Characteristics of Adopted Thoroughbred Racehorses in Second Careers

C. Jill Stowe, Michelle L. Kibler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The unwanted horse issue continues to be a major concern in the U.S. equine industry. Nonprofit organizations dedicated to rescuing, retraining, and rehoming unwanted horses are critical in minimizing this problem. This study utilized data collected nationwide from organizations that provide these services for thoroughbreds retired from racing to identify individual horse characteristics that influenced length of stay at the adoption facility as well as characteristics that increased the probability that an adopted horse would be returned to the facility. The results suggested that horses with fewer activity limitations were rehomed more quickly (p < .01), as were gray horses (relative to bays, p < .03) and stallions (relative to geldings, p < .04). Older horses took longer to rehome (p < .05). Interestingly, the results also suggested that gray horses were more likely to be returned to the facility postadoption (p < .02). Results from this study could benefit thoroughbreds retired from racing, nonprofit organizations, end consumers, and the thoroughbred racing industry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-89
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2016


  • equine welfare
  • Off-the-track thoroughbreds
  • unwanted horses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Veterinary (all)


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