Horse Welfare Board launches strategic review of funding model for the welfare of retired racehorses

08 Jul 2020 BHA Features Welfare
  • The review by the Horse Welfare Board will focus on ensuring the sustainability of racehorse aftercare
  • The review is being undertaken as part of recommendations made by the Horse Welfare Board’s ‘A Life Well Lived’ Strategy

The Horse Welfare Board (“HWB”) is today announcing the launch of its strategic review into the funding for the aftercare of racehorses.

The review will focus on ensuring the aftercare sector is financially sustainable and can consistently provide care and careers for racehorses beyond racing over the long term. The project is generously supported by the Racing Foundation.

The Horse Welfare Board’s ‘A Life Well Lived’ Strategy put in place a plan for the welfare of horses bred for racing to, amongst other areas, build public trust with its welfare processes and demonstrate its lifetime commitment to horses and their welfare. This review is a key project recommendation of the new strategy, assessing and ensuring the funding of aftercare is fit for purpose and highlighting areas for improvement.

The review team will begin a wide-ranging consultation process from today through a series of interviews with key stakeholders within racing and racehorse aftercare.. The review will be supported by a steering group comprising racing, finance and horse welfare experts from the industry. The process is intended to be completed by September 30 2020 with findings and recommendations to be published in due course.

Barry Johnson, Chair of the Horse Welfare Board, said:

“This review is a vital first step in the implementation of the Horse Welfare Board’s strategy. Ensuring that the aftercare sector isadequately, consistently and sustainably resourced is essential in ensuring that horses bred for racing are cared for beyond their racing careers. This review will identify the strengths and vulnerabilities of the current system, as the basis for a longer term funding and development strategy for the sector.

“I encourage all those contributing to the Review to do so openly and in a spirit of collaboration, to help us to grow our collective understanding of funding in this area, in order to ensure effective underpinning of horse welfare. British racing has a strong commitment to aftercare and this Review will help us to support and sustain this crucial sector long into the future.”


Charlie Liverton, Chief Executive of the ROA and member of the Horse Welfare Board, said:

“I am so pleased to see the implementation of the recommendations from the HWB’s strategy starting. There is a lot of work to do, but the body of work around funding will be so important to putting welfare at the heart of racing.

“For owners, we know welfare is central to the ownership journey with the welfare of their horses during and after racing a top priority. Progress across the welfare strategy will further confirm to those in racing, and those interested in racing, that welfare matters. I look forward to seeing the results of the review and with putting the recommendations into action.”

Rob Hezel, Chief Executive of the Racing Foundation, said:

“The Racing Foundation Trustees have long been concerned about the strategy for, and funding of, aftercare and welcomed the inclusion of this project in the Horse Welfare Strategy. The Foundation is delighted the project is commencing, committed to supporting the work and look forward to hearing the outcomes.”

For further information, please contact:
Horse Welfare Board
Barry Johnson
[email protected]
07912 504090

Notes to Editors

1. About the Horse Welfare Board’s ‘A Life Lived Well’ Strategy:

In February 2020, the Welfare Board published its five-year strategic plan for the welfare of horses bred for racing. The strategy focuses on the ambition that every horse bred to race should lead – and be seen to lead – “a life well-lived”. The strategy includes traceability for horses bred for the sport, a strong focus on safety and wellbeing, a more confident and proactive approach to communications and the industry’s biggest ever data project. The strategy focuses on four key outcomes:

I. Best possible QUALITY OF LIFE, relating to the encouragement and furthering of best practice in all aspects of health, care, husbandry and disease control.

II. Collective LIFETIME RESPONSIBILITY, incorporating, for example, traceability across the lifetimes of horses bred for racing, and initiatives fostering greater understanding, encouragement and effective enforcement of responsibility

III. Best possible SAFETY, the understanding and analysis of multiple risk factors and the continuing reduction of reasonably avoidable injuries and fatalities.

IV. Growth and maintenance of public TRUST The strategy also identifies the value of data in informing veterinary care and the prevention of injury and illness. It articulates the ethical case for horses’ participation in sport and leisure and the need for better use of high-impact communications to tell racing’s story. It also commits to develop a Code of Ethics to provide a transparent framework for decision-making around all aspects of a racehorse’s care and wellbeing.

The announcement can be seen here.

2. About the Horse Welfare Board

The Horse Welfare Board was established to produce a strategy that unites the whole industry and drives continuous improvement. The Board reports to the sport’s tripartite Members’ Committee, where the BHA, racecourses and participants share responsibility for the industry’s strategy and decisions not
reserved to the regulator.

The Welfare Board includes equal representation from the sport’s tripartite structure of horsemen, racecourses and the BHA.

Its independent chair, Barry Johnson, is a former Chairman of World Horse Welfare and President of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. Former Sports Minister, Tracey Crouch MP, is the other independent member.

Membership of the Horse Welfare Board is as follows:

Dr Barry Johnson – Independent Chair
Tracey Crouch MP – Independent Member
Alison Enticknap – BHA Programme Director
David Sykes – BHA representative
Caroline Davies – Racecourse representative
Simon Knapp – Racecourse representative
Charlie Liverton – Horsemen representative
James Given – Horsemen representative

More information about the Horse Welfare Board can be found here.

3. About the Racing Foundation:

The Racing Foundation was established in January 2012 by its founding members, comprising the British Horseracing Authority, The Horsemen’s Group and the Racecourse Association.

It was set up with an endowment from the net proceeds of the UK government’s sale of the Tote with the principle aim of supporting charitable purposes associated with the horseracing and Thoroughbred breeding industry. It does this by investing funds to generate investment income and using the income to make grants to appropriate organisations.

4. About the ROA:

The ROA promotes, protects and sustains racehorse ownership and racing in Great Britain. Founded in 1945, it now has a membership of over 7,900 racehorse owners, representing their and other owners’ interests throughout the year on the racecourse, in the yards, and in the boardrooms across the country.

As a shareholder in the British Horseracing Authority, the UK industry regulator, and a board member on x administrative boards, the ROA plays a central role in British racing’s administration, politics and finance.

To find out more about the benefits of the ROA and its role in British racing visit Twitter: @RacehorseOwners; and Facebook: RacehorseOwnersUK