We do more than rescue and rehome horses off the track... and that is what makes us different. So, what exactly is our process from racehorse to adoptable horse? Here is a brief overview of what we do and why we have so much success with placing horses.
When a horse comes off the track, they need time to relax. We give our horses at least 60 days off to recover from the stresses of the track. We call this time "active recovery." We still groom them, handle them, and administer therapy, but we do not ride them. We look at any preliminary issues they may have. We have a vet do flex tests, x-rays, and ultrasounds if needed. If there is an issue, we focus on repairing that issue during active recovery.
After they have received adequate downtime and have been cleared for exercise, we start them into gentle work. We only walk/trot for the first 30 days. Here they learn the basics... how to move off your leg, how to stretch into the bridle, and that contact with your leg does not necessarily mean to move forward. Also, we ride them in groups. This can be stressful in the beginning for a lot of Thoroughbreds. The immediate reaction when a horse canters past them is to move forward. We teach them how to maintain the same pace no matter what the horse next to them is doing. We also take them on trail rides to get them use to more than just riding in a ring.
During the first 30 days of riding, we look closely at how they are tracking. We want to make sure they are tracking evenly and comfortably... both moving in straight lines and doing figure-8s. Our goal is for the horse to be 100% sound before moving forward with more extensive work. We also want to make sure the horse is safe to ride, and to figure out what type of rider the horse needs. Some horses need more confident riders, while others are good with intermediate riders. If a horse has quirks... we let the potential adopter know as we want both horse and rider to be happy.
We work our horses 4 to 6 days a week. We jump them twice a week, mainly through gymnastics. We want them to learn the mechanics of jumping before we even concern ourselves with jumping big.
By the time the horse is in full work, they are up for adoption. Adoption fees are based on age, talent, past injuries, and experience. Some of our horses are given away due to the extent of their injuries, but most are adopted out at various fees. 100% of the adoption fee goes back to THR to help other horses in need. We are completely run by volunteers and we have no overhead. This allows us to solely focus on the horse.
We are proud to be able to offer horses a second chance at a new career, and give people the confidence to adopt a horse who is sound, healthy, and safe.