Thoroughbred Rehabilitation and Training Facilities

A rehabilitation facility is for horses, primarily those recovering from lameness or some sort of surgery that requires professional care. It’s a notch down from the intensive medical care available in-house at a veterinary hospital, and a few steps up from the level of care that most horses could expect to receive at the average boarding stable.

Luxury at a layup farm can start with spa-like facilities like swimming pools, veterinarians in residence, and an arsenal of high-tech lasers, magnetic devices, and herbal rubs. At the other end of the scale, it can be the backyard of a farrier’s home, where foundered horses hobble around in small pens, but have their feet checked daily and fine-tuning done to special shoes. Then again, a layup center could be in your own backyard, if you are up to the task of intensive rehabilitation nursing.

Why would your horse ever need to be at a layup farm? The most common layup customers are racehorses. Since most of them are the property of absentee owners, they are the charges of their trainers, who get a certain number of stalls at a track during a given meet. Each one of those stalls needs to be filled with a “raceable” horse. If a horse is injured during training or racing, its stall will be needed for another horse. With luck, the injured horse will be back in training in a few months and find its way back to that trainer and that shed row.

When a racehorse is injured or needs surgery, it usually is trucked to a veterinary hospital or the clinic of a nearby veterinary college. The horse is treated, then held in a stall at the clinic, where it easily can be radiographed, medicated, and treated by the staff. The per-day charge for this care is high, but it usually is necessary for the horse to be “in-house.”

When the horse is ready to leave the clinic, where does it go? Not back to the track, where the demands of rehab care would be too much for the staff. Most owners do not have a farm, and if they do, it is set up for breeding, not bandaging. Training centers are geared toward starting young horses or working with horses ready to return to racing.

Across America, particularly within driving distance of most racetracks, is a special breed of farm called “layup facilities.” These farms vary widely, but all offer an important service to the racing industry by bridging the gap between hospitalization and the track.

In the last few years, the “laid -up” racehorses have been sharing their layup paddocks with more and more show horses and pleasure horses. It’s not unusual for a group of Standardbreds or Thoroughbreds to be side-by-side with a few show hunters and even a 30-year-old pet recovering from laminitis.

Someone must fill this need, and the new breed of horse care specialists who run layup farms doesn’t even have a name yet. The temptation is to call them “layup artists,” or “equine rehabilitators”. No two facilities are alike, and probably no two would agree on what is the best program of recovery for your horse. Nor would they agree on how long it will take. But many can take credit for the remarkable recoveries of horses which otherwise would be retired from performance or racing altogether.

There are numerous training centers that board, start or break and train racehorses at different levels of training from very early “starting” with saddle and bridle and light galloping to a more advanced stage of timed workouts and gate training to prepare a horse for the racetrack. Some training facilities include a large enough track and advanced training that a horse can be prepped for a race from that location. Most will graduate to the racetrack for final preparations.

We found Lindsay Park Racing Stable, a training facility in Victoria, Australia, that we felt you should see.

The below are just a few names of North America training facilities, there are 100’s of training facilities, that will provide you a better idea of  North America training facility.

     Training Facility     Location
      WinStar Farms Versailles. KY
      All In Line Stables Ocala, FL
      Stonestreet Farms Lexington, KY
      Rice Horse Stables Fort McCoy, FL
      Bridlewood Farm Ocala, FL


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