What Are Racing Warriors?
Most racehorses retire young (usually by age 5 after 12-15 races). But the racing warriors (or “warhorses”) compete for many years longer. Most racing warriors are 8-10 years old and have run in 50 races or more. They are incredible athletes!
At-Risk Due to Age, Sports Injuries
Like all older athletes, their careers often leave them with multiple sports injuries over time. When their track careers finally end, the warhorses don’t have many options. Most equestrians prefer younger, injury-free horses to retrain as show or pleasure riding prospects. An older horse is seen as more difficult to train for new disciplines, let alone one who might require a less strenuous job due to athletic wear and tear at the track.
Why We Love Racing Warriors
Racing warriors have unusual stories, regal bloodlines and admirable racing records. They give their all to the sport — and represent the best of the TB heart and grit. Every warhorse we’ve met has had a vibrant, intelligent personality — true characters in every respect.Racing warriors are admirable athletes who aren’t ready to fade away. Even though they can no longer run fast, they have much to teach us about determination, stoicism, swagger and (most of all) horsemanship. It is a privilege to work with them. They are excellent teachers and we have learned much from them over the years. Horses such as these deserve a second chance after the track — and the best care ever.
Because of that, LOPE decided to specialize in racing warriors. We are honored to provide them with the extra time they need for rest, rehabilitation and retraining. While they are at LOPE, the racing warriors help people via our Academy programs for teenage equestrians and at-risk youth. The warriors also provide invaluable vocational training for aspiring equine vet technicians, veterinarians and farriers.
Rehab and Retraining Program
Racing warriors often need rehabilitation for their sports injuries. They greatly benefit from pasture rest and time to “just be a horse.” Once physically ready, the racing warriors then face the challenge of learning a new career. It can be difficult for seasoned athletes with much experience in one discipline to start all over again.
LOPE assesses the warhorses to determine their aptitude and suitability for new jobs. We then customize a learning plan for each horse to help them build a strong foundation for their futures (in whatever discipline that may be). During their rehab/education, the racing warriors have uninterrupted time to rest, heal and learn new skills. They aren’t available for adoption until they have completed the program.
LOPE actively chronicles their progress through blogging and social media. By sharing the stories of these special warhorses and their learning process, we hope to encourage at-risk horse adoption, best practices for OTTB retraining, good stewardship and rehoming of OTTBs in general.