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Landmark partnership with Save A Horse Australia unveiled

25 October 2023

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The Queensland Off-The-Track Program will continue its support of retired racehorses by partnering with Save A Horse Australia to establish a formal safety net for animals that have left the industry.

The partnership – worth $900,000 over three years – will support SAHA to take in vulnerable and neglected former racehorses into their care at their horse rescue and rehabilitation sanctuary.

Racing Queensland’s Off-The-Track Program partnership will support the incredible work SAHA does for horses in need and allow future expansion around the number of retired racehorses that can be supported. 

As part of the partnership, SAHA will also monitor horse sales in Queensland for the purpose of purchasing vulnerable and/or at-risk retired racehorses.

“Considering the whole lifetime of the thoroughbred and standardbred horses that leave our industry is incredibly important,” Racing Minister Grace Grace said.

“The funding contributed to Save A Horse Australia through this partnership ensures that our industry will continue to be there for former racehorses when they need us – well beyond their years on the racetrack.

“Our Queensland Off-The-Track Program plays a crucial role in identifying retirement pathways and safeguarding the welfare of our horses, and I congratulate both them and SAHA on this landmark partnership which will make a significant impact on the lifelong wellbeing of our beautiful animals.”

Established in 2001, Beaudesert-based SAHA is Australia’s largest equine charity.

SAHA’s purpose is to rescue and rehabilitate neglected, abused and surrendered horses, prior to assessing them and rehoming them appropriately into suitable homes under a lifelong lease agreement.

Former jockey and Save A Horse Australia president Laura Cheshire said that she is thrilled to partner with QOTT to assist in the care of retired thoroughbred and standardbred horses that enter their sanctuary.

“As a not-for-profit charity, with between 60 to 70 per cent of our animals being former racehorses, we are very grateful to be given this support and financial assistance from Queensland Off-The-Track,” Ms Cheshire said.

“Knowing that we now have this additional assistance to provide veterinary treatment, professional retraining and ongoing care for these horses will give them the best chance at being rehabilitated and then adopted into good homes.

“With SAHA being the last chance for so many horses who enter our care, we are so thankful for the opportunity to partner with QOTT to give retired racehorses the lifelong safety net that they deserve.”

The QOTT Program was established in 2021 following the Martin Inquiry to provide a high-quality first transition for thoroughbred and standardbred horses from racing and breeding activities to retirement.

Since its inception, QOTT has launched five major initiatives including the Subsidised Lessons Program, the Acknowledged Retrainers Program, the Event Sponsorship Program, the QOTT Grants Program and the QOTT Clubhouse.

With the QOTT Program spending more than $1.3 million on its activities last financial year, more than $2.5 million is forecast to be spent in 2023-24.

QOTT Board Chair Dr Christine Johnson said that she is proud to partner with SAHA to support former racehorses well beyond their racing years.

“This partnership is about providing a safe space for former racehorses that may need additional support later in their lives via an industry-backed organisation with first-class experience and facilities,” Dr Johnson said.

“The partnership marks an important milestone in the expansion of the industry’s safety net, which has been led by the Queensland Off-The-Track Program.

“SAHA run an incredibly well organised and compassionate sanctuary and we look forward to working closely with Laura and her team to ensure that former racehorses have access to the very best of care should they become vulnerable or at-risk at later stages of their lives.”

Click here for more information on the Queensland Off-The-Track Program.