Western Australia’s new racehorse welfare facility was unveiled last week, with the Off the Track WA (OTTWA) Estate now retraining and transitioning retired animals as part of the McGowan Government’s nation-leading approach to equine welfare.
The dedicated, multipurpose North Dandalup facility will be managed by Racing and Wagering Western Australia (RWWA) and used to retrain retired racehorses for equestrian, pleasure and therapeutic pathways.
It will support owners to transition retired animals with the OTTWA Retraining Program, as well as offer clinics and events, and provide support for emergency welfare cases.
Two of the first horses transitioning through the facility will be donated to HorsePower Australia—previously known as Riding for the Disabled WA—which provides people with disability access to therapeutic horse-related activities.
The formation of a dedicated racehorse welfare facility was a key pillar of the State Government’s Western Australian Racehorse Welfare Plan, released in 2019.
The OTTWA Estate has the capacity for up to 40 racehorses, which after an initial evaluation will be allocated to off-site official retainers who will work with the animals to transition them into life after racing.
The OTTWA Retraining Program will complement existing programs for rehoming retired racehorses and will favour horses who face additional barriers to finding appropriate pathways after retirement, such as those located in remote areas.
Under the Western Australian Racehorse Welfare Plan, RWWA has also launched the OTTWA Passport Program to track racehorses after they leave the industry, and a new website to support retired racehorses and their owners with information on retraining programs, clinics, events, educational material and a buy-and-sell function.
“The official launch of the Off the Track WA Estate is a brilliant milestone in the State Government’s work to elevate Western Australia’s racehorse welfare standards to the highest in the country,” Racing and Gaming Minister Paul Papalia said.
“It is important that we adhere to the best standards of animal welfare and care, and I thank animal welfare advocates and the racing industry for their support of this initiative.”