Victoria Minister for Racing Martin Pakula
Hero Program Provides Horses With A Life After Racing
Victor P Taffa
Andrews Government today announced a joint funding package of $362,000 to help give harness horses a life after racing.
“The HERO program has been an outstanding success in its first 12 months and we’re proud to be supporting it for another year.” Minister for Racing Martin Pakula said.
“This program is vitally important because it improves the welfare of harness racehorses by retraining and re-homing them.”
Andrews Government is providing $181,000 to the Harness Education Re-homing Opportunities (HERO) program, which aims to retrain retired racehorses to become trail riding ponies, competitive show and event horses, or simply pleasure animals and family pets.
“This funding boost will help to support the racing industry which delivers thousands of regional jobs and economic benefits to the community.” Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes said.
Minister for Racing Martin Pakula made the funding announcement at Aldebaran Park in Nagambie today with former top-line pacers and now HERO ambassadors, Villagem and Tanabi Bromac.
In the first year of the program, more than 200 horses were either re-homed or placed with a registered HERO trainer in preparation for re-homing.
“HRV is extremely grateful to the State Government for this ongoing funding, which will help us to recruit suitably skilled people as registered re-trainers and to increase the number of horses in the HRV HERO program.” Harness Racing Victoria Chairman Dale Monteith said.
“The response to the program has been overwhelming and we are receiving inquiries on a daily basis from owners and trainers who are interested in offering horses.”
Funding for the program will be sourced from the Government’s Victorian Racing Industry Fund. HRV will also contribute $181,000 to support the program.
So far this financial year, more than 60 horses have been brought into the program and many of them have already been placed in their new homes.
HERO program is also working with the Victoria Police Mounted Division to identify horses that may be suitable for Police duty.
“We look forward to further increasing the number of horses re-homed each year with this vital assistance.” Mr. Monteith said.