Mission: Rescue and adoption of unwanted thoroughbred horses and re-entry oriented program for inmates.
Programs: Vocational training program in horse care for inmates. Early in the thoroughbred retirement foundation's history monique s. Koehler, founder and chairman of the board, negotiated a milestone agreement with the state of new york department of correctional services. In exchange for land use and labor at the state's walkill correctional facility, the thoroughbred retirement foundation would design, staff and maintain a vocational training program in equine care and management for inmates. This unique program has been replicated kentucky, florida, south carolina, indiana, virginia, massachusetts and maryland. This is a vocational training program in equine care and management for inmate-students. The goal of this program is to teach inmate-students marketable skills for employment upon release from prison. This program is unique in that it saves thoroughbred horses no longer able to compete on the racetrack from possible neglect, abuse and slaughter and matches them with inmate-students also seeking a second chance. Equine rescue and rehabilitation. The vast majority of the general public and many racing fans are unaware of the sad fate that awaits thousands of thoroughbreds each year. They assume each animal is assured a safe humane retirement. Unfortunately, it is a perception that does not reflect reality. Reality is the thoroughbred industry, outside the circuit of high profile, high dollar races, is made up largely of owners with only modest resources. Current economics dictate that among all owners, no matter how responsible and well intended, only a few maintain even a single thoroughbred once it is unable to earn its keep on the track. Reality is a world where horsemeat is in demand in many foreign countries and there are several slaughterhouses in canada and mexico happy to create supply. Thoroughbred retirement foundation often has to transport horses in desperate need and then provide extra care to get them back to health. Thoroughbred retraining and adoption program. Many of the horses rescued by the thoroughbred retirement foundation or retired to the thoroughbred retirement foundation are healthy and able to have "second careers" as pleasure or show-horses. These horses are evaluated and retrained by thoroughbred retirement foundation employees so that we know the horse's capabilities and can place the horse in a long term successful adoption.
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Over the past 20 years, I have helped the TRF to raise money to help with their programs which change the lives of incarcerated men and women, as well as the horses they save. I have spoken with the prisoners in the TRF programs, and the way it positively affects them lives is incredible. Many of them have never had meaning or purpose in their life before this--never had anyone to care for, be responsible for, and who held them responsible as well. The TRF provides permanent lifetime homes for over 850 horses who would otherwise face neglect, abuse and slaughter, and there's something magical about the way they pair these discarded horses with society's discarded men and women, and let something magical happen. I can't say enough good things about them.
This was for the TRF at Montpelier in Orange, VA. I volunteered for 6 plus months AND adopted a TRF ex-racehorse named Monty. TRF is a wonderful organization that tries to place ex-racehorses in forever homes as companions or performance horses. The Montpelier facility is great--they take care to match what you are looking for in a horse and they are very knowledgeable. Some (due to injuries) are good pasturemates...others (like Monty) can actually be performance horses. I worked with Monty and showed succesfully at USDF recognized shows to 2nd level dressage! You do need to be an expert horseperson to help with the horses/volunteer--racehorses can be high strung as they are being reschooled. However, there are other ways to help TRF including helping at their benefit parties or sponsoring a horse to have shoes for a year. You could buy and donate hay or other needed items. You can even sponsor the reseeding of a field or buy art at Art at the Barn.
I am fostering a wonderful retired 13 year old Thoroughbred on behalf of TRF and they were fantastic to work with. They have been so appreciative and interested in how he is doing and getting along with his equine companions. I can tell that this horse was well cared for. The work they are doing is so important. These athletes deserve to have a comfortable happy retirement and that's what TRF strives for.
I hope they've improved the situation in the past few months, but I think these _New York Times_ articles raise more than a few concerns: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/19/sports/19horses.html?_r=1 http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/20/sports/20horses.html?scp=6&sq=%22Thoroughbred%20Retirement%22&st=cse Donor beware.