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QOTT celebrates one year anniversary of Acknowledged Retrainers Program


January 2023 marks one year since the inception of the Queensland Off-The-Track Acknowledged Retrainers Program.


Maximising aftercare outcomes for retired racehorses across the state as they transition from the racetrack or the breeding barn to second careers, the Acknowledged Retrainers Program is one of a suite of programs funded by the prize money levy implemented to support equine welfare in Queensland.


QOTT Acknowledged Retrainers are a vital component in supporting retired thoroughbred and standardbred horses in gaining the necessary skills and experiences needed to transition to their post-racing lives as pleasure, therapy or performance horses.


In the twelve months that the Acknowledged Retrainers Program has been operating, 94 horses have been accepted into the program, with 53 of those horses having completed their retraining and have been successfully rehomed to date.


Racing Queensland Senior Animal Care Manager Kim Duffy is proud of what the program has managed to achieve in such a short timeframe.


“We are delighted with the popularity and success of the QOTT Acknowledged Retrainers Program so far,” Ms. Duffy said.


“We could not be happier with the quality and the diversity of the retrainers across the state and the fantastic outcomes they have achieved with retraining and rehoming thoroughbred and standardbred horses throughout the year.”


“While the initial response to stage one of the program has been extremely encouraging, the team is dedicated to achieving a world-class, multifaceted QOTT Program. With strong foundations established during the past 12 months, we look forward to further expanding our program with what is set to become another big year for QOTT in 2023.


This includes expansion of the Acknowledged Retrainers network, with interested retrainers welcome to apply to become QOTT Acknowledged Retrainers at any time.


The program has had its fair share of champion racehorses in its first 12 months. Tambo’s Mate was a very successful racehorse with a huge following having won $680,000 and wins that included the 2021 Tattersall’s Recognition Stakes, the 2021 Keith Noud Handicap and the 2020 BRC Sprint.


Happy Go Plucky will be another familiar name to race goers, with wins that included the 2021 Ipswich Cup and winning over $470,000 in his career on the track.


Obviously not every horse in the program was victorious on the track. Horses with less than stellar race results have also shown great skill in other post-racing pursuits, including dressage and showjumping.


Deziree Roos, who is one of the 14 QOTT Acknowledged Retrainers, loves working with all types of horses who come through the program.


“I love helping OTT’s find their new passion in life, whatever that may be,” she said.


“There is absolutely nothing that a Thoroughbred cannot do, and I believe that there is a perfect home for every racehorse that retires.”


This sentiment is echoed by another experienced QOTT Acknowledged Retrainer, Kate Rogers.


“Thoroughbreds are just so versatile and are quick learners. I love how easily Thoroughbreds can be retrained,” explains Kate.


“The most rewarding component of retraining is watching the bond develop with the new combination.”


The support the QOTT Acknowledged Retrainers receive is funded from the one percent prize money levy, with funding directly benefiting the individual horses through health and nutritional subsidies.


Once a horse is rehomed through one of the QOTT Acknowledged Retrainers they are also eligible to participate in the Subsidised Lessons Program, which provides 10 free lessons to the new owner/rider with an QOTT Approved Coach.


QOTT Acknowledged Retrainer Nicole Condon loves that the Acknowledged Retrainers Program and the Subsidised Lessons Program work together to ensure the best outcome for the horses.


“Getting a great start to life after racing is so important. Having a network of re-trainers experienced in retraining OTT horses combined with the Subsidised Lessons Program gives more OTT’s an opportunity to have a great start in their new lives,” Nicole explains.


Felicia Bergstrand, who is a licensed Thoroughbred trainer, jockey and QOTT Acknowledged Retrainer agrees about the importance of a professional education for both horse and the subsequent new owner.


“The QOTT Acknowledged Retrainers Program provides horses with professional education before starting their new career paths,” Felicia said.


“This, combined with the support of Subsidised Lessons Program, means it is more likely that the OTT horse will stay in this new home due to the new owner receiving tailored support.”


To find out more about the QOTT Acknowledged Retrainers Program, further information is available on the QOTT website here: https://www.racingqueensland.com.au/animal-care/off-the-track/acknowledged-retrainers

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