The American Association of Equine Practitioners has developed guidelines to help veterinarians and adoption groups successfully transition retired racehorses to new homes and new careers. “Transitioning the Retired Racehorse:  Guidelines for Equine Practitioners, Adoption Organizations and Horse Owners” provides an overview of the common physical challenges affecting some former racehorses and helps establish expectations for a horse’ future capabilities.

Developed by the Transitioning Subcommittee of the AAEP Racing Committee, the guidelines grew from a need expressed by rescue and retirement organizations at the 2010 Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit. In addition to criteria for physical assessments, the guidelines include estimated cost-of-care data from CANTER, a non-profit organization that provides retiring Thoroughbred racehorses with opportunities for new careers.

The guidelines are available on the AAEP website at http://www.aaep.org/images/files/TransitioningGuidelines2011.pdf. Members of the AAEP’s Transitioning Subcommittee are Virginian Reynolds Cowles, DVM, chair; Jay Addison, DVM; Foster Northrop, DVM; Mary Scollay, DVM; John Stick, DVM; and Carol Swandby, VMD.