Welfare & Integrity

 At HRI, our vision is to ensure that Ireland is the global leader in all aspects of Horse Racing and Breeding, sustaining a vibrant rural industry. Our mission is to develop and promote Ireland's Horse Racing and Breeding industries, to administer and govern the sport of Horse Racing in Ireland, to cultivate and promote the highest standards of integrity and welfare.

As part of the HRI Strategic Plan 2020-2024, HRI is committed to:

  • Working collaboratively with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB) and Weatherby’s (Ireland) GSB to ensure that Irish racing operates to the highest standards of integrity and fairness
  • Supporting the establishment of a new equine health and welfare campus with world class diagnostic and forensic services
  • Ensuring that best practice in equine welfare is adopted throughout the industry

For more information on HRI’s Welfare Policy visit

Irish Thoroughbred Welfare Council 

In 2020 the Irish Thoroughbred Welfare Council was established comprising representatives of the Breeders, the Trainers, the Owners, the IHRB, DAFM, International Federation for the Aftercare of Racehorses and the animal welfare department of UCD Veterinary College. The Council advises the board of HRI on how best to shape policy to ensure high standards of horse care in the sector. 

The development of a Quality Assurance Programme for horse premises is underway. 

Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB) 

HRI works closely with the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB) to ensure the highest standards of welfare and integrity. The Rules of Racing are written and enforced by IHRB and there are reciprocal agreements with other racing jurisdictions. The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB) are responsible for protecting the integrity and reputation of Irish racing and carry out the regulatory functions at all fixtures in Ireland. 

The IHRB Veterinary Team comprises Veterinary Officers and Veterinary Assistants and is the primary group within the IHRB responsible for the health and welfare of the Thoroughbred racehorse, on and off the racecourse. 

As part of their responsibilities, the IHRB carry out all matters relating to Equine Anti-Doping and boast a world class Equine Anti-Doping programme which was recently endorsed in an independent audit by Dr. Craig Suann, the former chief veterinary officer for Racing New South Wales. 

In 2021, as well as carrying out almost 6,000 samples, the IHRB obtained Authorised Officer status from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) which allows the IHRB unique access to any thoroughbred at any time in Ireland. More about the work of the IHRB can be found on their website

In December 2019, The International Federation of Horseracing Authorities published minimum welfare standards for horses which can be found here

Ownership and Welfare 

Horse Racing Ireland along with the IHRB are committed to ensuring the highest possible standards of equine welfare are maintained in Ireland. The racehorse owner, trainer and those in possession of an equine have a moral and legal responsible for it’s health, safety and welfare while it in in their ownership/possession. 

It is the responsibility of all owners to ensure the aftercare of their horse has been considered and an aftercare policy has been agreed with fellow owners and the trainer. 


Irish Equine Centre

HRI supports the Irish Equine Centre by providing it with annual financial grants. The Irish Equine Centre provides world-leading expertise in specialised facilities for the diagnosis, management, and prevention of diseases in horses and for research and education in this area. The services provided underpin the health status of the horse population and, thereby, protect Ireland's disease-free status to allow for global trade.

Irish Horse Welfare Trust 

HRI directly supports the Irish Horse Welfare Trust (IHWT) which seeks to re-home and re-train thoroughbreds no longer active in racing. The IHWT was established to provide a dedicated centre that is equipped for dealing with the rehabilitation and re-homing of equines and has become a specialist rehabilitation centre for Thoroughbred type horses.

Treo Eile 

Established in 2020, Treo Eile is a not-for-profit providing assistance to racehorse trainers and owners who wish to rehome and retrain horses once racetrack careers are complete.  The Treo Eile website allows parties to connect and match horses to homes where they can retrain for new disciplines. HRI is committed to supporting Treo Eile in the development of their website and promoting the versatility of ex-racehorses.


For more information and for details on who to contact with respect to animal welfare issues click here