Every year thousands of racehorses leave the sport due to injury, old age or a lack of ability. But retirement from racing does not have to mean the end. This was the conclusion Grace Muir reached whilst working as Stud Manager at North Farm Stud near Wantage in England.
The idea of HEROS Charity (Homing Ex-Racehorses Organisation Scheme) began to take shape in the early 1990s, when owners and trainers asked Grace to rehome their racehorses. A large network of clients and many other people contact HEROS daily, as the word spreads. With a lifetime's experience of horses, knowledge and experience of racing, plus a range of excellent connections, Grace knew there was scope to give these horses a second chance of a new career. There are many opportunities for them such as eventing, dressage, polo, show-jumping, hacks, companions and more. Since she started rehoming racehorses, with the support of her parents Ian and Agnes Muir, Grace and her team have successfully rehomed several hundred ex-racehorses.
Why HEROS Charity is special
Although there are other charities in this field, HEROS aims to occupy a special place by carefully matching horses to their new careers and owners across all the equestrian disciplines.
The charity prides itself on working hard to make sure that the match with a new owner is a good one and Grace is always on hand should any change of circumstance occur. Advice and ongoing support on all aspects of care and resettlement are only a phone call away.
HEROS Charity was granted charitable status in July 2006 with help from RoR (Retraining of Racehorses), British Horseracing's official charity for the welfare of former racehorses.
HEROS Charity and North Farm Stud
North Farm Stud has been steeped in the breeding, care and management of thoroughbreds for 84 years. It has always been a way of life for the Muir family. When Grace Muir succeeded her father, Ian Muir, as Stud Manager she responded to requests from trainers and owners, who were customers of the stud farm, to find homes for their horses and her success surprised her. It resulted in the rehoming of 350 horses over the years. One thing led to another and with the support and encouragement of family and friends HEROS Charity was born in July 2006.
While it is true that HEROS Charity could not have existed without the support of Mr Ian and Mrs Agnes Muir, the relationship between HEROS Charity and North Farm Stud is purely one of business.
North Farm Stud is a commercial enterprise where mares are foaled, yearlings broken and prepared for sale, horses are rehabilitated post injury and retrained. It is also where horses are turned out for summer/winter breaks.
HEROS Charity is a completely separate entity, which has the good fortune to operate from the North Farm Stud site. While, for obvious reasons, it enjoys the benefit of discounted charitable rates, it pays its rent and buys in expert services and raw materials from North Farm Stud in a business relationship. North Farm Stud gains no specific financial benefit from HEROS Charity; in fact it is quite the reverse.
People often seem to suffer from the misconception that HEROS Charity is part of North Farm Stud or vice versa. This confusion is most unfortunate as it leads to a view that HEROS Charity can survive without substantial charitable giving and sponsorship. Nothing could be further from the truth.
To continue to do its good work of retraining and rehoming meaningful numbers of horses HEROS Charity needs constant help and support to generate sufficient funds. While the support it receives from Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) is invaluable, much more is needed from all interested parties from both inside and outside of the racing community.
With the right backing HEROS Charity can grow and build stronger foundations. Everybody agrees that more needs to be done and HEROS Charity is more than capable and willing to do it. As an independent charity standing on its own feet it needs all the help and support you can give.