Retired thoroughbreds find second chances, new careers in Kentucky racehorse retirement and adoption centers [Equine]
Here's information about additional thoroughbred retirement and adoption organizations that have retired thoroughbreds residing at their facilities or Thoroughbred horses up for adoption.
New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program was founded in 1992 to offer retiring racehorses a safe haven, rehabilitation and continued education with placement in experienced caring homes. New Vocations runs the biggest thoroughbred adoption program in the country. Most horses arriving at New Vocations are injured and thin, suffering from the normal occupational hazards of racing. New Vocations strives to teach retired racehorses needed new skills so as to be useful in a new career and increase their chances of being adopted. Without these new skills, off-the-track racehorses are at high risk of being sent to the local livestock auction where many times they are sold to slaughter. In 2011 a record 429 ex-racehorses were placed in new homes by New Vocations. (Famed thoroughbred racehorse trainer Nick Zito’s wife, Kim, sits on the advisory board for New Vocations.) New Vocations is co-hosting a program called Thoroughbreds for All! after the Rolex Kentucky cross-country day on April 28 to promote retired thoroughbred adoptions. For more information on this program, check out this article on Louisville.com. For more information on New Vocations and its horses available for adoption, visit its website.
CANTER (The Communication Alliance to Network Thoroughbred Ex-Racehorses) started as a solution to help racehorses find new careers by connecting buyers and sellers through posting racehorses for sale on the Internet. CANTER has a Kentucky-based program in which it assumes ownership of thoroughbreds and has volunteers who approach trainers and gather information on horses that are being retired and are for sale by trainers. CANTER than shares the information on its website. CANTER is an all-volunteer organization. Kentucky-based thoroughbreds that are available on the CANTER site can be viewed here.
Second Stride provides professional rehabilitation, retraining, and placement for retired thoroughbred racehorses in qualified homes so that they may reach their full potential in a productive second career. Second Stride is made up of volunteers who are active in other areas of the racing industry: owners, partnership managers, handicappers and trainers. They work to improve racing from within, and know from firsthand experience how many people may have the desire to retire a horse safely, but at times find that difficult to do. Horses available for adoption at Second Stride can be viewed here.
ReRun was founded in 1996 to rehabilitate, retrain and find adoptive homes for thoroughbred racehorses when their careers on the track are over. Currently ReRun’s Kentucky-based thoroughbred horses are pensioned with ReRun but you can help offset the expenses of their care by going here. ReRun has other ex-racehorses available for adoption at some of their other sites and you can view those at its main website.
The Blackburn Correctional Complex is a thoroughbred retirement foundation facility that through its Second Chances program pairs retired racehorses with prisoners in a vocational training program for the inmates. The Blackburn Correctional facility has 55 thoroughbred horses currently retired at its facility. A movie has been made about what happens when prison inmates meet a thoroughbred horse, called Homestretch. Visitors can schedule a visit at the equine complex during weekdays from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. by contacting Linda Dyer, herd manager, at LindaC.Dyer@ky.gov. Blackburn Correctional Complex is located at 3111 Spurr Road, Lexington, Ky.
If you are interested in adopting a thoroughbred from any of these adoption organizations, you will need to fill out an adoption application and get approved. Depending on the organization, most adopters will need equine experience to get approved so that the horse has the best chance of getting successfully placed in a suitable home. Adoption applications can be accessed on the organizations’ website links listed above. To see a sample of some of the thoroughbred horses that are up for adoption and view photos taken at the Makers Mark Secretariat Center, Old Friends Equine, and the Blackburn Correctional Complex, take a look at the slideshow at the end of this article. To see all of the horses that are up for adoption, visit the websites of the adoption organizations listed.
Donations to these organizations to help offset the cost of the care, retraining and adoption efforts that help the magnificent racehorse we call the Thoroughbred are always welcome.
Photos & Video: Makers Mark Secretariat Center and Old Friends photos and video: Courtesy of Anna Blanton
Blackburn Correctional Complex photos: Courtesy of The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation
New Vocations horse photos: Courtesy of New Vocations
Thoroughbreds Aviator and Catch Me If U Can photos: Courtesy of Carly Dolan