Monday, July 10, 2006

Life After Racing -Easter Ogil

What becomes of a racehorse when they retire? Many just end up with horse dealers and spend their life being "sold on." But some are lucky and get the retirement they deserve.

It's not just a case of sticking them in a field because many thoroughbreds need to be occupied. With the correct retraining they can achieve new success.

Some of the options are:

Riding hack
Show horse
Polo pony
Training horse

With time and patience it can take between 2 and 18 months to settle a horse into its new way of life. Having a regular regeme is very helpful in settling ex racehorses, many of whom are very buzzy for months after retirement. The first step is to change their diet by reducing the protein content of their hard food and gradually reducing this type of feed and increasing the hay and grass intake.

Easter Ogil, a well known 11 year old gelding who won 11 races in his career retired two months ago. Amazingly the horse has fans in Germany and the USA. He is being retrained as a riding hack and may well go on to become a show horse too.

The initial step was to change his diet and keep him occupied on the horse walker and turning him out in the paddock each day. He has a high wither so a specialist saddle needed to be fitted to ensure that he could be ridden without stressing his back. He then was lunged in the indoor school before being ridden. He had to learn how to turn in equal circles and to trot (something a racehorse rarely does).

Patricia Marks his owner now rides him most days and takes him for a hack around the local countryside. It's a big step for an owner to retire a racehorse and retrain him to be ridden as an ordinary hack.


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