The Australian thoroughbred horse racing industry injects $9.1 billion (directly and indirectly) to the Australian economy each year. Ensuring the ongoing viability of the industry is vital to the Australian economy, and safeguarding the welfare of horses is important to the industry and the broader community. To achieve this welfare aim, industry participants need to know how horses move in, through and out of the industry. Knowing how many racehorses leave the industry’s care and where they go after racing will assist with resourcing programs that transition horses to their post-racing career and evaluating the efficacy of such programs.
The findings from this project demonstrate there is a misconception regarding the number of thoroughbreds that retire from racing each year and indicate the most common reasons for racehorse retirement are voluntary, such as poor performance or owner request. Retirement due to injury is less common than noted in previous research. This study is the first time detailed information pertaining to the racehorse population in Australia has been collated and examined at a national level.