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Life After Racing: A lifetime of care

The Godolphin Lifetime Care program is a global initiative spanning the four continents on which Godolphin operates.

The aim of Godolphin’s Lifetime Care program is to ensure the welfare and provision of a quality home for life for our much-loved racehorses when they retire. Our brand is our commitment to each horse’s ‘lifetime care’ and serves as a symbol of their quality education.

Rehoming has been a part of Godolphin’s racing and breeding operations since their inception. The overarching brand of Godolphin Lifetime Care was implemented in 2016 to represent their goal of creating awareness, passion, and care for the Thoroughbred breed. From this shared global vision the programs in each region have a similar rehoming goal, although according to the facilities and industry programs available, the steps taken to reach this goal may differ slightly in each region.

The Lifetime Care program encompasses the whole of each horse’s life cycle and signifies Godolphin’s commitment to their welfare, which includes providing the highest standard of care at every stage of development, both during and after their racing careers. Godolphin either retrain their retired racehorses as working horses to assist with the foundation education of the next generation, or they are rehomed as a companion, pleasure, competition horse, or even to play a role in equine assisted therapy programs.

Following retirement from Godolphin’s racing program, each horse is afforded a minimum six week spell before becoming available for rehoming. Depending on whether the horse retired from racing due to an injury, their spell may vary in length to allow for a full recovery and appropriate veterinary care.

Drochaid (GB) & Chetwood (AUS) out at a jump club day.

Godolphin is transparent in the information they provide to potential new owners, which includes each horse’s full veterinary history with an indication of their expected range of exercise intensity – the aim being to ensure the horse meets the expectations of their new owner, and is suitable for their intended new career.

The after retirement training of Godolphin Australia’s racehorses varies depending on how they are to be rehomed. Our horses may:

– Be rehomed out of the paddock following their spell;

– Receive introductory retraining from Godolphin’s education team prior to rehoming, which primarily involves trail riding and desensitisation; or

– Be retrained by an accredited or acknowledged retraining facility or individual, including Equine Therapy programs.

Godolphin places a strong emphasis on their horses’ education system, which begins when they are foals. They take pride in providing their horses with a solid foundation, which makes a positive difference later in life when they transition from racing into a second career.

We encourage anyone interested in offering a forever home to one of Godolphin’s retired racehorses to reach out by completing the application form found on our website. The questions listed in the application allow us to make an informed suggestion as to the horse that may best match what you are looking for. If there are no suitable horses at the time, each applicant is added to our database and will be contacted should an appropriate horse become available.

Once the perfect home for each Godolphin Lifetime Care horse is found, we do not charge an adoption fee although we do ask that the new owner signs our sale agreement. Essentially, this agreement outlines the transfer of ownership and the right to sell the horse on. Given that one of the main aims of the program is to find Godolphin horses a forever home in the first instance, we hope that there is no need for the horse to be sold.

Haptic (AUS) competing in his first dressage competition with new owner Meegan Abbey (Image by Rodney’s Photography).

However, we do understand that things don’t always work out the way we plan and that circumstances change. To cover this eventuality, we require every owner of a retired Godolphin racehorse to remain in contact with us, and if a sale does become necessary, they are required to notify Godolphin of their intention to sell. We can then be part of the sales process to ensure our Godolphin Lifetime Care graduate’s next home is just as good as the first. We are committed to remaining in contact with the current owners of all our retired racehorses and this extends throughout transfers of ownership.

Outside of the physical rehoming and care for our horses, the Godolphin Lifetime Care program seeks to create awareness and grow people’s passion for the Thoroughbred breed. The way in which we work towards achieving this is through recognising and supporting those whose aim it is to achieve this very goal. We support and recognise programs in which the retired racehorse has a new career in equine therapy, or which showcase the Thoroughbred’s versatility.

We are committed to remaining in contact with the current owners of all our retired racehorses. Whether they are used as a companion horse or pleasure horse, are competing at any level, or are simply teaching someone to ride, we cannot express how fantastic this is to see. Regardless of each horse’s success on the track we are proud and excited to see them transition into a second career and look forward to celebrating their success with their new owners.

If you have a retired racehorse that holds one of our three brands, we would love to hear from you! Join our Godolphin Lifetime Care Alumni today.

Feature image: Floodlit (AUS) roping with new owner Paul Khan.