Look at this eye.
No, I mean, really LOOK at this eye. Do not look away.
This is the eye of Fortunate Storm–a son of Fortunate Prospect–and yes, he is fortunate. Blessed, actually. He won a respectable $269,470 on the track, yet somehow at some point, he found himself in need of a home.
Look at that eye,again: what do you see there? Do you see relief? Gratitude? The emotional scars of the fear that nearly strangled his heart, when someplace-along-the-line, a while back–he realized that his fortune wasn’t secure?
Had it not been for the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, Fortunate Storm may have ended up…I can’t even think about it. I will not allow myself to think that the horse who’s connected to this deep, intelligent eye could have had the worst of fates.
But the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation acquired him, and his life took a wonderful turn for the better. As of late Spring this year, the TRF currently cares for another 950 beautiful, loving, kind Thoroughbreds like Fortunate Storm onto 24 farms around the United States. (And that’s just this year’s tally, so far.) Those 950 horses are blessed, but many more need the security of the loving arms of the TRF and its associates…
Since 1983, the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation has rescued and lovingly retired Thoroughbreds whose fates were not secure.
Thank God for The TRF. The TRF is the largest equine sanctuary in the world, devoted to the rescue, retirement, rehabilitation and retraining of Thoroughbred horses who no longer are able to compete on the track. Think about that for a minute. It causes me agita to think that there’s a need for organizations like TRF–but I’m grateful that they exist, and that they do the good work they do.
For example: Horses like Ace of Hearts (below), who has a heartfull of love to give. (You can feel the love just by looking at the photo, can’t you?) TRF created a program for him, a home–and gave him a mission. Once a racehorse, Ace of Hearts now is a therapy horse, but he’s getting the therapy that he needs, as well. (Look at these two faces: the therapy, like all true love, is a two-way street:)
A Brilliant Concept: at correctional facilities in ten states, TRF operates the Second Chances Program, in which inmates build life skills while participating in a vocational training program as they provide supervised care to our retired horses. (I wrote, “…our retired horses,” because in a very real way, all horses belong to all people who have that silent, real connection to horses.)
Mull over this thought for a minute: for many inmates, a TRF horse is the first being who’s ever shown them unconditional love. The first being for whom they are responsible, who depends on them. It’s impossible to give love if you’ve never experienced it before–and a retired Thoroughbred is the best, most grateful lover of humans on Earth.
Don’t fool yourself for a minute: horses are intelligent. Horses are prey animals: they know when they’re in danger. And when they’re out of that danger, they’re like the Aesop’s Fable lion, who had a thorn in his paw. Eternally grateful, giving back 1,000 times what they were given.
Whether partners in the Second Chance Program, or living a life on one of those 24 farms–these horses have love to share–just like humans–until they take their last natural breaths. Just as humans crave the opportunity to experience life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness–racehorses also deserve to live out their lives in a warm, loving, natural environment.
Don’t you agree?
I’m not quite sure what happens in the hearts of people who say they love horses one minute–but who are willing to cast them off the next. Lackluster performance on the track is a lousy excuse for tossing out a Thoroughbred–or any other horse, for that matter.
Would these same people toss out their children, if the children didn’t graduate from Harvard?
Were it not for TRF, those 950 horses and more) probably would have ended up…in Mexico…or Canada. (Not giving pony rides–don’t dwell in denial, readers. These are not vacation destinations for horses.)
Thoroughbreds need TRF, and TRF needs you. And me.
Do you love horses? Don’t you HATE it, that horses need to be rescued?
How can you love horse racing–make money on the backs of these beautiful Thoroughbreds–and not care about what happens to them after the finish line?
Of course you care. That’s why you’re reading this article. You’re reading because you love the sport, but you loved The Horse first.
Nine-hundred and fifty horses–that’s just this year’s tally, to-date. Are you aware that over 4,000 horses have come through TRF’s programs? Four-thousand. Yes, it’s true. And more than 1,000 Thoroughbreds have been adopted out to loving homes. At re-training farms, TRF prepares racehorses for adoption, as riding and companion horses.
You know, companion horses: horses who are just your friend–your family member–whose company you love, without whom you cannot imagine living.
Horses deserve to be cared for and loved simply because they exist.
Anyone who thinks of them as being disposable doesn’t deserve to have a horse in her/his life, IMHO. The Board and administrators of TRF wish that no one thought of Thoroughbreds as being “inconvenient,” or “unwanted”–but until humans behave with the grace and love of horses–TRF will be necessary.
Thoroughbreds need TRF, and, as I wrote earlier–TRF needs us. What the heck can you–can we–do to help TRF with this Herculean task, of getting homes and training for so, so many OTTBs? (Off The Track Thoroughbreds)
Glad you asked! This very Sunday, August 4th--you can dance your brains out in Saratoga–eat like queens and kings–and help raise money to help TRF continue its 30-year-old mission of love and mercy.
The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation cordially invites you to a Hoofloose and Fancy Free Night of Celebration and Dancing! Come celebrate TRF and the thousands of beautiful horses whom they’ve helped over the years: dine on extraordinary food–drink divine beverages–and kick up your heels like a foal in Spring.
You’ll also have the opportunity to participate in the live auction–and this auction offers some singularly-wonderful items. Check this out: an original PEB watercolor–commemorating the 150th birthday of Saratoga Race Course. This truly is a one-of-a-kind work of art by racing’s own master of the canvas:
The gorgeous, elegant National Museum of Dance in Saratoga Springs, New York, USA, will light up on Sunday night as horse racing’s most generous, kind and sincerely, passionately
horse-loving industry folks convene to raise money and to party like Secretariat on Belmont Stakes Day, 1973.
Whether you work in the racing industry or you’re a fan–a Saratogian–a tourist–or someone who’s just always loved horses and has a good heart–you are invited and welcome, with open arms.
The party is this coming Sunday, but some tickets still are available. (Why, if this is such a great soiree, are any tickets still available?
Because you’re supposed to be there, and Karma is holding them for you.)
I promise that if you attend the TRF’s Hoofloose and Fancy Free Night of Celebration and Dancing, you’ll have a kickin’ time. You’ll dance with racing luminaries–bid yourself silly–and eat like a horse. (NOT hay, Oats and Water–that’s just an expression, folks.)
But even more important than the grand evening you’ll experience–you can go to sleep that night knowing that you saved a horse’s life.
Imagine that? If every single one of us–every person who truly loves horses–used our resources, time and talents to benefit them--every horse could be saved.
On Sunday night, August 4 in Saratoga–you have the opportunity to spend some of your resources and know that You Saved a Horse.
I can’t imagine a more-satisfying reward, can you?
For more information–to purchase tickets–or to arrange bidding by phone–contact
Vice President, External Affairs
Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation
http://www.trfinc.org(The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation is a registered 501(C)(3) organization.)