While his days move a little slower now that racing is behind him, Ouzbeck the horse is finding joy in his second act. And his new community of friends are too.
A few horse-racing charities in England came up with the idea of using former race champions to foster better physical and mental health. The animal acts as a comfort of sorts while giving the person a purpose. Many animal-human interactions can also be extremely strong. Because of this, experts felt that a pilot program integrating horses with the elderly would be substantially beneficial.
Greatwood and Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) are working together with Racing Together. The three organizations are trying to spread joy through the love of horses. Ouzbeck is a beautiful 19-year-old Denham Red with a successful racing career. He’s the perfect candidate for the pilot program, officials say, according to Horse & Hound.
“Following a successful career on the racecourse, Ouzbeck embraces his new path in helping children and young people at Greatwood, and he is enjoying venturing further afield and improving lives within the older community,” said Helen Yeadon, founder and managing director of Greatwood.
If Ouzbeck’s experience is successful, the charities plan to introduce more horses into the program.
Residents Re-act to Race Horse Program
“The horse-human bond is unique to racing as a large spectator sport, and equine-assisted intervention is a field that is going from strength to strength. We are delighted to be growing the knowledge base in this area alongside RoR and Greatwood,” said Racing Together’s community engagement manager, Lucy Gurney.
So far, things are looking good. Elderly residents of a care center are invited to visit with Ouzbeck throughout the week. They are also able pet the horse, watch him eat and chat with the Greenwood staff about racing.
“The pilot focuses on a key area of Racing Together’s strategy. We are so pleased to be providing our support, and to be exploring how former racehorses can help people,” Gurney said.
While Ouzbeck has a long history with people, we hope he loves his days of pampering.
“We are very excited about being involved – both residents and staff,” said a spokesman for the care home.
“The residents will be talking about Ouzbeck’s visit all week. One lady is really excited, having been involved in racing. It is a great confidence boost after Covid and a huge boost for all of us.”
The initial program began Sept. 2 and will run for six weeks.
Race Horse Goes for Wild Ride after Bucking Rider
While Ouzbeck’s days on the track are over, another young horse was quite spunky during his most recent race.
Bold and Bossy is her name. And she definitely lived up to it. Instead of competing at the Ellis Park racetrack in August, Miss Bossy herself decided to make a break for it and head down the highway. It was a wild ride indeed as the town’s sheriff worked quickly to clear traffic.
At just two years old, the horse still has a bit of a wild hair or two.
While several trainers chased after the young animal, she outran everyone at a full gallop. It would take police intervention to eventually lure the horse back to her trainer.
“Thank God for all the people who jumped in to go find her, because she left town,” the horse’s owner and trainer Michael Ann Ewing told the Associated Press, via New York Post.