Michael Owen stars in short “Horse Comes First” film which showcases the premier league care received by British racehorses

27 Mar 2019 BHA Features Welfare

The Horse Comes First – British racing’s cross industry campaign for promotion and education around the high welfare standards that exist within British horseracing – has today launched, on behalf of the industry, a new video featuring former England, Liverpool, Real Madrid and Manchester United star Michael Owen.

The short film highlights the world class facilities and care given to Owen’s most valuable players – the equine residents of Manor House Stables. Michael, Head Trainer Tom Dascombe and his team outline the similarities between a stable of equine athletes and a team of top-level footballers. They discuss their emphasis on health, wellbeing and care using veterinary science, tailored diet and exercise regimes for horses, therapeutic recovery treatments and detailed data monitoring and analysis.

The video has been launched by Michael Owen himself via his @themichaelowen twitter account, which has over 3.8m followers. The objective is to showcase to wider audiences the first class care and attention received by thoroughbred racehorses. From spas and swimming pools, to a resident vet that visits twice a day, the film shows the premier league care Michael’s horses receive.

The short film can be viewed below:

The Horse Comes First campaign was launched in 2013 and aims to demonstrate the care given to our horses throughout and after their careers in racing. It is a BHA-led initiative but is a has cross-industry Project Board which comprises the sport’s main stakeholder bodies – the Racecourse Association (RCA), Racehorse Owners Association (ROA), Professional Jockeys Association (PJA), National Trainers Federation (NTF), The Jockey Club, the National Association of Racing Staff (NARS), Arena Racing Company (ARC) and Retraining of Racehorses (RoR).

The campaign is 50% funded by the BHA and 50% funded by contributions from Project Board members.

Speaking about the film, football legend and owner of Manor House Stables, Michael Owen said:

“The resemblance between race horses and footballers is uncanny, and the treatment and care they receive is a similar standard to what I was used to throughout my playing career. Our trainers dedicate their lives to the horses and understand that each one is different and needs a certain level of special care. They know more than anyone that the animals are athletes, and they are treated as so.

“At Manor House Stables we aim to prevent injuries before they arise, and make sure our facilities stay world class to help keep our horses happy and premier league fit.”

Robin Mounsey, Head of Media for the BHA, said:

“The Horse Comes First campaign is all about raising awareness of the high welfare standards that exist within British racing. It aims to reach outside the sport and demonstrate how well treated and cared for our horses are.

“We hope that using the power of Michael Owen’s huge social media platform and world renowned reputation will help send this important message to wider audiences. We are extremely grateful to Michael and the team at Manor House Stables for their contribution to this film. We also invite everyone in the industry to share the video on their own social media channels.”

Find out more about horse welfare in British Racing.