Horse Search provides a full racing CV for every horse in our online database, which begins in the early s. As you type, a list of horses matching your search will appear. This includes the horse's breeding suffix and year of foaling in order to differentiate between two horses sharing the same name.
Simply select the horse you require in the list either by clicking or using the cursor keys and enter on your keyboard.
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Shopping for a horse is never easy, whether it is a Thoroughbred off the track, a Quarter Horse, a European import, or a pony for your child. Some good reasons to restrict your search to ex-racehorses are the following:
- You know their pedigree, their race record, and their past owners. Unlike other horses their histories can be researched thoroughly.
- Their soundness and stamina have been tested. Combining the race record with observations in a pre-purchase exam offers you insights about their likelihood of staying sound in your chosen discipline.
- You know that they have been ridden daily and experienced the desensitizing effects of race track life, including constant human handling, farriery, vet work, shipping, wrapping, bathing, tractors, crowds, and riding in company.
- Prices are deflated in today’s market for ex-race horses due to the effective marketing of other breeds and the public perception that these horses are unwanted.
- These animals are bred and raised to be the most trainable, elegant, versatile and honest creatures on the planet and few can deny that they are the most fun horses to ride anywhere.
Not all ex-racehorses are green. Many of the sources in this directory offer Thoroughbreds at all levels of training in second careers. The RRP’s online Horse Listing includes many of these horses, and shopping at the RRP’s TCA Thoroughbred Makeover is a great way to see a large number of horses with training.
What follows are tips to keep in mind as you use the resources in this directory to find your next horse.
Most of the farms and organizations in this directory, as well as Retired Racehorse Project itself, have online horse listings. As difficult as it is to evaluate a horse from a photo, video, and description, it is a place to start. When you follow up by email or phone don’t be offended if the seller asks questions of you. You are looking for information to narrow your search and when they ask about your riding background and goals they are screening out what might be unsuitable matches. When done effectively that protects you, them, and the horse in the long run.
Racetracks are not the best places to evaluate riding horses, but to an experienced buyer it can work. You can watch the horse train in the morning and watch the horse race. You cannot ride the horse unless you happen to be a licensed exercise rider, and jogging is usually done on the pavement outside the barns where horses rarely show much of their natural movement.
Racetracks restrict access to their stabling areas for good reasons, but if you have an appointment with a trainer you will be admitted at the gate. If you are lucky enough to have a CANTER chapter in your area, their volunteers can help you connect with trainers to see horses.
Trainers’ phone numbers can usually be acquired through the horseman’s office at the track, which is why we have included those office contacts in this directory. If you see a horse in a race or training in the morning that you want to make an offer on you are free to do so, but don’t assume that the trainer wants to sell. If the answer is no, don’t hesitate to leave your name and number for when the horse’s racing career is over.
When evaluating a horse at the track feel free to ask questions about temperament, soundness, and past injuries, but use your own judgment about the value of that information. Some trainers will show you radiographs and ultrasounds while others might take offense at the questions. Put yourself in their place and in most cases you will find that they are simply eager to have the horse find the right home. It can be difficult to walk away from a horse with limited options. If you can’t resist the desire to buy every horse you see, you should probably not shop at the track.
Equibase.com allows you to type in the name of any Thoroughbred racehorse and will give you free access to pedigree and race records. For a fee you can also watch the horse’s race videos. Study that information before looking at a horse and ask why the horse had breaks from racing, ran well, ran badly, etc. It is a way to start the conversation about the horse’s history and can lead to useful information.
Go to the Bloodline Brag at RetiredRacehorseProject.org and search for horses in second careers by the sire, dam, or grandsire of the horse you are considering purchasing. What you find could be more relevant than success as a racehorse.
Ask around at the track about the horses you are interested in. Exercise riders in particular have valuable insights about not only the horses they ride, but also the ones they see every morning being galloped by their peers. Grooms can also give you a sense of which horses might have the temperament you seek. If you are the social type, keep in mind that a racing stable is a professional setting in which everyone has a job to do and a pace to keep up with. Keep it brief.
And a word of warning. If you are a horse lover, a well run racing stable will draw you in quickly. You might not want to leave!
Letting people know what you are looking for can be effective as long as you are willing to follow up on the flood of contacts you might receive. A brief description of yourself and the intended use of horse you are looking for can be emailed to the nearby organizations and farms in this directory or posted on social media. This kind of information is more useful to farms and organizations that have horses already started in second careers than it is to racing owners and trainers.
Soundness Issues and Pre-Purchase Exams
Studies of bone density and ligament strength have shown that horses who experience controlled exercise at an early age tend to be stronger as they age. Some professional riders firmly believe that a horse who raced and retired sound is more likely to hold up to the stress of its second career than a purpose-bred horse in that same discipline. Of the 23 off-track Thoroughbreds entered at the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event, nine were aged fifteen or older.
Nobody can tell you whether a horse will stay sound in the future, but flexion tests, radiographs, history, ultrasound images, and a host of other diagnostic tools can offer information that adds to that guessing game. A veterinary pre-purchase exam can cost anywhere from $ to $2, or more depending on which tools are used. Most vets will say that front ankles are the most stressed joint in a race horse and that loss of cartilage and calcification in them can be one of the least likely conditions to improve with time. That might suggest radiographs of the ankles. Some buyers plan to re-sell in a high-end market where subsequent buyers will spare no expense in their pre-purchase exams. They might choose to radiograph ankles, hocks, feet, knees, and even stifles. Some buyers choose to radiograph only the joints that show signs of being compromised after palpation or flexion. And then there are the people who let the outside of the horse and its history speak for itself. If you are a novice at this game, get some good advice from somebody with experience.
There are people who make a living matching horses and riders. Many of them are also trainers and riding instructors. If you engage a professional to help you find a horse, be sure that he or she has experience with horses coming from racing and has good connections. A good agent will review the online listings that you like, visit horses with you, ask the right questions, and save you the trouble of looking at unsuitable horses. Some agents are paid a percentage of the purchase price and other will charge you for their time.
Farms and Aftercare Facilities
The farms and aftercare facilities listed in this directory have ex-racehorses available for sale or adoption. Most have worked with the horses since racing, know something about their suitability for second careers, and will allow you to watch them being ridden and ride them yourself. You will find a range of quality in terms of training and facilities. Keep in mind that good horses can be found at what appear to be bad places, and horses can be misrepresented even at the fanciest show barns.
Keep in mind when “shopping” at a nonprofit aftercare facility that you are adopting rather than purchasing outright. Most screen adopters, charge adoption fees below market value, and include terms in their contracts that are designed to protect the horse in the future. Most of these organizations will take horses back if necessary and some have restrictions on resale. Read the adoption contract terms before you sign them.
RRP’s survey showed that horses acquired in the last two years were twice as likely to have come from a nonprofit aftercare organization as horses acquired six or more years ago. The number and capacity of these charitable organizations has increased thanks to funding from Thoroughbred Charities of America, Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, Blue Horse Charities, ASPCA Rescuing Racers Initiative and others.
Whether shopping for a horse or placing one, it is important to understand that the role of a charitable aftercare organization or rescue is different from that of a farm or individual in the for-profit sector. Charities serve a public purpose and are not to use their tax-exempt status to gain a competitive advantage over private businesses. When a charitable organization places a retired racehorse it generally uses the term “adoption” rather than “sale” and places conditions on that adoption that distinguish it from a private sale. Those conditions vary by organization and are referenced in each directory listing but are fully described in adoption contracts. It is important as an “adopter” to understand the terms and be willing to comply.
Like farms and trainers in the private sector, aftercare and rescue organizations vary in the quality of the care they offer and the effectiveness of the training they provide. We have noted where organizations have been funded by TCA or accredited by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance. Both suggest that the organizations have demonstrated the effectiveness of their work.
View a list of Non-Profit Placement Organizations in the RRP online Directory
Farms and Trainers
To the extent that the work of RRP and others is effective and off-track Thoroughbreds increase in popularity and value, more business opportunities will exist for professional trainers and horse sellers.
The professionals listed in this directory vary in skill and capacity. Some will buy horses off the track, train them, and sell them on when their value has increased to a level that their investment will be rewarded. Some will train for a fee and then sell as an agent of the owner after the horse has reached a level of education that its value has risen and its future is more secure. Others will sell on straight consignment.
Professional trainers in the riding sports are an excellent resource for racing owners who want their horses to have the quality training that will enhance their value and prevent them from becoming unwanted in the future.
View a list of Farms and Trainers in the RRP online Directory
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We provide detailed sire progeny reports, horse form and pedigrees, race and sale results for anyone breeding, selling, buying or training a racehorse.
Search by horse name for a free report, then follow the links to download detailed research reports for a small fee. Alternatively, start your search via the sire lists below.
Search by horse name for a free sire progeny or horse form and pedigree report, then follow the links to download detailed research reports for a small fee. Alternatively, start your search via the sire lists below.
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