Retired thoroughbreds find second chances, new careers in Kentucky racehorse retirement and adoption centers [Equine]
Makers Mark Secretariat Center opened in 2004 and is located at the Kentucky Horse Park. Director Susanna Thomas explained the process that incoming thoroughbreds go through to prepare them for adoption. She and her staff of interns and volunteers perform an extensive holistic evaluation of the horses when they come in, on both their physical and mental status with vet checks, equine dental checkups, time with farrier (a specialist in equine foot care) and any other care they may need. They are then put into retraining that consists of ground work as well as a varying reschooling work schedule. Once it has been determined what kind of future career they're best suited for, they start getting trained in that direction then put up for adoption. Potential adopters must go through an application process that ensures that they will be a good match for the horse. If you adopt one of the Makers Mark Secretariat Center’s thoroughbreds, you are also sent home with a binder full of background information about the horse and all of its health records.
We toured their immaculately kept stables and visited with some of the adoptable horses. We found Monkey Toes, Victorias Secret, Duke, and Rugby all lovable horses eating up all the attention we could give them. We were also fortunate to be present when Deb Fabiani, a Saddle Fitter and Trisser PT Therapist, as well as owner of Arbitrage Tack of Oakville, Conn., was conducting a saddle-fitting clinic to determine which of the center’s saddles best fit each horse.
The center is always in need of capable interns to help train the horses and other volunteers to assist with other tasks. College interns can do a four-month internship in the spring and fall and get credit for it. Two interns, Julia and Alex, both attend the University of Kentucky, and were present at the time of our visit. Julia helps with the training of the horses and Alex is a marketing major and helps with marketing strategies and fundraising ideas for the Center.
The Makers Mark Secretariat Center trains about a dozen horses at a time. This facility is located at the far end of the Kentucky Horse Park past the new Alltech Indoor Arena. I highly recommend a visit as these beautiful horses with their loving intelligent curiosity will win over your heart. To find out more about them and their horses visit its website. The Kentucky Horse Park is located at 4089 Iron Works Pkwy., Lexington, KY.