Vulnerable Horse Programme

What is the Vulnerable Horse Programme?

BTRC is the pioneering Thoroughbred welfare centre in the UK and for almost 30 years has been a safe haven for any Thoroughbred that has fallen on hard times as the Charity will never turn away a horse that needs help.

We are a dedicated and expert team that care daily for our wonderful 4-legged family of boys and girls, supported by West Ridge Equine veterinary practice as well as offering a 24/7 emergency hotline for any Thoroughbred owner. Our charitable activities along with support from the Racing Industry fund these vulnerable horses through their rehabilitation, retraining and rehoming including regular checks to ensure their future is safe-guarded for life as BTRC never sells their horses but instead offers them on forever loan.

The VHP is not intended to support horses that have already been assessed and require a companion home or retirement, or owners that would like to upgrade their horse but don’t wish the sell as they don’t want to lose contact with their 4 legged friend.

For more information and an application form for a horse to join the BTRC VHP – please click here.

What circumstances cause a Thoroughbred to be deemed vulnerable?


There are many reasons that could cause a Thoroughbred to be classified as vulnerable or have a potential risk to their welfare or well-being. Vulnerability is no longer based on the simple context of a horse being in a poor condition or underweight.  It is much more complex and, on some occasions, the best-looking horses can be the most misunderstood and vulnerable.

In general, for horses to be eligible to join the BTRC’s Vulnerable Horse Programme they must have no commercial value and therefore unable to be rehomed through normal channels such as being sold or loaned. Some reasons why they could be worthless and therefore not able to move on to new owners can be due to pre-existing clinical issues (which the owner may or may not be aware of) these often present as behavioural issues when being ridden, making the animal dangerous and unsuitable to show potential buyers. Or perhaps the horse has previously been found in a neglected state and the owner does not wish for the animal to be at risk of becoming vulnerable once more. We have also been involved with Thoroughbreds that have been abandoned or their owners have sadly passed away.

A rise in vulnerable horses due to the increase cost of living.

In recent months we have seen that the increase in the cost of living has had an impact on many people and has resulted in some owners struggling to provide the care that their Thoroughbred require. BTRC prioritises horses who may become vulnerable without charitable intervention. This horses normally can not be sold or re-homed through the normal channels, perhaps due to injury or behavioural issues. If your horse needs help or you know someone who is struggling please get in contact with the Centre for help and advice – 01524 812649.


How does BTRC help?

The BTRC aims to provide Aftercare services and support in four ways:

  1. 24/7 Thoroughbred Helpline
  2. Vulnerable Horse Programme (you are here) – including Rehabilitation and Retraining.
  3. Education
  4. Community Engagement

For more information on Aftercare such as who is responsible and how Aftercare in the UK is funded please go to our BTA FAQ’s.