When champion racehorses retire, many of them do so at the retirement sanctuary, Old Friends Farm.
Did you hear the story of Ferdinand, the champion racehorse who, through a tragic series of events, ended up being sold to a slaughterhouse years after the end of his career? When the story broke, it raised awareness of the fact that, even for champion racehorses, the path to retirement can be uncertain.
While it's tragic that any ex-racehorse would end up at a slaughterhouse, it's evident that we owe our champions more. And so, Old Friends Farm was born.
Old Friends Farm is a retirement facility in Georgetown, Kentucky, where some top racehorse champions live out their years. The facility is a non-profit and is dedicated to providing these champions with a relaxing and well-deserved retirement.
Based on the success of the Georgetown facility, a second facility was opened in Greenfield Center, New York, just minutes from Saratoga.
Providing racehorses with new careers and homes is an ongoing challenge. Every year, thousands of racehorses are retired at ages which are relatively young for a horse - some horses retire as young as three years of age. With plenty of life left in front of them, retraining these horses for second careers is often a good option.
Programs like Canter have dedicated their work to rehoming retired racehorses. The newly founded Retired Racehorse Project also helps to raise awareness about how racehorses can go on to have successful second careers.
If you think that an ex-racehorse might make your ideal mount, there are a number of ways that you can go about finding an ex-racehorse. Some trainers offer up racehorses directly from the track. There are many racehorse adoption programs out there which help to retrain racehorses and place them in good homes. You may also sometimes find ex-racehorses offered up at auctions.
In order for the racing industry to continue, we need homes and solutions for ex-racehorses. Old Friends Farm is one of the many solutions out there today.