Guidelines for Retraining Thoroughbred Racehorses Released by AAEP

 OTTB dressage horse
An ex-racehorse is retrained for a second career at the Secretariat Center. Photo: Leslie Potter

The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) has developed guidelines to help veterinarians and adoption groups successfully transition retired racehorses to new homes and new careers. “Transitioning the Retired Racehorse: Guidelines for Equine Practitioners, Adoption Organizations and Horse Owners” provides an overview of the common physical challenges affecting some former racehorses and helps establish expectations for a horse’s future capabilities.

Developed by the Transitioning Subcommittee of the AAEP Racing Committee, the guidelines grew from a need expressed by rescue and retirement organizations at the 2010 Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit. In addition to criteria for physical assessments, the guidelines include estimated cost-of-care data from CANTER, a non-profit organization that provides retiring Thoroughbred racehorses with opportunities for new careers.

“The AAEP is pleased to assist and is proud of the many veterinarians and adoption groups who are committed to helping racehorses enjoy new careers,” said William A. Moyer, DVM, 2011 AAEP president. “The guide is intended to be a resource to enhance decision making in the best interest of the horse.”

View the document at

Further Reading
Starting Over with Thoroughbreds
How to Help the Ex-Racehorse Feel at Home
Let-Down Time and Nutrition for OTTBs


  1. Thanks for posting this article. I think its important for people taking on an off the track thoroughbred to know that its a huge and delicate undertaking.

  2. Great information. It may seem easy, but every TB is different and rushing them to have them excel in a specific discipline so you can resell is not a good idea. Work with a good trainer.

  3. Great to know. Wish I had had this when I was a teenager with my own ottb. We managed though. I think it mainly takes a lot of determination and love.


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