'Nation-leading' equine welfare centre to house retired racehorses in North Dandalup

Western Australia's retired racehorses will enjoy the "best of care" at the newly unveiled Off The Track WA Estate in North Dandalup.

The Peel-based facility, set to be managed by Racing and Wagering Western Australia (RWWA), aims to give retired horses a new life after their racing careers come to an end.

Officially opened by racing and gaming minister Paul Papalia on Friday morning, the 40-hectare property will house up to 40 horses and is a significant step forward in RWWA's WA Racehorse Welfare Plan.

"Creating this property and enabling a location for horses as they near the end of their career to access the best re-trainers, and ensure that we get the best chance of horses being re-homed is a great step forward," Mr Papalia said.

"It is nation-leading. It is a fantastic part of our overall welfare plan which I believe is the best in the country."

Racing and gaming minister Paul Papalia and Murray-Wellington MP Robyn Clarke with Norvic Nightowl. Photo: Justin Rake.

Racing and gaming minister Paul Papalia and Murray-Wellington MP Robyn Clarke with Norvic Nightowl. Photo: Justin Rake.

Horses that enter the Off The Track Estate will be retrained for what RWWA chief executive officer Richard Burt described as "pleasure pursuits", meaning they could go into equestrian or become therapeutic measures.

One group that stands to benefit greatly from the facility is HorsePower Peel, formerly known as the Riding for the Disabled Association.

The Rockingham non-profit was donated two of the first horses to go through the estate's training program on Friday, with Norvic Nightowl and Suspicious Life now set to enjoy a slower-paced life.

"This is such a huge help for us," HorsePower Australia executive Kelly Mansfield said.

"It allows us to continue our work and we're really thankful for that."

Retired racehorses will enjoy life at a slower pace in North Dandalup. Photo: Justin Rake.

Retired racehorses will enjoy life at a slower pace in North Dandalup. Photo: Justin Rake.

Horses accepted into the Off The Track program undergo evaluation upon arrival, before being allocated an official re-trainer to provide them with the skills they need for their new life.

Preference is given to horses which may be more difficult for owners to re-home, such as those located in remote areas.

Off The Track WA re-training and re-homing coordinator Suzy Jackson said horses will be given the utmost care at the facility.

"This really is all about them," she said.

"To be able to offer these retired racehorses a home like this great. I think the opening of this facility has been widely welcomed by people in WA's racing industry."

So far RWWA has invested $2.7 million into the WA Racehorse Welfare Plan.