HORSE Racing Ireland [HRI] will shortly publish a booklet aimed at advising racehorse owners on their responsibilities and options when retiring a horse from racing.

John Osborne, HRI’s director of welfare, confirmed the plan when speaking at an owners’ information evening at Down Royal last weekend.

Organised by the Association of Irish Racehorse Owners [AIRO] in association with HRI Ownership, the event was the first in a series of similar events which will distribute information to owners on the post-racing aftercare of horses and options and facilities available for owners in respect of retraining and rehoming.

At Down Royal, Osborne told MC Leo Powell and attendees that, in his opinion, the majority of owners are very cognisant of their post-racing responsibilities regarding their horses.

Molly McCluskey of the Down Royal Corporation of Horse Breeders and June Burgess of Horses4people spoke about the pilot scheme they are running with universities both here and in Britain on equine-related therapy.

Representing Treo Eile, Anne O’Connor discussed how that organisation has developed quickly and is often the first port of call for owners looking to have their horses retrained and rehomed.

Suzy Barkley of the British and Irish Thoroughbred Agency spoke about the retraining and rehoming facility they have in Donaghcloney in Co Down. This organisation endeavours to find ‘forever’ homes for horses and in the last year have rehomed over 200 horses in Ireland and Britain.

Regina Byrne, AIRO general manager, said: “We are delighted to be able to facilitate owners with all the information they need to make considered choices for their horses once their racing career is finished.

“It was refreshing and reassuring to see the passion and enthusiasm that these contributors have for the wellbeing and welfare of racehorses and we are very grateful to Emma Meehan and her team at Down Royal Racecourse for hosting this event. We look forward to meeting owners in the remaining provinces and outlining the facilities available in their localities.”