Improved traceability for retired racehorses due to new simpler online process

06 Feb 2020 BHA Features Welfare
  • New simplified online process for retiring racehorses now open to both trainers and owners
  • Designed to maximise traceability and improve data and understanding of how horses retire from racing
  • System will require and record details of retired horse’s new keeper for the first time

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has today announced changes to the way retired racehorses are registered in a drive to further improve the traceability of horses leaving the sport. 

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has today announced changes to the way retired racehorses are registered in a drive to further improve the traceability of horses leaving the sport.

The new system which is integrated into the existing racing admin site involves opening up the ability to register the new homes of newly retired racehorses to trainers as well as owners. It is designed to ensure that there is as much traceability as possible for horses who are permanently retired from racing.

Under the previous system only owners had been able to register where their horse was going once it had retired, but recent surveys on aftercare indicated that trainers are often involved in this first retirement decision for horses in training to assist owners.

As such, now both owners and trainers will be able to take part in a simplified online system for permanently retiring a horse which will be in effect from 13 February 2020. A digital non-racing agreement can also be completed as part of the process, and the details of the new keeper will now be required.

Completion of the process will trigger a notification to any new keeper advising them that they are responsible for completing a transfer of ownership within 30 days. If the new keeper fails to do this, they may incur a fine of up to £5,000 from Trading Standards.

A dedicated page on the BHA’s website will allow participants to check the retirement status of any horse. This can be found at Please note that this function is not yet live, but will be in operation from 2 March.

David Sykes, Director of Equine Health and Welfare at the BHA, said:

“At all stages of a racehorse’s life, being able to trace a horse’s whereabouts is vital in demonstrating responsibility and commitment to the long-term welfare of our equine athletes.

“Whilst there are many possible routes that horses may take on leaving training, the first step is to identify those that have been retired from the sport.

“Today’s announcement represents an important and significant improvement in this area and will mean we can ensure our record keeping is as accurate and up-to-date as possible.”
Charlie Liverton, Chief Executive of the Racehorse Owners Association, said:

“Owners take great care in ensuring the horses who have given them so much pleasure are suitably re-homed following retirement. To have a system which is simpler and easier to use and which allows trainers, who are often handling the logistics of the situation, to assist is undoubtedly a positive step.”

Di Arbuthnot, Chief Executive of the Retraining of Racehorses (RoR), said:

“As the sport’s official charity for the welfare of retired racehorses, we place great value on improving traceability and one of our key roles is assisting and advising owners and trainers on rehoming and retraining their horses.

“The changes to the process for retiring a horse from racing provides an opportunity to increase the number of horses registered with RoR.

“By registering with RoR, not only will we learn where horses are and what activities they are doing, but the new owners will also be able to benefit from the extensive programme of educational activities run by RoR, helping them to take better care of and get more enjoyment from their former racehorse.”

Further to this, the independently-chaired Horse Welfare Board’s strategy, which is due to be published shortly, will take a longer term strategic look at traceability of racehorses.

Notes to editors:

1. A non-racing agreement is designed to provide an alert mechanism for an owner when they are selling/gifting their racehorse after it has been retired from racing and to prevent that horse from being entered to run in a race under the Rules of Racing.