the ideal solution. Ollie has settled into his new home with us beautifully and it is clear that he has been impeccably schooled during his time at World Horse Welfare. I’m really excited for us to start our dressage career together!”

World Horse Welfare Deputy Chief Executive, Tony Tyler said Ollie’s successful rehoming was an important milestone in the RoR pilot scheme.

“We are delighted that he is going to a home where he will be able to build on his dressage success. We have also recently added Freddie, another of the horses from the scheme to our rehoming website, and it’s encouraging to see him already receiving a number of applications.

“We are very pleased with the success of the pilot scheme so far.”

Ollie before leaving World Horse Welfare in August.
Ollie before leaving World Horse Welfare in August.

RoR Chief Executive Di Arbuthnot said that as British Racing’s official charity for ensuring the welfare of former racehorses, it was committed to being able to provide for former racehorses who face an uncertain future.

“Through the pilot scheme we are developing with World Horse Welfare, together with our existing network of retraining centres, we have in place a structure that enables former racehorses that might otherwise be at risk of becoming vulnerable to be looked after, retrained and rehomed,” Arbuthnot said.

“We are delighted that Ollie has been found a new home following his spell under the expert care of World Horse Welfare and we hope the pilot scheme will evolve into a longstanding alliance and working relationship.”

September 2015 is World Horse Welfare’s annual Rehome a Horse month which shines a light on the horses and ponies who are looking for homes but also showcases the stories of the 1700 World Horse Welfare horses and ponies currently out in homes around the country. These equines are competing at eventing, dressage, vaulting and showjumping to pleasure driving, hacking, side-saddle, while others provide faithful friendship to their rehomers and equine companions.

More on rehoming a horse

Ollie with Rachel and family.
Ollie with Rachel and family.

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