Racing To Relate (R2R) focuses specifically on researching, facilitating and disseminating international industry-level support for Thoroughbreds within Equine Assisted Therapy (EAT). We are a recognised racing charity with endorsement from the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) and their official retraining charity, Retraining of Racehorses (RoR). Our methodologies include veterinary-led research and specially commissioned international pilot schemes as well as analysis and reporting on the use of off-track Thoroughbreds within the wider EAT context.
We have recently pioneered a collaborative research PhD with the University of Bristol (UOB) with the aim of developing an evidence-based standard for selecting and educating post-racing Thoroughbreds for EAT. The John Pearce Foundation has very kindly funded this three-year PhD study which represents a significant component of our long-term R&D aims under our Thoroughbred Assisted™ banner. We are incredibly grateful to have received guidance and crucial early stage funding from established organisations including The Childwick Trust and The Voice of Racing – The Sir Peter O’Sullevan Charitable Trust, followed by generous support for our PhD research project by The John Pearce Foundation.
Our strategic aims include providing leadership, based on evidence, on how best to use former racehorses as reflected in the first goals of our charity set out below. We then intend to improve access to EAS post racing careers, and optimise equine welfare outcomes within this increasingly popular and diverse field. The initial creation of a comprehensive body of evidence will provide us with an essential foundation that will enable us to achieve our vision.
One of our priorities is to gain a better understanding of the diverse ways in which horses are incorporated into programs to assist people, and how former racehorses might fit into this picture, both now and in the future and to develop evidence-based guidelines on selection and retraining for EAS in collaboration with the Racing, Retraining and EAS sector.
To gather data on EAS especially when involving former racehorses.
To implement a long term research program to study both horse welfare and the impact of EAS on participants to increase the scientific evidence base and inform best practice.
To engage and educate the racing industry and their equine welfare partners; the EAS sector; and the general public, on existing and potential utilisation of former racehorses in EAS.
We have continued to make considerable headway towards the first three main goals for our charity in 2021:
1- To gather data on EAS especially when involving former racehorses.
Action : we have launched the Bristol University online Survey for our collaborative research study. This survey of the whole of the EAS sector is an important part of our phase one audit of EAS. This is already resulting in enhanced engagement with the EAS sector and we are in various partnership discussions with key international EAS organisations to further mutual goals for equine welfare.
2- To implement a long term research program to study both horse welfare and the impact of EAS on participants to increase the scientific evidence base and inform best practice.
Action : in 2021 we created a specific platform for our R&D work, called Thoroughbred Assisted™ to be a central focus for knowledge-sharing and inter-sector collaborations. We expect this to bring widespread benefits including:
BENEFITS FOR THE EAS SECTOR:
– An opportunity to be at the heart of ground-breaking research
– Free and open access to the science-based R2R industry resource and guidelines for best practice
– A deeper portrait of the off-track TB, their essential qualities and requirements for a second career
– A platform for the sharing of experiences from grassroots EAS services world-wide
– Creation of cross-industry collaboration opportunities
– An evidence-based broadening of the horse/human relationship
– Enhanced horse welfare across all EAS contexts
BENEFITS FOR THE RESEARCH COMMUNITY:
– Support and funding for ground-breaking research
– Comprehensive dissemination of completed research outcomes across the heart of the equine industry
– Opportunities for collaboration with professionals in both EAS and TB contexts
– Networking opportunities within the thoroughbred industry world-wide
– Collaboration opportunities with other academics, professionals and creatives in the EAS sector
– Support in accessing the best organisations and facilities to undertake research and enquiry
BENEFITS FOR THE THOROUGHBRED SECTOR:
-A free and open resource for the management of TBs transitioning to second careers in EAS or elsewhere
– A deeper understanding of EAS as an option for off-track TBs
– Opportunity for collaboration and support from science-based initiatives in TB welfare
– Promotion and enhancement of horse welfare across the TB and racing sector, improving public perception and industry profile
– Open access to robust research evidencing proven requirements for off-track TB’s to help owners implement industry welfare protocol
– Collaborative opportunities to be a fundamental contributor to ground-breaking research
– Support for an equal weighting of horse and human welfare considerations with EAS practice
BENEFITS FOR THE PUBLIC:
– Open and accessible research outcomes available to all
– Broadening and unpacking of TB welfare both on and off-track
– An open resource to learn more about EAS and its value
3- To engage and educate the racing industry and their equine welfare partners; the EAS sector; and the general public, on existing and potential utilisation of former racehorses in EAS.
We are fast gaining recognition as a racing charity with endorsement from national and international horseracing authorities and institutions including the International Forum for Aftercare of Racehorses (IFAR), the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) , Racing Together, Horse Racing Ireland (HRI), S. African Jockey Club (NHRA), New Zealand Racing, and official national retraining charities, Retraining of Racehorses (RoR, UK), Au-delà des Pistes (ADDP, France), Treo Eile (Ireland), and Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA, USA).
We were invited to participate in the first Horses and Humans Research Foundation Educational Conference in North Carolina in USA in October 2021 to present our Thoroughbred Assisted™ R&D project aims. This was a great success and brought the opportunity to connect, learn and share our work with leading research institutions and their research programs and EAS stakeholders.
We have been invited to participate in the ‘Racing Together’ Webinar Series for their episode entitled : ‘The enduring power of racehorses to help people – exploring the horse-human connection’. Racing Together represents and champions British racing’s community engagement and education activity and is a partnership of charities and other organisations who work across the sport to benefit others.
Benefit / Stakeholder Beneficiary Value
Learning & Growth