Sisters set sights on rehoming retired racehorses
Two Sunshine Coast sisters have their hearts set on giving racehorses the best possible life when they retire from the track.
And they're putting in the hard yards to make it happen.
Kayla Johnston, 17, said she couldn't bear the thought of thoroughbreds being left out in big paddocks with little attention after they'd given their all in racing.
The Caloundra Equestrian Association rider joined her sister Paige, 18, in retraining horses so they'd make an attractive option for showjumpers who can give them the time and attention they deserve.
"Most racehorses are still young when they retire so training them in another discipline gives them a new career," Kayla said.
"It takes a lot of patience but it's rewarding.
"Racehorses respond really well when they have a good owner."
Kayla said her retired racehorse Pete had a big personality and they'd developed a close bond.
He is one of several horses the Johnstons have begun retraining from Corbould Park Racecourse.
While the sisters have so far taken too fondly to the thoroughbreds they've successfully retrained, they have their sights set on rehoming more racehorses with other showjumpers.
"It's important that ex-racehorses are considered when looking for showjumping prospects as there is an ongoing supply of ex-racehorses looking for their next career after racing and have all the attributes to be successful sport horses," Paige said.
Her retired racehorse WP Cool was rugged Junior Champion and Mini Prix thoroughbred at Caloundra Equestrian Association's 2020 show jumping event.
The club was last week announced as one of 11 in Queensland to share in a $60,000 State Government investment aimed at helping rehome greyhounds and racehorses.
President Tracy MacKinnon said the club's share would be used to hold their 2021 showjumping event which will offer prizes for the best retired racehorses.
"We want to promote the post-racing careers of retired racehorses so the public can see that they aren't just discarded after racing," Ms MacKinnon said.
"They make great showjumpers and they will always have a place here.
"They are 99 per cent retrainable and very easy to handle."
Racing Minister Grace Grace on January 31 announced the Racing Animal Welfare grants to the organisations from Far North Queensland to Brisbane's southside.
"We want to see racing animals treated properly when they are racing and afterwards, because Queenslanders expect that," Ms Grace said.
"And we also want to protect the industry itself for the economic and social benefit it brings to Queensland."
Horse trainer John Johnston said he was proud of his daughters for their efforts in bringing attention from showjumpers to racehorses who were in need of a home.
"The horses have done their job and they deserve to find a loving home," he said.