Wellbeing from pregnancy to racing- horse demographics

The University of Melbourne

  • Project code: PRJ-011251

  • Project stage: Closed

  • Project start date: Friday, June 15, 2018

  • Project completion date: Thursday, September 12, 2019

  • National Priority: HOR-Thoroughbred horse welfare, workforce safety and environmental sustainability


This proposal contains two complimentary studies to provide information on the movement patterns and outcomes for thoroughbred horses from breeding through to entry into racing.
Study 1: Australian Thoroughbred industry breeding study
This study will provide an overview of the Australian Thoroughbred breeding industry. A common criticism of the Australian Thoroughbred industry is that there is an over-production of foals, yet there is no easily accessible data to refute this assertion. Using data from the Australian studbook for all breeding records between 2000 and 2015 this study will examine the population statistics of the Australian Thoroughbred industry. The temporo-spatial nature of mare and stallion returns, the number of foals born and the number of foals that are subsequently microchipped will be reported.
Study 2: Successful entry to the racing industry
Using data from the 2012 Victorian foal crop, or a sub-set of the National foal crop for 2012, this study will provide a more detailed description of the reasons that foals do not enter training. Previous studies have indicated that the majority of an individual foal crop have started their racing career by their four-year-old racing season. A phone survey of breeders and owners will be conducted to ascertain the reasons that foals did not enter training. Understanding the reasons that prevent foals from undertaking a racing career is essential for the development of strategies and actions that will prevent these negative outcomes from occurring, and which will ultimately improve the number of horses entering the racing industry.


Thoroughbred Horses

Research Organisation

The University of Melbourne

Objective Summary

Study 1: Australian TB industry breeding study
This study will deliver:
” a comprehensive description of the Australian Thoroughbred breeding industry over the past 15 years
” baseline data on the reproductive health of the Australian Thoroughbred industry
” a basic understanding of the reasons that foals do not enter the racing industry
The findings of this study will in turn be used to identify further questions and direct further investment in research for industry benefit.
Study 2: Successful entry to the racing industry
This study will deliver:
” evidence based recommendations to the Thoroughbred industry for reducing the negative outcomes for foals that prevent them from entering the racing industry