Refuge or safety from pursuit, persecution, or other danger – Oxford English Dictionary

As our title implies, the distinctive feature of our support for former thoroughbred racehorses is in the provision of sanctuary. Sanctuary from the danger that they may be put down for economic or social reasons whilst, with the right care and attention, they are still perfectly capable of enjoying a good quality of life. Or worse still get passed down to owners who are unable to look after them properly, abuse them or export them illegally for slaughter.

Of course there are lots of thoroughbred owners who can and do care for their horses for life. And there are many small equine establishments, where proprietors will take on and care for older horses. But they are dispersed all over the country and we do not hear nearly enough about these unsung heroes: this aspect of thoroughbred welfare is taken for granted.

Our experience shows however that it cannot be taken for granted. The size of our waiting list and frequent requests for emergency help are indicative of the number of horses whose desperate state is not addressed by the authorities.

There are two broad categories of horses coming to us for help where sanctuary is required.

The first is primarily formed of older horses with problems with which their owners can no longer cope. The second category is made up of those horses whose career in racing has been terminated by injury or psychological problems, and who need time and expert care to turn them around before they have any chance of a second career in life.

It is with this latter category that The Racehorse Sanctuary and Re-homing Centre comes into its own. We have the expertise and track record in helping more difficult horses, but providing sanctuary is costly, so we desperately need your help to meet the demand. And to ensure we can fulfil our commitment to take back and care for life for any of the horses we rehome if their keepers run into difficulties.

Hence our campaign to make the provision of sanctuary a clear, explicit and necessary component of thoroughbred welfare in Britain. We are founder members of the Association of British Thoroughbred Sanctuaries and proud to embrace the Association’s moto:

The Horse comes First for Life

(not just for racing)

A great example of the work of Graham and Sue is provided by their care for 14- year old Wavertree Boy, aka Norbert.

Norbert was bred by the National Stud Owner Breeders’ Club and bought and raced by some of his breeders under the banner of Wavetree Racing. He was trained by John Dunlop as a 2-year old, winning at Salisbury and later achieving Listed status at Newmarket. Norbert was subsequently trained by David Elsworth at his Whitsbury stables, where he had a box opposite the great Persian Punch. Norbert won twice as a 3-year old and competed very creditably in the Sea Biscuit St Ledger