The Second Chance Stable: A partnership for the well-being of retired racehorses
31 July 2023
31 July 2023
The Second Chance Stable is an organization dedicated to the retraining of retired racehorses for the past 14 years. Located in Combrée, in the Pays de la Loire region, it offers a fresh start to these horses. They are chosen based on specific criteria, including temperament, adaptability, conformation, and health. Within the stable, there are English Thoroughbreds, Arabian Thoroughbreds, AQPS (Autre Que Pur Sang, a French breed of racehorse), and trotters of all ages. Approximately 2 new horses arrive at the stable each week, totaling 2,500 horses sold since 2009. Regardless of the reasons for their retirement from the racetracks, they are welcomed with dedication by the Second Chance Stable.
We are proud to announce this new partnership with this stable, which upholds strong values.
With a shared concern for the well-being of horses, this partnership makes perfect sense to us. The Second Chance Stable, comprising of seven experienced individuals, ensures that each horse receives:
– Proper care
– Balanced nutrition
– And an environment conducive to their physical and mental well-being
Through tailored retraining and patient approaches, the Second Chance Stable gives these exceptional horses the chance to shine once again and find loving homes where they can flourish. At Antarès Sellier, we believe it is essential to provide them with high-quality equipment that offers the comfort they deserve.
We stand alongside the Second Chance Stable in ensuring that each horse is treated with the respect and consideration they deserve.
Adapting to each horse’s past, personality, and specific needs is crucial, and it forms the basis of the Second Chance Stable’s work. The same principle applies to the equipment. As explained by Sylvain Martin, the founder of the stable, retired racehorses have different requirements than sport horses:
“The horses in the stable are athletes coming from the racetracks. Therefore, there will be physical changes in the coming weeks and months. They will round up and develop muscle. Some of them even experience a growth spurt. Their bone structure evolves.”
The adaptability of the equipment is one of the reasons why the Second Chance Stable places its trust in us:
“The back of a retired racehorse is not its strong point. It is not very supportive. It is necessary to have a saddle specifically adapted to distribute the rider’s weight in the best possible way. Later, there will be physical changes thanks to our work. They will build up their muscles. So, it is very important for us to have equipment that supports our horses through this transformation.”
In addition, there are the subtle nuances of certain breeds of retired racehorses:
“Thoroughbred horses are very sensitive. They tolerate the absence of comfort less. But, in a more general way, a horse’s behavior can be entirely different depending on the comfort provided by its equipment. I have seen a horse that would not canter at all on the right rein. Once we found the right saddle, we had the solution to the problem.”
The stable implements customized retraining programs, allowing each retired racehorse to regain confidence and balance in a new discipline. To ensure that this work can be done under the best possible conditions, our expert Anthony Barbier took charge of finding the most suitable saddle models for the horses’ work (not forgetting the riders’ comfort, of course).
The chosen saddles enable the horse and rider to work with relaxation, suppleness, and allow the horses to adapt to this new rhythm, far from the racetracks. We also provide them with our anatomical bridles, such as the Precision Y or Comfort noseband models, known for ensuring maximum horse comfort.
Each horse takes the time to adapt to its new environment, with time spent in the paddock both during the day and night, for horses that can handle it. A tailored diet is chosen based on the upcoming physical changes. Then groundwork and liberty work begin to create an initial bond with the horse and understand its functioning. If this step is successful, the mounted work or breaking-in process can start. This involves short flatwork sessions, introducing classical riding techniques (bending, transitions, contact on the reins, etc.). The exploration of the outdoors with short, mounted rides within the estate where the stable is located is planned to ensure the horse’s good morale. Once the horse is ready physically and mentally, liberty jumping can begin. When the horse is comfortable with poles, the training for show jumping starts. It’s a step-by-step process tailored to each horse’s progress and needs.
Our common mission is to take care of each horse in the most suitable way to promote its development and well-being in this new life.
It was during a fair that we had the pleasure of meeting Julie Gandelheid, the happy owner of a retired racehorse named Feu Francis.
In search of a horse to accompany her on her adventures, she turned to the Second Chance Stable. It was love at first sight with this tall bay horse. Since then, she has been devoted to proudly representing these exceptional horses and has committed herself to advocating for their cause. In the name of Francis, but also on behalf of all the other horses, the Second Chance Stable provides a second chance for, after their days on the racetracks.